When you cater to everyone, you serve no one. The same can be true with marketing, when you market to everyone, it’s difficult to reach anyone. That is why audience segmentation is so powerful.
Let’s look at what audience segmentation is, why it’s important, and how you can use audience segmentation examples to get ideas for dividing your audience and boosting your marketing effectiveness.
What is Audience Segmentation?
Audience segmentation is a process of dividing the audience into segments based on predefined criteria such as behavior, geographical location, historical data, product usage, and other parameters. In the ad tech industry, audience segmentation is used for ad targeting.
An example is creating separate ads for audiences based on whether they’re iOS users or android users, window users or mac users, or desktop or mobile users.
A more simplified example would be of an athlete user who responds to ads related to fitness. This is where audience segmentation helps – knowing the preferences and interests of your target audience to present them with targeted advertising so they tend to subscribe or return for more.
Back in the day, setting up audience segmentation was an uphill battle that used to give marketers a headache. Today, simplified tools in email marketing, SMM, messenger marketing, search engine marketing, and other digital marketing channels such Mapsted’s Notify CRM, have made it so that even an entry-level marketer can effectively segment their audiences.
3 reasons why audience segmentation should be used with your audience
There are several reasons you should segment your audience, so let’s review them. Segmentation:
- Helps you provide your audience with personalized treatment. Today, customers seek personalized experiences, and they want super-relevant offers at the right time, too. This became possible once social networks and search engines started collecting a lot of behavioral and demographic data about people so that brands can divide people into segments and tailor their messages more precisely.
- Helps you overcome competitors. Fierce competition in online marketing makes it hard to market your products today. However, if you are smart with your segmentation, you can tailor your ads, nurture and convert leads into customers better than your competitors.
- Helps you build meaningful relationships with the audience. To satisfy modern customers, brands need to educate and entertain them. With Mapsted’s segmentation tools on hand, companies can create thought out content marketing strategies that appeal to every customer.
Target audience segmentation strategies
Now, let’s analyze the ways you can separate your audience segmentation categories.
Marketers often sort people according to factors like their demographics, behavior, and where they are in their buyer’s journey. What strategy you use to segment your audience depends on the product or service you’re delivering.
If you run a website that sells skiing equipment, for example, it might not make sense to treat people in different geographical locations as separate segments, because most of them probably have to travel to ski. But it might be practical to segment them according to their behavior and level of engagement. People who have been interested in the sport for years and know the products you sell will probably engage with your business differently than people who are just starting out.
This audience segmentation strategy helps you divide your audience based on typical marketing demographics. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones:
- Age. It’s a crucial segmentation variable since people’s preferences are continually changing throughout their lifetime. People of various age groups communicate with brands in specific ways, so you need to conduct research and consider these differences when you do your marketing. If you run an apparel business, you need to target different collections to different age groups: children, teens, and adults.
- Gender. Each gender has a specific thinking process, needs, and desires. For instance, men and women often want different body care products. However, you should carefully avoid advertising on gender stereotypes because it will offend some of your prospects and make your brand look sexist.
- Location. This segmentation variable is vital because people use different languages and have different cultures, climatic conditions, time zones, etc. Aside from this, it’s necessary for businesses in specific areas to target their messages to the local audience. There’s no need to waste your budget on marketing to people that will never make it to your store.
- Income. Based on your customer’s estimated salary, you can tailor different classes of products to the right people. For example, in the automotive industry, there is little sense in advertising first-class sports cars to people with lower incomes. In this case, it’s best to promote used vehicles or offer new cars with low APR. And vice versa, people that earn a lot of money are more likely to buy luxury brands.
- Occupation. Some niche products are tailored based on employment: medical equipment, woodworking tools, fitness training equipment, software, etc.
- Ethnicity. It’s essential to know about the cultural differences and conflicts between neighboring nations. Think of Armenia and Azerbaijan, or Spain and the Catalonian crisis. Target your communication by paying attention to the situation in your customers’ countries. Also, conduct research as you grow your business internationally.
- Family structure. Think of “family pack” products in the supermarket. It’s best to tailor such products to families with three and more members. With the data about family structure at hand, you can quickly identify the target audience for such products.
This audience segmentation strategy goes a bit deeper than demographic separation. Analyzing behavior means looking at what people buy, how often they make a purchase, and why they buy the product or service.
Let’s review the most common ways to segment users by behavior:
- Purchasing behavior. Look for any obstacles that keep users from making a decision. People hesitate to purchase for three reasons: they are waiting for the best offer, they are looking for social proof, or some of them are “just looking around” and are not in a hurry. Use shopping holidays to convert the first type, collect feedback from happy customers for the second type, and don’t spend much time and effort on the third type since they aren’t likely to buy anything.
- Benefits. This is a way to divide customers based on the benefits they are looking for. You can motivate them to buy your products or services by stressing the best parts and benefits of your products. For instance, chewing gum gives people clean teeth, fresh breath, a nice flavor, and even an anti-stress effect. Find out the benefits that drive your customers towards making a purchase and emphasize them.
- Engagement level. Some users occasionally contact your brand, so you can survey them to find out if they see a lack of value or motivation from your side. The others regularly use your service but don’t use its functions to the full extent. Share how-to videos and highlight all the features that will be handy for them. Lastly, people who integrate your brand into their lives require special treatment. You can provide them with bonuses, loyalty programs, and greetings on birthdays and anniversaries.
- Special occasions. This segmentation type helps you deliver your messages at the right time. Utilize events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, national holidays, etc., to add more reasons to go shopping. You can implement occasion-based segmentation by collecting data from subscription forms, lead magnets, or surveys. These insights will help you build a positive brand image.
Segmentation based on the buyer’s journey stage
This audience segmentation strategy enables you to tailor your messages based on where your customer is in their buyer’s journey.
There are three buyer journey stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. In each stage, prospects need different kinds of treatment.
If users have just found out they have a problem, they usually use Google to find a solution. So in this stage, it’s best to have helpful content that will provide answers to your future customers’ questions. It can be an article that outlines how to deal with the problem in different ways.
If a user already knows what kind of product can solve their problem, they will want to learn more about its characteristics and determine which exact product they need. It’s a great idea to show reviews like “best tools for…”
Once they know exactly what they need, users search for the best price. It’s best if your brand is visible in shopping campaign ads, which is a great way to stand out from your competitors.
If users still doubt, you can nurture them with precisely targeted ads on the Notify CRM, based on their search queries and interests.
Target audience segmentation best practices
We’ve collected a few best practices that will help you segment your audience in the right way.
- Don’t overdo it. Audience segmentation is all about balance. If you narrow your audience down too much, it will stop bringing you money because only a few people will meet all of your segmentation criteria. It’s best if you aim at providing every member of your audience with exciting and personalized content in the first place and use segmentation as a supportive tool to help you achieve that goal.
- Set clear goals. It’s better to not use segmentation at all than it is to segment at random. To segment your audience effectively, you need to develop a buyer persona, create your buyer’s journey, and identify your target audience first. Only then will you be able to set realistic goals for your audience segmentation strategy.
- Test and improve. It’s important to monitor how your audience changes and adjust your strategies to meet these changes. Sometimes, you need to revise segments that were effective before, do some more research, and tests to create better segments. Your audience is an ever changing living organism, so there’s always room for improvement.
Segment audience on each channel. Every digital marketing channel has segmentation options, and it’s a great idea to make use of them. This may be beneficial for your business. For instance, the insights you gain about your audience from Facebook can help you better segment your audience on other channels and allows you to save money and effort.