Segmentation is the key to your email success with Jacob Anson

If you want to grow your business and increase your profits, you need to learn how to segment your email lists effectively. In this Podcast, Jason Anson explains the best ways to segment your email lists and provides you with some of the best tools, tricks, and tactics for ensuring that every one of those subscribers is engaged.

Look for the Free Joke towards the end of the podcast. We learn that most people don’t understand Brent’s Jokes.

Check out my article on Segmentation in email marketing here

3 Reasons Why You Should Care About Email Segmentation
3 Reasons Why You Should Care About Email Segmentation

Table of Contents


Brent: Welcome to this episode of Talk Commerce. Today I have Jacob Anson, and Jacob is the co-founder of Agency JR. Jacob, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us what you’re doing day to day and maybe one of your passions in life. 

Jacob: Perfect. First of all, a pleasure to be here. So thank you for having me on. And yeah, quickly introduce myself.

Jacob: I’m the co-founder of Agency JR. We are an email marketing focused agency. I’m one of the two co-founders agency, and within my day to day, I’m mostly focused on the backend, like building out interest infrastructure, the systems, the processes, hiring, like all of the. Not so fun stuff as people say, but I love it.

Jacob: And in terms of some, what are things right now in this phase of my life, it’s mostly boric. I love it. It wouldn’t be that way. But outside of Boric, I guess there’s a bit of fitness and more of work. So fitness work. So that’s about all. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s, that sounds like my life. We won’t get into a lot of fitness right now.

Brent: We want to do it towards the end of the podcast. I could talk about running all day, but we won’t get, Let’s talk about email marketing and I know that that is something that you have a passion for. So tell us a little bit about some of the mistakes people make in email marketing.

Brent: Maybe we’ll start there. 

Jacob: Sure thing. Honestly, the biggest mistake is not doing email marketing. So let’s start there. But email marketing means it’s a broad term. There’s like a lot of verticals, a lot of niches that can use email marketing. But we see that a lot of them don’t use it or there’s not frequent use of it.

Jacob: For example, e-commerce even if you’re a small eCommerce store, you should be doing email marketing with email marketing is and can be very passive. Of course you can also, it can be very active, but you can do the bare minimum, set up some automations and it’s gonna be there and generate revenue while you sleep.

Jacob: And this also applies to any other kind of business out there, but it’s SaaS info product, whatever else that’s selling something. You need email marketing, even if they small scale. So that’s the mistake I see happening. But then to dive would be a bit more specific. So we, we ourselves are usually more eCommerce focused.

Jacob: We also have a couple of info or SaaS businesses as well, but than the eCommerce. Like the other mistake, which is a bit more specific would come down to campaigns. So campaigns, if you’re not too familiar with your marketing, are those one time email plus, for example, that in your Gmail. Those are like, for example, the Black Friday campaigns or like 4th of July sale campaigns and stuff like that.

Jacob: The mistake there usually comes down to the segmentation. So with your eCommerce shop, you have your customer list. Let’s say you have 10,000 customers, you have 10,000 emails. The mistake there is a lot of people think, Hey, I’m gonna get the best performance if we’re gonna take this whole list, these 10,000 people, and blast out an email to all of them.

Jacob: If you think about it in the first thought, it might seem logical because, hey, the more people see the email, the more people are gonna open email. The more sales I’m gonna get, maybe for the first email, yes. But if you continue doing that, they’re just gonna go into the negative spiral in your sales are eventually gonna go down to zero.

Jacob: Why? Because it all comes down to deliverability and list health. So first we’ll have to make sure that people you’re sending out. Actually wanna get your emails. If you’re onlay sending out everybody, a big chunk of the list usually is not engaged. You’re just ruining your del deliverability.

Jacob: And with deliverability, if you’re getting bad open rates, you’re gonna get even worse, open rates later down the road. So it’s important to segment your list. Target mostly to engage parts of the list, segment it and make sure you get, get good open rates as that’s gonna heap you open rates healthy. And then we’re gonna make sure your list stays healthy for a long time and you can extract more revenue and more profit out of it.

Brent: As you’re segmenting, is there specific engagements that you should look at? If a customer is highly engaged, Should you send them more or target it or I know that there’s a way of oversending, so if they’re over engaged, then eventually you’re going to Oversend and tell us some ideas around that.

Jacob: I’m gonna spill the beans of our agency strategy. Basically how we in inhouse do the segmentation. The first thing, it’s very simple. It’s very dumb down, so it’s easy to follow and easy to execute. So the first thing is the engaged customers.

Jacob: You can send them out more emails. So for example, within a month, if we send out 12 campaigns, Around eight to 10 of those campaigns are gonna go out, that Engage list, and that’s completely fine. And the engaged part of the list, it can be built out. We usually have three buckets. Engage 30, Engage 60, engage 90, and Engage 30 basically means someone who has opened or clicked. One of your emails within the last 30 days. Then of course the last 60 days, last 90 days. Those are the engagement tiers. Depending on your rates, which just basically choose one of those the open rates should, ideally for the campaigns be around 30%.

Jacob: If they use Engage 90 and see if it’s around 20% of, we might jump one tier down, test out, Engage 60, and see where at which of those stages it comes out to roughly 30%. And then rest of the campaigns. So for example, we send out nine campaigns to engage segment. The rest of those three campaigns, we can test all different parts the list to try to get them into the engaged parts, the list. So we usually like to do one re-engagement campaign a month. , which is focused specifically on the unengaged part, the list. So we take, all the people don’t open their emails and we send out one email specifically to them once a month just to try and reengage them.

Jacob: And then few emails usually are like smaller segments, a bit more specific segmentation. Might it be like a specific product upsell email or maybe like an announcement or whatever. Something with also like more specific segmentation. So that’s what we usually. Works like a charm. Easy to follow. 

Brent: Yeah, those are some very ironclad rules that they actually make a lot of sense.

Brent: So I would I think if there isn’t any listeners who aren’t paying attention, that would be one part that I certainly would implore people to pay attention to. How about the over engagement? Is there a point in which you can over engage? 

Jacob: Over engaging. Yeah, so like over engaging, like at least how I understand is like burning out the list.

Jacob: So if you have like 10,000 customers, let’s say half of them are like engaged customers opening up your emails, obviously they don’t wanna be over spammed and they don’t wanna receive two emails a day from you. Like the cadence of your campaigns also. Usually to make sure you, you’re not over spamming and over accentuating your list.

Jacob: We usually don’t go over 15 emails a month on regular months. Obviously all of that gets thrown out of indoor during q4. Then you can do what you want in terms of email frequency. But for like regular months, summer spring and so on, I would not go over 15 emails a month and that’s just gonna ensure you’re not over engaging or burning out your list essentially. 

Brent: Yeah. So I know you mentioned q4, so you’re talk a little bit about specific strategies for Q4 compared to the rest of the year. 

Jacob: Yeah. Within the eCommerce, so obviously Q4 is the most important part of the year. Hands down, that’s where all of the revenue profit was made.

Jacob: So within US agency and basically I think every other eCommerce through our agency, they take it very seriously. Like some of the key differences between Q4 and regular months, always these email frequency. If for example, during July, June, we’re sending out maybe 12 to 15 emails a month.

Jacob: During November, December, we’re sending up to 30 emails a month. So it comes down average one email a day. So that’s first thing. And the second thing is how you build out your sales structure. So here maybe also you can spill the beans of our agency tactics and strategies. So for Q4, what we usually like to do, we build out a specific sales cycle, sales calendar, if I can name it that way, and essentially how it’s structured is that we go through certain phases. The first phase, which you usually start around October, started October, is a re-engagement phase which usually lasts about two weeks and that during these two weeks, it is basically try to re-engage as much of the unengaged customers as we can to build up the engaged part of the list, which is gonna get spammed too during the next couple of weeks. Then the next phase is the warmup phase. So once we have reengage as many customers as we can, we really wanna nurture the engaged part, the list, build it up, warm it up. And we usually do that through value campaigns. We do that through educational campaigns.

Jacob: We do that through a very specific warmup campaign. Which is essentially focused on getting the customers respond to the email. So it maybe could be an email, like a text based email, Hey, respond to this customer. But yes, if you wanna stay in the loop for Black Friday emails and what this does, which is really cool if Gmail sees that somebody replies to you, they automatically

Jacob: flag or white list your domain. So like your, all your future emails are gonna go in the primary tab. So it’s like a small tactic to ensure your deliverability is very good for those customers. And obviously also value campaigns. Obviously you don’t wanna always sell to your customers. Give them some values, some tips so they know not just selling them.

Jacob: Build a relationship with them. And once we have warmed up the customer at the start of November, we usually go into a buildup phase, a hype phase where we try to get some early bird list signs for like early Black Friday deals and stuff like that. Really hype up the audience for Black Friday.

Jacob: Let them maybe tease some deals, maybe let them know about the Black Friday timeline and stuff like that. Really get them hyped up for the upcoming sales. And then obviously once the Black Friday week starts, then we usually have two to three email sends a. Like a main email resend up the same email, three non openers, and like a different email depending on how the offers are structured for the client.

Brent: I want to jump back to what you’re saying about sending a text to get him to respond to the email. Are you saying you’d send him an SMS text to do that? Or How do you mean? Can you just explain that a little bit? 

Jacob: Yeah, sure. Maybe I explained, maybe use the wrong word.

Jacob: So it’s an email, so it’s a text based email. So basically, actually this is a good talking point. So text, like in this case I’ll explain maybe this specifically and i’s talk about text based emails. I think that’s interesting as well. So like for the email, hold the warmup email, it is a text based email, so like an email you would send to your brand.

Jacob: It doesn’t contain any graphics. None of that. Basically usually sent out from a brand representative. It mentions something like that. Hey John we see within our list, et cetera, et cetera. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll have our Black Friday sale and we’ll really think you’re gonna enjoy the discounts, the offers, whatever.

Jacob: If you wanna stay in the loop and make sure you receive your emails or show you how excited you are for the deals, respond to this email. But for example, yes. And that’s basically just make sure the customer respond to that email. It’s something, it doesn’t matter, but what they respond, the most important thing is that they respond with something as that is gonna white list the domain and it’s gonna ensure that the future emails for them.

Jacob: Much, much more likely to land in the primary folder, which then is obviously gonna boost up the open range. 

Brent: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. does it help to do social as well, to drive people to, Is there a way to use social to p get people to respond to emails? , 

Jacob: of course. This of course depends like how used is like social media for the specific brand.

Jacob: Some brands, they’re not that heavy in social media. For those, obviously, it doesn’t make sense to push people there if they’re not gonna do anything with. Those extra follows. But if the brand has like a good social media strategy, then of course we can push people from emails to sign up on social media to stay in the loop with what’s happening there.

Jacob: And obviously if the social media, females that takes care of the Black Friday and everything is synergized, then they’re just gonna be much more likely to stay in the loop because we are gonna remind them through emails. The social media team’s gonna remind. Through social media. So they’re constantly informed about what’s gonna be happening for that specific brand.

Jacob: So if the brand has good social media, then yes, of course. Good. 

Brent: All right. So tell, talk a little bit about some trends that there is in retention for marketing, for email, things like that. 

Jacob: Yeah, sure. Trend, So biggest strength I would honestly still see is SMS marketing. I think maybe it seems maybe the SMS marketing has gone by.

Jacob: SMS marketing was really hot a couple of months ago, may be a year ago, but that, that still is one of the biggest trends I see and let a lot of brands have not properly adapted to. There’s still a lot of brands lacking proper SMS marketing or SMS marketing at all, which I think is a very huge thing.

Jacob: But with SMS marketing, it doesn’t really matter how big or small you are, you can still set up like some initial things that are there that. Drive you extra revenue, extra profit. You don’t really have to worry about it that much. And then at a certain point, you can build out a team, hire an agency to do all of the active work there as well.

Jacob: But some of the other trends we see within the marketing world from our perspective is some more integrated things within, for example, marketing and Facebook ads. Like for example, some funnel build outs and basically just more synergistic marketing strategy. overall because for the last couple of years, like there’s email marketing, there’s Facebook ads, there’s marketing, but there was not a lot of connection between all of those channels together.

Jacob: Maybe even maybe more for, so for huge brands. For bigger brands. But right now I see a lot like, also like medium science brands to really have more synergistic marking strategies. Everything works together much more oiled .

Brent: Is there a difference between open rates on devices? I’ve heard that post iOS 14, that sometimes you may not be able to measure open rates on emails and that might skew some of your KPIs. 

Jacob: , Yeah. So with this, like I have slight slightly the front take on this, like obviously the tracking it is slightly off.

Jacob: So like each new change and adaptation in terms of iOS or like platform is, it’s gonna skew the data a bit. So like it’s gonna skew what we see that the effect of gonna see marketing is still gonna stay the same. If you don’t see maybe like the 10% less people, the emails, that’s what they see on our end.

Jacob: But then in the end, like how many people open up the emails is still gonna be the same amount. But of course if it can skew the data, it can also play around with the conversion data conversion tracking. Because sometimes, for example, some of the email softwares, they also use the open metric as the as one of the, within the conversion windows.

Jacob: So for example, if the open is falsely tracked, it can either not count a certain conversion to. For the email also count an extra conversion for email, if that makes sense. But with this, we have not seen a huge issue, like we mainly use Kavio. I think Klavio has done a smart thing to battle this. Not too technical about this, but I think one thing that they did, which is really smart, is that they noticed how Apple works.

Jacob: So here, nobody quote me on this, but if I understood correctly, So basically how it works when you send out an email to an iOS device or an email with an iOS privacy email once to send out email, there’s gonna be an auto open like within one second. Once you send out the email and Kavio just disregards that and they usually look for the second open.

Jacob: And the second open usually comes for the from the real person, or it maybe comes after five seconds that the, not immediately after the emails sent. So there are things that the. Platforms are doing also to battle this. So I’m not too worried about this, but of course it can play around and with the date and skew a couple of things.

Brent: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think that merchants aren’t gonna worry. Some bigger merchants should worry about this, but. It’s, the whole privacy thing has been such an interesting journey in the last year especially. Just talking about privacy from the US compared to Europe. Europe is much more restrictive on sending emails.

Brent: US has the same rules, but maybe not as well followed. Talk about the best way to grow your list, that’s legal.

Jacob: Good question. That’s legal . Yeah. So obviously Europe, gdpr like in terms of like list growth, generally the same tactics strategies are gonna apply both US and Europe. Within Europe, if you’re gonna be completely legal.

Jacob: Is it? Gonna be a bit less effective. But the best growth strategy for list is actually, is gonna be just driving more sales to your store. Focus on your customer acquisitions you like, your paid ads, Facebook ads, Google ads, whatever. Because most of your list, it’s still gonna come through the purchasers.

Jacob: So people that go to the checkout, if they purchase or don’t purchase, The big, biggest bulk of your list and the highest quality bulk, your list is gonna come directly through that. So that should always be your main focus email. Just basically thanks those customers and turns them into repeat purchases.

Jacob: But if you wanna focus on growing your list specifically, or implement different kind of funnels, which are email first, conversion second obviously popups are. , so have popups on your side as well but popups to give you some tips, some value, a big mistake. I see a lot of agencies, a lot of brands, , Maybe it’s not a mistake.

Jacob: Sometimes it can also be valuable, but most of the case, it’s not really wanted. It’s having popups at very short triggers at very short delays. So if there’s a brand within three seconds, if you’re landing on a brand page, you see a popup, it’s not a good thing for a couple of reasons.

Jacob: First of all, nobody can really make a purchasing decision in three seconds. So if you are three seconds, then you see a popup for 10%. What it’s gonna do, first of all, is gonna scare the customer base, gonna have a negative effect on your conversion rate. And second of all, for the customers that do end up buying, you’re just gonna give away 10% of your margin.

Jacob: Because nobody can really decide in three seconds, Hey, I’m gonna buy this product or not gonna buy this product. So that’s not the good thing. So what we usually recommend is having popups at longer delay. and that’s just gonna mostly focus on driving X revenue. Usually go around like 30 to 55 seconds as that’s what usually sees the average time spent on site.

Jacob: And that is maybe gonna be more cater towards undecided buyer. So maybe they’re still thinking about the product and hey, boom, there’s a 10% off discount and that just gets them over the edge. So that’s a. Better strategy there. And then some other things you can just run direct lead gen campaigns. So for example, for q4, what we are gonna be doing is running leg gen campaigns to, for the early bird list, we’re gonna have a landing page.

Jacob: We’re gonna have our clients basically run, pay that so their warm audience, that planning page, generate a bigger lead list so we can hype it up and push. More revenue through the q4 sales. So good. 

Brent: Yeah. I have an episode that is called Learn to Love Your Popup. So I would encourage listeners to go back and I can’t remember the guest right now, but it is learn to love the popup.

Brent: And I have to admit on my own Talk Commerce website, I need to get a popup rolling on there. Jacob, I’m gonna try something new with you today. Before we close out the podcast. Generally if you, if anybody listens to this they know that before every podcast, I give you a free joke.

Brent: So I wanna a free joke. There’s no obligation. You don’t have to laugh. In fact, I have a laugh track behind. But today I would like to try reading you the free joke and just getting your opinion on it. And I guess the reasoning is, should I charge for it or not? So let’s try it really quick. Ready?

Brent: Three men are on a boat. They have four cigarettes, but nothing to light them. So they throw a cigarette overboard and the whole boat becomes a cigarette lighter.

Jacob: I don’t think I get it right, , so 

Brent: I’ll read it. I’ll read it one more time. It might not think about what we call a cigarette lighter in the US It’s called a cigarette lighter to light cigarettes. I’ll read it one more time. 

Brent: Three men are on a boat, okay? They have four cigarettes, but nothing to light them with, so they throw a cigarette overboard and the whole boat becomes a cigarette lighter.

Jacob: Oh, gotcha. Okay. ? Yeah now I got it. Yes. It’s a smart board play, like the English jokes. They’re sometimes a bit, It’s okay. 

Brent: I completely, I side swiped you with this, so I apologize, but the opinion is should I continue to offer them for free or do you think I should charge for that type of joke?

Jacob: For charge for that type of joke? Good question. I don’t know. For me, It was hard to get. So maybe I’m too dumb. I would not, definitely not wanna pay for that kind of joke. So for now, maybe leave them for free and then later on maybe you can start charging them for them as well 

Brent: and charging.

Brent: That’s the joke. And I apologize, I have to explain all my jokes. In fact I spend a lot of time in Latin America and nobody gets my humor. So you’re not new. It’s completely normal.

Jacob: Okay, so charging is also part of the joke. Okay. I then I’m definitly out. No. Perfectly. Okay. 

Brent: I’m out the league. This is just the way, this is the way for me. I apologize. I appreciate you being a good sport on the joke. No worries. It was fun. No worries. Jacob, as we close out, I give everybody an opportunity to do a a shameless plug about anything you’d like to.

Brent: and a plug in English is a promotion about something you’d like to promote. And so if you’d like to promote, if you like to promote that jokes, I’m all for it. But you are welcome to promote anything you like to. 

Jacob: All right. Thank you for the opportunity. So yeah, in terms of the shameless, once plug, I think I’ll go with the agency.

Jacob: If you need email mar help with email marketing, whether you’re an e-com SaaS info you can check out Agency JR. So it’s agency jacob You can check out their case studies what we’ve done and talk with us to see if we can help. And also for agency owners we’re always open for new partnerships.

Jacob: So whether we have an e-com, SaaS or info focused agency you can also reach out through us, through Agency JR and see if a partnership makes sense and. Always have good, and I’ll make sure 

Brent: I get the links from the show notes and they’ll be able to get in touch with you through that as well.

Brent: So Jacob Anson, the co-founder of Agency JR. Thank you so much for being here today. 

Jacob: Thank you for having me. It’s been a blast. Thank you.


  • Brent W. Peterson

    Who is Brent Peterson? Brent is a serial entrepreneur and marketing professional with a passion for running. He co-founded Wagento and has a new adventure called ContentBasis. Brent is the host of the podcast Talk Commerce. He has run 25 marathons and one Ironman race. Brent has been married for 29 years. He was born in Montana, and attended the University of Minnesota and Birmingham University without ever getting his degree.

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