One of the keys to delivering the right message to the right audience is segmentation. By sending a message only to those who would be interested in receiving it, your communication is more targeted and engaging. You are most likely familiar with the targeting capabilities of social media platforms like Facebook. The ability to segment lists is why email marketing is such a powerful and effective tool.

Both NISC and SEDC can help you access demographic and some behavioral information through reports such as SECD's “Report IQ.” If you are not currently capturing this data, you may want to consider doing so in the future. Use surveys and polls to help fill in gaps and provide information specific to the members you serve.

Demographic Segmentation

Segmenting your email list by age is a good place to start. However, if member age data is not available or complete, you may be able to approximate a young adult sample by running a report with a combination of attributes: member of fewer than 10 years; online bill pay; has children who have applied for Youth Tour/scholarships. While this project defines the age of our target audience (25-45), it will be up to each co-op to dive deeper than age alone to determine how to best meet the needs and goals of your young adult members. Even within this age bracket, 25-year-olds are at a much different life stage than 45-year-olds, and every person will not have the same lifestyle and interests.

Behavioral Segmentation

When you combine age segmentation with behavioral segmentation, you will get better results. Behavioral segmentation looks at member behavior, communication preferences, product choices and interests to paint a clearer picture of your target audience. As you analyze and segment, where possible draw on additional knowledge gained through questions fielded by member services representatives, responses to programs, social media comments and surveys to continuously adjust and evolve your strategies and tactics. Below is an initial list of ways you could segment members depending on the goal you are trying to achieve, such as promoting energy efficiency or rebate programs.

Behavioral Segmentation Criteria

There are many ways to analyze members and segment your lists depending on your objective. You can gain significant insights based on a member’s business relationship with your co-op, such as their preferred payment methods, what district they live in or what co-op programs they participate in.

Below is a list of potential criteria you can use to segment your members, including many that directly relate to the values and interests of young adult members. Each of these criteria can be used alone or combined to provide increasingly specific insights that can help ensure you are sending the right communications to the right audience. As you experiment with combining different criteria to create lists and then measure the results against your goal, you will develop a deeper knowledge of your members and of what works. As a reminder, since your membership changes every day, be sure to pull the list as close as possible to its planned usage date to improve accuracy.

Want more segmentation resources? Consumer-targeting company Claritas provides a free tool that allows you to see basic personas for people living within a ZIP code. This information can be used in conjunction with the data you receive from your billing vendor, NISC and SEDC to home in on the audiences you want to target for your various outreach activities.

Examples of Using Segmented Data to Deliver Targeted Communications

One way to approach targeted messaging to achieve a particular goal is to first understand who has already taken part in the activity you would like to promote. For example, if your goal is to increase the number of energy assessments in the young adult age group, first pull a list of everyone in the last five years who has completed an energy assessment. Then analyze that group for insights that help you narrow the list. You can then filter by age, district or length of time at the co-op to identify your best opportunities to achieve the goal.

Six examples using segmentation to create targeted email lists: