January 31, 2022
Email Marketing for Dog Trainers: Email Segmentation 101
Send folks the content they want to read and they'll be more likely to open your emails.

dog paw on computer mouse; article on email segmentation for dog trainers

Email segmentation is a tool every dog trainer can use.

Why? Because when it comes to email marketing, it’s not enough to just get folks on your list. You’ve actually got to get them to read your emails. Email segmentation will help get you there.

So, what exactly is it? And how do you use it?

We’ll begin by defining it — but first, if you have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about — start here.

What is Email Segmentation?

You’ve got an email list. You’ve got newsletters drafted. Maybe you’ve even set up an automation or two. What’s next?

Target folks on your list with really specific emails. Emails that they can’t help but open — because they’re made just for them.

This might seem like an impossible task, especially if you’ve got a ton of folks on your list. But trust me, email marketing platforms make this easy!

Segmenting your list means dividing it up in ways where emails on certain topics go to folks interested in those topics. And you don’t even have to edit the details for each person on your list — there are easy ways to get folks to tag themselves in by indicating what they’re interested in.

Automating Your Segmentations

There are a couple of ways to automate segmenting your list:

  • Add it on your sign-up form. If you already know what topics you want to segment your list by, you can easily add options on your sign-up form that allow folks to pick what they’re interested in. Say you teach classes for puppies and adult dogs — you can create checkboxes for those on your form. Depending on your email marketing account, this might just send you the information so you can add it to your list yourself. Or your platform might allow folks to be “tagged” when they select certain options. In that case, there’s zero work you have to do after adding the options to the sign-up form — just sit back and let your list segment itself!
  • Send out an email that tags readers. If you’ve already got folks on your list and don’t know what they might be interested in, there’s an easy way to get them tagged. Send out an email that says something along the lines of:

“Hey there! I’d love to send you information on upcoming classes that’s tailored to your particular interests. Click on the links below to be informed as soon as new offerings are available:
– Click here for puppy classes
– Click here for senior dog classes”

Using email automations, you can make it so folks who click on the different links get tagged with what they’re interested in. Voila! Low-lift tagging magic.

Segmenting Your List

What are the best ways are to go about dividing folks on your list? There are two things you’ll want to keep in mind: best practices and segmentation options. Let’s start with best practices.

Best Practices for Email Segmentation

  • Figure out your goals — What are you trying to accomplish by dividing up your list? Social media engagement? Getting folks to read your blog? Selling spots in classes? Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish is the best way to figure out how to divvy up your readers.
  • Revisit your readers’ interests regularly — Your readers’ interests will change over time! For example, someone who’s interested in puppy classes now will eventually need classes for an adult dog. Make it a point to check in with your readers and clients regularly to update their tags.
  • Check your stats — Tracking how the segments are doing is arguably the most important part of segmenting your list. Otherwise, you might be spending all this time separating out your lists for nothing! Check your data regularly but leaving enough time in between checks to spot trends. A great way of doing this is to check in once a month, once a quarter (you can add your email open and click through rates on a spreadsheet to make it easier), and once a year.

Segmentation Options

There are lots of ways you can go about targeting folks on your list. Here are a couple of options:

  • Demographics — includes population or socioeconomic characteristics, such as gender, age, income level, profession, or location
  • Psychographics — includes client personalities and interests, such as lifestyle, hobbies, beliefs, and life goals. For dog trainers, these categories might include what kind of training classes your clients are interested in.
  • Behavioral — this can be a tricky segmentation because it requires you to have data about how clients are interacting with your business. Behavioral segmentation includes browsing habits, spending habits, purchasing habits, and brand loyalty.

Now that you understand what segmentation is, it’s time to use it! How will you segment your email lists? What categories make sense for your business?

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