For years, we’ve been talking about the value of audience segmentation. You may be tired of hearing about it, but it’s that important.
And because one of our favorite marketing gurus, April Dunford, tweeted a thread about segmentation vs. personas, we were inspired to share some insights on how to enhance your segmentation.
Segmentation allows you to enhance your sales and marketing efforts by tailoring your strategy, messaging and communication methods to meet the exact needs of your target audiences.
You likely have some in place, even if you’ve never called it that. This could look like having lists based on the industry someone works in, their job title, company size and, at a more advanced level, their lead score.
While this a great start, segmentation should be constantly evolving as you learn more about your audience and the needs of your ideal customer. As you add more data and create more detailed segments, you can personalize the buyer’s journey and streamline your sales process (hello increased conversion rates!).
But how do you ensure you’re optimizing your segmentation? We’re sharing five ways to enhance your audience segmentation with tools you likely already have.
Email surveys are one of the most effective ways to segment your audience and learn about your database because the information is coming directly from the source – your contacts.
Consider creating two surveys: one for current customers and one for leads. This allows you to ask questions that are specific to their usage of your product or services.
In addition to asking all respondents for helpful demographic information and what types of communications they’d like to receive from you, we suggest asking the following:
- Leads: What features are they looking for in a product? Are they currently using similar software or products? How soon are they thinking of making a switch?
- Customers: What stands out most about your product for them? Are there any areas for improvement? Would they refer your product to a colleague or a friend?
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are some good starting points.
For example, you may create a segment of leads interested in a specific product feature and keep them engaged with feature-specific content downloads, invite them to a webinar that highlights that feature and send them relevant case studies. Contacts segmented by a specific pain point may benefit from some dedicated sales outreach to assist them.
While there are many tools that can be used to conduct audience surveys, keep in mind how they integrate with your CRM. By creating a survey in HubSpot, you can automatically map responses to corresponding segmentation lists – saving your team time.
Chatbots can do more than just bring in new leads (though they’re great for that too). When strategically implemented, chatbots can assist in segmentation by gaining valuable information from your website visitors.
You can do this in two ways.
The page that someone engages with your chatbot on can provide insights into where they are in the buyer’s journey.
For instance, someone who engages with a chatbot on your pricing page is likely looking for some final insights into your pricing vs. your competitors.
Consider creating a list of people who engage with your pricing page chatbot which can include follow-up automations to share additional pricing information, competitor comparisons and additional decision-making content. You might even consider making a page-specific chatbot that asks questions about pricing.
Someone using your chatbot on a capabilities page might still be researching your product to learn more. Segmenting them by the capabilities they are interested in (and asking follow-ups to this within your chatbot) can help you tailor their buyer’s journey down the road.
It’s also important to be strategic about the questions your chatbot asks. When possible, go beyond the standard name and email collection. The more psychographic data you can get, the better.
Consider asking the following:
- What products or services they’re interested in learning more about?
- How did they hear about you?
- If they’re a repeat visitor, ask what’s holding them back from purchasing?
Like your surveys, make sure your chatbot is integrated with your CRM so that you can automatically segment your contacts based on their responses!
Lead Capture Forms
Similarly to chatbots, lead capture forms should inform your audience segmentation. By setting up forms to include toggle fields for responses, you can map the responses to designated lists.
At a basic level, this could look like asking if a website visitor is considering a product from personal or business use, helping you segment between B2B and B2C customers.
You can take this a step further and ask for additional audience insights depending on the form being filled out. On a customer support form, you may ask what someone needs assistance with, with options that may resemble:
- I have a question about pricing.
- I have a question about your capabilities.
- I have a question about your service integrations.
- I’m a customer and need additional product support.
This would then segment contacts based on their needs and lifecycle stage.
Make sure the length of the form reflects the value of what that form provides. On a form to sign up for your email newsletter, a contact isn’t likely to want to give more than their name and email address (I know I wouldn’t). However, for a thoughtful content download, they’d be more willing to share extra information.
Campaign data is another great way to segment your audience based on their communication preferences, interests and level of engagement.
Here are some ways you can break your data down by what it unveils:
By analyzing what content your contacts are engaging with, you can more effectively communicate with them.
One way to do this is by monitoring email engagement. Start by creating a segment of “unengaged newsletter recipients” who haven’t opened your last four email newsletters. Rather than sending them more newsletters and hoping they’ll open one, consider sending them an email asking if they’d like to remain on your list and offering alternate ways to communicate.
You may offer to keep them on your email newsletter list, send them company updates only, subscribe to your podcast or to follow you on Facebook to see the latest blog posts when they’re published.
This allows your audience to share their preferred method of contact while potentially introducing them to new resources. If you continue to send contacts communications they don’t want, they’re likely to unsubscribe and lose interest.
Campaign data can also provide important insights into a contact’s interests in your product. This can be pulled in a few ways depending on the content you have and the campaigns you’re running.
- Gated-Content Downloads: Gated content downloads help segment lists by content topic. For example, a marketing agency may have a gated-content download on HubSpot’s capabilities. A resourceful agency would segment those who downloaded the guide into a list to send helpful follow-ups to ensure you have everything you need for HubSpot success (so if you want more tips, don’t forget to download our guide).
- Ad Origin: It’s also beneficial to segment by ad origin. Let’s pretend you’re running a Google Ads campaign with three ad groups that highlight different features of your platform. Segmenting by the ad group someone originated from can help you tailor your follow-ups to their specific needs.
- Button Clicks: Similarly to ad origins, pay attention to the buttons people are clicking. For instance, if you have a button on an email that sends someone to learn more about a specific capability, take note of who’s clicking and use this information in your segmentation.
Level of Engagement
Knowing how engaged your audience is can also be a valuable segmentation tool. As I mentioned in our communication preferences, you can segment your audience based on how frequently they open your emails. You can also segment by when their last website visit was or when your sales team last spoke with them.
Having lists based on this information allows you to create dedicated re-engagement campaigns that aim to get back on these contacts’ radar.
If this list is large enough, you can even use it in paid advertising as a retargeting list to subtly reintroduce your brand.
Win/loss reports can also provide strong insights into your customer base and those who didn’t convert. Depending on the sales outcome, there are some things to look for.
Information from wins can help you maintain happy customers and convert them into brand advocates. By knowing and segmenting based on the features or benefits that made them decide to convert, you can send tailored follow-ups to see how the feature is performing, provide updates when feature upgrades are available or use this information when it comes time for a renewal or upgrade conversation.
Plus, having a segmented list of which customers love a specific feature can be useful if you’re ever looking for a reference for a potential customer down the road.
Knowing why a lead didn’t convert is just as important, if not more important, than knowing why they did. This not only helps you improve your sales processes over time, but also allows for the strategic re-nurturing of potential customers.
Let’s pretend Charlie decided to make a purchase from your competitor. First, it’s important to analyze why. By segmenting a lost deal based on why Charlie didn’t purchase your service, you can slowly nurture him again for future opportunities.
If Charlie found your services cheaper somewhere else, you can use this information to nurture him with information about your product’s value-added benefits or sales offers down the road.
It’s also important to segment based on when this sale was lost and what the average buying cycle is.
For instance, if you provide a service that is typically purchased annually, segment your lost customers by the month they hired an alternate company (bonus segmentation points if you can segment by the reason they went with someone else and when it happened).
Then, just before the one-year mark, automate follow-ups to check in with your contact. If they aren’t happy with their new provider or you’ve launched a new feature that speaks to why they didn’t hire you originally, you may be able to convert them into a customer when it’s time for them to renew services.
If you provide a product that is bought multiple times a year, then having insights on when they typically look to buy can help you be one step ahead during their next sales cycle.
Keep Segmenting Over Time
Segmentation is an ongoing process that requires constant review and optimization. But the more detailed you can be, the more impactful and personalized your marketing and sales efforts become.
Interested in segmenting your audience but not sure where to start? I know a team that can help.