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Different ways to create segments

In this article, we'll explain how to create segments and use the segment builder to narrow down your audience, so you can send more relevant campaigns and garner higher levels of engagement.

You cannot add contacts to a segment the same way that you can add them to a group. Instead, people automatically become members of a segment when their subscription data or personal details match the segment criteria. Likewise, when a contact's data no longer matches the segment criteria, they are no longer included in that segment.

For example, let's say you have a segment to identify all of your contacts based in California. If a contact in that segment updates their subscription details and changes their state to Arizona, they'll automatically be removed from the California segment and added to an Arizona segment — providing you have already created a segment for Arizona. 

How to create segments

Follow the steps below to build a segment, and repeat them as needed to build multiple segments. 

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, then click Segments on the left.

  2. Click Create a segment on the right. Give the segment an easily identifiable name, for example, “Nashville Customers”.

    Please note: All Contact field values are case sensitive, which means you'll need to make sure the value entered matches how the data is recorded in your account. 
    For example, "Nashville" will not match with "nashville" and "VIP customer" will not match with "VIP Customer" so be sure to make note of how you label this field for future use.
  3. Click on Segment type to see the dropdown menu and select an option from one of these four categories:
    • Audience group — Select this if you have audience groups you want to base a segment on. For example, contacts in "Group A" can be included or excluded from the segment.
    • Fields — Choose from any of the contact fields available in your account.
    • Response — Build a segment based on responses to emails you've sent. For example, everyone who clicked a link in your last mailing.
    • Signup activity — To segment contacts based on things like date subscribed, which signup form they subscribed through, or when they last edited their subscription preferences.

The next steps will differ based on the segment type selected. Below are a few examples of how the segment builder works, based on various selections.

Example 1: "In" or "Not in" a Group

If you select "Group", you'll see a second dropdown menu with two options: "In" or "Not in". Then there's a third dropdown menu, which lists all of your active audience groups that you can select from.


Example 2: Contact field segment 

If you choose a contact field as the segment type, the second dropdown menu provides a list of conditions, for example, "Equals", "Does not equal", and so on.


Example 3: Contact field conditions segment

The conditions list varies based on the contact field type, and the selection made will determine whether or not there's a third step required to create the rule.

When you build a segment based on a "Short answer" or "Long answer" contact field type, you may — depending on the condition selected — need to type a value into a text field, as shown here:


After you've completed the steps to set up your first rule, either click Save, or click AND or OR to add more rules to the segment criteria.

Ways to manage segments

To manage or update existing segments follow these steps:

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, then click Segments on the left.
  2. Click the down arrow to the right of a segment to access the tools menu for it. We'll go over what each option in the tools menu does below.


How to archive and restore segments

There's no "delete" option for your segments, but you can archive them. To do so, select Archive from the tools menu of the segment and then click the Archive button on the popup to confirm.

If you change your mind after archiving the segment, here's how to restore it:

  1. Click your name at the top right, then select Archived items from the dropdown menu.
  2. Open the Segments tab.
  3. Click the down arrow to the right of the relevant segment, then select Restore.
  4. In the pop-up window, read the notice and click I Understand.

Archiving a segment will not archive or delete any of the contacts who were in the segment, and it will not affect their subscription status. However, if the segment contains contacts who are not members of any group, they will be added to the Limbo group.

Please note: "Limbo" is actually a group native to every Emma account representing contacts that do not belong to any other group in the account.

After archiving a segment, you can create an "in limbo" segment to see if any contacts have been left floating around.

However, if your restored segment was used in an automated workflow, you'll need to edit the workflow to reconnect the segment after you've restored it.

Duplicate segments

Use the "duplicate" option in the tools menu to save time and prevent mistakes. This is useful if you have segment criteria made up of, for example, 5-10 rules and you need to create another segment that is the same except for one or two variables.

Bulk actions for segment members

You can apply bulk actions to members of a segment, such as:

To access the bulk actions menu, select Open from the main tools menu, pictured below, then click Actions and make a selection. 


Additional tips for using segments

Below are some different ways that you can use segments to help improve your email marketing and manage your account.

Identify confirmed contacts

There are two signup methods available in email marketing: single opt-in and confirmed opt-in. You can send to confirmed opt-in contacts only by segmenting based on those who have clicked a verification link during signup, versus those who haven't.

Create a segment to find "in limbo" contacts 

Contacts who are not a member of any audience groups are left floating around and labeled as being “in limbo”. You can create a segment to find them by following the instructions above, and making the following selections:

  1. From the Segment type dropdown menu, select Group.
  2. From the Condition dropdown menu, select In.
  3. From the Select a Group menu, choose Limbo (not in any group).
  4. Click Save.


If you have any "in limbo" contacts, the total will be displayed at the top of the page, and a sample of the contacts will be listed below.

Exclude a segment

Excluding segments can also be used to refine your audience for a mailing. For example, a fashion retailer might use segmentation to create more targeted content for male versus female customers. If there's an exclusive offer to promote to VIP customers, but it's only applicable to the women's range, the retailer can add their "VIP customers" group to the "Choose recipients" field, then exclude their "Males" segment.


Email frequency preferences

It's good practice to let subscribers choose how often they want to hear from you. To do this, first create a contact field for email frequency, then add it to your signup form. Next, create a segment for each of the frequency options.


You can also create a segment based on the frequency your contacts want to be emailed. For example, for those who have selected to receive daily emails, start by following the instructions above, then make the following selections:

  1. From the Segment type dropdown menu, select the name of your email frequency contact field.

  1. From the Condition dropdown menu, select Equals.
  2. Select Daily.
  3. Give the segment an easily identifiable name, for example, “Frequency: Daily” — and don't forget that it is case sensitive.
  4. Click Save.

Repeat these steps to create segments for your other frequency options. Then you can select the relevant segment when choosing recipients for your next mailing.

Create a segment based on opens or clicks

After you've sent a mailing, you can create a segment based on your contact's open or click activity for that email. For example, you can segment contacts who have or haven't opened a specific mailing to deliver the perfect follow-up email.

To create this kind of segment, scroll down to the Response section of the Segment type dropdown menu and build it from there: