We are continually being bombarded with marketing messages. People send over 300 billion emails every day, so it’s no wonder it can feel overwhelming. 

If you want to stand out from the sea of other emails, you need to create emails for your customers that speak directly to their interests, problems, aspirations, wants, and needs. This is where targeted email marketing comes in handy.

Targeted email marketing helps you use emails to address the specific goals or pain points of segments of your audience to improve retention, drive conversions, and ultimately generate more revenue.

In this article, we’ll look at what targeted email marketing is, the benefits it can bring to your business, and how to build a successful targeted email marketing campaign in five simple steps.

What is targeted email marketing?

Targeted email marketing is a strategy that ensures you only send relevant email content to your subscribers—because personalization is critical to your subscribers’ experience. 91% of people choose brands that remember them and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

With relevant data, including demographic information and buying behavior, provided by your SMB email marketing tool, you can segment or group your subscribers by their characteristics. You can then send them targeted communications according to their segments rather than sending everything to everybody.

For example, say you own a small online store specializing in gifts for kids. If a customer buys a newborn baby blanket, you can store that purchasing information. Over time, you can target specific emails to that customer, offering recommendations of popular gifts for children.

6 types of targeted emails to boost conversions

It’s clear that personalizing your email marketing is essential for boosting conversion. But how should you segment your subscribers so you can make sure you’re sending them the most relevant content?

Let’s look at six types of targeted emails guaranteed to bring you more sales.

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1. Targeted emails based on behavior

These are emails that are triggered by people either taking or failing to take a specific action. A classic behavior targeted email is cart abandonment emails—the one a customer gets when they don’t complete an online purchase, leaving items in their shopping basket. 

These emails encourage potential customers to come back to complete the sale and are very effective. Nearly 20% of abandoned cart emails result in a sale.

But cart abandonment emails are only one example of behavior-targeted emails; you can trigger emails by other behaviors like email opens, link clicks, etc. For example, you can trigger emails for people opening an email like what we’ve illustrated here:

2. Targeted emails based on demography

A common way to target subscribers is using demographic data. You can target several attributes in this way, but the most common are gender and age. Clothing and accessory brands often use gender-specific emails to increase engagement. Companies associated with specific life stages, e.g. a children’s boutique or family photographer, often use emails targeting specific age groups.

Demography-based targeting is essential for building a personalized and trusted relationship with subscribers. But, it’s important to do your research and clearly segment customers based on confirmed profile data. If you miss the mark with this type of targeting, you can, at best, put people off of purchasing and, at worse, damage the relationship. 

To show an example of a demography-based targeted email, here’s how eyewear retailer Shwood appeals to their male subscribers:

3. The “inactive subscriber” targeted email

When people initially sign up for your email list, they might open all the relevant messages you send, click links and share your emails with their friends. But over time, that engagement level may drop off until you realize they haven’t engaged with the emails you’ve sent over the last few months.

Figure out why that’s happening. Perhaps something has changed that made your product or service no longer relevant to them, or maybe they’ve forgotten why your product was valuable to them. It can be anything, but a targeted email reminding them of the benefits or tempting them back with a promotion or discount could be just the thing to help re-engage them and secure a sale. Learn how to write a re-engagement email to get them to re-engage with you.

And, if they’re still not biting, it gives you a chance to clean your email list and target your marketing efforts toward engaged subscribers.

Here’s how hair extension retailer Hair For the Girls uses a time-restricted discount to tempt inactive subscribers in a re-engagement email:

4. Time-based targeted emails

Time-based targeted emails are triggered on certain dates or after a specific time period. Classic examples would include a birthday discount code, seasonal promotion or reminder to repurchase a consumable product. 

Your subscribers are likely busy people, and the prompt to repurchase dog treats every three months could be just what’s needed to clinch a sale. Targeted emails like holiday offers and birthday promotions tick several boxes. They’re personalized, which customers appreciate, and they often contain a discount or birthday gift that makes the recipient feel special, which may encourage a purchase. And they’re worth the effort—birthday emails generate 342% more revenue than other promotional emails.

This is an excellent example from the eCommerce platform Rent the Runway:

5. Targeted emails based on subscriber type

It’s important to create targeted email marketing campaigns based on subscriber type; for instance, whether your subscribers are new or existing customers. Say you’re sending out an email offering a promotion for a Memorial Day sale. You might offer new customers $10 off their first purchase of any amount. 

For existing customers, whom you know trust you enough to make larger purchases, you might offer $20 off purchases over $100. Understanding your subscribers and their level of relationship with you is vital if you’re going to get the most benefit from your campaigns.

For example, in their Memorial Day promotion, online fashion retailer ModCloth offered a tiered discount system. 15% off everything site-wide to appeal to new customers, rising to 30% off orders over $200.

6. Targeted emails based on custom parameters

There might be occasions when you want to send a promotional email based on custom parameters we haven’t touched on previously. For example, say you’re an international eCommerce business. You might develop products that are only available in certain countries, and so you launch an email campaign to subscribers based in those particular locations alone. 

The same might be true with seasonal products. For example, deciding when to run a beachwear discount promotion might be different for clients in Australia (whose winter runs from June to August) versus the UK (whose winter runs from December to February). For instance, here’s how the day spa Cheeks & Co., based in sunny California, targets its local Pasadena market with a location-relevant giveaway campaign:

5 benefits of targeted email marketing

The main benefit of targeted email marketing is that it improves the relevance of your content for your subscribers. Personalized content has a greater chance of engaging subscribers, improving customer retention and offering greater customer lifetime value.

Targeted email campaigns provide the following benefits to your overall email marketing:

  • Relevance: Targeted email marketing ensures that the content your subscribers receive is relevant to them, whether that’s a new product launch or educational guides. This is important as irrelevant content can irritate subscribers and result in them unsubscribing from future communications. 
  • Response: When you target your emails to specific subscribers, they’re more likely to encourage the recipient to respond to your call-to-action. Whether that’s filling in a survey, downloading a freebie or making a purchase, targeted communication is essential for driving action.
  • Relationship: Personalized emails are vital for building a trusted relationship with your subscribers and improving their experience. It shows you understand the needs of your subscribers and want to address their goals or pain points.
  • Revenue: Emails with greater relevance and personalization are much more likely to convert subscribers and generate a sale. Brands that create a personalized customer experience are likely to be rewarded with a revenue increase of 6–10% compared to those that don’t.
  • Retention: Subscribers value content with targeted messages that match what they want or need. And if your subscribers value what you’re offering them, you’re more likely to retain them over the long term. 

To learn more about optimizing your emails through personalization, read 3 Tips to Connect with Your Audience in Emails.

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How to create a targeted email marketing campaign

We’ve covered the what and why of targeted email campaigns, so let’s dive into the details of exactly how to put a campaign together.

Step 1: Gather your data

Without customer data, it’s near impossible to personalize your email marketing efforts. So it makes sense that the first step is always to identify the customer data you already have and any gaps you might need to fill.

You can gather customer data from several sources. Some data you will have asked customers for during sign-up or in previous communications, and some you can identify from their customer behavior or purchasing history.

The right email marketing platform can help you quickly and easily gather, analyze and organize customer data. In Flodesk, we’ve made it super simple to start segmenting your customers based on their preferences. With Preferences, you can add checkboxes to your sign-up forms to help you get clear on what customers want to hear about. Flodesk also saves you effort by allowing you to select subscribers in bulk rather than one by one.

Step 2: Build your personas

Once you’ve gathered your customer data, it’s time to build your personas. Personas are fictional characters based on your potential customers so you can understand them better. 

For example, say you’re a business coach. If one segment of your target audience is women returning to the workplace after having children, you need to build a persona that describes what you know about a typical person in this segment. That information might look something like this:

Name: Rebecca

Age: 28–38

Likes/dislikes/interests: Family-focused, children’s hobbies have taken center stage, busy/time-pressured

What Rebecca wants: A space to explore their next steps business-wise, practical tips on showcasing their transferable skills, confidence boost

Step 3: Create targeted content

After building your personas, you can create content that targets what you know about the needs and wants of this particular customer group. Make sure your email subject lines, key marketing messages and images all align to deliver an experience that matches the perceived expectations of these customers. 

For example, let’s say Rebecca is one of your subscribers and she’s a busy person. Your email subject line needs to be something that shows you understand that she’s time-pressured but also encourages her to take a moment to read your content. So, you might try something like, “Remember to put your own oxygen mask on first…”

To learn more about how to encourage people to open your emails, read How to Get People to Open Your Emails.

Step 4: Use a great email marketing platform

Email marketing is powerful. And you can boost its value by using a great email marketing platform that makes list segmentation simple, automates sends based on customer behavior and provides analytics that give you information about your campaign’s success. 

In Flodesk, it’s easy to segment subscribers from your wider list. You simply check the required email addresses and move them in bulk to your newly defined segment. You can then use automation to send timely, hyper-personalized communications to those subscribers.

For example, say you want to send a personalized welcome campaign to subscribers who signed up to your email list by downloading a freebie from your website. Simply create a segment for those subscribers, then set up an automated sequence of emails targeted and hyper-personalized to those subscribers. They get highly relevant email content that creates value based on their interest in your product; you get engaged subscribers and a chance to move them closer to a sale.

Step 5: Test and adjust

Perfectly targeted email marketing is only perfect if it’s actually driving conversion. Once you’ve got your campaign up and running, it’s essential to check your data and see if it’s actually moving the needle closer toward your goals. By measuring core email marketing metrics, such as click-through rates, you can see whether your targeted emails are making a difference. And, if they’re not, you can make adjustments and try something new.

Make your email marketing personal

We all like to feel special. So targeting your email marketing to match the needs of specific segments of your subscriber list can help you build better relationships and retain more customers.

This article explored what targeted email marketing is, the benefits it offers you and how to get started with a targeted email marketing campaign.

As the fastest-growing email marketing company, Flodesk makes your targeted email marketing beautiful and super easy to use. Combining design with simplicity, Flodesk helps small business owners grow their email lists and create emails people love to get. 

Our curated email template gallery and stunning form templates make it easy for members to quickly customize their emails and forms for different segments, elevating their brand for maximum engagement and conversion. 

Flodesk stands out from the crowd by encouraging its members’ success and list growth, offering unlimited email sends, unlimited subscribers and unlimited access to all features for a flat fee of $38/month. 

Try Flodesk free for 30 days.