As every product and service will appeal to more than one type of customer, there is a lot to be gained from delivering email marketing content that is tailored to the needs of each audience.

Using real estate as an example, one property could potentially draw the interest of a young couple, a middle-aged investor and a pair of empty nesters.

While all are seeking the same solution to achieve their desired lifestyle, they’re three distinct target markets with vastly different needs and wants.

To effectively communicate with each audience, you need to customise your email marketing content accordingly, as what’s important to one type of customer may have no value or relevance to another.

Achieve Cut-Through with Customised Messages

You could take an umbrella approach and send every one of your existing and prospective customers the same email marketing content, but broad messaging isn’t just ineffectual, it’s downright lazy.

These days we have access to powerful technology that allows us to collect valuable data and insights. With so much information at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to deliver personalised marketing messages to specific customer profiles.

The email landscape provides the greatest potential for customised marketing content. And arguably, it’s the platform where customers have the highest level of demand for content that is designed specifically for them.

Think about it. When you distribute email communications to your customers, you’re actively invading their private digital space. You’re not hoping they will notice your brand as they drive by your billboard or scroll past your Facebook ad. You’re getting up close and personal by inserting your brand into their inbox and positioning your message in front of their nose.

If you’re not going to provide them with content that resonates with them, there is no reason for them to engage with your business. To give them a reason, you need to provide them with valuable content that speaks directly to their interests.

By segmenting your database and distributing customised content, you will greatly increase your chances for success, with the potential to driver higher levels of engagement, click-through-rates, conversions and more.

So, how exactly should you segment your database to achieve optimal results?

Develop a Segmentation Strategy  

If you’re seeking an instant answer or a convenient shortcut, it’s time to acknowledge there is no one, universal solution that can be applied to every business.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to database segmentation. In certain situations, it can be perfectly justified to segment a segment, then segment that segment, and segment that segment, and so on and so forth, so it’s up to you to set the parameters.

To make an informed decision, you need to approach your segmentation as you would any other aspect of your marketing mix.

It all starts by examining the data that you have and identifying the information that will most significantly affect the purchasing decisions of your customers.

Geographic Locations

Does your business have multiple locations? Are your customers located in various cities, states or countries? If you answered yes, then it’s likely that segmenting your database by geographic location is going to be a worthwhile exercise.

From communicating store specific promotions to offers with cultural significance (for example Australia Day, Thanksgiving in the USA, Chinese New Year etc.) there are countless ways to tailor your content to the location of your customers.

Demographics

Here’s where you have the opportunity to analyse the basic building blocks that make up an individual and determine which ones are most likely to drive preferences for your products and services.

When segmenting according to demographics, you can look at some of the following criteria;

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Relationship status
  • Education level
  • Employment status
  • Occupation
  • Level of income
  • Household living status

You could also gather data to ascertain a customer’s nationality, political views and religion if applicable, but remember to tread lightly. There are major ethical conundrums with both collecting and using this information, and you don’t want to end up unintentionally landing in hot water.

That being said, you should be treating all personal data with utmost respect. It’s one thing to deliver content that contains relevant themes and suitable information for a given demographic. It’s another to make a direct statement that pertains to a customer’s personal circumstances.

Psychographics

While demographic data is exceedingly valuable to a marketer, it only provides a high-level overview of an individual. If you want to up the ante, you need to dig deeper to find out what really makes your customers tick.

With psychographic data, you’re looking at a person’s values, attitudes and lifestyle choices.

By segmenting your database according to personal qualities and interests, you can start to create content that will truly resonate with your customers.

Behavioural Data

This is where your customer’s buying habits come into play.

Behavioural data takes into account where a customer sits within the buying cycle, from the early stages of identifying a need or want for a product or service, to the point of making a purchase and potentially entering a phase of ongoing brand loyalty.

For existing customers, this also considers past purchases, the time that has elapsed since the last transaction, the amount of engagement with past email marketing campaigns and more.

Behavioural data opens the door to providing targeted content that will drive desirable actions. With the right messaging, you can persuade prospective customers to commit to a purchase, foster repeat purchases from existing customers and so on.

Customer Personas

Now, here’s where it all starts to get very interesting.

Instead of looking at various types of data in isolation, you can combine segments and identify trends to build out customer personas.

For example, you could find that your database contains a percentage of women aged 35-45, who live in a certain city, all with an interest in health and wellness, who have not engaged with your brand for a while.

By grouping these customers together, you can distribute a well-crafted email that’s going to strike a chord and encourage action to be taken.

How To Collect Data For Segmentation

While a segmentation strategy is essential, it’s entirely dependent on the information that you have access to within your database.

The less data you have, the more challenging it’s going to become to segment it in a meaningful way.

Here are a couple of ways to help beef up the volume of data you’re collecting.

Form Submissions

Your business must take every available opportunity to gather data on an ongoing basis.

Start with your website and ensure that all of your enquiry and subscription forms contain fields that are going to send valuable information straight to your CRM.

For lead capture forms, you’re going to want to keep your fields to a minimum. You don’t want to distract or dissuade people from converting.

With e-newsletter sign-ups, however, you can afford to ask your prospects for a little more input. You can even get them to self-segment by selecting their interests.

Marketing Campaigns

Next, use every possible marketing activity as a platform for data collection. Take advantage of social media campaigns, events, in-store promotions, competitions, surveys and more.

Data Compliance

It’s important to remember that throughout this process you must be obtaining consent to provide marketing materials via email.

While gathering information, you will also need to collect evidence that permission for email communications has been granted.

To comply with GDPR guidelines, all forms must provide a subscription check box that the customer has to manually tick as well as clear instructions on how to unsubscribe.

Use Automation to Maximise Your Productivity

Customising your content to various segments or personas is inevitably going to be more time intensive than the alternative.

It pays to leverage email marketing automation capabilities and other software integrations to streamline your communications and maximise your productivity.

Using the information in your database and website tracking, you can trigger pre-made emails to be delivered to your customers at key moments.

You can send birthday promotions, repeat purchase reminders, discount offers for items left in an online shopping cart and more.

Get Started with Email Segmentation

Now that you know how to segment your customer database and the importance of delivering personalised email marketing messages, you may be wondering how to take the next step.

At BirdBrain, our digital marketing experts can take a long term, strategic approach to your email marketing and help you leverage the power of segmentation.

If you’re ready to get started, get in touch with us today.