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How to segment your audience in SharpSpring for email marketing

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll try to explain how you can segment your audience and initiate a marketing campaign using rules-based lists. I have used examples of a real campaign we run at Merci for a major NYSE listed client, which should help you understand the sort of things to take into account when segmenting your audience.

Step 1: Develop a future-proof segmentation plan

Segmentation is based on rules, and rules are applied to lists in SharpSpring. But rules-based lists can only work if contacts have data attributes applied to them. In some cases, your data may have to be updated in the future, so always think what future implications you could run into and how you can limit these problems.

Define the fields for segmentation

Creating custom-fields in SharpSpring

From the segmentation fields above, [Company name] is the only standard field – all others are custom. For rules-based list to work, the fields must be made available to be picked for the rule. Below is how you add a custom field in SharpSpring – see how [Registered status] is a radio item with [Yes] & [No] as the options.

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Applying data to contacts

If you don’t have any data attributes applied to your contacts, a spreadsheet is the fastest way (in my experience) to apply data to contacts and get this into SharpSpring quickly. Once done, export your datasheet as a CSV file.

Watch the example below – [is Unsubscribed] & [email] fields are required when importing CSV into SharpSpring. Once imported, your contacts will have data applied to them.

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Step 2: Build lists to segment contacts

This is a heavy part of segmentation in which you spend time setting up your rules-based lists. By using rules-based lists in SharpSpring, contacts are automatically added as they match criteria. Rules-based lists will dynamically remove a member when the contact no longer meets the criteria.

In our example, we setup the following rules-based lists:

Setting up a rules-based list in SharpSpring

Navigate to lists, add a new rule-based list name it something clear for other users to understand, eg: [Registered members].

In the settings, scroll to the rules section and choose [has a field] for “When a contact”. Now you can find and select your lead field, define trigger value and add the rule.

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List building

Only contacts at the time of creating the list with the field rule will be added. However, because this is a dynamic list with a trigger rule, as new contacts are added to the instance via automation (API or Zapier) with the field [Registered] equal to [Yes], they will be added to the list automatically.

See how the Name, Email and Company name are visible columns. Check the spreadsheet view in step 1 to see if these contacts match the rule criteria of the rules-based list.

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Step 3: Create & deliver communication assets

Emailing is a key asset of digital marketing. This is where you can introduce dynamic content and deliver personalised emails into inboxes.

Using lists when sending an email

A clear set of lists allows you send single email campaigns or schedule SharpSpring action-groups. In an example, a list of registered members can be excluded from receiving “non-registered call to action” emails.

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Using merge variables in emails

Introduce merge variables into your emails to personalise the content to each user. This is where we can use our [Company access-code] field. You can also insert a SharpSpring Meeting button or lead owner signature.

A merge variable can be used to merge information about each recipient, so you can customize each email to make it look like you are sending a personal email to each person on your list.

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Summary & future planning

By utilising powerful segmentation and automation tools, we can seamlessly update a customer database with relevant information, increase revenue and gain valuable insights. With a clear segmentation plan, you can grow an audience into hundreds of thousands and still provide personalised communication.

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Author avatar
Harry Norman
Creative Technologist and SharpSpring Technician at Merci.

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