Prep For Email Segmentation To Reap These 3 Benefits
Don't fear that additional field in your email sign-up form -- here are some ways it could pay off, big time.
As marketers, we like deliverables. They serve as tangible signs that we’ve moved the needle on the company’s bottom line. Saying “I got 4,000 leads last month” or “my prospect list size is 78,000″ doesn’t actually say all that much, but we all feel like the bigger the number, the better.
Even when speaking to other marketers, few people will follow up with, “Oh, that’s a lot of leads! Do you know anything about them besides their names and email addresses?”
Sometimes, this question isn’t asked because the listener wants to be polite (or simply doesn’t understand marketing in general). But it also isn’t asked because segmenting a list isn’t an end goal. Nobody segments a list to segment a list — they do so in order to better target messages and encourage purchases, appointments, engagements and referrals.
Here are three reasons why it’s more than worthwhile to segment a list on the the way in — and not later down the line.
1. Segmentation Is Easier On The Front End
If you’re selling in a B2B environment and the key differentiator between your prospects is the industry that they’re in (let’s say construction, manufacturing or logistics), it’s often best to gather that information directly when the lead is captured.
Doing so provides critical data to help send better messaging immediately — not to mention it’s likely the only chance you’ll get to collect this information. After all, you’re not going to send out a monthly newsletter with a “please tell us what industry you’re in” poll included, are you?
Often, the reason an additional drop-down field isn’t added is because marketers assume that asking for more information up front will decrease front-end conversions (“I got 3,700 leads this month” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “4,000″). But ultimately, number of conversions to sale is more important than number of opt-ins, and without simple data upon which to base segmentation, those sales are less likely.
In addition, simply testing your landing pages with and without an additional drop-down will usually prove to have negligible impact on overall number of visitors converted to leads.
2. Marketing Automation Becomes Much More Powerful
If the only information collected is a name and email address, then really, we only know three things about this lead: (a) their name, (b) their email address and (c) that they’re interested enough in what your landing page conveys to opt in.
If one simple drop-down field is added (with the options “Construction Industry,” “Manufacturing,” and “Logistics/Delivery”), a marketer can now go beyond “vanilla” marketing messages and work more seriously toward conversion on each and every lead.
If a lead selects “Manufacturing,” that lead can be followed up with educational messages and relevant client success stories that all relate to — you guessed it — the manufacturing industry. A client selecting “Logistics/Delivery” would hear how a product or service is a particular fit in that industry, and how other logistics companies have used your services to great success.
As a result, the number of leads that convert to appointment or convert to initial sale often goes way up. This kind of targeted messaging provides additional “relevance” in four critical areas:
- Subject lines can be tailored to each segment, boosting open rates.
- First paragraphs and lead-ins can hook reader attention more effectively.
- Customer testimonials can provide better social proof when the testimonials come from people just like them.
- Call-to-action text to encourage clicks, phone calls, or filling out additional web forms can include industry-specific language to encourage engagement with each email.
All in all, the entire customer lifecycle is positively influenced by segmentation when proper automation puts people on the right “tracks” directly upon opt-in.
3. Broadcast Messaging Stops Being A Turn-Off For Prospects
Many companies have a monthly or quarterly newsletter which serves no purpose besides conveying the professionalism of being a company that sends out a newsletter. The publication isn’t intended to have a return-on-investment; in fact, companies are often hesitant to even send it out because they fear it may annoy their list.
Usually, these messages do annoy the recipients, but only because it’s the same bland message sent to an entire email list. If a company has a method of collecting leads that includes front-end segmentation, then broadcast or “newsletter” emails can also be segmented.
This would mean that, rather than general monthly newsletter, there would be a “monthly logistics industry newsletter,” a “monthly construction industry newsletter,” and so on. These wouldn’t just yield higher open rates and consumption, they’d be better for including relevant calls-to-action for additional offers, services, etc.
All in all, front-end segmentation adds richness to a database. For the purposes of qualifying leads and driving conversions, a company with 4,000 email addresses doesn’t have half the power of a company with 3,700 email addresses and the industry, desired benefit or main goal of the prospect.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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