Six methods for smarter marketing segmentation

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marketing segmentation

By Brooke Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Ask any marketer if they’re interested in smarter segmentation with their lists, campaigns, or otherwise and you’re sure to raise a few eyebrows.

Marketing segmentation may just be an answer to Content Shock, as choosing highly targeted and more granular content could help you reach your specific audience and make more conversions.

The problem with segmentation is two-fold:

  1. You’re not doing it
  2. You’re not doing enough of it

Smarter segmentation has moved beyond demographics and progressed to include categories like, “passionate planner mom” or “affluent online shopper.”

While it’s up to you to create segments and categories that make sense for your sales pipeline, here’s a solid starting place better-targeted marketing efforts.

6+ Steps To Smarter Segmentation

The biggest gap we see when talking to our clients is that they aren’t refreshing their database often enough and since it’s easier to work with what you have, here’s what we suggest:

1. Refresh your list or data with a good scrubbing

  • Delete outdated data
  • Purge inactive contacts
  • Complete records that are missing information

2. Audit ruthlessly 

  • Comb through your newly refreshed list and look for opportunities
  • Segment more granularly where you can
  • Label list with “hot”, “warm” and “cold” to focus on the contacts who are most likely to produce

3. Plot prospects on the customer lifecycle path

  • Identify the stages of your would-be customer’s journey (if you haven’t already)
  • Plan for automation within your system (or, you may need to consider a different system!)
  • Create triggers in your system so when action is taken, you can easily move a prospect from one area to another (also known as event-triggered marketing)

Here’s an example of automation triggers I use in ConvertKit (my ESP):

link-trigger-GIF-1024x767

[Source: ConvertKit]

4. Create niche content for your prospects AND where they are in the buying journey

5. Make it scalable

  • Generate processes and workflows for the above operations so your automated campaigns can be put together with ease
  • Figure out ways to automate time-consuming tasks (HubSpot has the idea)
  • Look to the future: train the team and make lead management an automated task

And, once you’ve got your own list and/or database at homeostasis and working for you again, one of the ways you can look to the future for leads is …

6. Purchase a highly-targeted list to market to

I know, many marketers are against the purchasing of emails. But, a current marketing agency I consult with has done this many times over with much success.

The key is to find a quality list provider and pay top dollar for an extremely segmented list … smarter segmenting, remember?

In any case, you can segment your “bought” prospects and “organic” prospects differently and A/B test them through a campaign to see which group performs better (that’s what we’re doing now).

Which brings me to a bonus!

7. Get granular with your segments and TEST

  • Compare groupings, segments, and interests in conversion A/B testing to see which of your segments convert better
  • Look at the performance of different categories or segments on different channels (EX: email versus organic social versus remarketing)
  • Collect data on email or ad fatigue for your groups

The Importance Of Smarter Segmenting Methods

Marketers can’t continue to tout the importance of the “list” if they don’t treat their list with some — if not all — of the above methods.

In order to avoid the fatigue that is Content Shock, we must do a better job of analyzing and pruning our list(s) for more often (or in real time) and proving the content that our list so desperately seeks.

What methods do you use for smarter segmentation? Let me know in the comments 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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  • Great article Brooke!

    Segmentation is essential for targeting our audience effectively

    I find having different lead magnets is a great way segmenting my list into different audiences.

    Clement

  • Brooke Ballard

    Thank you, Clement! Having several lead magnets is a GREAT idea and fabulous way to segment by interests. 🙂

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  • Greg Allbright

    Good thoughts Brooke. I’ve been buying marketing lists for the last two years. But not to email. Instead I use the data to build custom remarketing lists on my website and drive traffic to it via their email account tied to their Facebook account. It’s brilliant. You don’t spam via email, you have targeted info, you only run ads to people on Facebook with that email and then when you drive them to the website you can remarket to them via Google and Facebook.

  • Leighton Jenkins

    Great Article and would add that the only segmentation that works is the one that is based on behaviour. Do they buy, do they read more, do they download more, do they trial or do they do less?

    Its also important to understand the WHERE:
    Where are they on the Buyers Journey
    Where did you find them
    Where do they shop
    Where did they go next.

    Understand WHY and WHERE and segmentation improves results

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