Home » Blog » Systems » 5 Myths about Email Segmentation

5 Myths about Email Segmentation

by Patty Ryan Lee

Photo of author

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, The Fiery Well will receive a small commission. There is no charge or increase in price for you.

First, what is Email Segmentation?

In short, it’s focus… or, as Mailerlite puts it:

“Email segmentation is a targeting technique where you divide your subscriber list into smaller audiences, based on a set of characteristics that you choose. Segmentation allows you to personalize your messaging to specific people which results in higher engagement, because the topics are more relevant.”


5 Common “Myths” or Misconceptions

In preparing for the membership’s Email Segmentation workshop, I asked on Instagram what questions folks have. Combining those answers with all my research and my even own hang-ups around segments (yes, I took forever to make it to the segment party…) I discovered (give or take) five commonly rooted misconceptions:

Myth #1 – Everyone on my list wants to hear everything I want to say

If this were accurate, email open rates would be 100% and unsubscribe rates would be 0. Don’t ya think?

Now, if these are your numbers, then congratulations, you are a magical email unicorn. Please reach out and let me know how you did that.

But the truth is not everyone wants to hear about everything you want to say. Smart brands recognize this and extend those courteous opt-outs for seasonal sales and product launches, achieving higher open rates and brand loyalty.

Just look at this tweet (I’m not familiar with the brand, but saw this on Twitter):

Myth #2 – Email segments don’t help 

What did we just say in Myth #1?

More importantly “Doesn’t help” what

If you’re saying “it doesn’t help” then you already have in your mind something. Which means you have an idea, data, or just a feeling, predetermined around something that you’re holding onto. 

What is that? Can you answer the question? If not, examine if it’s an excuse to not do it.

You can’t help something that doesn’t want to be helped.

Myth #3 – Segmenting an email list is hard

Hard requires context and thus “hard” is filled with nuance. 

That said, segmenting your email list is not difficult in theory: you’re simply grouping your audience with specificity. What can make it difficult is the email marketing service that you’re using. 

If you’re service-based and/or sell digital products, ConvertKit makes it not only easy to create segments but move your audience around within them. Automations + segmentation = a whole lot of fun.

Myth #4 – I’m just starting out and don’t have enough data to segment on

You’re already doing it. You just may not be aware of it.

Most email marketing services have segmentation built right in and group your subscribers by their location, their email address (Gmail? Yahoo?), active subscribers, cold subscribers, complained, bounced, confirmed, etc., etc.

Now you need to add to these segments: what do you want to send, what do folks engage with most, what engagements do you want to get more of:

  • Clicks? Send “clicky” emails to those that click. 
  • Replies? Send reply worthy emails to those that do reply.
  • Purchases? Send easy to buy from emails to those most likely to buy (purchased before, nearly purchased last time, enjoys coupons, loves a sale, etc.)

Myth #5 – My audience, or email list, is too tiny to segment.

If you have more than one subscriber, you can segment your list. 

Because again, grouping already takes place by the system you’re using.

Just add on:

  • they clicked on a link,
  • they opened the third email in a five email sequence,
  • they click on links instead of buttons,
  • they click on buttons instead of links,
  • they want emails only about tarot,
  • they want emails about website maintenance,
  • and on and on…

It’s entirely up to you.

Why is Email Segmentation so Important?

Focus. My favorite f-word. (Not really.) 

When you focus on what segments you have, want, or need, you begin to think about what kinds of emails you’re sending, which is almost just as important as the email you send in the first place.

Intent matters in email. What do I want a subscriber to do with this email? Open it? Click on a link? Open a video? Forward it to a friend?

When you can focus your message on a concentrated segment of your audience, you will have more focused engagement. Try it.

Not sure where to start? The next time you want to send an email to your entire list, try instead sending it only to the people who have opened your last, oh, five emails.

Try & Try Again

One less often discussed reason to segment your email list is to practice being a scientist in your own business. A concept that I learned from a coach inside Hello7.

Be the scientist of your own business.

C. René washington, hello7 coach

Being a scientist in your own business requires a few things: one, curiosity. Will this work? What happens if it will?

Two, data. Did it work? What about it worked? Did it not? What about it?

And, finally, a willingness to try the experiment over and over again, changing controllable & measurable variables as you go.

You’re going to lose subscribers.

Your open rates will waiver.

You’re going to gain subscribers.

Your click-through rates will change.

You’re not going to get it right, right off the bat. 


Make observations.

Try again.

And tell me, what’s the first segment you’re going to experiment with?

Tags: affiliate-link, , , mythbusting

Patty Ryan Lee is the site, systems, and spacious productivity witch behind The Fiery Well, the original tech and business support space just for service-based witches. Read more about her and The Fiery Well journey.
Photo of author

Get in The Circle

A weekly newsletter for solitary business witches that want to improve their sites, conquer their business systems, and embrace a more spacious style of productivity

Leave a Comment