What does the email address say about the customer?

August 24, 2009
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A recent article on TechCrunch discussed the fact that Gmail recently passed AOL as the third largest email provider. This shouldn’t be a surprise to most marketers, as we’ve seen a downturn in AOL users and a rise in Gmail users (though it should be noted that Yahoo and Hotmail still make up between 35 -40% of most email lists.)

What is interesting is a follow up poll conducted by Lifehacker, where they asked readers what email service they used. They found 80% of responders used Gmail as their email client, verses 6% at Yahoo and 5% at Hotmail. If you’re unfamiliar with Lifehacker, it’s a very tech centric how to blog, described as Hints From Helosie for the Digital Age. It’s readers are mostly tech savvy professionals who like to stay on the cutting age of software and tech.

So what does this tell us as email marketers?

There used to be a time when we would segment out AOL addresses and target them with special content because of rendering issues in AOL. Those days have mostly passed; but maybe now it’s time to start looking at our lists and determining what the email domain says about that customer or prospect. Maybe today, it’s proper for us to infer that a Gmail user is a more


A recent article on TechCrunch discussed the fact that Gmail recently passed AOL as the third largest email provider. This shouldn’t be a surprise to most marketers, as we’ve seen a downturn in AOL users and a rise in Gmail users (though it should be noted that Yahoo and Hotmail still make up between 35 -40% of most email lists.)

What is interesting is a follow up poll conducted by Lifehacker, where they asked readers what email service they used. They found 80% of responders used Gmail as their email client, verses 6% at Yahoo and 5% at Hotmail. If you’re unfamiliar with Lifehacker, it’s a very tech centric how to blog, described as Hints From Helosie for the Digital Age. It’s readers are mostly tech savvy professionals who like to stay on the cutting age of software and tech.

So what does this tell us as email marketers?

There used to be a time when we would segment out AOL addresses and target them with special content because of rendering issues in AOL. Those days have mostly passed; but maybe now it’s time to start looking at our lists and determining what the email domain says about that customer or prospect. Maybe today, it’s proper for us to infer that a Gmail user is a more tech savvy customer, and tailor our offer and content to target those customers.

The Lifehacker article also shows the value of conducting an informal survey of your customer base. One simple question gives you a lot of information. Perhaps look at at giving customers at your different major domains (Yahoo. Hotmail, Gmail, AOL) a brief one or two question survey. Once you get that information, use the data to target the customers with more relevant content and offers.

And speaking of surveys, click here, and let us know what email client you use for your personal email

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