What You Really Need to Know About Segmenting Emails

I’m just going to be real off the jump here, I don’t recommend segmenting emails for 90% of my audience. Gasp. Yes, I know. There are a ton of email marketing gurus out there that preach email segmentation. And you know, segmentation does work. It is a great way to increase sales.

But if you ain’t go no dang sales in the first place…or worse! Email feels super hard and so you spend the majority of your time avoiding it, then maybe we don’t need to worry about email segmentation just yet. 

Ya feel me? 

We need to focus on creating an email marketing habit first. We need to focus on creating relationships with our subscribers. If you’ve read any of my previous posts on best practices and nurturing email lists, you’ll see that I strongly believe in building relationships with your subscribers. 

If you’re reading this right now and you suffer any of these symptoms of email marketing…

  • Flopped launch
  • 1-6 months of no emails sent
  • No replies even though you ask all the time
  • Low open rate 
  • An even worse click rate

…chances are you don’t need to focus on email segmentation just yet. Right now, there are more immediate fires to put out. And that’s okay! Segmenting can (and should!) come later. But most likely, much later.

Let’s get you comfortable with hitting send on those email newsletters, first.

What is email segmentation?

Lemme back up. What is segmenting and why do I sound so upset right now? 😡😆

Email segmentation is breaking down your email list into smaller groups based on certain criteria like geographic location, interests, or purchase history. Indeed! Segmenting your list helps get more* targeted messages out to customers and potential buyers that have something in common. Yes, this is a good thing that will increase your engagement and sales. I’m not saying it won’t.

Segmenting emails is a great strategy to improve your conversions. It’s amazing for people who have spent years building their audience and know their different customer avatars. It’s even better for ecommerce and commerce retailers.

Here’s an example of segmentation in the real world:

I own a shoe store – if it snows outside, I don’t want to send an email about flip flops to people living in snow prone areas. Instead, I’d want to target those folks with content around boots and other snowshoe schtuff. 

By segmenting my email list for the store, I can make sure the right message reaches the right person at the right time. It also means no wasted energy sending emails to people who may not even be interested in what I’m selling. 

Remember with email, we’re not trying to just reach tons of people – we want to reach the RIGHT people. Periodt.

Makes total sense, right? 

*But note the word more in the sentence above. “Segmenting allows for more targeted messages.” If you’re not sending regular messages (emails!) in the first place, what good does segmenting do? 

So why am I not recommending you segment your list?

Why micro businesses do NOT need to segment emails

Email marketing is hard enough

Listen, email marketing is complicated. Well, at least, it FEELS complicated. And the reality is many of us don’t have marketing departments. Sure, we might outsource some stuff. But we tend to be the

  • marketing

  • research and development

  • customer service

  • content creation 

departments all rolled in one. Amirite?

With email, let’s just keep the process simple so you can get moving. 

  1. Create an opt-in.

  2. Build the welcome sequence.

  3. Nurture your community with consistent newsletters

  4. Start building real connections with your subscribers.

Once you’ve mastered steps three and four? That’s when you can start to know who is actually on your list and how you can serve them.

That’s when you can start the next step in email marketing, segmentation. 

Segmentation is a 2.0 strategy. And I’m excited for you to get there! Yes! There will come a time when your list is well nurtured and you truly see the need to segment. You’ve built you business to a point where you’ve got different offers that make sense only for specific people. Yep! That’s the time where segmentation becomes essential for list management and maximum conversions.

But please! I beg of you! Just get emailing and don’t let email segmentation be just another roadblock that stops you from sending out consistent newsletters. Consider this your permission slip to just start emailing. Now.


Email segmentation is a great strategy to take your conversions from where they are to where you want them to be. But you’ve got to have conversions in the first place. 

Only focus on segmenting your list after you’ve nailed list building, have a solid welcome sequence, and feel connected to your list because you email them on a regular basis. That’s when segmentation can really help your business and sales soar!

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