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What is Email Targeting?

Email targeting refers to the strategy of developing personalized content for your brand’s email subscribers based on specific criteria. Rather than sending the same message to your entire mailing list, you can customize variables based on specific user attributes or actions, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.

Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel, boasting the highest ROI of any channel—it generates an average of $38 for every dollar spent. But when you prioritize the customer experience throughout your campaign with email targeting, the results really pay off. Lifecycle email open rates, which are triggered by specific user actions, saw open rates 67.9% higher than typical batch-and-blast emails.

Let’s look at how to build a targeted email marketing campaign to increase engagement, drive conversions and boost customer lifetime value (LTV).

Types of Email Targeting

There are many different variables you can use to segment your customer base. Some are based on things you already know about your users, and some are based on specific actions they take during the course of their customer journey. Here are some of the most common ways to target your email marketing campaigns:

Demographic Data

Demographic data may include age, sex, family size, job role, income level and numerous other considerations. The best way to get this data is to ask customers to self-report by filling out a survey via email or on your app. This type of data can be used to develop highly personalized content and product recommendations. For example, if you’re aware that a customer for your apparel brand has three children and you have data on their children’s ages, you can deliver timed campaigns promoting specific product offers in the next size up for each child at seasonal intervals.

Geographic Data

Geographic segmentation can be used similarly to other forms of demographic data, by personalizing your content offers based on the region. If you’re a retail brand, for instance, and it’s 85°F in Miami, your email might recommend swimsuit offers. If it’s 25°F in Tulsa at the same time, you might promote sweaters and jackets. You can set up marketing rules to show different content based on temperature ranges in certain regions.

Geographic targeting can also be used to promote your in-store locations. For example, you can showcase dynamic content that shows your subscribers the nearest location to them, provide a link to store directions or promote special offers only available in their local store.

Device Preference

Today’s customers move frequently across different devices in the course of considering a purchase. 40% of adults will begin an activity on one device and complete it on another. All emails you send should be mobile-optimized, but you can also include dynamic content sections that vary whether the user is accessing your message from a desktop, tablet or mobile device. For example, you could vary the number of images in a message by device to improve load times and overall readability.

Online Behavior

For users who opt in to cookie tracking, you can use their online behavior to customize the specific content and offers they receive in your email marketing. For instance, if a user has viewed a specific pair of shoes but left the site without making a purchase, you can send an abandoned browse email to them featuring that pair of shoes as well as related products. Or, if the user has left an item in their shopping cart without checking out, you can send an abandoned cart email several hours later.

Purchase activity

For users who have made purchases from your brand, you can use their purchase history to develop highly customized messages and promotions that they’re more likely to respond to positively. For example, if you know a user has purchased a pair of jeans recently, you can follow up with a “complete the look” message, recommending clothing options that would pair well with those jeans. Or, if a user purchased a face lotion, you can send follow up offers at intervals timed to when they’re likely to run out, such as every three months.

In addition to targeting based on individual items, you can target based on many different criteria for purchase history, including:

  • Purchase category
  • Total number of orders
  • Average number of items per order
  • Total number of products ordered
  • Purchase date
  • New vs. existing customer
  • Average amount spent per order
  • Amount spent on a single order
  • Total amount spent
  • Store ordered from

You can combine purchase activity with other forms of segmentation to develop truly personalized, compelling email marketing messages that are optimized to engage your users and meet them exactly where they are.

Email Targeting with Iterable

Email targeting is a powerful strategy for engaging your audience and driving conversions, but it is even more effective as part of a larger cross-channel marketing strategy that delivers content to users across all of the channels they use. This includes SMS, mobile push notifications, in-app, and web push notifications, to name a few.

By using a cross-channel marketing platform like Iterable, it’s easy to perform email targeting at scale to an audience of millions as part of your cross-channel marketing strategy. You can use Iterable’s advanced segmentation features and intuitive, drag-and-drop workflow tool to develop highly personalized campaigns that engage with your audience based on past behavior across multiple channels. For instance, if the user doesn’t open your email offer, but has proven to be engaged with your mobile messages, you can trigger a follow up SMS message that includes a special promotion.

By engaging all of your marketing channels in a holistic strategy through a solution like Iterable, you can improve your marketing team’s productivity and increase your brand’s revenue substantially. Forrester found that companies using Iterable saw a year-over-year recurring revenue increase of 18% after implementing Iterable’s cross-channel marketing solution.

Focus your marketing efforts on developing highly targeted communications across all of your channels in a sequenced approach, and you’ll grow your customer base and revenue quickly.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.