Whether you want to segment customers by demographics, web behaviors, billing data, interests, or some other data point, having awesome tools always helps.
At the very least, tools can make audience segmentation a fun task, rather than a chore that makes you question where your life went wrong. Before you rush out and buy a new shiny tool though, make sure you adhere to these three rules for a successful audience segmentation strategy.
Audience Segmentation Strategy – 3 Key Rules
Your Audience Doesn’t Have to Be in a Database
It goes without saying, that to segment an audience you need an audience. However, that doesn’t mean your audience has to be in a database, CRM or that stack of business cards you keep meaning to upload, but don’t, because life’s too short. All that matters is that you have a group of people you can reach, be it online, at a festival, in a stadium or in your email list.
Offer Value in Exchange for Segmentable Data
To collect rich profile data for useful segments, you need to incentivize your audience to share it. Can you run a contest? Do you offer WiFi at your event? Contests, RSVP apps, WiFi gating and similar mechanisms all work because they offer something to the customer. Give a little value and you’ll get a lot of segmentable data in return.
Segment With a Purpose
Too often we see marketing teams segment themselves to death. Segments are great, but you need to have an end goal in mind for each segment you create. Be ready to tailor unique content to each segment, segment your reports and target segments differently across ad networks. Segmenting for the sake of interesting reporting can be useful, but keep in mind the amount of strain you put on your execution team.
Audience Segmentation Tools
The tools below can help you define an addressable audience, offer them something valuable, create segments in record speed – and most importantly, actually do something with the segments you create.
Google Analytics + Google Tag Manager
Calm down. Yes, everyone knows about Google Analytics, but most people don’t use even half the features it offers. Create custom segments, push those segments into Google Adwords and get deep reporting about specific users. Using Google Tag Manager lets you create custom rules and logic for when to fire conversion pixels, tags, web services or other web events. Not only does this make you less dependent on your dev team, but it helps you fire events in complex ways for useful segmentation.
For example, using Google Tag Manager you can send an event to Google Analytics for every link a user clicks on your website. Then, you can segment your audience not just by the pages they visit, but also by what links they interacted with. There are hundreds of use cases for Google Tag Manager and many guides devoted to it. Best of all – it’s free.
When you need to get an offline audience into an online database (think fans in a stadium), or want to gather first-party data about interests and brand affinities, activators are a dream come true. They offer an easy way to engage audiences and offer value in exchange for data. Gate your wi-fi, run a contest, create a survey or choose from a variety of other options. If you want a simple solution for this, Umbel’s Activations take just seconds to create and collect powerful audience insights.
Data Platform + Custom Segments Engine
Data platforms with a custom segments engine will save you a ton of time. Import your customer data and quickly create segments using AND, OR, NOT sentence logic. Create detailed segments of users with specific demographics, web behaviors, interests and more without needing a tech team to create thousands of new fields in your database. Watch how custom segments work
ESP & Marketing Automation Tools
Once you’ve collected rich profile data and built custom segments, you need an execution tool. Email Automation tools are great for this, and fortunately you probably use one already. Eloqua, Marketo, MailChimp and many others are built to run segmented campaigns against specific audiences. The platform you choose to create custom segments should be able to automatically sync segments into your marketing automation tools. If it can’t, it may be time to re-evaluate your segmenting tool before you burn hour after hour manually creating identical audience segments in every tool you use.
Ad Networks + Email Matching
Ad networks are highly undervalued when it comes to actually using the segments you create. Google, Facebook and Twitter each allow you to import email lists into their ad platforms. The ad networks match the emails you upload to their users so you can target them with relevant ads. So, if you create powerful segments with your data platform’s custom segment engine, you can import those directly into an ad platform for targeting. This allows you go beyond the basic targeting each of the ad platforms offers, by using the data you collect from Activators.
For example, you could target users who like certain brands AND have visited your site AND used your mobile app OR have a household income greater than $100,000, even though Google, Facebook and Twitter don’t offer that level of targeting off the shelf.
One of the most difficult parts of audience segmentation is summoning the effort to implement an organized strategy, when there are a million other things you’d rather do. Make life easy and use the tools above. Want help or advice? Shoot us an email. We’re happy to talk through your audience segmentation strategy and see if we can help.
Good luck and happy segmenting!