How to Segment Your Email List to Increase Open and Click Rates

Email lists have never been more popular. Bringing in new visitors through search engines and link-building strategies is great, but your site and any revenue you hope to make from it will suffer if you don’t get those visitors to come back. Email lists are a great way to do that, and there are plenty of ways for you to increase your email subscribers on WordPress, but how do you make sure those subscribers you bring in stick around? Email segmentation.

Email segmentation involves dividing your email list, and your blog’s audience in general, into different groups so you can optimize the types of content you send out to each group based on each group’s interest. Email segmentation is proven to have a positive effect on open rates, click rates, abuse rates and unsubscribe requests:


The typical approach to email marketing is to attract new subscribers to email forms using opt-in incentives. But what do those subscribers typically do shortly after receiving their incentives? Unsubscribe.

This is because site owners treat their subscribers as entire groups of people who all have the same interest when in reality their sites attract different groups of people with different interests. A graphic designer, let’s call him Phil, may start a site teaching professional graphic designers how to manage their businesses and improve their craft, but what happens when Phil starts getting requests to do more basic tutorials? Should he just ignore these requests and ignore the potential traffic and revenue they might earn him?

We’re going to use Phil’s fictitious graphic design tutorial site to learn how we can segment our email lists to streamline different types of content toward the different types of people we attract to our sites.

Identifying the Different Segments of Your Audience

There are many ways to hone in on the basic interests your audience has. Let’s say Phil targets most of his content toward professional graphic designers but has noticed his tutorials that feature basic tips have tons of views according to his analytics. Looking at your site’s analytics is a simple way to learn the different interests and issues your audience has.

Running a survey on your site is another great way to identify the different types of people you attract to your site, and it can even help you determine which types of content you should be focusing on. WP-Polls is a great plugin to use to create a poll on a WordPress site. Going back to our graphic designer example, Phil can a run a poll on his site asking his audience what skill levels they have in graphic design.

Poll from WP-Polls

Geography might be another useful way to segment your audience if you are targeting different regions and need to streamline specific types toward users of those different regions.

Use these different identifying methods to segment your audience into 2 to 5 different groups.

Segmenting Your Audience Through Email Courses

Many email marketing services are optimized for WordPress, but not all email marketing services are optimized for email segmentation.

ConvertKit is a newer email marketing service, but it has among the simplest email segmentation features out there. It works alongside WordPress, allowing you to place email forms and landing pages designed by ConvertKit directly on your WordPress site.


A couple of popular email marketing services that contain segmentation and autoresponder features are Aweber and Infusionsoft.

Phil ran a survey on his site and found his subscribers can be placed into three different groups: beginner graphic designers, experienced graphic designers who don’t have businesses and professional graphic designers with businesses.

Using ConvertKit’s email course feature, Phil can send out an email to a new subscriber that contains three different links, each of which represent the different groups he has created for his subscribers. These links were created through the automation trigger features that are built right into ConvertKit.

In the email, Phil asks the subscriber to select the option that best represents his experience with graphic design so Phil can learn the best way to serve this individual subscriber.

Initial Subscriber Email

When the new subscriber clicks one of the links, let’s say the one that says “I am a beginner graphic designer,” he’s led to a page Phil has set up in WordPress that says “Thanks for letting me know how I can serve you.” That subscriber is now subscribed to Phil’s email course for beginner graphic designers. This is because Phil has set up an automation trigger in ConvertKit that subscribes a person to a particular course when he clicks a particular link.

ConvertKit Automation Trigger

So now instead of sending out broadcast emails to every subscriber, he sends out specific tips and offers to specific types of subscribers. Subscribers need reasons to stay subscribed, and sending out nothing but broadcast emails filled with updates and marketing tactics isn’t a great way to do that. Sending out exclusive tips designed for different types of subscribers is a great way to show them you’re prepared to help them with their individual needs.

Segment Your Email List with Email Courses

Email courses, or a series of autoresponder emails, are what you’ll use to send out different types of emails to the segments you create in your email list. What you put in your email courses is entirely up to you, but you’re advised to share exclusive tips and information subscribers can’t find on your site to give them even better reasons to stay subscribed to your list.

ConvertKit Course

Make sure your email content makes sense for each individual course. In other words, Phil shouldn’t share tips on how graphic designers can charge more for their services in his beginner email course. Those kinds of tips aren’t relevant to beginners, and sharing them could overwhelm them to the point where they unsubscribe.


Be a little more humble with your email marketing efforts. People have tons of email lists they can subscribe to. Why should they subscribe to yours if all you send out are the same types of broadcasts every other email list sends out?

Think of 2 to 5 different ways you can segment your list and design a series of email courses/autoresponder emails to send out to those different segments. This is one of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowd and ensure your audience stays engaged with you and your content.

Lyn Wildwood

Lyn Wildwood

Lyn Wildwood is a freelance blogger and avid WordPress user. She loves sharing new tips and tricks with the WordPress community.

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