A Hard Lesson In The Need For List Segmentation

November 20, 2010 · 14 comments

in Internet Marketing

List Segmentation Can Greatly Improve List Response Quality

In internet marketing we often talk about the necessity of having a list to generate a stronger relationship with your following and eventually income in the bank.

We however tend to talk about this list as a static object, not as something that we rightfully need to have segments within to get the best results from.

If you’re still not sure what all this hooplah is about a list and why you need one, you probably should start with a different post such as -> List Building Basics

So assuming you are familiar with list building

Lets discuss a HUGE mistake I made yesterday…

The thatMLMbeat blogging contest, which I’m currently competing in (and if you haven’t voted for me in I’d be much appreciative if you did at this link!) is coming to an end tonight.

Yesterday I sent out a “I Need Your Help!” email to majority of my list asking for that help – hoping to make a final strong push to win.

The email was received very well by those that I have a long term relationship with. The individuals that already KLT (know, like and trust) me responded as I hoped they would and I am so incredibly grateful.

But back to the mistake…

The mistake was that I mailed that to almost everyone (excluding a list that that would have been inappropriate for) … which includes my main list… which includes people that just signed up this week.

Boom! Pow! Wince! Ouch!

Until you have established a solid KLT with a new subscriber, requesting a favor of them is a BAD idea… and it cost me … nearly all of the last 7 days subscribers.

You see what I mean by bad idea?

I screwed up big time… and the kicker is that I KNEW better… I just got all excited and frankly forgot my manners.

List Segmentation Basics

Almost every single auto-responder out there… excluding some of the older script style ones… has the ability to filter your subscribers in a bunch of different ways.

One of the most common is to filter for those that did not open an important message… and mail them again mentioning that if they missed a certain message here is the contents. This avoids implying to those that DID open it that they did not. See why this is important?

Yesterday, I should have filtered my list by subscription date. I should not have mailed to those that had been with me for less than two weeks.

(Can you hear me over here kicking myself? )

Lets have a look at how to do this within Aweber….

(If you’re not with Aweber your missing the boat on the auto-responder with the most powerful tools, highest deliverability rate in the industry and in my opinion the easiest to use interface. I’m a proud affiliate and you should be sure to check out their $1 30 day trial, it rocks! )

(Click on the image to open a larger sized copy)

Within Aweber, go to the top menu and find “Subscribers”…. then in the drop-down, select “Search”.

Now you will see the view above. The four left-most fields are “conditions” that the subscribers we will view must meet. By default these are not set, so that you see all subscribers. You can set a lot of conditions, but they will depend on which autoresponder company you are using how they work precisely.

Find the condition for “Date Added” or “Date Joined”.

Set it for a date that is several weeks prior to the current date, to get a filter of those that have stayed subscribed for several weeks.  Hit the “Search” button.

In the “Save Segment” field, give this segment a name, such as “LongTermSubscribers11-20-10″.

Aweber has the ability to export this segment as a CSV file but you don’t really need to for what we are doing.

Now go to the menu “Message” -> dropdown to find “Broadcast” -> “Create New Broadcast” Button.

On this screen, set up your broadcast as usual with one different step…

Near the bottom, under “Send to Segment”, open the dropdown and select the segment name you created earlier, in my case “LongTermSubscribers11-20-10″

Now… send the message like usual.. but know that it will only go to those that met the qualifications you set prior.

Using list segmentation – both through having more than one list (but not too many!) – and through extensive use of filters like this – will give you a LOT more control over providing value while safely being able to ask for things from those that have proven they know you well enough to stay around.

This little 5 minute process would have saved me a LOT of subscribers yesterday…

Even when we know these tools exist it can be easy to lose our heads in the heat of the moment and damage some fledgling relationships that we need to be striving to protect.

I am very very grateful to all of my subscribers that have entrusted me with the privilege of being able to share social media and internet marketing newsletter, news, events, tips, free stuff  and updates.

Thank you for being such a wonderful, forgiving subscriber and for understanding that sometimes excitement gets the best of all of us! (And if you’re not subscribed already there’s an optin box below this post if you’d like to join us!)

Are you paying attention to who you mail with what within your list? Do you have any tips for others on how to properly segment a list or when it might be appropriate to? Do you have a post on how to set up segmentation on the other autoresponders? Is this perhaps a new concept to you and leaving you with questions? Drop them in the comment box below! I cant wait to compare notes, share thoughts and learn right along with you!

Thanks in advance for all of your comments, shares, tweets, mentions, facebook shares and general shout-outs. I really appreciate it!

Here’s to your success!
Kimberly

PS: A huge thank you to all who voted yesterday – the doors are still open for more votes today. If you have already voted, more facebook shares and retweets are still points that help me a lot in this contest. My entry is here. The voting ends tonight 11/20/10 at midnight EST…. and the announcement will be made the evening of 11/24/10 to determine who will be your top 50 MLM blogs of 2010. Be sure to vote for ALL of your favorites!

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14 comments
Lesly Federici
Lesly Federici

Hi Kim,

I did this once too and it wasn't fun. I now have different lists for different interests as well. Great article and I appreciate you writing about this... Happy Thanksgiving!

Kerry
Kerry

Kimberly - I haven't got involved with list building as of yet but it's something I am becoming more interested in.

Sorry you made that goof up with your new mailing list, but I am also grateful you shared this experience with us. I have fooled around with Aweber before but nothing too serious.

When I am ready to start building and using my mailing list I will definitely come back to this post and your list building basics. Glad to hear you realized what you did wrong and even more happy you shared with us the right way to do it.

Peter Fuller MBA
Peter Fuller MBA

Hello Kim

Isn't it amazing what we forget when we get excited :)

Great advice.

We have different lists with different people in them with different needs.

Since we KLT each other I voted for you because of all the value you bring to the table.

Peter

Sophia
Sophia

I've never heard "KLT" before -- but it is a perfect summation for a thing I've tried to put into words for awhile now. Mostly I just stuck with "trust," but that always felt incomplete. Thanks!

Carolee a.ka. Blogging Biz Mom
Carolee a.ka. Blogging Biz Mom

I have had the same thought regarding lists.....some information you have may only be applicable to certain people on your list.

Thanks for sharing your mistake.....I think it helps newbies out to see that we all make mistakes but learn from them.

It's part of the learning curve!

Soren Egstrup
Soren Egstrup

Dear Kim,

You know it Kim - we Only learn by our mistake -. So be grateful and thank for this mistake, now you will never do it again. I know what excitement can do to us.

Good luck,

Soren

Rudy Labordus
Rudy Labordus

I've only just found your web site and it looks really good. Well done on all your informative articles. On this one about aweber though I have a couple of points (and a question) for you.

You use "autoresponse plus" yourself and not aweber? Why don't you use aweber?

I used aweber for a launch of a not for profit video that attracted over 30,000 views on a new blog within the first 2 weeks. It was a blog I set up purerly for the video and I included an opt-in (aweber) button on the side.

However during those 2 weeks aweber crashed twice for 4 - 5 hours at a time and any and all opt-ins during that time were lost. It was so frustrating knowing we were losing hundreds of optins during that critical window. People just couldn't sign up and getting error pages making our site look dodgy.

This is one of the biggest downsides to having your database and optin system off-site and out of your control. Not to mention that now the promotion is over I'm still paying $20 per month to keep my database 'on hold' until I decide what to do with them next. Seems like a waste of money - especially for a not for profit concept like the one I had.

But yes I do see the advantages. Much like Kajabi is only for certain people. Each of these things have their pros and cons and it depends on how big you are and how much money you generate from the activity.

But I'm still kind of curious why you don't use aweber!

Rudy...

Val Wilcox
Val Wilcox

Ahhh Kimberly,

Sometimes lessons are learned through trial and error. Stop kicking yourself, you're only human ya know! Everything happens for a reason and we might not know that until a later date.

But, you just did an awesome service to all of us by sharing your oops so that we will become more aware of what we're doing when we email our lists. What's a few subscribers...there are more than enough out there for everyone!

Thanks for the heads-up,

Val :)

Alex
Alex

What would be cool is being able to create groups of subscribers. Something like the KLT, newcommers, mysalessitesubscribers , friends etc . That would not only make it easier to send specific emails but you could also create groups for interest (like make money online, beauty products) this way you can send emails promotional emails only with products they need/search.

Goodluck with your MLM contest!

Sheila Atwood
Sheila Atwood

Kim

This was very helpful. I will be using this trick in the future.

I also love aWeber, They have impeccable service.When ever I call them I get all the help I need and they don't make me feel like a dummy for asking. I also love their training videos.

Thanks

Dana
Dana

It is really a big mistake but also a big learn. :)

Despite that, it seems Aweber is really powerful tool -- I think the price is not lie.

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

Rudy, I actually actively use both, but it depends on which list.

I would dearly love for my main list to be on Aweber but it is not and without forcing every individual to re-confirm it will never be able to be.

I love owning the software, I love owning my list, I hate renting... that said... ARP3 is a lot like Windows 98 compared to Awebers Windows 7 ease of use.

I got started with ARP3 which I did not really have a choice as I had to move a list somewhere, on short notice, and that meant I needed import.

If I can not have Awebers deliverability, I frankly refuse to rent. Aweber is certainly worth renting, not much else is. That said it takes serious work to get even half-assed deliverability when you're self-hosting a mailing tool because they've been abused for way to long by spammers.

I could infact start building another version of my main list on Aweber but then I would have my list in incomplete duplicate and someone would get double mailed. At least with majority of my non- Joint Venture lists in ARP3, I can keep duplicate mailing to a minimum ... which is hard when you're living between two ARs.

Awebers strict no-import without re-confirmation policy will probably mean I remain stuck straddling between two for a very long time. ARP3 is due to upgrade to ARP4 and if that brings it to feeling less cumbersome I will probably just resign myself to living with its technical imitations and applying my tech skills to make up its short comings and stay. There is a LOT to be said for the power of owning my software. (I've actually paid for a 20 domain, upgraded, lifetime license, so I have more than the usual invested in ARP3, as I do not see myself leaving completely).

Does that answer the question?

Kimberly

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

Alex, with a good autoresponder (AR) service, that type of multi-list structure is very possible. The only one that is hard in that is "friends" unless you are on an autoresponder that will let you upload a list.

Otherwise, it is easy for me to tell which of my subscribers came from this blog as opposed to which came from purchasing my class as opposed to which opted in for one of my free ebooks. All of those are separate lists - and I can mail to all of them at once or only part of them. This is the power of having a good AR service.

The KLT is really more about people that are opening your emails regularly and have not unsubscribed - both of which are filters you can apply to any list. All very easy done. Its exactly this granularity that makes the list powerful and lets us "talk" to the right people, at the right time, with the right content.

Thank you so much for your well-wishes, the numbers look good today but I wont know the final count until the announcement on Wednesday! I'm definitely in the top three, but I really want to win it! :)

Kimberly

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

You're right that was a painful but important mistake. It irks me so bad because I knew better, I simply got excited and wasn't thinking. That kinda behavior can get us in trouble! Thanks for stopping in Dana!

Kimberly