How do you identify your ideal customers? What makes them tick? Are they men or women? Young or old? Rich or poor? Are they educated or uneducated?
When you start thinking about audience segmentation, you might want to consider some questions: Who are my ideal customers? Where do they live? What age group do they belong to? What kind of income level do they have? And what other characteristics do they share?
You’ll need to conduct research and analyse data to answer these questions. Once you’ve got the answers, you can create segments of your target audience and tailor your marketing messages accordingly.
More ways to broadcast your message in an increasingly digitised business landscape. Options abound, from social media and Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads to email and SMS marketing.
But simply doing so with no clear audience in mind can only harm your digital marketing strategy.
Different audiences react differently to marketing efforts, and timing is crucial as style, tone, and even your digital marketing channel. Thus, you’ll need to perfect your audience segmentation to ensure optimal outreach and marketing budget.
What Is Audience Segmentation?
At its core, audience segmentation is what the name implies; dividing your audience into segments according to different characteristics. These characteristics range from innate to acquired.
Types of Audience Segmentation
Audience segmentation is typically divided into these main groups.
#1 Demographic Segmentation
This is arguably the most straightforward type of segmentation. Demographic segmentation accounts for your audience’s demographic characteristics. These include:
- Marital status
- Family size
- Occupation and income
This type often overlaps with geographic and needs-based groups, as we explain below.
#2 Psychographic Segmentation
Similarly, psychographic segmentation explores psychological factors. These include:
- Interests and values
This type overlaps with or at the very least informs behavioural segmentation.
#3 Behavioural Segmentation
Unlike the two types above, behavioural segmentation focuses more strongly on behaviours related to marketing and products. Behavioral segmentation thus explores the following, as the name implies:
- Behavioural patterns
- Online activity and preferences
It may then delve deeper into exact behaviours concerning marketing outreach to further help perfect your audience segmentation.
Moreover, many marketers will add more segmentation criteria, including the following.
#4 Geographic Segmentation
This type explores unique geographical factors, ranging from country-based to strictly location-focused. Geographic Segmentation can range from language conventions among English-speaking countries to local factors like festivities.
This type also overlaps with local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
#5 Technographic Segmentation
On SEO, technographic segmentation seeks to further divide audiences based on their ownership and use of technologies.
This type was first introduced in 1985 by Dr Edward Forrest, exploring videocassette recorder (VCR) ownership. In modern marketing, it delves into the use of desktop or mobile devices, software, and similar identifiers.
#6 Needs-based Segmentation
Conversely, needs-based segmentation may either overlap or conflict with other segmentation types. Instead of hyper-focusing on demographics or behaviour, it segments audiences based on perceived needs. It may thus complement other segmentation types by identifying that some demographics share needs or broaden their boundaries.Conversely, needs-based segmentation may either overlap or conflict with other segmentation types. Click To Tweet
#7 Value-based Segmentation
Finally, value-based segmentation addresses a potential customer’s monetary value to a company. It thus overlaps with profitability analysis, using the insights of other types to determine profitability. However, it differs from all other types because it evaluates the possible value of successful outreach.
Naturally, your audience segmentation strategy will vary depending on business size, goals, and other factors. There are multiple ways to apply and perfect your audience segmentation practices, but how do you do so?
We’ll briefly delve into the benefits of audience segmentation and suggest exact refinements to answer this question.
Perfecting Your Audience Segmentation: Reviewing the Benefits
Having highlighted how audience segmentation groups potential audiences, we may consolidate its benefits into three main fronts, or rather, benefits to different phases in the customer journey.
#1 Lead Acquisition Through Targeted Outreach
First and foremost, audience segmentation enhances lead acquisition strategies. This stands to reason; different means of outreach resonate with diverse audiences. Thus, audience segmentation can inform such means of lead acquisition as:
- PPC ads
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
Engaging with social media audiences specifically hinges on audience segmentation to accurately identify and target your optimal audiences. This foundation makes your outreach more cost-effective and allows lead generation to fuel more conversions.
#2 Increased Conversions Through Personalised Messaging
On the subject of conversions, audience segmentation allows for hyperfocused, personalised or tailored messaging. Consider, for example, SMS marketing; statistics show that it outperforms email marketing by x7. Still, it requires proper timing to ensure responses and both SMS and email outreach benefit from personalisation.
Thus, audience segmentation allows you to identify critical factors that drive conversions:
- Which segments respond more frequently, and which channels and tone do they prefer?
- Which of their needs will outreach touch on?
- What is the potential value of a successful conversion?
Moreover, personalisation is already the spearhead of many marketing tactics. It helps build a better overall experience and cultivates loyalty and trust.
#3 Higher Retention Rates Through an Improved Customer Experience (CX)
Finally, having touched on customer experience, it is crucial to note how segmentation enhances customer retention rates. Customer retention is a vital metric in itself, considering its implications:
- Acquiring a new customer is 5-7 times more costly than retaining an existing one.
- Recurring customers make more purchases of higher average value.
- Loyal customers are more likely to refer their friends and family.
These and other findings on customer retention establish that it’s a notable, worthy goal. Audience segmentation is a perfect fit for it, as it entails the following:
- Personalising the customer journey
- Enhancing the CX across the sales funnel, from acquisition to conversion rate.
- Improving customer support and post-purchase engagement
Thus, segmentation can refine one’s overall sales funnel, from the initial contact to recurring purchases.First and foremost, it is crucial to allow your segmentation tools to draw from your other data sources. Click To Tweet
Putting the Benefits to Use: 5 Practical Ways to Perfect Your Audience Segmentation
However, reaping the benefits mentioned above hinges on proper implementation. Thus, let us explore how to perfect your audience segmentation to improve customer satisfaction and foster customer loyalty.
#1 Use CRM to Inform Your Segmentation
First and foremost, it is crucial to allow your segmentation tools to draw from your other data sources. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the most significant source, which already sees tremendous acceptance and market growth.
Among its other functions, CRM offers a consolidated customer database and lead segmentation tools to assist your segmentation efforts. Moreover, tracking customer interactions and recurring inquiries allows you to optimise customer support and post-sale engagement. Finally, many such solutions that specialise in analytics – dubbed Analytical CRM – offer profitability analysis to inform value-based segmentation. Thus, you must use everything your CRM offers if you already use CRM.
#2 Examine Your Segments for Both Accuracy and Width
Similarly, it is vital to evaluate your segmentation criteria. Choosing among different segmentation types, it is not uncommon to segment too little or too much.
In the former case, your audience segments may be too broad to be helpful. You may have, for example, applied demographic criteria but still lack key insights to act on that other criteria offer:
- What are your audiences’ pain points?
- What are their online habits?
- Which of their needs does your outreach address?
Conversely, in the latter case, you may have segmented your audiences too thin and thus excluded vast portions of them. For example, stringent geographical criteria may unnecessarily exclude audiences you may reach and hamper your local SEO.
#3 Bolster Your SEO
On SEO, we’ve highlighted its overlap with audience segmentation before. In this context, segmentation can specifically bolster your SEO regarding engagement and see benefits in return.
While SEO often intends to boost organic traffic, it hinges on many factors that affect search engine visibility. There are over 200 such factors, but notable on-page and off-page ones in this context include:
- Bounce rates
- Time on page
Understandably, such factors can see notable benefits through proper audience segmentation. Consider, for example, how adjusting your content creation strategies to cater to your audience can help retain their attention. Increased traffic and engagement will present more opportunities to collect data through forms and expanded email lists.
#4 Target Your Audiences’ Needs Through Customer Journey Mapping
Returning to segmentation basics, one must remember its primary goal is to identify and target optimal audiences. Customer journey mapping is invaluable for effectively driving customer segments through your sales funnel.
The customer journey is usually divided into 4 phases:
Customer journey mapping entails using buyer personas to follow the customer’s journey across these phases. You may inform your messages’ timing, tone, substance, and means of delivery for optimal results. At the same time, a well-defined customer journey may highlight shortcomings in your segmentation practices.At its core, audience segmentation is what the name implies; segmenting your audiences according to different characteristics. Click To Tweet
#5 Explore Different Channels
Finally, you may consider using different channels to deliver your message. This will potentially improve your outreach but also help inform your segmentation criteria.
Psychographic, behavioural, and Technographic segmentation will typically inform you of your audiences’ preferred channels. You may thus use your primary social media platform to survey audiences on their channels of choice. You may discover that blogs, YouTube videos, or other content and channels better resonate with them.
Audience Segmentation in Digital Marketing
To conduct audience segmentation in digital marketing, you need to provide answers to the following questions:
Who Are You Targeting?
If you can’t answer this question clearly, you need to define your target audience.
A target customer is someone who is most likely to purchase your product. And it’s a subset of the more comprehensive target market. For example, a children’s clothing store may target boys ages 9–11 and their parents. It may also be defined as the group of consumers most likely influenced by an advertising campaign. The target market is also separate from the buyer persona.
Look for common characteristics and interests when considering who the people who identify with your brand are. Spend time analysing the data you receive from consumer engagements and evaluating current buyers and purchase trends. When you build a profile of your target audience, you’ll gain insight into their mindset and uncover their motivations. When it comes to social media, a social media target audience is the specific group of people you want to reach with your social channels. But it doesn’t stop there. When marketing to your target audience, you need to get specific.
Where Do They Live?
You can target consumers based on their location by delivering content through the web or mobile devices. To gather more meaningful information on your clients, you can target a specific area, such as a city or state.
When you target people in a particular location, you can create relevant content that speaks directly to their needs. This personalised content helps your audience feel more connected to your business and fosters trust.
Where do they work? Identifying location and traffic patterns can give marketers a sense of the various touchpoints that represent opportunities to connect with them.
Using location data, you can reach consumers based on qualifiers like proximity to a store, events happening in their region, and more. Location-based marketing has proven effective across customer lifecycles – from discovery and purchase to engagement and retention.
When Should You Reach Them?
Determining the best time to reach your audience depends mainly on how you are getting them. For example, if you choose to get them through mobile marketing or social media, you need to know the best day and time to post your marketing message. You need to invest in the right marketing tools with detailed analytics to find what time works best for your mobile user before sending out another marketing message at the wrong time.
Why Should They Care about You?
They will care about you if you can demonstrate how and why your business benefits them. You should know their problems to pinpoint places of opportunity for your brand to provide solutions.
How Can You Help Them?
Name the problem your customer base faces and relate to them. Highlight your product’s key benefit related to your customers’ top problem and explain how your product can help your customer. Once you understand the motivations of your target audience, then you can identify opportunities to help them and achieve your business goal.
Which Channels Will Work Best for Them?
To help devise your marketing strategy and determine which channels are most appropriate for your business, you need to consider your goals. You also need to know where your ideal customers hang out to reach them. You need to talk to existing customers to learn first-hand their customer journey. Scope out your competitors to understand what they are doing. Be ready to constantly tweak your marketing plan in response to the data you receive from your research. Then you can put yourself in their shoes to know what channels work best for them.
What is The Right Message to Send?
Develop a link between yourself and the audience. You will have to understand the world from your readers’ perspective. The whole goal of all marketing is to “get the right message to the right person at the right time.” Your core marketing message must clearly define the difference between you and your competitors and make your brand relatable to your audience.
To achieve this, make sure to support whatever you say with evidence to make your message believable. Let your marketing message reflect your stakeholders’ understanding. Discuss with your team and be united about your marketing message. For your marketing message to be credible, you need to know your stuff and have the necessary experience or qualifications to back up your claim. Make sure your marketing message is interesting to capture and engage your target audience. You need to find a novel angel and avoid negativity in your message.
To summarise, there are multiple ways to perfect your audience segmentation. You may use analytics tools like CRM, enhance your SEO, or engage in customer journey mapping. Additionally, you may reevaluate your segmentation criteria to avoid excesses in either direction and explore different channels. How exactly you do so will depend on your individual needs and scope, but perfecting audience segmentation is always a goal worth pursuing.
In conclusion, audience segmentation is essential to an effective marketing campaign. By identifying your ideal customer, you can create messages that resonate with them and increase sales.
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