Email lists are an essential marketing resource for artists but keeping them in tip top organizational shape can be next to impossible. That said, segmenting your email list based on geolocation is still something you can make happen, and doing so can do wonders for your open rates.
Guest post by Chris Robley of DIY Musician
You can still send regionally targeted emails, even if you didn’t collect your fans’ city, state, or zip code information.
If you’re like me, your email list is a bit of a mess.
For some subscribers you’ve got all the info — city, state, country, zip, favorite animal, albums purchased, mother’s maiden name.
For other subscribers you have… an email address.
So what do you do when you want to send an email that’s only relevant to people in a certain geographic location?
Fist, here’s what NOT to do.
If your list is regionally specific (like, you’ve only ever collected emails at local gigs), you can obviously announce your gigs to the whole list.
However, if your list contains subscribers from all over the place, you should not be sending concert announcements to your entire list. Yes, you can make exceptions to announce a tour or extra-special show, since that’s news your fans might be interested in even if they’re unable to attend the event.
But if you want to keep people on your list, make sure the content of your emails is relevant to them — every time.
Why is email segmentation so important?
When you “segment” your email subscribers, you’re dividing them into sub-groups based on various criteria.
Here are some common criteria that musicians use to segment their email lists:
- engagement level
- products fans have purchased
- how long they’ve been a subscriber
Then you can send emails to certain segments of your list knowing the content is matched to the audience.
If a message isn’t relevant to a subscriber they might not unsubscribe right away, but the more often it happens the more likely they’ll be to hop off your email train. If they don’t unsubscribe, they might just get conditioned to IGNORE your emails. And in a way, that’s worse.
The relationship between open rates and segmentation
The worse your open rates, the more likely your emails are to end up in recipients junk/spam folders.The more THAT happens, the fewer people will open them. A downward spiral.
But when you segment your list and send relevant messages to appropriate audiences, the higher your open rate will be for those emails. The higher your open rates, the more likely your future emails will be to end up in recipients’ priority inboxes. Up, up, up!
Segmenting your list in Mailchimp by location (if you don’t already have their geographic information)
Mailchimp provides some really simple but powerful segmentation features. With Mailchimp’s geolocation function, you can send gig announcements ONLY to people that live within a certain radius of the city.
This method of sorting subscribers isn’t necessarily perfect. Mailchimp is making its best guess about where people live based on their IP address. The more your subscribers open your emails, the better Mailchimp will get at estimating the location of recipients.
Perfect? No — but still 100% better than NOT segmenting your list at all. Wait, can you be 100% better than nothing? Math ain’t my strong suit.
Speaking of percentages, my average open rate for emails that go to my whole list is about 25%, but when I send geographically targeted emails, the open rate is often higher than 50%.
So, ya know, segmentation works.
How to segment your email list in Mailchimp based on geolocation:
- Log into your Mailchimp account
- Go to the appropriate list
- Click to create a “New Segment”
- Leave the CONTACTS MATCH field default setting as “all”
- From the dropdown, choose “Location”
- Select the desired radius from the target location
- Enter the location and click “validate location”
- Click “Preview Segment” (Note: The number of subscribers in this segment should be smaller than your total number of list subscribers)
- Save the segment and give it a name
Repeat this same step for all the cities where you’re regularly touring, and bam — you’re a segmentation pro!
Now whenever you create campaigns in Mailchimp to announce your gigs, you can send targeted emails to people near those specific cities. Thanks Mailchimp!