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Segment your audience

Our segmentation tools make it easy to define the best possible audience for the email you’d like to send. In this article, we'll explain how to use the segment builder to narrow down your audience, so you can send more relevant content, and start seeing higher levels of engagement from your subscribers.

About segments

Segments are created based on data stored in your account. This includes:

You can't 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 male 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 'males in California' segment. If you happen to also have a 'males in Arizona' segment, the contact will become a member of that.

Create a segment

Follow the steps below to build a segment:

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, then click Segments on the left.
  2. Click Create a segment.
  3. Give the segment an easily identifiable name, for example, “Female customers”.
  4. Click the Segment type dropdown menu to select an option from one of these categories:
    • Audience group — Select Group 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 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.

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.


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.


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:


Contact field values are case sensitive, so make sure the value entered matches how the data is recorded in your account. For example, "Female" will not match with "female". "VIP customer" will not match with "VIP Customer".

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.

Manage segments

To manage or update existing segments:

  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.


Delete segments

There's no "delete" option in the tools menu, but you can delete segments by archiving them first. To do so, select Archive from the tools menu.

After you've archived a segment:

  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 Delete.
  4. In the popup window, click Delete.

Deleting 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 become “in limbo”.

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

Archive segments

When you delete a segment it cannot be restored, but you can reactivate an archived segment. To do so, follow the instructions above to access your archived items. After clicking the down arrow to the right of the segment, select Restore.

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" feature to save time and prevent mistakes. This is useful if you have a 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 above, then click Actions.


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.

See instructions for creating a confirmed opt-in segment.

Find "in limbo" contacts

Contacts who are not a member of any audience groups are left floating around “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

Segments can also be used to refine your audience for a mailing. A fashion retailer might use segmentation to create more targeted content for male versus female customers. If, for example, 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, build a segment for each of the frequency options.


To create a frequency segment for contacts who want to be emailed daily, 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.
  2. From the Condition dropdown menu, select Equals.
  3. Select Daily.
  4. Give the segment an easily identifiable name, for example, “Frequency: Daily”.
  5. 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.

Segment by opens or clicks

After you've sent a mailing, you can segment contacts based on open or click activity for that email. For example, 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 drop down menu:


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