Lost in the 9 Circles

Campaign Collaborator

I'm the executive director of an educational nonprofit. We send out our constant contact everyone two weeks with featured products and upcoming events that people can register for. Our open and click rates are fairly good - but when I'm thinking of segmentation I'm lost and overwhelmed. I have 52 other hats to wear and our enrollment data doesn't show if someone is from lending, a retail branch, back office, etc. We have names (thousands) and email addresses - that's it. I can't see me going through the entire list and researching over 2000 names to put them in a segment. Any direction I should take?


One thing that happens is that people say they get too many emails from us. Not sure how that happens when they get 2 a month. Research is showing that other organizations like ours are emailing like 10 times a day. How do you manage your brand reputation and still communicate?


I recently worked with Constant Contact and got a brand new design on our email newsletters that will launch in September. Looking forward to seeing how the new look and feel will work. 


Anyway - any thoughts on segmentation when marketing is only one of your jobs at a small nonprofit and how to protect your brand when others are emailing newsletters multiple times a day and people think it is you.


Hi, @CFTEA!  So you've got a giant list of just names and email addresses. You're not alone! Let me see if I can act as Virgil and guide you through at least a couple of those circles...


I think when you see stats like "10x a day," they immediately make you feel like you're doing something wrong. If you were to send 10 emails to one person in a day, they'd most likely mark you as spam and block you! Organizations that do that may be sending lots of emails, but they've probably targeted each email to a different audiences (using segmentation), so the same contacts are not receiving all 10 emails. 

Segmentation can also help with the contacts that think you're sending too often. They may not be seeing value in the content you're sending. This could be too much info packed into one email where the important parts (to them) get lost. Segmentation helps you group contacts by their interest, letting you shorten your emails. You end up sending more emails overall, but they're shorter and targeted for a specific audience. For the nuts and bolts of how segmentation works, check out this article.

Ok, that being said, how do you do it? There are an infinite number of ways to segment, so hopefully this will help you get started and make some changes to better segment your contacts moving forward. Let's start with your current contacts...

If you're only working with names and email addresses, you can segment them by their opens and clicks behavior, or by their engagement level. Your contacts provide all this info themselves just by opening and interacting with your emails, and you just have to "ask" for these contacts by creating a segment.  This article can get you started.


Next, start using click segmentation in your existing email format. It lets you add contacts to a list based on the links they click in your email. It's an easy way to gauge interest. (This article explains it all.) Then you can create a segment and send only to the contacts on that specific list.


Another quick thing you can do is to make sure the "Update Profile" link in your email footer is enabled and customized - if your contacts click on it (and you can absolutely get creative and draw attention to it in the body of your email), they can tell you which lists they want to be a part of and enter in missing contact details. This article can show you how.

And finally, there is also a way to "bulk update" contacts using a spreadsheet - there is a little data entry involved but it can be done over time. It works like this: You export all of your contacts into a spreadsheet. You create new columns based on the contact information that you have and start filling it in. When you're ready, you import the spreadsheet back into your account as if you're adding new contacts. It will update existing contacts with additional contact details and custom fields as long as the email addresses match. Then you can start segmenting by those things. For instance, you can create custom fields for the branch and send a message only to a specific branch.


Now let's tackle new contacts. A great place to start segmenting is with your sign-up form. All of our sign-up forms let you choose which contact details you want to collect so that going forward you're building segmentable info into your contact records from the start. If I haven't bogged you down, read this article for more details.


It's a lot of information, but take it one step at a time. Good luck with the new branding! Let us know how it goes!

Campaign Collaborator

Wow! This is a lot of great information, Elizabeth! Thank you. This gives me not only a starting point, but a better plan. I like how we can have people put themselves into segments or interests as a great way to better communicate. Right now our content is high level and geared toward all/most students - but the segmentation will give a better balance of things. 


We did a segment a bit ago with Constant Contact helping for those that hadn't opened an email in a year. Sadly, we deal with a lot of our newsletters going to company SPAM or individual SPAM folders just because we have links to our website. In that case, no one sees them unless they go through their SPAM filter - not a thing to do for fun. :smileyface: The segment of reaching back out to those that had been missing was very helpful, but I can see we can do so much more. Thank again for your time and the great details that I can continue to research! 


Glad you found it helpful, @CFTEA!  It's a complicated topic, but when you break it down into digestible bites, it's pretty easy to get going!

P.S. I'm not sure what email client they're using, but if you're having trouble with SPAM filters, you can share this with your contacts to help them safelist your domain.

Campaign Collaborator

Thanks, Elizabeth. I'll give it a try. Our clients are banks and credit unions and I'll just say that the I.T. departments don't play well and there are lots of hoops to get things approved. However, I appreciate the information and will pass it along. Fingers crossed!


Thanks for sharing all this wonderful information and resources @Elizabeth_K

Exciting news! Announcing our latest offering, Campaign Builder. Create stunning email campaigns effortlessly and efficiently with our intuitive tool!

0 Votes

Anytime, @Chris-S! :smileyface:


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