“Joshua, we want to hire you to help us break into the photo editing software industry. We’ve been trying for a few years now and not making much progress. Adobe has really locked up this market.” 

Bernie Schroeder was the Marketing Manager for Corel. 

For the next three weeks, I signed up for every email list Corel had. 

I asked Bernie to send me everything they’d written over the past two years and include all the data on them… open rates, spam complaints, click rates, and sales rates. 

I also had him send me details on customer buying patterns, sorted by top spenders, frequent buyers, types of products bought 

Then, I did a round of interviews and surveys with the people in engineering, customer service, marketing, and actual customers. 

Finally, I called and spoke with over 100 potential customers. 

“Bernie,” I said, “there is one thing we can change in your approach that will help you grab market share in this space. I’m not sure we’ll crush Adobe this week, but you can certainly capture a huge piece of the market.”

Common Ground Over Beehives 

To understand the solution I created for Corel, let me tell you about a very odd experience I had some years earlier. 

I was sitting in Perry Marshall’s small home office on the second floor of his Berwyn, IL home. Perry Marshall is one of the world’s leading experts in Google Ad Words, Facebook Ads and is challenging the medical field with his ideas on evolution and cancer treatments. He’s a brilliant man and author of several books including Evolution 2.0 and The 80/20 Of Sales and Marketing

The chairs were arranged in a semi-circle around Perry’s desk. Around the room sat three other men. All of us were there for a 2-day private hands-on private consultation with Perry. 

On the second day, during one of the breaks, we spend some time getting to know each other better. 

“I just finished building out my fifth beehive,” I mentioned. 

The man across from me smiled, “Those great. I have bees as well.” 

“Really?”, the other man replied, “so do I!” 

The three of us turned to the fourth man with a questioning look. 

He gave us a funny grin, “I just sold my hives and equipment about two months ago because we moved.” 

I was amazed. What are the odds that four men, from different parts of the world, running totally different businesses, should all be bee-keepers and be gathered in Perry’s home office? 

We started asking about other hobbies and activities. We quickly found out that the similarities between us were far more than our differences. SCUBA diving, large families, blue as a favorite color, love of travel, etc… 

When Perry came back, we laughingly told him all about it. I thought he would be surprised. 

But he wasn’t. 

“Yeah,” he said, “I already knew most of that. I used all that to target you guys and get you to come here.” 

I was shocked. 

Perry went on, “The best marketing is a one-on-one conversation with another human being. I realized that my ideal client tends to have specific, sometimes quirky, hobbies and interests. So, I crafted my marketing for these 2-day intensives to call-out you guys. And it worked – obviously.” 

This was my first introduction into what I now call “Personalize List Segmentation”. 

The Magic of Seeing Individuals – Not Masses

It is the process of uncovering very specific things about people on your list and crafting messages, offers and marketing channels specifically for them. 

This used to be very hard. But today, with AI and other technology, it is relatively easy. Facebook, Google, and all the big players rely heavily on this kind of individualized marketing. 

The reason this works is because of the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” 

Be More Specific to Appeal to More People

Humans are very interesting. We all want to feel unique and special… and at the same time we have a primal need to belong to a group, to something bigger than ourselves. 

So, we each choose ways to be different and unique… and then hunt down people who have chosen those same things. We form groups and associations and clubs and revel in our similarities! 

“The more specific you become, the more universal will be your appeal.”

My speaking coach, Bo Eason, one of the greatest public speakers of our day and a master storyteller, told me once, “Joshua, the more specific you become, the more universal will be your appeal.” 

For a long time I didn’t understand that. But now I do. As I get more specific, I honor that part of human nature that loves to be unique and special. And, as it happens, I then begin to appeal to the millions of other people who have chosen that method of being unique. 

In Corel’s case, we discover that there were around 9 different types of buyers and each type had around 5 different highly specific interests, making a total 45 different audiences we could engage in 1-1 conversations. 

We built out a standard message template and then inserted customized merge fields to allow us to seamlessly change up the language, feel and offer of each email. 

The results were stunning. Email open rates as high as 74%. Conversion rates in excess of 20%. Millions of dollars of new revenue and substantial, sustained growth in the market. 

Most companies send the same message to their entire list. This is a costly mistake – especially since, with a little research and some extra copy, you can easily begin having a one-on-one conversation with your prospects and buyers. 

The Top 3 List Segmentation Strategies

There are three major ways to segment your list: 

1- Personality Type

We found that some people bought Corel software because they were serious professionals (like forensic detectives)… others because they loved sharing pictures with their friends (social butterflies)… while others wanted to preserve family memories (genealogy buffs). 

Each of these people have a different core personality type. Each type responds better to certain words and images. For example, task oriented people like exact language that is full of action verbs… while people oriented people like more adjectives and emotions. 

This helps you define benefits, vocabulary and imagery. 

2 – Purchase Volume 

Your buyers and prospects have different buyer behavior patterns. Some have very low financial thresholds… while others are big spenders. (I detailed the differences in my article, “A Proven Process to 3x Revenues With Large Profit Margins”)

When you understand the buyer behavior, you can customize offers and substantially increase response rates. 

This helps you define your offers and pricing. 

3 – Purchase Frequency 

Just like buyers have certain financial thresholds, they also have certain stability thresholds… meaning, some things fast paced, while others like to move slower. 

You have buyers one your list that would love to hear from you everyday, even if… no especially if… you’re pitching them something. 

Others are going to need some time to digest and enjoy. Every month of so is good enough. 

This helps you define the tempo of your offers and marketing strategies. 

List segmentation is one of the most powerful tools you can use to increase revenue. 

List segmentation is one of the most powerful tools you can use to increase revenue. 

It helps you stop looking at your list as an ATM machine and start seeing them as real people. 

I once signed up for a training program that cost over $10,000. For the industry and where I was financially at the time, that was a huge price tag. I expected the company to treat me with a bit of respect and notice me. After all, I was one of their biggest customers. 

But they didn’t. I got more and more emails offering to sell me more and more stuff that I already had – and they knew that I already had. On the flip side, they said very little to me about my training program. 

I felt neglected, unimportant and frustrated. Don’t do that to your buyers… especially your top buyers! 

And, I had the exact opposite experience with companies. 

People want to be seen as individuals. When you do that, you earn their respect and loyalty… and their money.