3 Ways to know your prospects as well as they know you!

know your prospects

By Brooke Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

How do you get to know your prospects?

Or maybe a better question is, are you getting to know your prospects?

As potential customers get to know you by investigating your website, reading your blog, downloading your content or subscribing to your newsletter, you should be doing the same.

That is, getting to know them. Understanding what it is they’re looking for, and then giving them that.

Today I’ll go through three ways you can get to know your prospects in 2016.

What Is A Prospect?

First, the marketing jargon.

Some companies get all fancy and use terms like MQL (marketing qualified lead) and SQL (sales qualified lead).

Perhaps those acronyms are easier because the difference between a prospect and a lead is debatable.

We’ll go with my way (and then I welcome your way arguments, as long as they’re constructive). 🙂

Prospect(s): Have shown some sort of interest in your company/product. Maybe they’ve:

  • Subscribed to your newsletter
  • Downloaded a piece of your content
  • Followed you on social media

Prospects have given you the right to market to them; they’ve opted in.

You could even take it further and say that prospects could be a current client who may be interested in other services or products that you offer (think upsell).

Lead(s): Have shown interest AND opened up two-way conversation. Maybe they’ve:

  • Requested a consultation
  • Requested pricing
  • Requested a proposal

So in the interest of this post, we are trying to get to know our prospects more.

How can we get to know these potential customers and turn them into leads?

3 Ways To Get To Know Your Prospects With Segmenting

The most important thing here is that your prospects have opted in. This is key because this tells me they’re sitting on one of your lists.

I don’t care which tool you use, or how you got them there, the fact is you have their email and can send content to that email until they unsubscribe.

1) Segment your (already existing) list

One of the best and easiest ways to get to know your prospects is to segment your list.

Let’s say you have a list of 100 people. Do you send all 100 your newsletter with your big announcements, your upcoming events, and your new product releases?

You could. But wouldn’t it be smarter to:

  • Send your newsletter to those who want weekly (or monthly) touches?
  • Send events to people who’ve attended past events or noted that they’re interested in future events?
  • Send product releases or updates by specific product?

And if you got a little more granular with your sends, wouldn’t you receive higher open and click-through rates?

Yes, your conversions would probably be higher. And who doesn’t want that?

If you haven’t segmented your big, fat list just yet, that’s okay. It’s not too late.

Here are two easy steps to help you get to know your prospects with segmenting:

  1. Send out a survey asking for clicks on interests (example: “Which are you most interested in hearing from us about: A) Content Marketing B) Advertising or C) Social Media Marketing”). If your email provider allows tagging automation by clicks (and if you ask me, it should!) you can immediately tag readers who click on a specific interest with that interest group as a segment or tag. If you don’t have these abilities with your software, you can always use a free software tool like SurveyMonkey to send out and gather responses.
  2. Group segments by interests and then send content accordingly. Using psychographics to segment is my favorite thing to do! Psychographics are interests, opinions, activities, etc. If we know that Group A has a high-interest level in Content Marketing, then the next time we have an event, newsletter or product geared towards this subject we should definitely hit up this “hot list” first.
2) Segment your new subscribers or opt-ins

Now you’re at a place where your big list is better segmented but you need to think of ways to segment new opt-ins, OR, you don’t have a list and you need to segment from the beginning.

There are three places you can easily segment subscribers before they hit your list:

  1. Segment directly on your opt-in form. Here’s an example: Say you’re hosting a webinar. On the sign-up form have a checkbox* that says, “Please notify me of future events!” Once clicked, this person gets added to your system with the tag or segment “events.” Now any time you host a webinar, Blab, or in-person event you can send directly to those users who have a high interest in joining your events.
  2. Segment directly on your landing page. Similar to the opt-in form, you can create an area on your landing page to ask subscribers what their interests are or what information they’re seeking.
  3. Segment in you’re welcome email. If getting new software or coding gives you the willies, you can always use a simple email to segment. I’d do it with my welcome email and say something like, “To better serve your inbox, let us know what you absolutely want to hear about! [options]” Again, most providers offer this, and if you don’t yet have an affordable tool that can do this, check out ConvertKit.

*You don’t have to segment with checkboxes. Drop-down forms and radio buttons are other easy options for opt-in form segmenting.

3) Segment by behavior

Going to back to your list — whether it already has tags and segments or not — you can also consider segmenting by behavior.

Here are four tactics to possibly introduce to your list:

  1. If readers click a link to read your blog, tag them as “blog reader”
  2. If readers click to share your content via social, tag them as a “social sharer”
  3. If certain list members buy during a flash sale or when you’re offering a discount, tag them as “deal chaser” (If you have customers tagged, you can later start to develop patterns around who buys at full price and who only buys when there’s a discount)
  4. If readers click over to event pages, tag them as “event interest”

There are so many different ways you can use segmenting or tagging to help send better and more targeted email/marketing messages … and get to know your prospects!

One Big List May Hurt Your Conversion Rates

Segmenting helps with “send fatigue” and allows you to fine tune open, click-through, and conversion rates.

Just take a look at the results of a MailChimp global test between segmented and non-segmented campaigns:


Your conversion rates can ultimately help you better get to know your prospects and what types of content and information they’re most interested in.

So, do you already intimately know your audience? Or will you be using some of the ideas here to get to know them better? Let me know in the comments section below!

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke B. Sellas is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & owner at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and  a purveyor of psychographics. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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