Being able to segment your web visitors, buyers, customers and prospects isn’t the first thing that most of us as marketers turn to. We understand the need for it, but it’s usually not a big focus.
Even when teams do pay attention, it is often only to email lists. Segmentation is something that should be considered from the very start because it will help you better understand your customers and their needs which drives sales.
Segmentation That Drives Sales
There are many ways to segment your visitors and customers. Every business should have its own unique ways of segmenting, but there are some typical ones where you will have some of the greatest gains.
• Geographic Segmentation. While our motivations, interests and habits are all unique, you will find averages and similar interests that are geographically-based. This occurs not just at the country level, but at the state and even city level, as well. Simply think about the loyal fans of one sports team over another within the same state — same level of passion, but different focus.
• Time-Based Segmentation. Retailers are very aware of timing differences. The shopping season around Christmas generates most of the revenue for the entire year. Shopper behavior at this time is very different than at any other time of year. Knowing what works and being able to adapt to these changes during certain seasons gives you a big edge in driving sales.
• Role-Based Segmentation. Different people have different purchasing power and levels of influence. Whether you’re targeting a business or a family, understanding roles within that unit will help you create unique content that better meets the needs of the visitor and prospect.
• Age-Based Segmentation. This seems obvious, but teenagers and older adults habits tend to be different than the average. Understanding their needs, habits and patterns is powerful in the hands of a marketing technologist that knows how to communicate with these audiences.
• Sex-Based Segmentation. Male and female buying habits are different. We shop in different ways and respond to different environments. Again, you want to avoid generalizations, but you’ll be able to grow faster if you recognize the uniqueness that exists.
• Engagement Segmentation. How are visitors and prospects engaging with your brand? Are they a regular user or first-time? Do they read a lot before making a decision, or is it mostly impulse? Recognize the needs of different buyers to create a user experience that tailors to the major types of customers.
• Interest Based Segmentation. You can obviously segment visitors and customers based on interest. This may not be important if you only sell a single type of product or service, but otherwise, knowing what people are interested in and providing that up front for them will drive a much higher conversion rate. Especially with a new visitor, knowing what referral source or campaign they arrived from will help you better understand (and speak to) his or her interest.
Personalization & Segmentation
Though personalization and segmentation are not the same thing, the concepts are very similar. In both cases, you are delivering a unique experience — personalization is just at the individual level.
When segmenting your visiting web audience and personalizing the content, make sure your rules do not conflict with each other. For example, let’s say you own a chain of restaurants in the US. If you made a generalization that everyone from Texas likes steak, you might set up a rule, based on geographic segmentation, that the website should display a big steak image, branded with the outline of Texas, to visitors from that state.
But, if you also have a rule to change the H1 tag for self-identified vegetarians to display a title about eating your veggies, that could complicate things. In this case, a vegetarian from Texas would be shown the big steak image along with the altered H1 tag. That wouldn’t go over too well — so be sure to think through the logic of all your rules.
Segmentation Tools For Any Business
Pretty much any email marketing tool will help you with segmenting your audience. Marketing automation tools like Marketo and Exact Target are very good at doing that, and they are stepping into content personalization, as well.
There are a number of website segmentation tools that can help as well, depending on your level of need, budget and sophistication. An entry-level tool I like to use for doing geo-segmentation and referral source segmentation is Visual Website Optimizer. They make it pretty easy to set up, and you can measure the impact of the personalized content on conversions as well.
The second tool I’d recommend taking a look at is Evergage, which has a pretty wide range of behaviors to personalize.
Finally, if your budget allows, DemandBase is an amazing toolset for delivering unique content even to targeted accounts (that’s really powerful for B2B).
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.