Another Holiday Tip: Geo-Targeting To Boost Relevance

Quick thought and a how-to inspired by a reaction to our recent post on holiday greetings.

Over at her Net Profits Today blog, Rosalind Gardner made a great point about the lack of targeting that often plagues marketing campaigns (particularly those sent around this time of year):

I received an Inbox full of “Happy Thanksgiving” emails on or about the 4th Thursday of November. That would have been nice except for the fact that I live in Canada and we celebrate Thanksgiving on the 2nd Monday in October… so those greetings came about 6 weeks late.

Those marketers need to figure out how to parse their lists geographically and send their messages accordingly.

She’s absolutely right. Fortunately, it’s not hard for even the most basic email marketing campaign to do this.

“But I Don’t Ask My Subscribers Where They’re Located!”

Not a problem. You can target subscribers geographically based on their IP address.

Among other things, you can use this to target subscribers located in a specific country and broadcast to them, making your message appropriate for their location.

In the example above, marketers could have included Thanksgiving-related content (greetings, sales/coupons, etc) in messages they sent to Rosalind and other Canadian residents from late September to early October. Then, in November, they could shift that content into messages sent to their US-based subscribers.

See How To Target Subscribers Geographically

In this short video, I show you how to employ simple geo-targeting to segment subscribers by country. You can just as easily use this to segment by other geographic data like:

Need to Know When to Geo-Target?

Check out our holiday email marketing calendar for ideas!

Use Geo-Targeting Responsibly

Now, IP-based geographic targeting is not perfect. It makes a judgment based on where your subscriber connects to the Internet, which may not match their exact physical location.

That said, in my experience it does a pretty good job of targeting subscribers, and it’s a heck of a lot better than not targeting at all. And it has the distinct advantage of not requiring your subscribers to fill out a mile-long signup form (and as we discuss in our web form seminar, the more you ask people to provide, the fewer of them will do so, and do so accurately).

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For the record: I’m still against sending empty holiday greeting emails, but if you’re going to reference the holidays in an email, geographic targeting can help you to do so more effectively.

By:
Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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21 Comments

  1. I have used geotargetting in Google which has excellent worldwide targeting, whereas Yahoo doesn’t allow me to specify New Zealand as a country let alone go down to a region. Your video mentioned you can do Canada and even the states in the USA, can you do UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina which are some of our markets?

    12/17/2007 3:25 pm
  2. Hi Miles,

    I’m not sure I understand the first part of your comment. The geo-targeting that you can do with AWeber is based on subscribers’ IP addresses, which are independent of the email addresses they enter into a signup form. I can go to your signup form and enter my Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AWeber or any other email address and my IP is still going to be the same (and you’re still going to be able to see that I signed up from Pennsylvania).

    To answer your question, yes you can target subscribers in those or any country where your readers are signing up from. I used Canada in my video to follow with the example that Rosalind gave on her blog.

    12/17/2007 3:37 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  3. You never even stole a couple of minutes with this great advice on geographical targetting.

    12/18/2007 9:42 am
  4. I am definitely intrigued by the prospect of using this type of targeting. I have a question, though: if I save a list, such as ‘Canada’, does it get automatically updated everytime someone from Canada subscribes?

    Cheers.

    12/18/2007 10:08 am
  5. Pete

    When you create the list will it update as new subscribers are added .. in the example.. If next week 5 more subscribers from Canada join the mast list or view .. would they be included .. or must I rebuild the list each time I wish to send a broadcast ?

    12/18/2007 10:14 am
  6. That is really cool!I didn’t know you could do that until now.

    12/18/2007 10:37 am
  7. Pete and Mike,

    Great minds apparently think alike :)

    The views are dynamic – they’re based on the search criteria. So they do update over time.

    In our example, whenever someone new signs up from Canada, s/he will automatically become part of that view.

    12/18/2007 10:52 am | Follow me on Twitter
  8. This is great information. Aweber continues to prove itself as an invaluable tool.

    12/18/2007 12:32 pm
  9. This is a really cool how-to video, and very helpful, as I didn’t know I could do this with Aweber. VERY neat! Much appreciated!

    12/18/2007 2:55 pm
  10. I like the concept of geo targeting, but our client basis is not Canada (as per example) but South Africa. "South Africa" as country IP works, but not Cape Town as a city (IP). How do I know what options are available for geo targeting?

    12/21/2007 3:39 am
  11. Hi Jan,

    The city/region/country that a subscriber is linked to depends on where they’re connecting to the Internet from.

    I took a quick look at our own email campaigns and we do have subscribers located in Cape Town, so it might just be that none of your South African subscribers are using ISPs who connect them through a location in Cape Town.

    12/21/2007 9:10 am | Follow me on Twitter
  12. Jo

    As always aweber is at work covering all the bases in e-mail marketing. With all the advantages offered by aweber, you just can’t miss. Thanks

    3/27/2008 10:31 pm
  13. Makere

    I so could use this but i have tried the instructions give yet it dont show my new zealand or canadian map or comfirming i have leads on my list from any state.

    I followed movie step by step still not work

    5/7/2008 9:21 pm
  14. I am trying to search by "Region" which I am hoping means State in the US. I chose the field in the seach page and typed in Maine, but got no results, though most of my list is in Maine. Is there a way to search by State using the IP addresses?

    2/9/2009 12:57 pm
  15. John,

    Use the postal abbreviation for the state (ME instead of Maine)

    Complete list of state abbreviations:

    http://www.usps.com/ncsc/lookups/usps_abbreviations.html

    2/9/2009 1:21 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  16. I’ve got a site that offers a Tax Tips newsletter… I’d really like to offer two different versions of the autoresponder series – one for Americans and one for Canadians, for obvious reasons.

    From what I can tell that you’ve discussed here, this segmentation applies to broadcasts; however can I segment them immediately upon signup and then send Canadians to one list and Americans to another?

    2/9/2009 11:14 pm
  17. Ian

    The whole IP system seems great. Twould be good to see a response to Jonathan’s question above. Also, I have another question:

    I have a site for English teachers, who tend to move around the world quite frequently. For example, a teacher might sign up in Japan and six months later get a new job in France. Presumably he will continue to be treated a "Japan subscriber" and there is no way for him to update his country (other than unsubscribing and subscribing again)?

    8/23/2009 5:51 am
  18. Hi,

    What is the best way to create an ‘is not’ country segment of multiple countries, do you have to do one at a time or can you say ‘is not’ italy, france, holland, germany etc

    Thanks

    8/24/2010 10:27 am
  19. Angela

    Awesome! Thanks for the information.

    So if I want to send a greeting to my customers in any country or state, depending on their ISP it will send it to set the exact date of Thanksgiving for each country?

    11/4/2010 10:53 am
  20. Hi, can I send a subscriber to a diferent list based on IP address when he / she signs up ?

    12/2/2010 6:08 pm
  21. Wheres the video?

    I am still trying to figure out how to segment my USA subscribers from ALL my lists. Is there a way?

    1/12/2011 9:38 pm