You Can’t Grow Your Business If You Don’t Do This

baef383a c855 42cc a96f 1ff75c7fe553

Ok, that title was clickbait-ish, but that doesn’t mean this article isn’t accurate.

I’ve spoken to a couple of business owners lately and one recurring theme I hear is that they want to grow their business.

Who doesn’t, right?

But the problem is they want to grow their business — generate new leads and customers and eventually revenues, hire new team members — but don’t want to do the work necessary for that growth.

Here’s a conversation I had with a business owner a few weeks ago.

“I want to grow my current sales by 2x so I can cover my opex [operating expenses].” I then reply with, “I totally understand. Everybody likes more sales, right? What are you currently doing to grow your revenues?”

“Nothing,” the owner replied. “I don’t want to ‘advertise’ yet nor do any marketing activities because I’m afraid if I do so, my current team can’t handle it.”

Let’s step back a little bit. What do you think about the business owner’s answer?

Look, any person who’s not invested in the business — emotionally — will clearly see that there’s a disconnect.

The owner wants to grow the business while doing nothing.

You don’t do anything but the business just keeps growing.

In a perfect world, that’s the dream!

But in reality, that’s just not going to happen.

Growing Your Business Requires Two Things from its Owners

If there’s a magic formula for success, then every business would be successful.

But that’s not always the case.

According to one study, 20% of businesses fail within the first year, 30% on the second year, and 50% of fail within 5 years.

Growing any business means you have to spend more and do more. Let me explain…

1. You will spend more

Accept the fact that you will spend more. Whether that’s for hiring new people, advertising, or other activities like developing your product or buying a bigger inventory to avail of lower prices.

It’s the most basic idea in business (or in investments).

You buy/produce something at a lower price only to sell it at a higher price to achieve profits.

Sales – Expenses = Profits.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is when you spend, you do so with the expectation that the return will be higher than the expense itself.

So, instead of simply thinking that shelling out money is simply an expense, think of it as an investment.

Of course, there are ways to use that money wisely, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But at this point, treat every expense as a learning opportunity.

If the outcome is good, meaning the return is at least equal the expense (breakeven), improve on it so the same activity will lead to a bigger return in the future.

If the outcome is bad, learn from it so you don’t make the same mistakes again. If you don’t learn from it, and do the same thing again, that’s not a wise use of your money and other resources.

2. You will do more

Fact is your business will not grow with status quo.

If you have one store with 10 people, open from 9am – 9pm, how do you expect to grow 10x if you don’t hire more people nor do any marketing activities, nor invest in productivity software and apps, nor open new stores?

You spend more because you do more. You do more because you spend more.

Again, there are better uses of resources (in this case manpower and your time). But the fact remains that in order to grow, you have to do more things.

Don’t expect that your brilliant idea will get you where you want to go. You have to do a lot of experimentation — from testing your main value proposition to the smallest details like CTA copy.

This is actually one of the things I mentioned in my private newsletter (which you can subscribe to here, by the way). I worked with another consultant for a client and it’s been 7 weeks of planning and spreadsheets but nothing is coming out.

How to Grow Your Business Effectively and Efficiently

1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

I’m sure you know this already, but you don’t invest everything in that one brilliant idea of yours and leave nothing for yourself or as a fallback.

Now, this isn’t to say that you don’t go “all-in” when you execute on your idea. What I meant by not putting all your eggs in one basket is you have to do this smartly.

If you have a secured full-time job and you have a brilliant idea and want to pursue it, don’t just jump the ship and resign from your day job to focus on your side hustle.

Build out your side hustle first while still working full-time. When you see actual profits coming in — positive cashflow — then that’s the only time you start thinking of resigning from your job.

Not everyone has access to investments like the ones we constantly hear from the news where they got millions to fund their growth.

For normal people like us, we have to rely on how regular businesses survive in the market — earn revenues from customers.

Hustle — that’s the proper term. Work on your side business after your full-time job. Work on the weekends. Once it starts growing, that’s when you consider going at this business full-time.

2. Continuously get market feedback

Having started my own consulting practice, I always tell business owners that the market is the best source of feedback for your business.

Most of the time, business owners want to spend resources building out this awesome product/service without getting feedback from the market.

All they did was casually ask around and thought this idea is perfect. They now want to pour in money to build this thing. New website, hire new team, new company, even. All the works.

While it’s an unfortunate story, a lot of business owners go through this. Especially the ones who are “serial entrepreneurs” and have other working businesses. So, it’s okay for them to lose money.

To them, it’s part of the game.

But for most of us, we can’t afford to lose money.

For most of us, investments towards businesses are entire life savings.

So, what do you do instead?

Don’t rely on assumptions

When you have an idea, there are always underlying assumptions behind it. The biggest one is this: when you put your products/services out there, customers will both want and have the capacity to buy it.

But those are two different things.

And the best approach is to test your assumptions (or hypotheses) using market feedback (yup, not market research).

There are already countless tools and frameworks you can use to do this. And I plan on writing more about them in the future. If you want to receive updates about testing your ideas in the market, you can enter your email here.

For the record, I’m not against asking around. In fact, it’s the first step in market validation. If everyone says it’s a terrible idea, don’t proceed. Move to the next one. But if they say it’s great, you have to go to the next step of validation — are people willing to buy it.

Sample testing: e-commerce store introducing a new product/product line

Here’s a brief example of how you can get early market feedback before spending (wasting) a lot of time and money.

Let’s say you’re an existing e-commerce store and you want to introduce a new product or product line.

There are two ways you can go about this:

  1. Develop it first and go to market
  2. Refine the idea, get feedback
    • if positive, develop it and go to market
    • if negative, scrap it and move on to the next idea

After everything I said so far, you know the correct answer is #2, right?

Here’s how you do it.

And you can do it in two ways:

  1. Ask your existing customers
  2. Ask others

I recommend doing it both ways. First, ask your customers to see if it’s the right idea in the first place. After all, your customers already bought from you so they are most likely to tell you how to improve. You can find your best customers and ask them. Depending on how you define them, it could be any of the following:

  • Top-paying customers (all-time or within a specific period like 6 months)
  • Those who bought from you 6x in the last 12 months, instead of just once

You get the idea. There are more variations you can do here depending on your business.

And if that still isn’t a good benefit, remember that existing customers are easier and costs less to sell to. So, if you include them early on about your journey and plans for the business, they’re more likely to become advocates.

Next, use the information you got from your customers to further refine your idea, then either ask them again, or ask the market — people who don’t know you.

The easiest way to do this is through a survey. Or, if you’re further along the development, you can already ask for pre-orders.

This is the main idea behind Kickstarter. Instead of building your own product upfront, you create a campaign and ask feedback from the market. Based on that, you can go ahead and proceed with it, or move on to the next idea.

Pro tip: Do you advertise on facebook? You can use this same approach of getting market feedback early. What you do is post organically on your page. After some time, check back on the analytics. If it gets more engagement than other posts, that’s what you promote. Why? Because there’s a higher chance of it succeeding and gaining traction. Use this tactic instead of multiple A/B testing variations that will just eat up your budget.

3. Use an iterative implementation approach

This was already implied in the previous section, but it’s worth mentioning it here again.

You don’t need to create elaborate 100+ page business plans no one will read.

But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel as well.

There are tools that you can use that allows you to easily “write down” your business and test it against the market.

For example, a favorite tool of mine is the Business Model Canvas. I use this to easily understand how my clients’ business works. I also use this to plan out new service offerings.

There’s a lot of tools within it — like the value proposition canvas. I particularly like this because it really helps you get in the mindset of your customers. You can download both tools here for free.

Then, to make the process of testing and learning easier, there are also some tools provided and named so sophisticatedly that you won’t forget them — the test card and the learning card.

Here’s a video on how you can use these tools…

Validate Your Ideas with the Test Card
Capture (Customer) Insights and Actions with the Learning Card

So, What Are You Going to Do Next

There is no “right” path for business owners. There is no playbook in the market that allows you to easily navigate your way around. There’s no manual that teaches you how to register your business to finding your first customer to hiring and firing people.

The best you can do is learn from what you’re doing and learn from others. Both the successes and the mistakes.

Growing your business means you will do more and spend more.

As the saying goes, “what got you here won’t get you there.”

Expect a lot of bumps in your journey. But if you continuously test your ideas against the market — those small, unconscious adjustments you make on the wheel — you will reach your destination.

(Last updated [post_modified_date])

35+ Email List Segmentation (Plus Sample Use Cases)

25880af2 31c2 4de8 8078 97eec841c96f

Email marketing doesn’t work.”

“People don’t read their emails anymore.”

Have you ever heard these before? If you’re a digital marketer, you would have most likely said these statements yourself.

“You’ve got to be on TikTok and SnapChat!”

“Email marketing is dead.”

Or not.

Email marketing will not be successful without effective list segmentation. The only reason marketers claim that email marketing is dead is because they don’t know how to segment their list. To them, their entire list is the newsletter list. Nothing else. They don’t create content around different topics. And that’s hte main reason they can’t segment their list. That’s the main reason they see poor results.

Research over the years across industries all over the world have already proven that without segmentation, email marketing will not work.

According to one study, it can increase sales leads and revenues by as much as 24%! And yes, it will increase your open rates and click-through rates as well. But you know those are just the basic email marketing metrics, right? It’s the ones that affect your bottomline are more important.

list segmentation results resized 600

The only way email marketing will be effective without segmentation is when you are in a very niche topic with a very niche audience — which is basically its own form of segmentation 😉

But email marketing is not dead. It still boasts the highest ROI across all marketing channels. One way to quickly differentiate yourself from the rest?


There are 4 broad categories of segmentation: geographic, demographics, psychographics, and behavioral. Among these, behavioral is the most powerful one.

We’ll go through them all below.

Preparatory Points

All use cases below are using the example of a local pet store with eCommerce shop that only offer its within Metro Manila. Some segmentation listed below doesn’t apply to our pet store so there are no use cases presented.

The data discussed in this list doesn’t have to be asked all in one long-form. What do you think will happen if a single form on your website asks for 25 questions at once? They’d probably not fill-it out.

Some of these can be collected later on using progressing profiling; while some need not be asked — meaning, they are collected automatically.

4 Categories of Segmentation

Geographic Segmentation

1. Address

Address refers to any location you either have customers or want to serve. For example, you may have 3 stores across 3 different cities.

Sample Use Case:

Each of the 3 stores partnered with a veterinary clinic near them. They are offering a free rabies vaccination for the whole month of May.

You might want to send an email to remind your customers to get their free rabies vaccination. So, instead of using generic message in your email, you can make it more personal by using the residents of each city to go to the respective veterinary clinics that were endorsed. This would make it relevant to the recipients. Think about it. Would a resident of BGC travel all the way to QC just to go to the vet? Or would it seem more likely that a Makati resident visit a vet clinic in Makati too?

2. Language

This applies more to international markets, but can be used locally too. If you deliver nationwide, you can show personalization by using local dialects. Or if your customer-base has a distinct community, use that to your advantage.

3. Climate

Climate in the Philippines doesn’t change much as opposed to other countries with four seasons. But you can use the two seasons we have as themes for your campaigns, especially for your email list.

4. Area

Area refers to the bigger geographic location of the address you collected.

Sample Use Case:

When asking in your forms, you break down the 17 cities in metro manila and add an others field. When people choose others, you can set your eCommerce platform to not enable further purchasing and have a text displayed as “Sorry, we only deliver to Metro Manila at this moment.”

Demographics Segmentation

1. Birthdays

Birthdays are a great way to reconnect with your customers and give them something of value.

Sample Use Case:

Show your customers that you appreciate them by sending them a simple thank you email on the day of their birthday. Or if you want to take it a step further, write them a real thank you card saying how much you appreciate them. That’s it. No selling. Just appreciation.

2. Age

Another way to use the date you already have is to calculate age. Age can be used as a way to craft the primary message of your campaign.

Sample Use Case:

Provided that you’re margins can take it — or as an organizational strategy to differentiate yourself — you offer discounts on the day/week/month your birthday according to the age. For example, you chose a day as your period for this offering.

You offer X% off on ALL products / services when customers come in on their birthdays. When a customer comes in on his 30th birthday, they get 30% discount on everything they buy in your store.

You can add conditions here such as any day 7 days before or after the birthday, or within the birth month.

3. Other Dates

Apart from birthdays, there are significant dates that might matter to your organization. Think of anniversaries, first purchase, last purchase, etc.

In the case of our local pet store, we can collect birthdays of their pets!

Sample Use Cases:

You send an email to pet owners during the birth month of their pets. For example, you can offer them a 50% discount on all purchases during this month.

You can also use this data to create lead nurture emails that guide them along the recommended life of a dog. For example, on weeks 5-6 the pet owner should start thinking about their puppies training plan. Then starting week 7 or 8, the actual training starts.

Or another way you can use dates is during the anniversary of their subscription to your list. You can send a simple thank you email, or some sort of personalized message to them for joining your email list.

4. Gender

Knowing the gender of your customer can sometimes work wonders for your organization.

Sample Use Case:

This is an oversimplification, but accessories for pets (clothes, shoes, etc.) are often bought by women. So, you can send a campaign targeting only pet parents who are women. This gives you a higher chance of engagement and ROI instead of sending to everyone on your list.

5. Education

This refers to their educational attainment. Higher education usually mean two things: the person has a high sense of accomplishment and/or a little well-off in life (whether that’s by their own doing or through family).

While this may not be an important information for our pet store example, your organization might be different and need this information (e.g. B2B and coaching businesses).

6. Social Status

Social status refers to whether they are single, married, etc. Looking at changes in this status may give you an idea as to how their behavior may change.

Sample Use Case:

(not for pet store eCommerce shop)

You can use the change in social status as part of your advertisement campaigns. For example, when a person changes their status from single to engaged, they now become an audience for your campaign. Let’s say you sell customized gifts for wedding giveaways. You can create an ad campaign that targets only newly engaged couples for this.

7. Family

Depending on how you look at it, you can either use this field to collect the number of people in the household, ask if they are by themselves or living with relatives, etc.

8. Life Stage

If it’s relevant, you can ask for where they are in their lives, although this can be inferred from their age. The standard life stages are infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

Of course, most probably can’t ask infants and children. The point here is that for each of these life stages, people have different interests, actions, and behaviors associated with them. Use that to your advantage when crafting your campaigns.

9. Occupation/Job Title

Occupation is usually an open-ended question where people type in their job titles. For a pet store, this doesn’t make sense to collect. But if you’re a SaaS software, it does makes sense to collect this information. You get to learn more about your audience.

This can be by department, e.g. marketing, sales, it, management; or by title, e.g. chief happiness officer, head of business development.

Before choosing which one to use, always apply the most important rule when it comes to asking for information on forms (and therefore segmentation): will it help you know your audience better? If it will not help you understand them better, don’t bother asking it. If you won’t use it, again, don’t ask the question.

10. Role

Role is somewhat related to occupation. The difference is that this usually refers to the rank inside their organization. Depending on how you define these levels, that will determine the options your customers can choose.

For example, the options for these could be: student/intern, individual contributor, manager, director, vice-president, C-suite.

Each of the roles presented above are different because an individual contributor will have different concerns from the CEO.

These roles don’t apply to our pet store example, but definitely for B2B companies.

11. Industry

This is self-explanatory. For our local pet store, it doesn’t make sense to collect this at all. But for B2B, this is especially important. Some B2C might also benefit from this, especially the software companies.

Did you know that the Philippines has its own standard industry classification list?

12. Size

This can refer to company size, or family size, depending on your industry.

In the pet store example, this can be a family size or number of pets. For B2B companies, this will be the number of employees in the company.

Sample Use Case:

Let’s say you ask for the number of dogs in the household. If you combine this with pet birthdates, you would know the ages of the dogs.

Bonus points if you also ask for the names and other information of the pets! So you know each dog’s name, birthday, breed, gender, and a whole lot more.

These will help you really create customized messages for them. For example, you can create a segment then send them a big 15kg dog food campaign:

  • dogs in a single household = 3+ (indicating lots of dogs)
  • all dogs ages between 1+ and 7 (indicating dogs are adults, but not mature)

Psychographics Segmentation

This is the second way you can segment your email list. Here’s a simple way to distinguish demographics from psychographics.

Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy.

1. Persona

Personas are your ideal customer profiles. They are used to create targeted content and messaging across all your channels.

Sample Use Case:

“If you want to receive free rabies vaccination for your pets…” or “If you want to receive free rabies vaccination for your dogs/cats…”

You can make it more personal by using “dog” for the dog owners and “cat” for cat owners.

2. Lifestyle

Lifestyle refers to how people live their life. You might have heard people use “lifestyle” to describe someone who goes to Starbucks everyday and speaks English all the time.

You might also heard people describe their lifestyle as a minimalist. Regardless of how you use this, the better you understand why they act or buy, the better your marketing results will be.

3. Concerns

Concerns are what keeps your customers up at night. For pet owners, the most common concerns are health of their pets…

  • “are they eating properly?” (nutrition) or
  • “should i be worried about any sickness /death?” (rabies, parvovirus, etc), or
  • “i’m worried because they might bite my neighbor.”

Sample Use Case:

These are all valid concerns of the customers for our pet store. The pet store can then use these information to provide new email (and social) subscribers to ask if these are any of their concerns.

Once they do, they get enrolled in specific email nurturing campaigns to educate them more about these issues.

To learn more about how to create lead nurturing campaigns, check out this step-by-step guide.

4. Personality

It pays to know your market’s default disposition. This will help you guide how you communicate.

For example, you’re an outgoing marketer. But, your customers are mostly reserved. What do you think will happen if you continue using fluffy words, colorful design, and everything just stands out?

Knowing this doesn’t limit you to your campaigns. You can use this knowledge to guide you in crafting your entire website copy (and all your campaigns).

5. Values

What do your customers value the most? Is it money? Is it convenience? Do they appreciate high quality work?

If you’re trying to sell high-end, specialized dog food that costs 800 per kilo, but your customers care about price, you won’t get the results you’re expecting.

Your actions as a business in general has to match what your customers value. Otherwise, you will have a hard time implementing successful marketing campaigns.

6. Attitudes

Attitudes are a way of thinking or feeling towards something. What does your customer feel about a year-long sale? Year after year? Does your customer smile or cringe when they hear your brand name? Or are they wondering what your brand is all about?

Behavioral Segmentation

1. Products/Services Availed

This one is also self-explanatory.

Identify what your customers bought from you so you can send them related info for that product/service later on, or upsell/cross-sell something that is related.

Sample Use Case:

You looked at your database and saw that a lot of dog owners are buying 2kg bags of dog food. You’re assuming they are doing so only because that’s what they see displayed in-store.

You then send out an email to these specific customers to tell them you have 15kg bags of these dog food. You have limited stocks of them. And that they can save 15% compared to buying seven 2kg bags.

2. Intent

Intent is another way most organizations implement campaigns on — whether or not they will buy from you. You can use this to guide product launches, etc. For example, you can create a simple survey asking whether people will be a product with these features. Or given a product, ask how much they will most likely buy it for.

All things being equal, it’s known that past behavior (like previous purchases) is the best predictor of future behavior. Asking for intent is a hypothetical question. People say all kinds of things but rarely follows through.

One way to really execute on this is to use pre-orders. This means they pay you now while you develop and launch your new product/service. If people aren’t buying it, dig deeper to find the reason:

  • Do they not trust you?
  • Do they don’t trust the product/service you’re developing?
  • Is there something you need to change that will make them buy it?
  • Is it the price?

If after analyzing the different angles and people still aren’t pre-ordering, that means there’s probably no need for the product/service you’re thinking.

Take note that if you don’t deliver, you won’t be able to do this again. It will greatly damage your brand.

3. Buyer Stage

Buyer stage, or the stage in the buyer’s journey, allows you to separate what content to send them.

A person who started her research process (awareness) won’t be happy seeing promos about your products. She’ll be happier seeing whether or not this product can help me solve my problems first. Because if not, no amount of promotion and discounting can and will persuade her to buy from you.

As a general rule of thumb, use this breakdown to guide your content creation:

  • 50% in the awareness stage
  • 30% in the consideration stage
  • 20% in the decision stage

Alternatively, you can read more about the 5 stages of awareness.

4. Occasion

It pays to know which occasion your customers are preparing/buying for. This will help you communicate more effectively.

For the pet store, this isn’t much of an issue because there’s typically no cyclical periods in raising a pet (except for birthdays).

But if you’re a new accounting firm and eager to get clients, a campaign to get other people to switch to you won’t do very well if you’re sending this in March and April — tax season. You’d be better off holding this off in May or June after everyone has finished filing their tax returns.

Maybe even run a campaign targeting people who had a negative experience with their accountants. Think about it. You’d have less competition because other firms are done with their tax season campaign. But if your campaign targets people who had negative experiences with their current firm, you can lay the groundwork so you can capture their business.

5. Engagement

Engagement means how engaged your leads are. If your email marketing software is connected to social, you will have the ability to track the interactions your company had with the customer. For some, this can be identified using lead scoring.

Sample Use Case:

You can send freebies to your most engaged customers, ask them to refer you, or a simple thank you. On the other side, you can create a separate win-back campaign to your least engaged subscribers (or worse, people who say something negative about you).

6. Buying Frequency

Buying frequency refers to how often these people buy from you at a certain period. There might be some technical roadblocks, but it is worth combining offline data with online data to get the whole picture.

Sample Use Case:

For example, a customer buys dog food online 4x a year. If you don’t combine this with offline data, you might think this customer won’t go over that limit. But, if you look at offline data, this customer might be buying straight from the store itself after seeing the vet — and that’s every 6 months. So the customer only buys online if they don’t visit the vet.

If you know this, you can send a special campaign for these group of customers and offer them free shipping or maybe even a subscription offer. That way, they don’t have to stop by your store or worry about not having enough dog food.

As a side note, most Philippine companies waste this important data point. A lot of companies offer their loyalty programs. But, 99% of them offer the same thing — buy x times, get 1 free. They don’t go beyond this point.

7. Content Topic

This refers to broader categories of the content you produce. For example, our pet store might have multiple articles on training, first time pet owners, choosing the right food, etc.

Sample Use Case:

Let’s say you create content around different topics related to taking care of your dog:

  • First-time pet owners
  • Training 101
  • Choosing the right dog food

You can ask your list directly for which topics they are interested in, or log in your email marketing software and group people who visited these topics and send only those content.

8. Interest Level

The interest level can be about different stages your list goes through. For example, it can be as simple as beginner, intermediate, and advance.

A first-time pet owner will have different sets of questions/concerns than someone who already has five dogs in the house. Consider that when it comes to segmenting your list.

Or in other industries, let’s say you’re someone who teaches Facebook Marketing. You might use the beginner, intermediate, and advance segmentation. For example, topics in your beginner level include adding the Facebook Pixel, different types of audiences, and the different campaign structures. But for your advanced level, you might cover retargeting, evergreen campaigns, and combining FB ads with Google Ads (and other PPC).

9. Content Format

This refers to the different types of content your audience consumes — i.e. blog articles, eBooks, webinars, PDF downloads, etc.

If your content marketing is on its A-game, you can further improve your ROI when you distinguish which ones your list prefers.

Sample Use Case:

Whenever you send out a new content email, you noticed that your existing leads don’t download your PDF that much.

On the other hand, you noticed that when you share videos about the content offering you just launched, you get a lot of engagement.

In your next email, instead of sending an email asking them to download, you can include the video about it. This might give you a better way of engaging your list.

10. Content Engagement

This refers to the amount of time leads are spending with your content.

This is an indication of their interest in your company, and should be used to either reawaken waning interest, or move leads along through the sales cycle while they’re at their height of engagement with your content.

Again, depending on the marketing software you are using, this can be tracked automatically and give you notifications.

Sample Use Case:

For example, you setup a notification in your subscription pricing page that when people come back to it 3x in 7 days, but didn’t buy yet. This way, you can send a manual email or call them up directly to ask them if they have questions about this subscription.

While this may be an overkill when it comes to our pet store, this is usually how SaaS companies do their marketing and sales. They know that people visiting their pricing page a couple of times in a short amount of time means they are actively looking and looking to buy soon. If they can speak with you, answer your questions and concerns, you’re most likely going to buy from them.

11. Buying Behavior

Change in buying behavior can indicate the person is becoming more or less interested in your organization. This is somewhat similar to buying frequency, or the products/services they availed, so take that into consideration.

If you look at frequency to determine how you can further segment your campaign, you can think of buying behavior as indication of whether they are still going to be a customer or not.

Sample Use Case:

If someone regularly buys dog food every two months, then suddenly they didn’t in two consecutive 2-month periods, what does that mean? If they buy cakes annually for their furry friends’ birthday, then didn’t buy this year, what does that mean?

In both cases, you can create a campaign that reminds them about their purchase, or maybe even offer a small discount. Maybe you can even remind them about your relationship (they bought 16 bags in the last 2 years) or something to that effect.

12. Call-to-action clicks or Clicks with tags

These are a special type of link clicks that allow you to segment your list further. More sophisticated marketing software does this tracking automatically. But for marketers who don’t have the budget, simple UTM tags will do the trick.

This replaces the need to ask them in your forms. And as you know, shorter forms lead to more conversions.

Sample Use Case:

Send an email that asks for the recipient’s input. For example, which statement best describes you:

  • first-time pet parent
  • i have several pets before

Then, when they click on the “first-time pet parent,” they get tagged into that segment already. The same holds true for the other choices.

Then, you can use this segmentation to personalize the content you’re sending. A first-time pet parent needs more hand-holding. You explain more things and provide more resources. But the experienced one will find that annoying. Instead, you can simply sent short reminders. That way, you’re simply reminding them of things they should have known already.

13. Satisfaction Rating

If you’re running feedback surveys or customer satisfaction surveys (which you should), you can segment people in this different groups. For example, the most known feedback survey is the NPS.

You can segment your promoters, detractors, and neutral.

Then, after a few days, you can ask for referrals from your promoters. While you reach out to your detractors to learn more about the reasons behind the low score.


The key to succeeding in digital marketing is segmentation because it allows you to know more about your leads and customers. It also allows you to be hyper-focused and only sends relevant content to them.

These are only some ways you can segment your email list. The sample use cases above might not necessarily apply to your business (unless you’re a pet store with an eCommerce shop), but that should give you an idea of how to use them.

Remember, irrelevant content is the main reason people unsubscribe from your list. If you don’t continuously invest in knowing your customers, you will never know what they want or what they care about.

Start segmenting your email list today.

Have you tried any of these list segmentation before? I’d love to know. Let’s chat in the comments below!

(Last updated [post_modified_date])

Content Creation 101: How to Get Started with Content Creation from Scratch

17a16b3b d751 4d85 a71f 944c11a2c53d

Before stumbling on this article, what were you doing before?

Browsing social media? Searching on Google? Checking your email?

Whatever that was, you’re most likely absorbing some form of content.

And that’s not unusual.

In today’s hyperconnected world, we’re bombarded with so many content everywhere we go.

But that’s the disconnect a lot of business owners and inexperienced marketers often miss. They think that content is not relevant to their organization. They think that content creation is only for those with big budgets. They think that they can succeed without content.

Guess what?

That won’t happen.

If you value content and want to know how to get stared, read on…

8 Steps to Start Content Creation in Digital Marketing

1. Don’t worry about SEO

Whenever I talk to business owners and other marketers about creating content, the topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) often comes up.

They get worried that they don’t know how to do SEO, should they hire SEO experts and other stuff along those lines.

I tell them to stop worrying about SEO and just get started with writing blog posts or articles. You can deal with SEO later on.

The problem with worrying about SEO is that you get stuck. There are over 200 ranking factors to consider and learn in SEO. If you try to learn all of these, you’ll never have time to actually create content.

Instead, I tell them a principle I’ve always believed in: be helpful.

Create content that is helpful for your customers, SEO will follow.

2. Start with FAQs

When I talk to people about content marketing, here’s something that’s always asked back…

“How do I do that?”

My answer has always been some variation of this, “You already have customers. They have frequently asked questions. Write 300-500 word articles on each of those questions.”

That’s it.

Publish each of these articles once a week and you’re already one step ahead of your competitors who don’t do this.

This addresses the topic on search intent. That’s also why you don’t have to worry about target keywords.

You get the topics to write about directly from your customers. This is one way to get guaranteed traffic to your website.

3. Stick to a schedule

Successful brands in digital marketing don’t follow a strict schedule. They publish content once they have it. Why? Because of their brand. They also have a following already. Regardless of what they post and when they do it, they’ll have an audience eager to read that piece of content.

But that doesn’t mean you should follow them.

If you’re starting out, having a fixed schedule is great to keep you motivated.

Start with once a week. Pick a date and time. For example, Friday at 9am.

Once you’re done with your FAQ article, schedule them for Friday 9am. Then, work on your next. Once you’re done with that second article, schedule it for next week’s Friday, also at 9am.

This allows you to get into a rhythm. It helps develop the habit of writing content. Plus, in case you get buried in work for a couple of days, you’ll have a scheduled post already going out. That alone can calm you down and start thinking about the week after.

Or another alternative is to do sprints.

I am in the middle of my current sprint. I described about my first 30-day writing sprint here.

4. Follow these general rules of thumb

Remember what I said about not worrying about SEO earlier? How there are over 200+ ranking factors that affect SEO…

Once you get the hang of writing content, you can follow these general rules of thumb to guide you when writing your content:

  1. Publishing frequency: once a week
  2. Length: 300 words or more
  3. Format: Use a LOT of white space
    • That means 2-3 sentences per paragraph
    • Use Headers
      • h1, h2, h3
    • Use itemized lists and bullets
    • Bold important text
  4. Add at least one image
    • Don’t forget to add an alt text
  5. Tone:
    • Use simple sentences.
    • Be conversational. That means writing as if you are talking to the person in front of you.
  6. Don’t be afraid to link to other articles/websites/resources
    • Yes, even your competitors

If you have any questions about these rules of thumb, or need help with content creation in general, just let me know in the comments.

And yes, you can break them.

Just make sure you know what you’re doing.

That’s why having SEO plugins like Rank Math or Yoast are great for beginners. It allows you to check your content’s performance across a certain set of rules.

5. Repurpose your content

Modern content creation isn’t limited to writing articles. It’s all about repurposing your content.

There are other types of content out there. The most prominent one are written ones like blog posts and articles.

Content repurposing is transforming your existing content (e.g. article) into other formats like video, email, podcast, checklist, etc.

This makes content creation so easy because after creating one article, you can repurpose it into other content formats, then share them on your social media accounts. Here’s how you can get started with video content.

As you already know, creating something from scratch is infinitely harder than editing/changing/transforming/repurposing an existing one.

As an example, the section on the general rules of thumb is repurposed content from an online course I’m developing for content creation.

If you want to dive deeper into it, here’s an article on how to repurpose your content.

6. Distribute the content

Now that you’ve written some content, don’t forget to distribute it.

This is an important element in your content strategy that you shouldn’t neglect.

And it’s also where most business owners and marketers fail. I’ve seen it so many times. They spend a lot of time and effort in creating great content, then you do nothing else.

They don’t share it on social media, they don’t send it to their email list, they don’t advertise it.

That’s a waste of resources.

I can only assume they bought-in the belief of “if you build it, they will come.” But that’s not going to work in 2020 and beyond. With over 1.5 billion websites as of this writing, that content will not be seen by anyone.

So, post them on social media. Multiple times. Don’t know where to start? Use these formulas:

  • Headline + link + hashtags
  • Quote + image
  • Quote + link
  • Personal opinion + link + hashtags
  • Statistics + image
  • Statistics + link

You get the point. And that’s just for one article. Now, imagine if you have 10 of them? What if you have over 100?

And if you’re writing helpful content as I’ve said in the beginning, they will still be relevant a year from now, 3 years from now.

7. Enlist help from the frontlines (other departments)

Let’s say you finished writing your FAQs. You’re stuck.

The best way to get out of that is to ask for help.

Your choices: your customers, sales department, and customer service.

These people interact with your customers every day (well, except for your customers themselves). They know what their problems are, what they complain about, what they want to happen.

Use them as ideas to write your next piece. And there are lots of ways to go about it:

  • Listicles — Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2020
  • How to’s — How to Train a Puppy

And if you’re stuck again, follow the next tip…

8. Use writing formulas

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. There are a ton of writing formulas you can use.

For example, this article follows the What, Why, How Formula.

I started with what content creation is, why it’s important, then listed several steps on how to get started with content creation.

Here are some of the formulas I frequently use:

  • Minto Pyramid Principle: Situation, Complication, Resolution
  • PAS/PASO: Problem, Agitate, Solve, Outcome
  • Facts and Opinions
  • AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

There are a ton more, but these are what I usually use.

So, What Are You Going to Do Next

Creating content and distributing it is key to succeeding in content marketing. If you want to reach a wider audience, follow these simple tips:

  • Don’t worry too much about SEO
  • Focus on solving your customers — FAQs, challenges, pain points, goals
  • Use writing formulas to speed up writing your content
  • Repurpose and distribute them. Everywhere. Multiple times.

Have you tried any of these tips? Or are you still having trouble getting started? Let me know in the comments below.

Email Traffic: Why It’s Important (+9 Tips)

what is email traffic and how to increase email traffic

Email traffic in digital marketing is the kind of traffic that comes from your email marketing campaigns. It’s one of the most valuable sources of traffic to your website because it comes from existing leads and customers.

Take note that not all links in your emails go to this traffic. To make sure it appears properly under this channel grouping, you have to integrate your email marketing software with Google Analytics or manually tag your links with UTM parameters — and make sure the medium parameter is exactly “email.”

If neither one of those two options is met, the link will be tagged under direct traffic. Also, UTM tags are case-sensitive. So use “email” without the quotes as small case.

Importance of Email Traffic

Traffic coming from your email campaigns is one of the most valuable traffic you can get.


Because this traffic comes from your existing leads and/or customers. After all, they would’t receive any emails from you if they didn’t opt in your email list, right?

These people behave differently than cold traffic primarily because they are further along the buyer’s journey.

They are more invested in you and your company. They know you more than people who are hearing from you for the first time.

This is the main reason why email marketing remains the favorite channel among marketers — it brings the highest ROI across different channels.

Uses of Email Traffic

Email traffic tells you how engaged your current leads and customers are.

It’s a great indication of which messaging is working in your email marketing.

If you are using different marketing emails and tracking them properly, you can see the performance of them in your Google Analytics account.

As you already know, there are two primary metrics to look at when it comes to email marketing: open rate and click-through rate (CTR).

Open rate indicates your subject line convinced your reader to open it; while CTR tells whether your copy/messaging itself is relevant and compelling for the reader to take action — click the link and do whatever you want them to do.

How to Increase Email Traffic

Below are some tips to increase your email traffic. While this list is not exhaustive, these should be enough to get you started.

1. Continuously build your email list

Email lists naturally decay at ~22.5% per year. What that means is a contact in your email list will be practically useless in 4 years.

This could be for a number of reasons. People change jobs and with that change, their email addresses. Your content might become irrelevant to them for no fault of your own. And many more.

Make sure that you continuously generate new leads so you replenish your email list. Here’s a simple 7-step process to generate leads online.

2. Don’t rely on newsletter signups as your lead generation

First, email marketing is not limited to newsletters.

Newsletters are the worst kind of lead generation tactic you can use on your website.


Because it doesn’t add any value to your readers. They don’t benefit from it. Most businesses only use this to continuously send discounts and promos.

Sample marketing offer to increase email traffic

Instead, create marketing offers. Distribute them on social media and use them in ads to reach a wider audience (like the image above).

3. Use a lead management strategy

As part of the 3 pillars of email marketing, a lead management strategy allows you to segment your email list allowing you to personalize your messaging later on.

Segmentation is what separates successful marketers from the annoying ones.

4. Send relevant email

This builds on the lead management strategy above. What this means is once you are able to segment people coming in your list, send only relevant email to those people.

For example, in my own lead management strategy, I determine if the person coming in my email list is a business owner, a marketer, or others.

Sample email for persona segmentation

Once I know who they are, they follow the next tip…

5. Create lead nurturing campaigns per segment

I create lead nurturing campaigns per segment. This way, I only send them relevant emails.

Let’s go back to my example in the previous point.

When people tell me they are a business owner, they are enrolled in a ‘business owner nurturing campaign’ and if they tell me they are a marketer, they enter a ‘marketer nurturing campaign.’

This can be as simple or as complicated you like. You can start with only one lead nurturing campaign. Then, once you build that out, create another one. This way, future leads will then enter nurturing campaign A and some will enter nurturing campaign B.

lead management and segmentation

I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to create your own lead nurturing campaign here.

Feel free to bookmark that page as I’m sure you’re going to go back to it a couple of times.

6. Don’t forget to add UTM tags

As I mentioned above, don’t forget to add the proper UTM tags in the links in your email. Otherwise, when people click on links to it, they will not be tracked under email traffic.

If your email marketing software has an integration with Google Analytics, use that. This ensures all links you are using are tagged automatically.

But if not, you can use the URL Campaign Builder by Google. You fill out the fields then copy the link it provides.

Google's Campaign URL Builder

7. Add links to your email

While this may seem natural, there are some people I’ve spoken with who don’t include links in their email.

And make sure they are working, too!

If you’re sending a simple blog article summary/roundup, that email usually has two things: copy and an image.

For example, here’s Pocket’s daily digest email…

Pocket Email with Links

For each blog article, there are 3 links to it: the image, the title, and the save to pocket.

Bottomline: Add links wherever you can.

8. Include links to your articles in your email signature

One other tactic you can use is to add the links to your website in the email signature.

If your marketing and sales teams are aligned, this can be the campaign priority for the quarter. Or maybe a big event coming up soon.

What will happen is all your marketing and sales team’s email signature use the same copy and link to the registration page.

Just make sure you add the proper UTM tags so they get tagged under Email Traffic in Google Analytics. Of course, this can be easily done through an email signature manager, but if you don’t have one, it’s best to create a template then send it out to the rest of the team. That way, they just copy and paste it instead of re-creating it themselves.

9. Link to your articles in 1:1 email conversations

You use email every day to communicate with your customers, vendors and suppliers, contractors, and many more.

If your company is truly creating helpful content, you shouldn’t hesitate to link to them and include them in your email communications.

It’s as simple as, “hey, we recently published a an article on lead nurturing. I remember that you mentioned you were having trouble creating a lead nurturing campaign a few weeks ago. Hope this helps. (Insert link here)

So, What Are You Going to Do Next

Your email list is one of your most valuable assets. It’s the only one you actually own (vs Facebook or any other social media).

Increasing your email traffic gives you a high chance of succeeding because it’s an indication of a highly engaged audience.

A highly engaged audience is more likely to buy from you. And that means sales for you so you can grow, expand, and deliver more value for them.

Are you using any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below.