No Catch Alls in Email List Segmentation
After an email marketing campaign is running consistently and generating results a natural evolution is to segment the email list into groups and cater communications to the segments. This is easier said than done. Deciding which segments should exist and what individuals belong in which category is not an undertaking to be taken lightly. Identifying and performing the administration of breaking up the list requires a plan. If the task is undertaken haphazardly there usually ends up being a catch all category that eventually morphs back into a singe list.
The “other” category is the bane of email list segmentation. And it’s unnecessary because there should no be a catch all category. The whole point in segmenting lists is to deliver content to set groups that directly apply to defined criteria. There’s no clearly defined category for “other”.
Resist using a catch all segment. It’s often created out of frustration with the segmenting process. Rather allot sufficient time to define what segments are appropriate to meet the specialized communications you envision. If you find that you are drifting toward a general group then stop and redefine.
Also resist using a specialized group as a place for individuals that are challenging to define. Every person that falls into a segment must share the same defining characteristic. The worst thing a segmented email campaign can do is send specialized content to individuals it does not apply to.
Usually if a catch all group exists then all the other groupings begin to morph into the single general category. That is often because it’s easier for the email list administrator to assign “other” rather than do some digging to see what an individual is hoping to receive or a subscriber isn’t sure which category best fits them so they default to a general list.
If you’re setting a general category in a list segmentation process, stop. If it comes to it, it’s better to scrap the whole process and save the time rather than break the list up into arbitrary lists and eventually have them converge back into a single list down the line.