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Jun 20, 2011 | 2 minute read

Do You Segment Email Subscribers Upon Sign Up?

written by Linda Bustos

What if you knew more about your email subscribers and what they're interested in buying? Or where they are located? Or how often they'd like to receive messages from you so you don't barrage them to the point of unsubscription? Is there some space-age software that can help you accomplish this?

While predictive learning and personalization tools exist for the web and are pretty amazing, simply asking your customers who, what, when and how often can do the job. This post looks at 3 ways of collecting email subscriber info, with ideas for how you can let customers self-segment upon sign up.

Simple Box

The simple email sign up box is very common on ecommerce sites, it's nothing more than an empty field and a call to action button to "Subscribe," "Sign Up" (or "Submit," ick). Simple sign up boxes can fade into the background of your design, often taking a backseat to "Like us on Facebook" requests. Can you spot the sign up below?

What's worse, they don't allow for any segmentation - every subscriber is added to the same list (though they may be segmented based on their behavior after the fact) - but you lose the opportunity to find out who they are and what they're interested in. You also can't personalize emails or subject lines with subscribers' names.

Box Plus Segmentation

Segmentation does not need to be complicated. It truly depends on what your email marketing is all about. There's no use collecting favorite breakfast cereal if you're never going to craft campaigns around that data.

ASOS preserves the simplicity of the Simple Box, but allows for a segmentation of male or female:

Similarly, you may include 2 buttons for "business" and "personal" emails (or whatever is relevant to your business). Keep in mind anything more than 2 buttons may get confusing and not look clickable anymore. Office Depot uses check boxes in a short sign up form, which is another option.

Preferences Center

While you can have a separate preferences center even if you use "simple" or "box plus," subscribers are more likely to give you this information up-front than later on in their relationship with you. Examples:

LL Bean

Office Max


Of course, the more complex your form, the less likely a user is to complete it. Attention should be paid to, like in any form design, asking for only what's important, using a BIG call to action and placing the call to action within the user's eye flow. i.e. you shouldn't need to point the user to the call to action...

No matter which format you choose, ensure the choice is based on your email marketing strategy - design the form according to the segments you create campaigns for. A bonus tip: if you plan on adding segmentation questions to your email sign up box/form, make sure you contact existing subscribers and ask them to update their preferences in a preference center (landing page) as well. Not all will respond, but you can still glean more about your existing subscribers than doing nothing.

Looking for help with A/B and multivariate testing? Contact the Elastic Path consulting team at consulting[at] to learn how our conversion optimization services can improve your business results.