When most email marketers think about segmenting their lists, one of the lesser used (but highly effective) tactics available is segmenting by geography. This select gets used quite a bit by direct marketers, but email marketers tend to overlook this option. Why is it so overlooked? Simply put, you need to think a little outside the box when using it for email marketing.
The other day I received an email from the folks over at Duluth Trading and it reminded me just how useful a good geographic targeting strategy can be. While I can’t say for certain that this is what Duluth did with the following email, the reasoning behind the strategy is clear:
Last week (around the time I received the above email), we had a significant early snow. Typically we don’t see a snowstorm that dumps several inches until January/February, so by all accounts, this storm was a surprise. The fact that Duluth sent me an email that heavily promoted “Surprise Snows Mean 25% Off Select Winter Gear” means that either: a) Duluth Trading is paying attention to weather patterns in different regions and is sending triggered emails based on said regional weather or b) Duluth just happened to stumble upon some sweet, sweet serendipity.
Whatever the case may be, the key point here is that the customer received a very timely message about what appears to be an impromptu sale based on the weather conditions in my area.
The challenge with this strategy isn’t the actual segmentation. Data collection makes it very easy to identify where customers are from, whether that be from traffic analysis or simply because you asked the customer when they signed up. The strategy is trying to figure out ways to apply this information.
For Duluth, this was a no-brainer. Snowy weather = more interest and sales of cold weather clothes. What about other applications? A few that come to mind include:
- Ski resort companies sending out triggered offers when a mountain gets a fresh dumping of powder.
- Sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, etc) and sports news sites could customize sales emails to feature the user’s local team (or the team they root for if they decided to supply that information).
- Gardening sites could customize their offers for different planting seeds based on the location of the customer (I wouldn’t be sending outdoor tropical planting ideas to customers in Colorado for example).
There are tons of different ways to apply this strategy, you just need to be creative with your planning.