Christmas Marketing Tips: 2 Ways You Can Use Segmentation To Increase Conversions

Building your list is all well and good for the long term, but what about now? Don’t short term results matter? Of course they do. So how can we can get more sales, both from existing customers and first-time buyers? Here’s One Way: Segmentation.

This is the 3rd of 3 posts discussing Christmas marketing.

In the last Christmas marketing tip, you read my thoughts on focusing your efforts on building your list, rather than pulling in a few extra sales:

[H]owever hectic the holiday season is, and however much people talk about spending around this time of year, it’s only how long – two months? Maybe? Out of a whole year?

Rather than just squeezing another buck out of your current list, maybe you should instead work on getting more subscribers that you can build relationships with and market to all year long.

I’m sure some of you raised your eyebrows at that one. After all, building your list is all well and good for the long term, but what about now? Don’t short term results matter?

Of course they do. So how can we can get more sales, both from existing customers and first-time buyers?

Here’s One Way: Segmentation!


  1. The more relevant an offer is, the more likely someone is to take you up on that offer.
  2. No two subscribers share identical needs, wants, interests and objections to purchasing.
  3. It’s highly unlikely that one offer, sent to all subscribers as if they were a homogeneous group, will convert at 100%.

(If you disagree with any of those, please let me know why.)

Now suppose that you could create two, three (or twenty, or two hundred) different offers that would appeal to different groups of your subscribers, depending on their needs, wants, interests and objections.

Do you think those messages, viewed as a whole, might convert better than a one-size-fits-all email marketing campaign?

Email segmentation makes it possible. Segmentation helps you get a more relevant offer to more of your subscribers.

So how can segmentation help us at Christmas?

Idea #1: Let Subscribers “Window Shop” Your Site – Then Send A Special Offer On What They Shopped For

A general discount or special on anything/everything you offer is one way to try to up sales. But it doesn’t make someone feel special. It feels impersonal (“you’re just discounting because you’re desperate!”).

But an email offering a discount or special on a specific product or type of product (or addressing specific concerns about that product) can tip the scales for someone who’s thinking about purchasing but isn’t quite sold.

So how do you make this work for you?

  1. Identify groups of products/services you offer, or groups of benefits of a given product. Create an email to address people interested in each product or benefit.
  2. Get subscribers to your site and let them shop around a bit.
  3. Segment your subscribers based on what they looked at (you can segment subscribers based on which pages of your website they visit using our Email Web Analytics tools).
  4. Deliver your targeted discount or offer to each group.

By creating unique emails for groups of subscribers based on what they visited, you can focus in on the products or benefits that are most likely to convert.

While this might seem novel, some email marketers have been using such behavioral targeting for some time now. (See what Google returns for it).

To make this work, get subscribers to your site and let them shop around for a while. Once they’ve told you what they want to hear more about, tell them more – and close the deal đŸ™‚

Idea #2: Send Follow-Up Offers to Subscribers Who Didn’t Respond To a Previous Offer

If you don’t feel you have time to gather data on where your subscribers are going on your website, or if you can’t easily identify different groups of people you would want to target, this may be more up your alley.

As discussed in a previous series on email segmentation, one easy yet effective way to segment is to send different messages to people who did or did not show interest in a previous email.

If you’re offering multiple incentives to get subscribers to buy this holiday season, don’t simply throw them all out there in one email.

Instead, try this:

  1. Identify each of the main incentives to purchase that you’re offering subscribers.
  2. Decide on an order to present those incentives in.

    You might lead with your most broadly appealing incentive, and order your remaining incentives in descending order of appeal. Or, you could try going the other way. Your call.

  3. Create a series of emails, each focusing on one of your incentives.
  4. Send out your first email.
  5. Send the 2nd email only to people who didn’t order from the first email (but did open or click through from the first email).
  6. Repeat step #5 for emails 3-x.

Note that this is a simplified approach that may risk overmailing subscribers.

That’s why I recommend you not simply resend to people who didn’t open the previous emails – they already expressed their disinterest.

If you are going to send to people who didn’t open or click, I would probably not continue to repeat as in step #6 above.

Your Segmenting Ideas?

Are you using segmentation to increase your sales this Christmas?

If so, how are you targeting segments of subscribers?

Share your ideas and experiences below!


  1. Dave Welton

    12/2/2008 10:24 am

    Excellent article, I have to say I totally agree with the majority of the comments. In my niche I identify the needs of my particular customers by voting polls, then build specific websites around the results and create subscriber lists

  2. joe felker

    12/12/2008 8:09 pm

    the tips in this artical will help me with christmas emails and
    help sell my christmas crafts.

  3. An Email Marketing Christmas Carol

    5/12/2011 1:57 pm

    […] readers’ll be sighing With happiness when they find just what they’re seeking. Then segment and you’ll find their interest is […]

  4. Racheal

    8/17/2011 10:04 am

    Good article with some excellent marketing tips. An additional tip for Christmas marketing is sending a Christmas corporate e card which is a great way of re-engaging your customers without being too pushy and sales-y but still include your company logo, message and weblink.