How to Segment Your Email List (Get More Opens)

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Once your email list starts growing you’re going to want to know more about your subscribers and start targeting the right emails to them. The easiest way to do this is to segment your email list into smaller groups and add tags.

You can think of segments as a way to filter your list.

By filtering your contacts into segments you are able to make your emails more specific and build better relationships with your audience. As a result, you should begin to see higher open rates and potentially more sales!

A photograph of a line of mailboxes

This is the fourth post in my series on email marketing. If you haven’t set up your list yet, or aren’t ready to segment your email list, I recommend starting with these posts instead:


Filtering your contacts into segments has several benefits. However, most of us aren’t taking advantage of this feature.

Imagine having a diverse list of 10k contacts from various countries with specific reasons why they subscribed. Maybe you were offering a content upgrade that they found valuable or you cover events in their region. Your audience is going to consist of people interested in what you do, but also interests in specific parts of what you do.

This can be especially true if you run a lifestyle blog that covers different niches. For example, on Caffeine and Conquer I write about personal growth, blogging and book reviews. My audience is quite diverse in terms of what draws them to my website.

Segmenting my email list helps me manage this. If someone signed up to my email list because they wanted my free Pinterest e-book, I assume they are interested in Pinterest marketing and other online business topics. On the other hand, someone who signed up to receive tips on getting more reading done in 2019 might not be interested in receiving content about blogging tips as well. By segmenting these two groups I can target my emails to the appropriate people.

Targeting your emails means they will be opened more often, your email content will be more interesting to them, and you can continue to build that relationship.

You should also see a lower unsubscribe rate because people are getting the content they came for.


There are several ways to filter your list into segments that will better serve your audience. Below are just some ideas to get you started but there are many more creative ways you can think of depending on your needs.


A common way to segment your list is by creating filters according to geographic location. This can be useful if you are marketing to certain regions, cities, or countries. For example, if you have a giveaway available to residents of the USA, you would target your emails to people residing in the States rather than your entire list.


Another way to filter your list is by subscriber engagement. You can group contacts according to how often they engage with your emails. Mailchimp already segments your email list in this way, whether they engage often, sometimes or rarely. This information is useful if you want to send fewer emails to people who don’t engage as much and nurture relationships with those who love to read your emails.


Lastly, a more personalized way to segment your email list is by using Tags. Tags are like adding a little note with each contact that lets you filter them even further. An example might be tagging contacts who are stay-at-home moms with “SAHM”, or yoga lovers with “loves yoga”. If you are sending out a campaign that is really relevant to those groups you can then target them!

Tags have infinite potential. You can create any labels you want to refine and filter your list and target your audience better.


Segmenting and creating Tags might sound complicated but it’s really simple. I use Mailchimp to manage my email list, so I’m going to show you how you can filter your list on their platform.

Step 1: Finding the Segments Page

Once you login to Mailchimp, head to the Audience section by selecting the option at the top of the screen.

You can then choose which audience, or list, you want to manage. After choosing, on the right side of the screen select the drop-down menu Manage Audience > Manage Contacts.

On the page, you will see several links, including “Segments” and Tags”. Choose Segments.

A screenshot from Mailchimp's Contact Management page, includes links for Groups, Segments, Tags, Import History and Delete All Contacts.

Step 2: Creating Segments

To create a segment, select Create Segment on the right of your screen.

A box will appear on the new page which provides you with different options and variations to filter your list. For example, you can choose to create a segment for “Location” “Is In Country” “USA”, which will group contacts on your list who live in the USA.

When you finish creating segments simply select “Preview Segment” and “Save Segment” on the following page.

A screenshot of Mailchimp "Create a Segment" options

Step 3: Adding Tags

To add tags to individual contacts, repeat Step 1 but instead of choosing “Segments” choose “Tags”.

The process is very similar to creating a segment. On the Tags page select “Create Tag”. You will be asked to input the name of your tag and hit “Create”.

A screenshot of Mailchimp "Tags" page

Once you created a Tag you can add it to anyone on your list.

To add a tag to a contact select Audience > View Contacts. On the left side of your contacts list, checkmark contacts that you want to use the same tag on, then select “Add or Remove Tags” followed by the appropriate tag.

You should see the tags to the right of your contact’s first name.

Step 4: Email a Specific Segment

Sending a campaign to a segment of your email list is simple. When you’re about to send your campaign and Mailchimp asks you to fill out the “send to” information, make sure you choose to send it to a “segment or group” rather than your entire audience.

A screenshot of Mailchimp's send page with dropdown menu open for Segment or Tag

And that’s it!


Whether you’re a lifestyle blogger or run an e-commerce shop, segmenting your email list can help you build more meaningful and targeted relationships with your subscribers.

Even if you already have a large list, you can still use the segmenting and tag features on Mailchimp to start sending more relevant content to the right people moving forward.






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