What is Segmentation? And how to do it.

What is segmentation?

In the context of marketing, segmentation is defined as purposefully dividing your database in a way that allows you to differentiate messaging. Data can be segmented on the basis of four factors including demographics, purchase behavior, geographic location or psychographic (we can get into this later).


Why should I segment?

The straight-forward answer is because not everyone should get every email. You’ll notice a dramatic increase in not just open rates, but response rates when you start personalizing your messaging.  By separating your audience based on common characteristics, you are able to identify the type of messaging you should be sending.

For example, if you’re running an event in San Diego for C-Suite/VP Level marketers – you can isolate all of your contacts that match the similar demographic and would be applicable for an executive marketer; say, age 40+, job title includes “Marketing” and located in California.

Most CRMs will allow you to pull out specific demographics through a simple search function but make sure your data is logged accurately in order for this to work properly.


Where can I use segmentation?

Most innovative marketers will be able to think of some very creative uses for segmentation. And honestly, it’s up to you to run tests over and over again to see what works best for your business. Play around with different segmentations, run a full campaign and monitor the progress. You’ll see what messaging works for your audience.

*Note: This is a fantastic time to really get to learn your audience. Study who they are, what they want and, how and where they shop.*

Segmentation does not have to be limited to just emails, however. Think about all of your marketing channels and how you can target your message. For instance:

  • Website Design – Who is visiting your site, and what style would be most appealing to them?
  • ReMarketing Ads – Ad locations are based specifically on your audience keyword search and their most frequently visited websites.
  • Kickbacks / Thank You Emails – This ties specifically to content they may be interested in as a kickback or thank you email will immediately follow a subscription or download.
  • Marketing Email Campaigns – A pre-planned email schedule to a specific audience. Consider this also as a nurturing process as it can take almost 5 emails to get the purchase. Each email’s messaging is based off of the previous email’s response.
  • Multi-Step Automated Email Campaign: This is a campaign purely designed off of a specific demographic of your audience. Usually, this will be an unengaged audience but does not have to be that way. An MSC can be designed in a way that will re-engage any past audience who has not responded or inquired recently.
  • Content – What information is your audience looking for? How might they be searching for answers and where? What type of content is most appealing to them and what language works best to grab their attention?


How do I segment?

Before moving forward with any segmentation campaign, it’s imperative to define your marketing or campaign goals. Pick who you want to target then learn your audience in order to determine what type of messaging will generate the most interest.

It’s important to create balance. You do not want to isolate or exclude any contacts from your data base. It’s OK to focus on one group but don’t forget you have an entire audience to work with and sometimes it just takes a few tries to see what works for all of them.

Similarly, you cannot always go after the same group with the same type of outreach. If you are constantly emailing the same 2000 contacts, then that can turn into unsubscribes and possible blacklisting.


What results should I expect from segmentation?

In general, you can expect very positive results. If done correctly and properly, segmentation can result in higher open rates, higher response rates, and significantly more qualified leads. But pay attention to your goals as they will help drive your strategy and sometimes it’s not about the responses yet, but the click-through rate or any of several other KPIs.

Segmentation can however, have an adverse effect. Sometimes over simplifying your data can result in:

  • Less ability to monitor the results as you may have narrowed your data down too small so there’s not enough conclusive evidence of your efforts
  • Or just being creepy. If you get too personal with your messaging, people can get turned off.

Be careful with the message, be careful with the segmentation and monitor your results.


In conclusion

The key to marketing is understanding that everyone is unique and perceives uniquely. Once you get a full grasp on who your audience is, it will shape how your market to them. Segmentation should always be a top priority in any strategy.

For more information on this or any other topic, check out www.dotlayer.com.