The Power Of Email Segmentation: What Can A Lasagna Teach You?

Nandhini TS
5 min readApr 18, 2020


It was half past one and I was starving.

My taste buds were craving for lasagna.

I quickly made an online order and in exactly 18 minutes my lasagna was delivered.

As I was about to devour this gorgeous food, the layers caught my attention.

I thought about it — the layering was done with such taste, craft, method, and grace.


The marketer in me could not stop thinking about how closely this is related to segmentation in email marketing.

Think about it.

A layer of thin pasta sauce on the bread, cooked lasagna noodles stacked upon another layer of bread, cheese mixture, and the final layer loaded with corn and veggies.

The chef has baked the lasagna with such precision and care to make sure that their customer would relish the dish.

How’d the experience be if the layering was lousy?

Needless to say, BAD.

Segmentation in email marketing, like a sumptuous lasagna is carefully done to separate audiences based on common characteristics.

Customers who belong to a certain geography, demography, personality, behavioral patterns are categorized together into individual groups called ‘segments’.

What is Email Segmentation?

Email segmentation is the process of grouping the contacts for your email marketing based on certain common characteristics. Segmentation helps in making the emails more personal, relevant, and ROI-driven.

Importance of Email Segmentation

Just like how layering justifies the very essence of lasagna, segmentation also has a lot of significance when it comes to email marketing.

Let’s have a look at it.

  1. Segmenting your emails results in better relevance in your subject lines and the email content. This not only results in boosting your open rates, but also your click-through rates.
  2. When your recipients feel a connection through your emails, they start trusting in your content. You can significantly reduce your spam score as well as unsubscribe rates.
  3. When your emails are not a plain untargeted blast, the engagement rate would also slowly begin to spike thus improving your email deliverability.
  4. Continuous efforts in segmenting your audience and catering to their exact needs would help you eventually build a long and loyal relationship.

5. Segmentation, in a way, helps you improve every email marketing metric.

How Does Personalization Differ From Segmentation?

The terms “Segmentation” and “Personalization” may seem like synonyms. But, there’s a fine difference between the two.

Before we look at the difference tactically, let’s get back to our lasagna analogy (it’s hopefully fun).

Layering a lasagna with sauce, noodles, cheese, vegetables, and bread between all these layers is segmentation.

Catering to a specific need or want of a customer and going the extra mile is personalization — say, adding olives or extra cheese on the lasagna just because your customer likes it that way.

Similarly, the segmentation exercise gives you all the data that you want.

Do you want a segment of the audience who are women who recently purchased a handbag and live in Massachusetts?

You got it.

That’s segmentation. While on the other hand, when you use this data to create emails that resonate with the audience, that’s personalization.

You can templatize these emails based on the segmentation you have created. But, if you want to go beyond and do hyper-personalization, that’s when you tweak your emails based on additional research.

So, personalization is the by-product of segmentation.

Types of Email Segmentation

Let’s now deep dive into different bases on which audiences can be segmented.

1. Demographic Segmentation

Demographic data is the most basic yet significant form of segmentation that gives information about the customers’ age, gender, income, employment, marital status, education, and more.

This information will help in channelizing emails that cater to a set of audience.

For instance, let’s say you sell Denim t-shirts online.

Now, if let’s assume you segment the audience based on a data point, say, age.

Then, let’s say you have 2 sub-segments with age ranging from 20 to 30 and 60 to 70.

In this case, you’d be more aggressive with your email campaigns for the data range 20 to 30 rather than 60–70.

Demographic data comes in handy in determining the content, concept, frequency, and the overall strategy of your email campaigns.

2. Transactional Segmentation

Transactional based segmentation is one of the most lucrative segmentations.

Based on the customers’ total time spent on the website, spend, frequency of purchases, and other such transactions, audience segments can be created.

This segment will be particularly handy because it gives you insights into who’s likely to spend and who’s not.

Depending on their purchase patterns and browsing time on your website, you can personalize your email campaigns and make the best out of these high and low-intent buyers.

3. Behavioral Segmentation

As the name suggests, behavioral segmentation is based on the user behavior with the website.

This can be anything from their subscription status, orders placed, cart abandoned, purchase history, email metrics, and more.

This will help you understand the actions of the user and send emails accordingly.

For instance, you can send an email to a user who just placed an order with cross sell and upsell opportunities. Whereas, an abandoned cart trigger email could persuade the customer to complete a purchase by luring them with an offer or discount.

4. Geographic Segmentation

Segmentation based on geographic data is very useful for an email marketer because it helps in catering to geo-specific needs of the recipient.
There are multiple attributes when it comes to geographic segmentation — culture, climate, trends, and events.

Think about this — An email hitting an inbox of a recipient that says “Diwali is right around the corner, grab the latest launches”. to an audience who live in the United Stats

Geographic segmentation eliminates this mismatch and ensures that your emails make a lot more sense.

5. Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is more advanced than demographic segmentation or any other segmentation for that matter.

It helps you segment customers based on values, their interests, tastes and preferences, and more which gives you a huge scope in making emails hyper personalized and conversion-driven.

Wrapping Up

I hope this post urges you to phase out email marketing that is a generic blast to your audiences and instead adapt to the concept of segmentation.

This will help you make your emails more relevant, personalized, and conversion-driven.

There are some good tools like BayEngage, Mailchimp, Hubspot, and more that offer segmentation possibilities.

But, popular tools like Mailchimp and Hubspot do not cater specifically to the eCommerce industry and have limited possibilities when it comes to segmentation.

I’d recommend checking out some good tools and alternatives!

You go get your list segmented while I grab another bite of my lasagna!

Originally published at on April 18, 2020.



Nandhini TS

Product Marketer | Content Creator | Creator of The Digitaldyno. Sticky notes and bulky planners make me happy!