How do I add people to a segment?

You can't directly add people to a segment the same way you add, or import, subscribers to a list. Instead, you add or edit the subscriber's details so they fit the segment's rules.

On this page we'll explain how subscribers can be added to, or removed from, segments by filling in forms, and show you how to add people to a segment by importing custom field data.

Understanding how subscribers fit segment rules

An example of a segment rule is "email address" "contains" "@abcwidgets". This segment would group everyone on the subscriber list whose email address is something, or something, or something, and so on.

Another segment rule could be "date subscribed" "is before" "01.03.12". This would group every subscriber who joined the list before 01.03.12, based on their date subscribed, as recorded in your account.

You can combine any number of rules to build a segment. The two examples above could be combined to make one segment: "email address" "contains" "abcwidgets" AND "date subscribed" "is before" "01.03.12". This would group every person on the list who subscribed before 01.03.12, and whose email address contains "abcwidgets".

When a new segment is created the system finds every person on the subscriber list who matches the rule, or rules, you have specified.

Importing data to add people to segments

To segment a group of subscribers based on a common attribute other than date subscribed, email address or campaign activity (clicks, opens and so on), you can create a custom field that you use to identify them.

For example, you could add a "Friend" custom field, then add a value of "yes" for each subscriber who is a friend. You would then create a one-rule segment based on that custom field: "Friend" "equals" "yes".

To add custom field data to a large group of subscribers, export the subscriber list as a CSV file and update it with the relevant custom field values for each subscriber. Then re-import the updated file. Or, you can edit individual subscriber data via the subscriber snapshot page.

Using forms to add people to segments

By adding custom fields to subscribe forms, subscribers can be added to segments automatically when they sign up. Below is a subscribe form for an ABC Widgets list that includes segments for male and female.

Sally Sparrow has filled in the form and selected "Female" for the "Gender" custom field:

When the form is submitted Sally will be added to the ABC Widgets subscriber list as well as the list's "Female" segment.

Note: Our example subscribe form, above, does not have "Gender" marked as a required field. Therefore Sally could sign up without specifying "Female" or, the other option, "Male". In that case Sally would not be included in either segment but would still be added to the subscriber list.

Preference center forms

If subscribers have access to update their own details through a preference center, information they add or change can move them in or out of segments.

For example, let's say Sally Sparrow signs up to a travel agency mailing list that segments subscribers based on destination preferences. Originally Sally selects "Europe" as the place she's interested in, which adds her to the list's "Europe" segment based on the criteria: "Interested in" "equals" "Europe".

After Sally has been to Europe she decides to update her mailing list preferences:

She might deselect Europe and select Asia and Africa instead. When the form changes are saved, Sally will be removed from the "Europe" segment and added to both the "Asia" and "Africa" segments.

Note: Subscribers in multiple segments will not receive duplicate emails. No matter how many segments you send to in a single campaign, each subscriber will only get one email.