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I've said it over and over again, but it bears repeating: email is one of the most powerful tools a marketer has to turn someone who is interested in your content and Web presence into a customer. Everything about how you engage with prospects who come in from your marketing channels should be about funneling them to your email list, because then you can actually work with them.

What doesn't necessarily get repeated enough, however, is how exactly you go about developing your email list into the conversion machine it can be. Once you have someone in your digital Rolodex, how do you take the next steps without being annoying? The key is to segment your mailing list and make specific offers to specific groups of prospects.

Divvying up your email list

The first thing you need to figure out is how to divvy up your email list in ways that will be helpful for making conversions. When it comes to segmentation, you need to go back to the basics. Think about your buyer personas--the different types of people who make up your target audience. You'll also want to consider other factors, for example, where someone is in the sales cycle, geography, interests, and industry. Basically, you want to be able to pull each of these groups out and hit them with an offer they can't refuse.

Each of these different segments is going to have their own set of pain points, buying conditions, and messages that hook them in. Doing the segmentations themselves is half the battle because it starts you thinking about what each group cares about and how that's different from the other segments.

An email for every segment

The next step is to create a different offer for each segment you've identified. A great way to help with this is to let your subscribers identify what kind of information they want to receive. Attaching a simple checkbox or drop-down menu to your subscribe form makes it easy to figure out what to send to whom. Many popular email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, and others have tools that allow you to segment your list and create customized email messages.

At the same time, this kind of content is going to be pretty clear to you based on how you've sorted your segments. People early in the buyer journey are looking for information, so you can hit them with white papers, e-books, or anything interesting that can help position your brand without being too pushy. Someone who has abandoned a cart, on the other hand, might need a bit of a firmer push to get across the finish line.

Create custom landing pages for each segment

The other important thing to realize is that you can make custom landing pages for each segmented email offer that you send out. You can leverage video and imagery for millennials, who are more likely to seek out third-party resources to do their own research, or you could throw in an infographic that shows all the important data for someone who came to you via LinkedIn.

No matter what, it's important to remember the people on your email list are your most promising leads. Segmented offers are how you take those subscribers and actually work with them to boost conversion and increase sales.