Have you ever visited a company’s website and then later received an advertisement for their product, as if they were reading your mind? If so, you may have been a victim of that company’s audience segmentation process.

While those advertising messages may seem pesky at first, audience segmentation is not a bad thing if you are a business owner or marketer – and your business should be able to use them to grow its digital marketing success. In a world of smartphones, social media, and constant digital contact, consumers are more empowered to engage with your business and brand online than ever before. However, with the growth of social media comes digital fragmentation, which makes it hard to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Most traditional marketing tactics already use data analytics to segment their audience (read: consumers) into the most obvious of groups: age, gender, and location. In our team’s experience at The Loop Marketing, these minimal groups are mostly ineffective in offering audiences the best possible experience when helping push consumers in a decision to buy or continue to interact with a brand. Buyer intent behavior and the potential customer’s position in the decision-making process are the most important factors when deciding how to address the needs and expectations of the audience.

The Process

Audience segmentation may sound complicated and confusing, but our team has created a simple process to help businesses build consumer profiles which track what site visitors like, what they buy, how they buy it, and dozens of other digital interactions happening in real-time on a brand or company’s site. Here’s how:

  1. Brainstorm and write down a list of every important action users perform on your site. This could include submitting an email for the monthly newsletter, downloading a file from the site, clicking on a newsletter, or signing up for an account. You may hear these called “events”, “goals”, or “conversions”, as this is how they are labeled in Google Analytics.
  2. Go through the list and select which actions you feel are important enough or which ones attract the most attention from site visitors. These are the events, goals, or conversions that you should consider when creating unique marketing processes.
  3. Consider each action item you’ve listed as a separate audience group. Break down the list and outline what makes each group unique to help understand what the correlating ad or marketing process should focus on.
  4. Choose the right follow up marketing process out of your many remarketing options.

Audience Segmentation in Practice

If you’re already tracking analytics, below are some creative examples of lists you can easily create, track, and target via brand messaging.

  • Consumers who visited your quotes or pricing page.  This shows a tremendous amount of buying intent. Perhaps a follow-up ad with a coupon or “free shipping”?
  • Consumers who gave their email address and subscribed to your blog or newsletters.
  • Consumers who clicked through to visit your social media profiles: Create a group based on who visits external social sites (like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Consider creating different groups for each social site for more robust consumer profiles.
  • Customers that came from social media sites.  
  • Consumers who took a survey: Segment your audience based on those who completed the survey call-to-action, and then break this group up further based on what their answers were.
  • Consumers who clicked on and watched a sales video: You can also segment this group further based on the length of time each consumer watched the video for.
  • Consumers who visited your product or sales page for more than 30 seconds.  This shows interest, and perhaps exposure to a few more features/benefits can convert them.
  • Number of pages each consumer viewed: Segment your audience based on how many pages consumers viewed. Choose a threshold (such as 5 pages) and create a group based on those who met or exceeded it.  This shows an engaged user who may in a research phase.
  • Consumers that came from another website (and specify each external website that could lead them to your own): This way, you can target ads and brand messaging to appeal to a consumer profile that would visit both your site and the external ones.
  • Consumers that purchased a certain dollar amount of products on your site: You’ll likely want to target consumers that spend large amounts of money differently than you target those that spend smaller amounts of money or no money at all for your business’s products.
  • Consumers who clicked to download a file from your site such as a product manual, case study, or white paper: This is an easy way to gauge the seriousness of a consumer and can be a valuable tool in audience targeting.
  • Consumers who clicked a specific link in an email ad or newsletter: Determine what the significance of the links are and decide what a click from a consumer says about the group.
  • Consumers who purchased products or services from your site: Depending on your industry, we would consider this group one with high likelihood to make another purchase and with brand recognition a given it should be much easier to target this part of your audience to upsell them.  Make sure you segment further by type of product or service purchased!

What do you do once you have your audiences properly segmented?  Next time, our blog entry titled “Ways to Convert Your Custom Online Audiences” will look at tactics and real-life examples of ways you can use your segmented audiences to convert more sales.

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Elijah Litscher
Elijah Litscher is an author, educator, entrepreneur, and marketing innovator with over 18 years of experience in digital marketing. He has traveled extensively as a professional speaker while educating thousands of business owners across the country in online marketing best practices. Elijah is committed to empowering small and medium-sized businesses to reach their full potential online as founder and Chief Digital Strategist at The Loop Marketing Inc. in Chicago, Illinois.