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A marketing strategy based on identifying subgroups within the target audience in order to deliver more tailored messaging for stronger connections. The subgroups can be based on demographics such as geographic location, gender identity, age, ethnicity, income, or level of formal education. Subgroups can also be based on behavior such as purchases made in the past. Psychographics come into play when you have access to insights about your audience’s personality types, values, attitudes, and beliefs. An example is creating separate segments for people based on whether they are family-oriented versus individualistic, leaders versus followers, or adventure seekers versus homebodies.
Many companies still create uniform messaging and distribute it widely to save time. Audience segmentation, however, uses a more refined approach: It helps you organize contacts into smaller groups so you can give them what they really want.
Audience segmentation avoids mediocrity because it makes your marketing efforts more personalized (or “focused”). It lets you:
When a customer feels like a message was written just for them, they’re more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. Segmentation makes that kind of personalization possible.
So where do you start? Most marketing efforts begin with the creation of a customer persona, or a mock-up personality meant to represent your ideal customer. That persona can include where that person works, whether they’re married, and what their hobbies are.
Personas help you communicate with your customers on their level, especially when it comes to identifying their pain points—and how you can help alleviate them. Once you create those personas, you can separate them into groups.
This is the most common method of audience segmentation—and usually the easiest one. Age, income level, job type, and geographic location are all demographics you can use to sort your audience. This method is popular for a reason: It works.
This strategy goes a bit deeper than demographic separation. Analyzing behavior means looking at what people buy, how often they make a purchase, and why the but the product or service.
When you use this strategy, you tailor your messages based on where your customer is in their buyer’s journey.
Regular customers require different marketing than infrequent ones. If you can tell that someone is interested in your business—they signed up for your newsletter, for example—they’re more likely to be open to your message than someone who occasionally buys something.
You can use 2 or more of these methods together to expand your reach even further. Once you’ve decided which segmentation strategies to go with, you can put the rest of your plan together. How are you going to target those people? Will it be via email, social, or personalized landing pages?
If the combination of audience segmentation strategies you used didn’t work, experiment with another mix until you find the most effective way to reach your potential customers. Measure the data to see where people are landing on your site, how long they’re staying, and what’s making them leave. Then incorporate that data into your next effort and into the day-to-day operations of your marketing.
A good way to determine if an audience segment you’ve created will be useful is to see if it meets 4 criteria:
Marketing goals are important. If your objective is to “reach more people,” for example, define what you’re looking to see from each of your segments. That can include adding 500 more subscribers to your email newsletter, increasing the total number of products you sell by 20%, or doubling your email campaign’s click-through rate.
You should also make sure that your goals for each segment and your company’s overall goals are in sync with each other. Once you’ve set those goals, track them. If you met them, great! If not, some tweaking is necessary. Setting goals and measuring them is simple—and it can provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a marketing plan.
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