To best demonstrate the benefits of segmentation, I’m going to segment this blog post, or at least divide it into sub sections relevant to different experience levels.
Whatever your previous experience with segmentation you hopefully know of the benefits of grouping sub sections of your audience into different pots based on your knowledge of them. Research from Hubspot showed that click through rates roughly see a 14% boost between those who segment their audience, and those who don’t.
IF experience = Segmentation Starter
Getting started with segmentation is arguably the hardest part. Before you even start splitting your customers into different groups, you need to ensure that you have actually collected the data that you’ll need to be able to do this. Are you collecting information when people sign up? Or when they complete a purchase or donation? Make sure you are taking in relevant data at these key touchpoints to enable you to start segmenting. Even if it’s something simple like a retailer offering different content to men versus women, or customers versus prospects (something even established brand marketers fail to achieve as a minimum).
IF experience = Solid Segmenter
So you’ve had a go at segmentation, but wouldn’t go so far as calling yourself an advanced user. The great news is that you are in good company. According to Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census 2017, 78% of people claim to use basic segmentation, whilst only 36% say they used advanced segmentation.
At this stage you are likely to be using basic segmentation based on demographics or geographical locations (referred to as two of the Pillars of Segmentation in this emailmonday blog). At the higher end of this stage you may even be bringing in some transactional data to start to identify and target your VIPs, differently to your ad hoc customers.
The next steps are making sure your segmentation is actually adding value. If a particular split isn’t working, move on and find something that does. As with everything in the multi-channel marketing world, test, learn and develop your strategy from there, to move yourself up to the next level.
IF experience = Segmentation Superstar
At the top of the segmentation world are those with embedded strategies and testing plans to ensure they are maximising their opportunities and creating even greater relevancy, and so engagement, with their audience. Not only are emails personalised based on previous details given, but also on previous interactions. The best of the best are bringing in data from every touchpoint into a consolidated Customer Data Platform, and using this to feed their segmentation strategy and getting the absolute maximum engagement out of their customers.
The real cherry on top of the ice cream sundae is when you can use all of that rich data to feed segmentation, not based on the past, but on likely future interactions as well. By using predictive analytics you can find out the likelihood of your customers carrying out behaviours like making a first purchase, or lapsing. You can then use this to push your segmentation to the very top of the pyramid.
You get a segment, and you get a segment, everyone gets a segment!
In the same way Oprah makes her whole audience feel special, it should be stressed that segmentation doesn’t mean just focussing on those that will reap the largest financial gain. You should definitely be putting more time into creating content for these people, they are obviously highly engaged with your content, but don’t forget the rest of your audience. Just because they spend less often, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still add value. They might need to be contacted less often, but they’ve still taken the time to ask for your content, so don’t forget to fulfil your part of that subscription bargain!