How Creating Custom Segments Can Help You Get The Right Content to The Right People

How to get the right message to the right person

Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, custom segmentation is a lot easier than it sounds.

As your audience gets to know you and your content over time, you will learn what interests them by their behavior. 

Let’s say you’re a cookbook author. One subscriber may favor vegan recipes, while another may favor recipes with meat. Maybe someone consistently shows interest in a product you sell. 

If you know this about your subscriber base, then you can create custom segments and deliver information you know will delight them. 

Custom segmentation lets you break down your audience into groups of people who show interest in specific topics or products — like vegan or meat-based recipes — as well as when they take specific behavioral actions.

The more you personalize your emails, the more your audience is likely to engage with your content. 

How to use tags to segment your email list 

Tags help you organize your subscribers according to interest or behavior. Using tags is an easy way to send content just to audience members that are interested in a particular product or offering.

The video below shows you how to tag subscribers with a keyword or phrase that identifies their interest or action. 


You can also set up the tags ahead of time to automatically be added to your subscribers when they take a specific action.

Tagging is a powerfully-simple way to transform your email marketing. By applying tags, you will make sure your subscribers only receive content relevant to them.

Create a custom segment to send highly-targeted messages

Creating custom segments lets you send messages to groups of subscribers with a particular tag.

Let’s say you are a cookbook author about to launch a new book on vegan cooking.  You know that a vegan cookbook may not appeal to your entire list. If you create a custom segment for users who have expressed interest in vegan recipes or cookbooks, that segment will be most receptive to your message about your vegan cookbook. 

Diagram showing a custom segment for Vegan Tag and Engaged customer.

If you have another cookbook for meat lovers, that is an entirely different audience than your vegan audience. You would create a custom segment using tags for people who have actively opened and have a Meat Eater tag.

Diagram showing a custom segment for Meat Eater Tag and Engaged customer.

Once you tag your audience, it is super easy to add a personal touch in your email, thanking them for joining, donations, or purchases. The tag also can serve as a reminder of how they connected with you so you can follow up with them in the future.


Save time with dynamic segments

Rather than manually setting search criteria every time you send an email to a particular audience, create a segment and use it whenever you want to reach that specific audience.

Custom segmentation can also help you improve your open rates, click-through rates, and increase sales or conversions. It can even lead to fewer spam complaints and improve your deliverability.

Why? Because subscribers love content that feels personalized to them. In fact, marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences, according to Monetate.

Take action! In the video below, learn how to easily create a segment of subscribers using tags, how to save your dynamic segments, and then send a personalized email within AWeber. 


Need inspiration? Here are just some of the cool things our customers are doing with custom segmentation and tagging.

Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation grew it’s list 500%

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation is a non-profit that communicates with donors and subscribers through email to share news of medical breakthroughs and raise funds for research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Tagging and segmenting their audience is essential so they can provide the most relevant communications.

“The subscriber management features in AWeber are huge for us. In the past, I couldn’t tag people we already had on our list. Now I can. I used it last week to tag donors with the year of their donations.”

-Jerry Louis, Web Developer & Graphic Designer

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer Research

Using AWeber’s solution, the foundation experienced a 500% increase in subscribers on its email list.

Fable and Folly Productions

Fiction audio podcast producer Fable & Folly used tags and custom segments to send personalized podcast episodes with different plot twists. Based on subscribers’ clicks, they had the power to create their own story.

Landing page for Civilized Podcast

“The automated Campaign feature, when combined with automations and tags, allows our email subscribers to play a role as an antagonist in the story using meta tags,” says Producer Sean Howard.

The biggest challenge for most podcasters is getting attention. More players with big budgets are entering the space, so independent producers need the best tools to build an audience.

Civilized email

AWeber’s email marketing platform allows Fable and Folly to stand out and to connect with their listeners. But not all email providers are created equal. Creating the interactive experience required Fable and Folly to move from Mailchimp to AWeber to accommodate their need for trigger-based automations.

“Choosing to work with AWeber was a no-brainer. Their platform allowed us to weave 23 fully-produced minisodes into an amazing interactive experience. The move to AWeber was seamless, and AWeber’s platform helped combine audio, graphic design, and written media to bring Fable and Folly’s storytelling to a whole new level,” said producer Sean Howard.

No matter what you do, you can use tags and custom segmentation to fit your needs.

Depending on your business, there are many different ways you can use tags to trigger automated campaigns or group subscribers together for more targeted content.

Content Creator

If you have multiple products or pieces of content, tag the subscriber based on the page they visited or the sign up form they filled out. The tag will then automate campaigns to send them relevant product information or content.


  1. Go to the element that you want to automate (landing page, sign up form, web page.)
  2. Enter the tag you want assigned when someone visits that element.
  3. For prior visitors, you can add the tag manually or through a bulk import.
  4. Go to the campaign you want to automate.
  5. Click “Replace Trigger” and enter the tag you want applied.
  6. Enter the tag.
  7. Click save and exit.

Selling your products online

Assign subscribers a tag based on their purchase or an abandoned cart. Automated campaigns can easily be set up to send relevant content that your audience will find engaging when a tag is applied. Or, start personalizing with one of AWeber’s pre-built campaigns.


  1. Click the integration tab on AWeber’s navigation bar.
  2. If you have the Shopify integration, go to the Cart Abandonment section, select Advanced Features and enter the product, list and tags you want to add. Then click the green “Add Automations” button. Note: Each ecommerce integration has slightly different options for this step. Visit AWeber Knowledge Base for other ecommerce integrations.
  3. Go to AWeber’s Campaign Marketplace to copy the share code for the pre-built ecommerce campaign.
  4. Go to Campaigns and click the green “Create a Campaign ” button and select the “Import a Campaign” option.
  5. Enter the code you copied from AWeber’s Campaign Marketplace and click the blue “Import” button.
  6. Name your campaign and click the green “Create” button.
  7. Click on the campaign to customize the email and add or update any tags.
  8. Then activate your campaign.

Non-profits and fund-raising

Keep your subscriber list current by adding tags when a new or existing subscriber donates. The tag allows you to add a personal touch in your email, thanking them for their recent donation and serve as a reminder when you need to reach out to them for a donation the following year.


  1. You can either add tags to your subscribers manually or through bulk update on import if you have more than one subscriber to update.
  2. To update manually, go to your subscriber tab
  3. Go to the subscriber you want to update and click on their name
  4. Add or update the tags in the “Tags” field.

Ready to grow your business?

Whether you’re starting a new business, launching a passion project, need to grow your audience, or you run an established e-commerce business, AWeber provides a powerfully-simple email marketing solution for any small business.

AWeber’s email marketing platform includes unlimited landing pages with every plan, unlimited emails, email automation, sign up forms, and email analytics.

Start for free and quickly grow your business with powerfully-simple email marketing from AWeber.

Sign up for AWeber Free today

The post How Creating Custom Segments Can Help You Get The Right Content to The Right People appeared first on AWeber.

Want to Grow Your Email List? See How This Photographer Grew His List by 300 percent

James Maher photograph

James Maher is a New York Photographer, a huge Knicks fan, and a lifelong New Yorker who got his driver’s license at 30 years old — as any true Manhattanite should. Maher never took the conventional route. His love of photography started with using Photoshop to make fake driver license IDs at the University of Madison with his college roommates. 

Over time, he grew his business to offer an eclectic mix of products and services — including photography print sales, a portrait business, conducting workshops, creating online content, and authoring three books. Despite having a diverse business, COVID-19 still shut down his business along with the rest of New York.

He knew he had to transition some of his business online, so he took some time to look at short-term revenue options that could set him up for long-term growth. He began brainstorming how he could re-create traditional in-person experiences into new online opportunities.

In order to do so, he followed 5 essential steps to grow his email list and pivot his business to an online format.

The 5 essential steps to growing your list

Step 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a process of optimizing your website to get organic (or unpaid) traffic. Maher drives traffic by regularly providing unique, engaging, and free content on his site for people interested in learning about photography. 

For example, he gives away a free New York travel photography guide on his website. This free guide is an essential part of Maher’s SEO and content marketing strategy.

New York Photographer's Travel Guide

“Email and SEO together are the two backbones of my business. It is a vital way to reach my fans. I don’t think I could have as diverse of a business without it,” said Maher.

He also guest blogs on other photography websites that link back to a sign up form on his website to help drive traffic.  

Step 2: Unique sign up forms 

Each piece of content on Maher’s website is downloadable when a user enters their email address. Maher uses different signup forms for the various pages of his website that hosts unique content. The sign up forms connect directly to a list in Maher’s AWeber account.

The New York Photographer's Travel Guide sign up form.

Step 3: Automated email series

Depending on the content users download, Maher sends more in-depth information in an automated email series, which allows him to share information and tips, build relationships with new subscribers, and promote paid products.  

Automated email on an Introduction to Street Photography

Although each audience member will receive multiple emails in the sequence, Maher reminds them at the top of each email of the content they may have missed or that will be coming in a future email.

Each email includes thought-provoking images and step-by-step instructions for other photographers.

Email showing how to steps and thought-provoking images

“My email list was always vital and incredibly important to my business, but it’s even more important now because I have started to transition to more online content,” says Maher.

Step 4: Let analytics be your content compass

AWeber’s analytics help guide Maher determine the type of content he sends and when. “It gives me a lot of information about how my information is perceived, and if the content is engaging,” says Maher.

Maher reviews regularly both the open and the click-through rate on the content that he sends. Sending engaging content has allowed him to attract new audiences to his email list.

AWeber's analytics dashboard

Step 5: Expand your reach

Maher uses his downtime to set himself up for long-term success by creating content and online products to grow his email list. 

His latest online product, “Editing and Putting Together a Portfolio in Street Photography,” drove revenue and allowed him to promote some of his other services like individual portfolio reviews.

Landing page for the online class: Editing and Putting Together a Portfolio in Street Photography

While social distancing is still in place in New York City, Maher takes time to introduce himself to as many new groups of people as possible. For example, he gives photography zoom presentations to groups and camera clubs around the country. Most people who attend the presentation visit his website and join his email list.

Promote to your own email list

Maher also promotes the new online course to his email audience.

Email on James Maher's online class: Editing and Putting Together a Portfolio in Street Photography

During this time, when many members of his audience have reduced income, Maher has adjusted his payment model to “pay what you can.” 

The suggested price for the online class is $25. The average payment turned out to be about $25 because some people were getting it for free or $5, but some people paid $50 or $100. 

“I’m going to do that going forward for more of my products now. It provides me some income and builds my emails list, so it is a win-win for everyone.” says Maher.

Online class sign up form

Take advantage of lower advertising rates to promote on social media

The rates for advertising are much lower than usual due to COVID-19, so it is a great time to promote posts on social media to stand out from the crowd.

Maher uses Facebook ads to target local photographers in the Northeast. They see the ad, download the photography travel guide, and are added to his AWeber list.

AWeber then sends an automated email sequence that lets them get to know Maher, learn photography tips, and get a sense of the type of content they will receive from going forward.

Example of a Facebook advertisement

“I’m testing and tweaking the Facebook ad a bit now given that people aren’t really traveling to New York with COVID-19 going on. But I’m finding that it’s still doing very well at converting photographers, particularly with the cheaper ad pricing. If you provide them with good, interesting content, you can grow your list,” says Maher. 

Short term cash needs can translate into long term growth

Maher has shifted his business’s focus toward creating online experiences that provide short-term revenue that keeps his business going. He created online classes about photo editing and online photography portfolio reviews. He even started working with photographers to help them create portfolio websites. 

Every post, promotion, or email drives people to his sign up forms with the end goal of growing his email list. 

The creation of each online product is just the first phase of its product life. “Each online product will eventually integrate into a bigger package in the long term. I’ve been building this business for about 17 years, and I had the formula down — but COVID-19 broke the formula,” says Maher. 

“The silver lining is COVID-19 gave me the time to execute on ideas I always had in the back of my head. I believe my business is going to come out of COVID-19 stronger and more prepared for the future.”

Connect with your audience and start growing your email list today!

With AWeber, you’ll get everything you need to grow your own business online — including sign up forms, newsletters, landing pages, and access to our award-winning customer solutions team. 

Start your 30-day free trial today.

The post Want to Grow Your Email List? See How This Photographer Grew His List by 300 percent appeared first on AWeber.