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How To Do Targeting On Your Email Marketing Campaigns?

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By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Drive 20-40% of your revenue with Avada
avada email marketing

Sending one message to all of your email subscribers consistently is a marketing act that has the potential to damage your brand image. Apart from that, this lack of care will deplete your subscribers’ email list as well as stop conversions. Usually, when it comes to online shopping, consumers have different tastes. Therefore, if you want to keep your email audience engaged and responsive, doing the one-email-fits-all approach is not going to work.

Some figures indicate that 53 percent of subscribers simply hit the unsubscribe button as a result of receiving a variety of meaningless offers from brands and businesses. That’s why smart targeted email marketing remains a sure-fire way to avoid the same fate and bring you a high return on investment. In this article, I will explain to you everything you need to know about targeted email marketing and how you can execute a successful campaign. Let’s jump right into the details!

What is a targeted email?

Targeted email marketing
Targeted email marketing

A targeted email is a personalized message that is sent to a specific segment of your email subscribers. Such emails are highly customized; they provide specific deals that bring real value to subscribers.

Targeted email marketing typically is accompanied by emailing list segmentation — an approach that categories your email subscribers into smaller groups by criteria such as gender, age, geography, preference, occupation and so on. With this segmentation in mind, you’re going to be able to target the right audience with the right content, stay a top-of-the-line brand in your customers’ minds, and increase your sales.

Gartner L2 studied the subject lines and content of nine major brands’ email promotions. According to their study, the open rates of targeted emails from the brands analyzed outperformed generic emails by 42 percent.

Read more:

Top Real Benefits of Targeted Email Marketing

Benefits of targeted email marketing
Benefits of targeted email marketing


It’s a waste of time and effort to send emails that don’t encourage your audience to engage with your content. You may expect your prospects to simply click the “Buy Now” button or simply complete a survey form when you send out a marketing email. However, what you’re expecting doesn’t matter when it comes to email marketing. What does matter is that whether your recipients receive meaning/value in the quality of your newsletters so that they want to respond. If there’s something in it for them, they will respond happily.

Without a question, targeted or personalized email marketing will get you a real response from your subscription list. Whenever your email subscribers find your messages interesting and important to their issues, they are likely to be more likely to connect with your content.

Targeted email marketing not only gives you a higher open-rate, but also brings you a higher click-through rate. When your subscriber opens and clicks your email, you have a greater chance of converting them into buying customers.


One of the reasons why corporations struggle to achieve the desired results with email marketing is nothing but irrelevance. Their messages are generic, and they are not customized. Using targeted email marketing to meet the particular section of your email subscribers means that you are in a stronger position to produce highly relevant content.

The truth is that your email audience wants to see content that simplifies quality and provides them with the help, knowledge and value they need. The redefinition of your email marketing strategy to deliver emails that resonate with your target audience has the potential to improve profitability.

Once you’ve provided your audience with the relevant content, they will want to stick to your brand. They’re more likely to remember your content and spread the word about it. Eventually, this enhances the importance and credibility of your brand.

Boost Revenue

Email marketing is one of the most powerful methods to boost the sales and acquire more leads. Carefully crafting your targeted email marketing campaign is a must-do to convert your email subscribers to customers. There are a variety of ways to produce higher revenue from your email marketing activities. These include targeting a specific group of email subscribers in terms of demographics, area of interest, and so on.


When you can build a partnership with your clients, you’ll be able to get them to come back for more. Retention means leveraging established relationships with the clients, strengthening them and keeping them interested on a regular basis.

Types of targeted emails

Types of targeted emails
Types of targeted emails

Gender targeted email marketing

This is when you categorize your subscribers by gender. Say, if you’re selling clothing, you should market men and women differently. For example, Nike sends an email campaign with a range of sports bras that will appeal to the female segment of the company.

Geo targeted email marketing

Segmenting emailing lists by location is nothing new. Businesses are doing it all the time. But what really matters is to do it right. There are a number of mom and pop stores that have an online shop. And like any normal company, they’ve got promotions and special deals from time to time. Targeted location-based email marketing will help you send out promotional emails to get more customers to visit the shop.

The three key advantages of focusing your email marketing campaign based on the position of your subscribers are:

  • If you’ve got a brick and mortar shop, you can boost your in-store traffic.
  • Consistently connect with customers and establish better relationships
  • Increase the transaction volume along with the “average order value”

If you want to reap the most out of your business and get more customers to visit your physical store, geo-targeted email marketing is the way to go.

Preference-targeted email marketing

This is when you find out about your consumers’ hobbies and interests and target them by relevant emails. It is normal for businesses to deal with different products to be appealing to various kinds of people. So segmenting your email list based on real interests is a great way to improve your response. In email marketing, how you understand your audience’s desires is what sets you apart from your competition. Typically, how your prospects and consumers communicate with your brand shows what kind of product or service they are more likely to be interested in.

Behavior targeted email marketing

This is when you interact with your subscribers on the basis of their interaction with your promotion campaigns and your website, which means finding out what content they are engaging with or which pages of your website they are visiting and come up with strategic responses:

  • Subscribers who viewed specific content on your website. Find out what exactly caught subscribers’ attention — your blog or specific product pages —, then come up with relevant follow-ups and send them to the subscribers.
  • Subscribers who showed low levels of interest in your emails. If your subscriber doesn’t open your emails, turn to a re-entry campaign to get their attention back. Offer an enticing discount, free delivery, or ask users to monitor their preferences so that they can receive important messages in the future.
  • Subscribers who have made a purchase. Send them a transaction email, provide order and delivery information, provide cross-selling opportunities, add feedback or tutorials about how to use your products.

Sales cycle targeted email marketing

Not all customers take the same buying journey, and you need to tailor your emails to that reality. However, with the best attempt to give you a general idea, here is a typical customer lifecycle and email ideas that can be aimed at email subscribers in each stage:

  • New subscribers. Hitting your new subscribers with offers right off the bat might scare them as they don’t remember who you are. So it’s better to send a welcome email to tell your brand’s story and beliefs, share your best posts or tutorials so that this group of subscribers know who they’re dealing with.
  • Prospects. This stage is the right time to offer discount deals or a free-shipping offer and to encourage the subscriber to make the first purchase.
  • First-time purchasers. So you closed the deal and got a new buyer. Send a thank-you email, provide useful tutorials, and guide users through your services or products.
  • Cart abandoners. You don’t always know why prospects haven’t finished their order, you can still get that piece of business with an abandoned cart email. Show beautiful photography of the abandoned items, provide special offers, and customize your email to draw subscribers’ attention to your email and encourage them to finish their order.

See more: 12 Best Abandoned Cart Email Practices That You Can Apply!

  • Loyal customers. At this point, customers know your services well enough to recommend your brand to their friends. This section of the database is a sweet spot to introduce your loyalty programs, provide users with early releases of items and free samples for testing and analysis.

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How to send targeted emails

How to send targeted emails
How to send targeted emails

The strategy to ensure that your targeted email marketing campaign is a win-win for both you and your subscribers is simple: show that you really care about your subscribers and provide them relevant value. Of course, implementing this approach needs the right mix of expertise and tools, so let’s dive into the tips you can use to optimize your email campaigns.

Segment your email lists

There are tons of email marketing articles focusing on building your email list (see more: How to build your email list faster), and this is an important step in the email list management process. However, once you compile an email list, it’s important to segment it properly. Segmentation of the email list means categorizing the subscribers into the appropriate categories.

How you segment your email lists will be dependant on your business, but here are some ideas:

  • Purchase history
  • Interests
  • Geographic region
  • Stage in the sales funnel

In addition, you can simply ask your subscribers what their preferences are when you sign up. By segmenting your list, you dramatically increase your chances of delivering appropriate content. As a result, you also improve your chances of delighting, rather than irritating, your recipients.

Start small and focus on a couple of key categories. There are a lot of ways you could segment your email list, but there’s no need to complicate things. Start with a couple of groups and grow from there.

Create targeted campaigns

What’s great about segmenting your email list is that it helps you view your email campaigns in a new way. Rather than just getting the message out to as many people as possible about your new deal, you should think about it from the viewpoint of your subscribers. What kind of information is most important to them? Which promotion programs suit which subset of subscribers?

You should go a step further than just targeting the information you send. Personalizing the message will also improve the performance. Adding the name of the recipient to the subject line of the email or the first sentence will increase the chances of the email being noticed. Most email marketing software will allow you to create email templates that support adding such variables such as {first name}, {location}. Use these variables to turn your email blasts into a personalized message.

Don’t use “do-not-reply” from addresses

Email subscribers tend to decide which email to read based on who it comes from. It’s unlikely many people are excited to get an email from a “do-not-reply” email. When someone signs up for your email list, they’re showing interest in something you’ve got to offer.

When you send emails from a “do-not-reply” address (e.g. [email protected] or [email protected]) you send a message that you are not interested in a two-way interaction. From the point of view of your email audience, this is exactly what makes them want to unsubscribe from your email.

Things get worse if you don’t react legitimately when someone answers. While you may suspect that people will not respond to “do-not-reply” addresses, this happens on a regular basis. Some people automatically respond when they want more details, others might expect email senders to be responsive. Having an email bounce when your email subscribers try to reach out to a company that provided them with information can be frustrating.

Furthermore, do-not-reply addresses will increase the probability that your email will be flagged as spam. This risk alone is a good reason to avoid using it. Use the actual “from” email address. Even if the inbox is run by a team as opposed to one person, it’s easier to make the email recipients feel like they interact with a real person.

Write attention-grabbing subject lines and preview text

Your email subscribers have hundreds of other emails in their inbox that compete for their attention. You have a very short time to catch their attention and get them to open your email.

The subject line and preview text (often taken from the first lines of an email) are two of the most important factors that attract a subscriber to read. As a result, learning the practices of how to start an email and create a persuasive subject line helps you quickly catch your audience’s attention and engage them. (See more: 101 killing email headlines)

Here are some great practices for writing an eye-catching email title:

  • Be concise. The goal is your subject lines should be short and concise. They should be able to draw the reader’s attention in as few words as possible.
  • Make your subject line a call-to-action. “Save 20% this Tuesday” is more direct and engaging than “Product sales this week.” Let your reader know exactly what they can get after clicking on your email.
  • Be honest. Nobody likes clickbait, so while you need to give the reader a reason to open your email, don’t be misleading.
  • Avoid ALL CAPS. ALL CAPS can be a powerful tool to deliver your main point when used tactically. However, when they are used all the time and for every word, it just comes off like a spam message that yells at the reader.
  • Keep mobile devices in mind. Depending on your target audience, up to 77% of emails will be opened on your mobile devices, especially on mobile phones, according to emailmonday.com. Long subjects will be partly hidden on a mobile phone, so keep your subject lines under 50 characters.
Targeted email marketing
Targeted email marketing

Avoid “spammy” tactics

Spam or junk email is certainly not how you want your emails to be seen as. If the receiver feels like you’re sending them garbage, it can hurt your brand image and reliability. In another situation, if your email is flagged as spam before it reaches the destination, your subscriber will never open your email.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) CAN-SPAM Act sets out guidelines for commercial emails, and any separate email in violation can result in a penalty of up to $42,530. So, there are loads of compelling business and ethical reasons to avoid email tactics that are considered spammy.

Here’s a quick guide on how you can avoid being seen as a spammer:

  • Provide an unsubscription link. Both the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the US FTC have rules for allowing subscribers to unsubscribe. Make it easy for your email subscribers to opt out if they want to. In addition, be sure to process opt-outs quickly. The FTC requires companies to process opt-out requests within 30 days.
  • Don’t use email blast attachments. Email attachments are a common way used by hackers to spread malware. Internet service providers (ISPs) and email protection systems are also more likely to block emails that contain attachments.
  • Get rid of the “bounced” email address from your list. If you get an email bounce from any address, it is not valid anymore. Sending a large number of emails to invalid addresses will make ISPs see you as a spammer. Therefore, you should clean up your email lists regularly.
  • Don’t try to deceive. Make sure your subscribers can tell you exactly who they’re receiving email from and what the email is all about.
  • Warm up before sending an email blast. If you have never sent bulk emails from your IP address before, sending large numbers of emails at once can be viewed as malicious or abnormal. The algorithm that identifies spam uses reputation as a metric, and new IP addresses often do not have much, if any, reputation to begin with. The way around this is to “warm up” the IP by sending an increasing number of emails over time.

Check your domain or IP for blacklist emails. Sites like the MXtoolbox lets you check what blacklists you may be on. Additionally, tools like “Reputation Search” from Talos Intelligence allow you to check the reputation of your domain. You can correct it if you notice a problem.

Measure, learn, repeat

In order to become a successful email marketer, you can assess the success of your campaigns and iterate on the basis of what you learn along the way. Of course, the first step in the process is to set targets for your campaigns. From there, you can set the main performance indicators (KPIs) that you should monitor to decide how well the campaign performed. There’s no need to get overboard with the KPIs. Usually, five or so should be perfect.

Here are some of the most relevant KPIs you can use for email marketing:

  • Open Rate. This is exactly what the name means, a metric that indicates how many recipients have opened the email you sent.
  • Click-through rate (CTR). It is simply the percentage of subscribers who click on the link compared to the total number of subscribers who received the email.
  • ROI. With probably any project, measuring your investment return (ROI) is a smart move. This also holds true for email marketing.
  • Conversion rate. This measures the percentage of recipients who have taken specific action, such as signing up for a webinar or purchasing a product.
  • Bounce rate. This specifies the percentage of emails that “bounced.” As mentioned above, bounces indicate invalid email addresses and should be removed from your email list as soon as possible.

When you understand what works, you can do more and do less than you can. In addition, you can test the effectiveness of new approaches. A/B testing is an effective way to figure out what strategy works best. If you have two ideas for a campaign, try all of them and test the results.

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Final Words

Targeted email marketing is not only for big businesses with savvy email marketers, it’s practical for businesses of all sizes. Most importantly, when you provide relevant content, everybody wins. I hope this article has given you valuable information and tips into how to send targeted email marketing. Please feel free to leave comments below for further discussion on this topic.

Rocket conversions by sending right messages to targeted audiences!

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.