Drip Marketing, Marketing Automation, ActiveCampaign, Zoho

Give Customer Segments Their Own “Order Buttons”

By in ACT! e-Marketing Copywriting Tips, Drip Marketing, Email Marketing, Money Making Tips with Your ACT! Database | 4 comments

List segmentationList segmentation is like making a bunch of “custom order buttons.” But first this food story.

This week I had lunch with life coach and friend Patty Cook at Yia Yia’s, a very nice local restaurant known for its business lunches, great food and exceptional customer service.

When our server came to take our order, Patty and I did the typical menu reinterpretation. Patty’s a vegan and I’m doing the low-carb thing. She patiently explained each of our individual menu options, making sure to offer suggestions on items we could add, as well as dishes that would work for us if we removed a few things (chicken for Patty, croutons for me).

Kelly, our server, was masterful in her knowledge of every dish, professional in her delivery–not rushing us at all– yet knew we were there for a brief time before scooting off to our next set of engagements. She wanted us to have just enough information to make an informed decision on something we’d enjoy.

After the custom-designed luncheon menu presentation, I commented, “Wow. That’s impressive. I can’t believe you know so many combinations of dishes so well.” To which Kelly replied, “Many of our customers come here exactly for that reason. In fact, we have an order button on the register for our best customers because everytime they come here, they get the same thing, and they’re usually in a hurry to eat and get back to work.”


Did you catch that? Some customers have their own order button on the register! Right next to the Cucumber Martini and the Calamari is Joe, Tom and Charley. Kelly is walking around the dining room with a complete database of ingredients and menu combinations in her head and she’s instantly able to pair these options with specific customers and situations to satisfy the vegans, the low-carbers and the frequent diners.

What if I would’ve just ordered off the menu (yeah, right; like that could ever happen) and had my salmon salad served “as is?” Couldn’t I have just picked off the croutons and set them aside on my bread dish (which was also off the menu for me)? I do this often enough at other restaurants where the menu doesn’t always list all of the ingredients you end up with in your dish…or when I’m too distracted to remember to ask for everything I don’t want. But having Kelly explain our options so we were served exactly as we wanted made Patty and me feel especially well taken care of.

OK, this is not really an article about fine dining and great service. It’s about how to leverage what you know about your customers, figuring out what they want, and then seeing how you can customize your sales portfolio for each customer segment of your database.

What do you suppose is the #1 reason people opt out of your marketing emails? Too much email? Too little time? No. It’s because you’re irrelevant. You’re boring. You are all about you and your products, your services. You make me work too hard to figure out how I can apply your offering to solve my problem. That’s not my job; it’s yours. You’ve got 3 seconds to win me over in your email. Fail and you’re deleted–worse, I might opt out forever.

Is Database Segmentation Easy?

No, it’s really hard–till you figure it out. The hardest part is knowing how to group everybody when you don’t know your customers very well. That’s when I say, “Ask.”  Send out a customer survey. Don’t guess. You’ll guess wrong, and then where will you be? Just looking ridiculous and completely irrelevant, serving croutons when hearts of palm would’ve delighted.  

Does List Segmentation Work?

Define “work.” Here’s my defininition: More meaningful conversations. Because now you have my attention. I’m listening, and I’ve removed my finger from the delete key. I may even click on a link or 2, and then–oops!–I’m engaged. Talk to me repeatedly like that about my interests, my needs, and I might even start believing you really want to help me (not just sell me something) and that you have the best solution for my problem. You’ve earned my sale, just like Kelly earned a 25% tip and a repeat customer!


  1. What a fabulous dining experience – I love businesses that make me feel special, and especially enjoy those flexible enough to accommodate my specific needs – without making me feel like a burden! This is the perfect reminder to explore ways I can give my clients and prospects that kind of experience every day.

    Patty Cook

  2. Smashing good idea! A custom customer specific order button.
    You may not believe this but Amazon is getting closer. They have a single click to take you to directly to finishing the sale customized with your passphrase in the button.

    Long way from the restaurant but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  3. Lori, what a great article. All too often we’re content to label everybody “customer”, “prospect”, “vendor”, or “personal” and leave it at that.

    Great story about the restaurant too – I love innovative, creative thinking.


    • Len, thanks for that! True professionals in any job are inspiring. From a segmentation perspective, the secret’s in getting to know the person.

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