Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to meet a deadline that we keep our messaging general in an attempt to appeal to as many people as possible. But if you send an email to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, the likelihood of it resonating with all of them is zero — and it will show in your opens and click-through rates.
Why use up the goodwill of this many people with an email that isn’t relevant to them?
Breaking through the noise and grabbing someone’s attention with more targeted messaging is more important than ever. Employees sent and received an average of 122 business emails per day in 2015. Throw in all of the consumer emails that clog up your personal inbox, and that number jumps to 269 emails per day.
Everything looks so similar these days: content, content, click here.
IMO (and in my experience), it’s best to get really strict with your targeting criteria. And when you’re sending to highly targeted lists, you can find more creative ways to break through the noise.
Break your list into smaller segments
I was recently looking at a list of over 245,000 contacts, and there was no way to successfully tailor a message to such a large a group of people. Writing an email that will resonate with a few hundred or thousand people is a much more reasonable endeavor, and you can achieve this by breaking your list into smaller segments.
There are several ways you can do this, but I’m going to focus on the most common: segmenting based on job title, region, and priority accounts.
End users care about different things than C-level executives, for example. End users want to know how your product or service is going to make their job easier on a day-to-day basis, whereas C-level executives want to know how your product or service is going to save their company money. If I’m a CEO and I receive an email telling me how your product or service will improve my daily grind, I’m not even going to consider it.
You don’t have to write each email from scratch. Create similar emails with slightly different messaging that speak to these different groups of people, whether it’s different subject lines, headers, or bullets. Yes, it’s a little more work and it requires some additional planning, but it pays off in the end.
Another way to rise above the din is to connect with your audience on a geographic level when it makes sense. For example, a simple “Congrats, Cleveland Indians!” sent to prospects in Ohio celebrating a recent win would resonate more than a generic message that goes to the entire country.
When I’m making those split-second decisions about whether to open an email or send it to that great trash bin in the sky, I’d be more likely to assume an email is relevant to me if it talks about something specific to where I live, whether it’s a state or college sports team, a recent natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, and so on.
Just as you don’t have to rewrite an entire email when segmenting a list by job title, targeting geographically can be as simple as changing out a graphic and a few lines of copy to make it more applicable to the people living in that region.
Ready to take targeting to the next level? Instead of filtering by job title or region, narrow your focus to key accounts. Maybe these are accounts where you’ve had good conversations with people in the past that didn’t go anywhere, or maybe they’re accounts you’d just like to get your foot in the door with.
I’m talking maybe a few dozen or even a hundred people at most. When you’re targeting at this level, you’ll need to step it up a notch with something a little unconventional or attention-grabbing that will stand out, like a book or tchotchke. And you can’t send a book or tchotchke to 500,000 people because it just isn’t cost-effective.
Take your time to develop a well thought out campaign
We’ve all been there: too much to do with too little time to do it in. But don’t rush to send out an email just for the sake of sending it. In addition, think about how an email is going to tie into the next one you send, and how it ties in to what you’ve already sent, so you can take your audience on a logical journey.
Take your time to develop a great message targeted to smaller segments. And if you don’t have the time right now, save one or more of these segments for a more targeted campaign at a later date that gets results.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you’re capturing the necessary information in your CRM system so you can segment your lists.
A lot of organizations simply don’t have the resources to tackle this, which is why we offer services to setup your CRM instance, capture the information you need, and setup filters so you can target your audience more effectively.
I’ve described three of the most common ways organizations segment their lists. If you’ve experimented with other ways to more effectively target your audience, I’d love to hear about what has worked for you.
Todd Roll is a DemandGen Campaign Manager. With years of experience in digital marketing and Marketo in particular, he provides a strategic campaign framework that helps ensure flawless client campaign execution and aims to turn our clients into marketing heroes.