In an increasingly digitised business landscape, there are more ways to broadcast your message than ever before. From social media and Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads to email and SMS marketing, options abound. But simply doing so with no clear audience in mind can only harm your digital marketing strategy.
Different audiences react differently to outreach efforts, and timing is as crucial as style, tone, and even channel. Thus, you’ll need to perfect your audience segmentation to ensure optimal outreach.
What Is Audience Segmentation?
At its core, audience segmentation is what the name implies; segmenting your audiences according to different characteristics. These characteristics range from innate to acquired and are typically divided into the following three main groups.
Arguably the most straightforward type of segmentation, this one accounts for your audience’s demographic characteristics. These include:
- Occupation and income
This type often overlaps with geographic and needs-based groups, as we’ll explain below.
Similarly, psychographic segmentation explores psychological factors. These include:
- Interests and values
This type overlaps with or at the very least informs behavioural segmentation.
Unlike the two types above, behavioural segmentation focuses more strongly on behaviours related to marketing and products. It 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.
This type explores unique geographical factors, ranging from country-based to strictly location-focused. It can range from language conventions among different English-speaking countries to exact local factors like festivities.
Understandably, this type also overlaps with local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
On the subject of 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 the context of modern marketing, it delves into the use of desktop or mobile devices, software, and similar identifiers.
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, such as 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
Finally, value-based segmentation addresses a 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, how one uses segmentation will inevitably vary, depending on one’s business size, goals, and other factors. There are multiple ways to apply and perfect your audience segmentation practices, but how do you do so?
To answer this question, we’ll briefly delve into audience segmentation benefits and then suggest exact refinements.
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 different 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. In turn, 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 messaging. Consider, for example, SMS marketing; statistics show that it outperforms email marketing by a factor of 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 in turn, 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 very 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
- 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 on the benefits mentioned above hinges on proper implementation. Thus, let us now explore how to perfect your audience segmentation in action.
#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. The most significant source is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, 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 as Analytical CRM – offer profitability analysis to inform value-based segmentation. Thus, if you already use CRM, you must use everything your CRM has to offer.
#2 Examine Your Segments for Both Accuracy and Width
Similarly, it is vital to evaluate your segmentation criteria. Choosing among different types of segmentation, it is not uncommon to segment too little or too much.
In the former case, your audience segments may be too broad to be useful. 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 in turn, hamper your local SEO.
#3 Bolster Your SEO
On the subject of 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. In turn, 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 in identifying and targeting optimal audiences. To do so effectively, customer journey mapping is an invaluable asset toward driving customers 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. In doing so, 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. Not only will this potentially improve your outreach, but it will 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. In turn, you may discover that blogs, YouTube videos, or other content and channels better resonate with them.
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.
About the author: Alexander Pierson is a digital marketer and web designer. He frequently contributes blog content to MoversTech CRM, discussing the benefits, applications, and practical challenges of CRM solutions.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Alexander Pierson. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect Mauco Enterprises’ views.
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