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How Audience Segmentation Helps Build a Digital Strategy

Audience Segmentation Blue Fountain Media

Nothing will optimize the success of your business more than effectively targeting your online and offline communication platforms. Think about it. Whether you’re working for a B2B or B2C business, your products and services offer a solution to specific audience needs. It doesn’t matter how much traffic visits your website or how many social followers you have, unless you’re reaching those whose needs can be addressed by your solutions, it’s empty data. Big numbers that are not targeted may boost your company’s ego, but ultimately they will not convert into sales.

While effectively targeting a high-converting audience isn’t rocket science, there’s a method to it that can be tested and replicated. The following are four secrets to building a digital strategy driven by target marketing.

1) Think small.

What is the first step to defining who your target audience is? Define who your audience isn’t (don’t worry; you’ll have the opportunity for growth and cross-promotion later). Define which specific user needs your business is solving, and build user personas around the results. At this initial stage, demographic parameters should be considered.

Examples of demographic insights include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Career
  • Location
  • Education level

Once your user personas have been established, evaluate the above criteria to determine your primary, secondary and tertiary audience groups. And don’t forget to identify the specific needs of each user group that your products or services solve.

Key takeaway: Start with the smallest niche possible, and expand as necessary.

2) Go deeper than the data.

Once your audience has been defined, it’s time to get intimate. Here, research and discovery become your best friends. Depending on your audience, both quantitative and qualitative research should be considered. Qualitative research includes conducting surveys and leveraging market research platforms. Qualitative research includes focus groups, stakeholder interviews and workshops. The objective of going deeper than data is to understand your audience through psychographic analysis.

Examples of psychographic insights include:

  • What does your audience value?
  • Do they primarily shop online or in stores?
  • What are their lifestyle habits?
  • What websites do they typically visit?
  • What is the current solution (or lack thereof) to their pain point?

When you understand the lifestyle habits and values of your audience, you can structure your digital platform around your research and convert insight into action.

Key takeaway: Don’t make assumptions. Instead, psychoanalyze your target audience like a therapist.

3) Convert insights into action.

When the time comes to design and build your digital platform, the work from your research pays off in the form of effective user-pathways and calls-to-action. High-performing websites leverage a “conversion funnel” that guides visitors along each stage of the buyer journey – from awareness to curiosity to research to commitment. By providing the right message to the right user at the right time, the performance of your website can increase dramatically. While building a website, it’s critical that your strategic insights don’t get lost in translation. Teamwork and collaboration between the discovery teams and the execution teams will ensure a singular brand message that drives higher conversions.

Key takeaway: Develop messaging and calls-to-action that answer specific user pain points.

4) Market with permission.

Traditional advertising doesn’t work as well as it used to. This is mostly because there is too much of it, and consumers are doing a better job of ignoring messages that are not relevant to their immediate needs. This offers agile marketers a new opportunity. These days, successful marketing campaigns are built around integrating your brand with the lifestyle of your audience. Seth Godin calls this “permission marketing.” This is where you can leverage your psychographic insights.

For example, consumer brands with email campaigns typically send an e-blast everyday around noon. Why? Because they know that’s the time their audience is at lunch, and probably checking their personal email. The more clearly defined your audience, the better you will understand how to fit into their lifestyle. "Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers," Godin says. If the future of marketing is truly permission based, every message needs to be custom-tailored like a bespoke suit to fit the needs of your customers.

Key takeaway: Don’t butt into the conversation; fit in. That way you’ll be invited back again and again.

Targeting your audience makes results more meaningful.

Most businesses want to start driving website traffic as quickly as possible. And who can blame them? In the age of big data, companies are expected to quantify results at breakneck speed. But remember – when you’re fishing for trout, catching minnows doesn’t help. Devoting time upfront to audience segmentation, discovery and strategy will position your business for success in the long term, and make your results more meaningful.

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  1. Chris Hedick said:

    I have found that for my clients segmenting by action is most effective for conversion optimization. For example, if a site has a wishlist function and the user interacts with that feature of the site you can drop a cookie on them identifying them as a wishlist user. This gives you a good indication that the user is a loyal customer and plans to return. That’s a powerful insight. Repeat that by thousands of users and now you have a segment of loyal customers that you can market to. You can give them discounts, special content and messages and in general improve the user experience.

  2. WorktopsCo said:

    Wonderful write up! I’ve actually made several attempts at creating personas for both online and offline customers and to me it normally becomes a creative rollercoaster ride.

    I just have to get over the issue of me feeling like it can be wasted time, trying to determine various aspects of my target customers.

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