I was right there with you. Newsletter after newsletter we’d see the same mediocre open rate no matter what we tried. We’d have team meetings to discuss wild strategies in a desperate attempt to gain traction with our following. We even began adding emoji’s to our subject lines (not recommended, trust me).
As it turned out, there was just one key trick we were missing. When we finally began using it, everything changed overnight.
Step 1. Segment Your List by Opens
(this is literally the only step)
If you’re using Mailchimp, segmenting is an incredibly simple feature you may have been overlooking. It basically sorts your email list however you like, allowing you to laser target your email campaigns to the right audience. I’d heard from a friend that segmenting was a game changer for them so I did some investigating. After testing many different variables I found that segmenting our email list by users that had ‘opened’ one of our campaigns in the past was the best at driving our open rate through the roof. Here’s how we did it!
So first off, here’s a screen shot of our average open rate before we started segmenting:
Not terrible but not great either. In fact, Mailchimp themselves reported our industry average to be around 17% meaning we had a bit of work to do. Like I said before, nothing else we tried could get us much over 14%, just wait and see what a simple 5-minute segment did for us.
Getting Set Up
First just log into your MailChimp account (if you don’t use mailchimp don’t worry, here’s a great guide for segmenting with Emma).
Click one the Lists button
Find the list you’d like to segment then click on it. Within in the list you’ll see the ‘Segments’ tab
After clicking you’ll see three options ‘Auto-Update’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Static’. I recommend you do Auto-update for this particular segment as it’s something you’ll be using for many different campaigns. Now click ‘Create a new segment’
Now simply set the parameters as follows:
Hit ‘Preview Segment’ and you’ll see a small portion of your list. These are all the users in your list that have opened one of your previous 5 campaigns. Hit ‘Save as segment’ in the upper right corner and name your segment ‘Opens’
now simply repeat the exact same process but rather than having the activity set to ‘opened’ change it to ‘did not open’ as follows:
Watch the Magic Happen
Now here’s the secret sauce. You’re going to be sending your email campaigns separately to each segment every single time. This will ensure that after each campaign you send, your users will be segmented again and again automatically until you have a potent list of users that frequently open your emails and frequently do not.
After 3 campaigns of following this process here are our numbers now:
That’s a 50.3% open rate from our old average of 13.1%!
Since doing this we’ve noticed the total clicks from each campaign rise from an average of 140 clicks to 413 clicks! Segmenting not only boosted our open rate but drove a ton of traffic to our site, over 400% more than what we used to get!
The benefits here are endless. You’ll have a detailed list of your most engaged followers that you can engage with on a more personable level. Offer them benefits, a 1 on 1 engagement or even a sales pitch. Conversely, you’ll have a list of emails (non-opens) that you can nurture. Ask them how you can make your newsletter more to their liking or do what we did and delete them entirely from your MailChimp account saving you hard $$$ each month on the subscription fees!
Leave a comment below of your favorite segmenting hack!
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