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Tips to segment your online audience

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In the chatter of online marketing tools -- buy this, get that, need to have, gotta have -- the purpose is often unclear. Sure, I suppose having all the newest tools might make you seem ... newer? Cooler? More on top of trends? Who knows.

What matters is how you reach customers and homebuyers. Another thing that matters: how you communicate with those groups. This week's column is about some old technology that easily gets forgotten in the hype and buzz: e-mail.

E-mail has been the workhouse of the Internet for ages. It predates the Web and chat rooms and bulletin board systems. It is, in technological terms, older than dirt. And it's a fundamental part of so many of the hip new technologies.

Want a Facebook account? Your e-mail address is your login. Want a Twitter account? They want your e-mail address. Want all the Google goodies? They want your current e-mail address and then they want you to switch to one of their e-mail addresses.<...