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22 Ways To Segment Your Contact List

Businesses now collect tons of useful behavioral data about their prospects and clients, and continue to gather even more through forms and surveys. The deluge of data seems overwhelming as a marketer since you can target your contacts based on virtually any of the fields in your database. The question is, when and how to best use all that data in order to improve your marketing efforts?

Depending on your industry and your company's investment in marketing automation software, the size and the content of your database may vary. But there are some basic, fundamental contact properties that you should always be tracking.

Here’s a list of 22 events and properties that you should be collecting about each person that touches your website or content hub and a few tips on how to use them for better list segmentation:

1. Source

The source by which a contact came to your site provides you a lot of context. Were they performing a search or did they click on an article via social media? Even if a brand new contact just entered your database, they may be ready for a product related offer if the source suggests that they were searching for a solution to  problem.

2. Landing page

The landing page goes hand in hand with the source as it confirms the intent. Did the contact land on a product related page or did they land on an industry resource from your blog? Using these 2 first variables, you can estimate which stage of the buyer’s journey they fall into.

3. First conversion

The first conversion is the first time that a contact shows that they trust you. This means that they performed an important action on your site (like signing up for a free trial) or provided you with personal details (by filling out a form to request a demo). You may want to repeat the messaging of that first offer that worked well for more consistency.

4. Pages visited

Visiting a specific page (or combination of pages) multiple times could mean a lot. It’s usually the right time to pull the trigger while a contact is engaged and offer a demo or provide additional information they might be looking for on your site.

5. Content preferences

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to content formats and topics. Understanding what your contacts are really interested in will get more people opening your emails and clicking on your links. 

6. Email address

I don’t mean to discriminate, but people using Yahoo! and AOL email addresses won’t be the first to open your emails and will definitely not be the first to pay for your product. People often use an old email address when they’re not really interested in what you’re sending. If you have to prioritize your contacts, I would penalize those addresses and reach out to more legitimate contacts first.

7. Emails opened or clicked

The number of emails opened or clicked gives you a good idea of how warm a contact is and how familiar they are about receiving communications from you. Contacts that have already opened and clicked several emails will need less context, so you can be more direct with them and go straight to the point after some time.

8. Contact enrolled in a drip marketing campaign

You may want to exclude contacts who are already enrolled to receive a flow of multiple emails from your one off email or promotion. Adding another communication on top may distract a prospect or a user from the goal of the drip campaign.

9. Last event before sign up

The last interaction before making an important decision - like a signing up for a free trial - informs you about your contact’s overall decision-making process. Did they watch a video right before signing up or did they religiously read your pricing page? You may want to use the same type of resource when the time comes to convert them into paid customers.

10. Date of sign up (cohort)

People who signed up for a free trial a long time ago don’t have your company on top of mind like those who just did. When trying to re-engage users who did not upgrade yet for a paid account, it’s best the separate them using cohorts and have different messaging that for each cohort.

11. Job title

The job title tells you if a person is allowed to make decisions inside their company such as purchasing your product. When combined with the company size, you get a better perspective of their level of seniority.

12. Device and technology

The device that a contact uses to login (whether it’s on desktop or mobile) and their OS (Android, iOS, etc.) has to be taken into consideration. This provides another way to slice and dice your audience and see if there are additional trends that can predict whether or not they’ll convert.

13. Demographics

Demographics help you optimize your marketing by personalizing your offers based on gender, age, country, etc. This is also the first layer of defining your buyer personas, although at a macro level.

14. Time and location

With the Internet, location has become so much more than where you live. It’s where you are at a specific moment, where you access your computer or mobile device. Find out what is the best location to reach out to your contact, whether it’s at home or at work, and contact them when you expect them to be there.

15. Unsubscribes

No matter how much potential you see in them, unsubscribers are not useful in your database. It’s impossible for you to email them again, so unless you are committed to continue the work offline or over the phone, you are better off without them in your contact list.

16. Revenue

Ideally, don't sacrifice contacts who provide the bulk of your revenue to the email gods. In this case, a personalized email or phone call might be best to address any issue.

17. Have done key event

You should track key events inside of your product or application. For example, at Uberflip a key event is when a customer creates a CTA in their Hub. This tells us that they're making use of the lead generation tools available in the platform, which is indicative of their overall goals.

18. Have not done key event

As much as having done a key event is insightful, knowing that a user haven’t used a certain feature can be just as valuable. They may either not know about it or have a different use case for your product. This is a great metric for your customer success team to track and act upon. 

19. Number of logins

No matter how long a user has been signed up for your product, it doesn’t turn them into an expert. The number of times they logged in or how much time they spent using your product is a better measure of their experience. You may want to wait until a certain threshold before you offer users to explore more advanced features.

20. Billing history

When targeting users for upsells, you don’t necessarily want to offer discounts to customers with an history of late payments or unpaid bills.

21. Last date active

The last date a user was active is very useful information. By understanding this metric, you can prevent churn by either reaching out to your users after a set number of days offline or sending them resources to stay on top of mind. You can also use this as a trigger to send a survey to users about your product. Users who recently logged in will have a fresh memory and will offer better insights.

22. Renewal date

Depending on your billing frequency, it may be a good idea to remind your customers that you are there to help before a critical renewal date. The longer the billing cycle, the longer in advance you should engage with your customers to increase the chances of renewing their account for another period.

Combining the events and properties that you track behind the scenes with the data that you explicitly collect from the contacts in your database will allow you to better segment your audience. This is a key part in identifying who will ultimately become a customer and drive business growth.

Check out the Complete Guide To Email Marketing eBook for more tips on turning contacts into customers. 


About the Author

Francois Mathieu is a Marketing Consultant and Entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada. He is the Co-Founder of <a href="">Hōjicha Co.</a>, a specialty tea distributor and retailer.

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