GO! St. Louis, which manages the St. Louis Marathon and three other races each year, sent 108 mailings via MarketVolt in the past 12 months. Yet no one seems to be wearying of their emails. In fact, a recent email regarding the marathon earlier this month had an astonishing open rate of 73%.

How do you send that many emails to a database of about 75,000 recipients and keep people interested? The answer: segmentation, big-time. GO! St. Louis has tagged its recipients with more than 70 characteristics, enabling the organization to target messages to subsets of its overall community and ensure that people value the emails they receive.

“We don’t want to inundate people with things they’re not interested in,” said Mona Langenberg, Director of Operations for GO! St. Louis.

At the core of the group’s segmentation of its recipients is its recognition that runners have varying degrees of interest in the sport. There are hard-core marathoners and then there are the folks who will go out for a family fun run or maybe a 5-K.

For example, when the group recently sought teams to sign up for a six-person 82-mile relay trail race over Labor Day weekend, it sent out emails only to more experienced runners. “The response was great,” Langenberg said. The result: 416 teams signed up for a lottery to win one of the 200 available spots.

Similarly, the email concerning the marathon did not go out to everyone who ran in the race or was somehow connected — it went out only to the approximately 7,700 people who finished. The result was that 73% of recipients opened the email and 55% clicked on at least one of the links to sites of race sponsors such as Big River Running Company.

The ultimate take-away is: Targeting your messaging yields results.

GO! St. Louis uses MarketVolt for more than targeted email campaigns. It also turns to us for professional services — assistance with issuance of race numbers for the 23,000 marathon participants. Sarah Wright, MarketVolt’s Training and Support Manager, managed the process. Langenberg said of Wright: “She’s amazing.”

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