LISTS, SEGMENTS, TAGS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Everyone says to “segment your audience” and to “add tags”.

Okay thanks – but WTF does that actually mean?

Email marketing is full of industry terminology which can be very confusing.

And this isn’t helped by the fact that different email marketing software uses different terminology for the exact same thing.

So in this post I’m going to try to explain so that you can actually leverage these powerful audience tools effectively and without too much overlap.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to stick to more standard definitions and then I’ll explain a few variances from different email software at the end.

The most important thing to understand about lists, segments and tags is that they are a hierarchy.

LISTS

Lists appear at the top. They are the broadest grouping of your subscribers.

In fact, some software recommends that if possible, you only have ONE list.

I’m not quite that strict but I like to think about a list as a group of subscribers that I will be likely emailing the same thing on a regular (or strictly temporary) basis.

Examples include:

        Newsletter list

        Customers / Clients

        Course Students / Members

        Wait list

        Webinar

The idea is that if you were to send an email you would never need to send it to more than 1 list at a time.

SEGMENTS

Segments appear just under lists in the hierarchy and consist of various groups of subscribers based either information you know about a subscriber or an action that subscriber takes.

You would use these to send to smaller, specific groups in your list.

Examples include:

        Location

        Subscriber Type (e.g. industry, stage)

        Interests

        Have a certain tag

        Engaged vs Unengaged

        Did not open a certain email

The key thing to remember about segments is that they are dynamic. Subscribers will automatically be added to the segment if they meet the criteria you set.

TAGS

Tags are like labels that you can assign to your subscribers. You can have almost as many as you want and use this information to help you assign subscribers to segments. Or in some email marketing software you can email directly to subscribers who have a tag.

They can be added manually or automatically through automations.

They can also be used as a trigger for automations (e.g. “New Client” tag added = send onboarding emails).

Tags are helpful for quickly identifying subscribers with common characteristics or who have taken a certain action.

Examples include:

        Opt In Incentive they signed up for

        Product they purchased

        Topic they are interested in

        Webpage they have visited

FIELDS

A final thing worth mentioning are fields. These are the most specific – at an individual level. The most common examples are First Name or Email Address.

But there are many more you can add as custom fields and they typically fall into 3 categories:

  1.     Text based fields – where they can enter any data they like
  2.     Date based field
  3.     Selection fields – where they need to select from predefined values

Selection fields (e.g. dropdown or checkbox) are really useful if you want a subscriber to identify what they want to know more about or a characteristic that will help you create a more custom experience for them.

For example, at sign up you might ask what stage they are at (beginner, intermediate or advanced) or what type of topics they are interested in.

Once you have that information you can create segments of these subscribers and send specific emails just to them.

Date based fields are also useful for not only things like birthdays but also sending age appropriate information as a baby sleep consultant or certain emails based on an upcoming wedding date.

Text based fields aren’t as useful for segmentation but could be used as personalised content within emails.

VARIATIONS

As mentioned at the top of the post, the above is confused a bit by some email software providers using different terminology for different things.

MailChimp for example uses the term “Audiences” in place of lists.

They also have another level of categorising subscribers called “Groups”. These are handy for subscribers self selecting on signup or if using a 3rd party signup tool like MailMunch so you can easily identify who signed up for what opt in incentive.

MailerLite on the other hand uses the term “Groups” instead of “Tags”. 

CONCLUSION

Email marketing is full of terminology but the most important thing to think about is what will be most useful for your business.

List out the different categories of subscribers you think it would be useful for you to have and then have a look at your email marketing software provider to figure out the best way to organise them. It’s not as important to follow exactly what someone else recommends as it is for you to find a way to as quickly and simply as possible to identify and email those groups.

Start with one. Have a play. And you’ll soon find your feet.

 

More of an audio listener? Check out this related podcast episode!

How to Improve Your List Building Strategy

Ever found yourself frustrated with a stagnant email list, wondering why people aren't subscribing despite your best efforts? I get it.

Firstly, you have to understand that you’ll have this natural growth right at the beginning of your email marketing journey - and that it’s normal to have things stagnate after that.

Second, a lot of your initial list growth will come from your existing audience, whether that’s on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or people you know within your networks.

So, you might get that rapid increase, but at some point, you might exhaust that audience if you aren’t proactively growing elsewhere.

In this ultimate list building guide, I’ll share my best list building strategy that’ll supercharge your list growth massively.

Whether you are a business owner, course creator or service provider, email marketing has the potential to free you from the busy, get sales and create more space in your life!

Here is everything you need to know about how to improve your list building strategy.

 

 

TIP 1 - GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO SIGN UP

Let's start by understanding the importance of giving your audience a compelling reason to join your email list - people value their email addresses so they're not just going to give it away for free.

In my Lead Magnet Magic course, I teach students that to grow their email list quickly, they must provide an irresistible opt-in. By doing this, you can establish a fair value exchange, overall increasing conversion rates and attracting a more targeted audience.

So, forget the generic "subscribe to my newsletter" pitch; entice your audience with exclusive updates or a lead magnet that truly adds value to their business or daily lives.

>> Click here to check out Lead Magnet Magic

 

 

Tip 2 - Check Your Stats

Before you scale up your advertising efforts, take a deep dive into your lead page and overall site-wide stats.

A 50-60% signup rate for dedicated lead pages and 1-3% of website visitors for general signups are the benchmarks.

If you're falling short, it's time to focus on improving your conversion strategies!

Checkout episode number 21 of my Easy Email Marketing Podcast, 7 things you need for a high converting lead page if you’re stuck for ideas.

 

 

Tip 3 - Make Your Signup Obvious on Your Website

Ensure your signup options are impossible to miss across your website.

Consider using floating bars, popups, or banners to capture your audience's attention and make it crystal clear and easy for them to subscribe.

 

 

Tip 4 - Make Your Lead Magnet Prominent on Your Socials

Leverage your social media platforms by consistently featuring your lead magnet.

From updating Facebook and Instagram graphics to pinned posts to CTA’s, remind your audience regularly about the benefits of joining your email list.

 

 

Tip 5 - Leverage Your Content

Whether it's blog posts, YouTube videos, or podcasts, seamlessly integrate mentions of your lead magnet.

Use dynamic ads during podcast episodes, share insights within your content, and always provide a direct link to your signup page.

 

 

Tip 6 - Mention Your Email List Often

Consistent promotion is the key. Incorporate mentions of your email list into your regular social media posts.

Consider using tools like ManyChat to automate sign-ups directly through Instagram comments.

 

 

Tip 7 - Add Event-Style Lead Magnets to your List Building Strategy

Enhance your lead magnet offerings with limited-time events, such as webinars, challenges, or giveaways.

In my List Building Boost course, I teach you how to create these types of opt-ins – the one’s that majorly convert!

You’ll also need to create a sense of urgency to attract new subscribers and diversify your audience.

At the end of the day, it’ll be refreshing for your audience to find different ways to interact with you, rather than just through a PDF or Word Document.

 

 

Tip 8 - Use Ads Strategically

Once you've optimised your existing strategies, you can delve into paid advertising.

It's crucial to understand your conversion value before investing heavily in ads to ensure a positive return on investment.

Ads can be a great way to grow your list quickly, especially if you don't want to spend a tonne of time being active on socials et cetera. 

 

 

Tip 9 - Participate in Bundles or Swaps

Collaborate with businesses or influencers for bundle promotions or swaps.

Consider formalising agreements where you promote each other's lead magnets to tap into new audiences.

 

 

Tip 10 - Get Active with Guest Speaking

Explore opportunities to speak at summits, contribute to courses, or appear on podcasts.

Guest speaking not only broadens your reach but also establishes trust with new audiences, making them more likely to subscribe.

 

In essence, improving your list building strategy involves a multi-faceted approach. From optimising your website and social media presence to collaborations and guest speaking, these 10 tips have hopefully provided you with insightful methods of how to get more email subscribers.

 

And of course, this list building guide wouldn't be complete without mentioning my exclusive lead magnet - my collection of 80+ fill-in-the-blank email ideas. If you ever find yourself struggling with what to share with your list, be sure to head over to yaelkeon.com/ideas to grab yourself a copy – or fill in the form down below!

 

Happy emailing!

 

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