Super profitable marketing is very often all about turbo-charging the basics. And market segmentation is one of those basics that will always make a business more profitable. This is true regardless of your marketing strategy otherwise. It is also true whatever your industry or vertical.
In order to make the most out of segmentation and do proper lead segmentation, you need two things. First, you need to understand segmentation and why it works. Secondly, you need to understand how to implement it in your business in an efficient, and preferably automated smart way.
Fortunately for you, we prepared this guide to help you really get a handle on all things segmentation. And if you need just the right platform to actually implement these strategies, you’re also in the right place.
Emercury is world famous for its segmentation features, and in fact this is a big reason why huge marketers are moving their massive lists to Emercury every day. With that said, let’s get into the big picture of segmentation.
The magic behind it all, why segmentation works
To understand why segmentation is so amazing at boosting profits through turbocharging conversion rates and sales, I need to introduce you to a concept. I call this “the ideal customer journey”. And I want you to do a mental exercise here with me.
If you had unlimited resources and could hire any marketer or sales person to do whatever it takes to convert a lead, what would that experience look like? Well, ideally, that salesperson would be an expert at the exact thing this lead needs. And furthermore, they would be personally vested and in tune with the lead’s exact needs.
In this ideal scenario, they would personally email the lead, and talk to them one on one. They would assess the lead’s state and needs on a real-time basis and help them to solve their issues as they come up. In fact, if anything it would be closer to having a personal mentor or coach that wants to solve that lead’s pain points.
Now, getting back to reality, this ideal process is not very realistic
It is probably self-evident that we can’t dedicate a professional mentor to every single lead from the moment they give us an email address. That is not financially feasible. However, the good news is that when you understand basic marketing principles you can come pretty close to replicating this process at scale.
And how do you actually achieve this effect without assigning every single subscriber to their own personal mentor? You utilize fully personalized marketing. In fact, when we talk about personalization in marketing these days, this is what we are talking about.
It is about “Giving the lead an experience that seems like they are communicated with on a one-to-one basis.” Ideally, every single email should feel as if it was written for that one subscriber personally.
This is where segmentation comes into play
While all of us humans would all like to believe that we are entirely unique and different, the truth is that we often do, feel and act in ways that are very similar to other people.
And in fact, if you can group people together based on similar characteristics, needs or interests, you will largely find that they act and behave in very similar ways.
This in turn will allow you to personalize in very powerful and effective ways that will in turn allow you to send just the right offer to the right person, utilizing just the right language.
The difference between personalization and segmentation
Segmentation on its own serves no purpose. You need to actually utilize your segments towards personalizing the subscriber experience. I know this sounds obvious, but if you send the same message in the same way to all of your segments, then you will see no benefit at all.
The reason I mention this is for two reasons. First, you need to base your segments around their ultimate goal of serving personalization. Secondly, it is to help you understand that personalization goes beyond just segmentation.
Levels of personalization
I’m sure you’re familiar with the 80-20 rule for business and management. As you know, in every area of business you will generally find that there are a couple of core things that contribute the most to your results.
And then everything else that you do on top of that, merely boosts the results produced by those core fundamentals. When it comes to personalization, treating your segments differently is your core. Additional personalization techniques only serve to increase the benefits of segmentation, but cannot replace it.
What does this mean in practical terms though? Let’s say that all you ever did was to just define some good broad segments, and simply sent different offers and content to each. If you did nothing else, you would already get a ton of benefits from this level of personalization. Most likely you would gain the majority of all the benefits that personalization can produce.
Not everything has to be a segment
Let me warn you though, it is easy to overdo it with segments once you understand that they’re at the core of personalization. But instead of keeping it vague, let me give you a practical example.
Let’s say that you’re looking at your segments, and you figure out that you can personalize things even further by treating people differently based on their state or city. You might then decide to create additional segments where the only difference is the person’s state or city.
That would be a case of taking segmentation too far. Those would be micro-segments, and they are not necessary. And in fact, if you are an Emercury user there is something much better for you to use. This is why we came up with smart personalization technology.
With smart-personalization you can keep your segment a bit broader, and yet still engage in fine personalization. You can actually send out a single broadcast to the entire segment, yet have people in different cities looking at different content.
To learn more about this, check out the announcement post for smart personalization.
How to create segments
In essence, all segments are created based on a source of data. Those are different types of information about a given lead or subscriber. This may include:
Engagement data: Which pages they visit on your website, how often they open your emails, as well as which emails they open and click links on. This data is typically used to ascertain a subscriber’s interest, without having to explicitly ask them what they are interested in.
Explicitly stated interests: Information that they give inside of surveys or during sign up about what they are interested in or what they care about.
Demographic and business data: This may include data about the person such as their age, gender or location. And if you are in B2B it can be information about their company size or industry.
Assumed categorization: Sometimes you can gather data by explicitly asking for it. For example you might have a survey that asks about their company category. However, you can also set up automations based on an action. For example, if a subscriber inquires about a lead magnet for a given industry, you can assign this industry to their profile.
Transactional data: This one will be more relevant to those doing e-commerce or any situation where you may sell a lot of different products. Technically, this is just a more specific subset of “engagement” data. Instead of looking at email opens, you’re looking at “cart additions”, but it works in largely the same manner.
It’s all about the data, the rest is easy
When you use a platform like Emercury, the actual part where you build the segments is the fun part. You just pick which data you want to base a segment on, and we do the rest.
So in essence, the bulk of your work relates to deciding which data to gather, and how to gather it. So let’s talk about this next.
How to gather the data, automatically
Segments are only as powerful as the amount of data that you have. The more data you gather, the more refined and powerful your segments can get. However, in order for this to be practical you will need to find an efficient and largely automated way to gather said data.
1) Ask for it, upfront
With a platform like Emercury you have a ton of options. But let’s start off the basics here. Your very first option is to gather data upfront. This simply involves asking people for data on initial sign up.
You can build a form and add all the fields for any of the data you want to ask for. You can do this using either Emercury forms, or one of the different form and landing page solutions that we integrate with. Additionally, you can use make.com to integrate Emercury with any of a thousand different data-gathering solutions.
In short, you can really automate this process to where people enter your list with necessary data from the get go. However, there is a catch. The more data you ask for upfront, the less likely people are to give you their email address, so you have to balance the two.
In addition this will depend highly on the industry. For example in something like the insurance industry it’s completely normal to ask people to give you all sorts of information upfront, in exchange for a free quote. In other scenarios however your conversion rate might drop if you ask for more than just a first name and email.
2) Let us do it for you, automatically
We gather the most important information for you. This happens from the day that you start sending out emails. We automatically track email opens and clicks, as well as other email-related behaviors.
You can then use this data in your segments directly, or use it to infer other kinds of information. For example, you may create an advanced-segment based on how often people open your emails, or when they last clicked a link inside of your email.
Additionally, inside of your automated journeys, you can set conditions such that if a person opens an email or clicks a link, it should automatically assign a tag for them. For example if they open an email about a topic, assign a tag that they’re interested in the topic.
And then, you can use these tags inside of the advanced segment builder in order to create a very precise segment. It can utilize any combination of conditions based on email behavior data, tags, field values and so much more.
3) Leverage site and event tracking
At Emercury we go a step further when it comes to automatically gathering data for you. Aside from just gathering information about email-related behavior, we can also track how your subscribers act on any of your web properties. Did they visit the pricing page? Perhaps they clicked on a button that you care about?
You can gather this data automatically with Emercury. And while it does require some setup on your end, it is well worth it. To learn more about this, do check out our original announcement about event and site tracking with Emercury.
4) Pull it from other sources with incoming hooks
And if you really want to automatically pull all possible and relevant data into Emercury, we can help you do that as well. This is why we implemented incoming webhooks for you.
If you’re not a developer, the name might sound a little bit weird, but it is a very simple concept, I promise. Webhooks are basically a feature whereby the platform will sit around “listening” for incoming data. And then, when it receives the data, it will follow the instructions you’ve laid out for such data.
I know it sounds a bit vague, so let me give you a more specific example. Let’s say that you’re utilizing a lead capture system. Most of the better ones already have a native integration with Emercury, but let’s say that you’re using one that doesn’t.
If it has an “outgoing webhook” feature, you can set it up so that it automatically sends new leads over to your Emercury incoming hook. You can set it up so that Emercury creates a new subscriber the moment it receives this data.
However, the fun doesn’t stop there. I’m using the new lead scenario as it makes for a simple illustration. In practice, you can use incoming hooks to update data for existing leads in real-time. That is, if your team uses a mish-mash of different software solutions, you no longer need to copy over data manually.
If for example you utilize a CRM where some of your sales people gather information during sales calls, you can have this data sent to Emercury in real time. This will definitely help when you’re building segments. And if you’re utilizing smart-segments, this means you can finally have fully automated instant and real-time personalization.
Just imagine the following… Your salesperson calls up a lead and inputs some data in the CRM. This data gets instantly sent to Emercury, and the relevant smart segments also get updated, instantly. Basically, everything is happening in real-time and done for you automatically. And this is just one example of what becomes possible with incoming webhooks.
The fun part: Create the segments
This will be the shortest part of this guide, and this is for two reasons. First of all, when you use Emercury, building the actual segments is very fun and intuitive. Just check out this introduction to our modern and advanced segment builder. You will quickly learn that coming up with segments is fun and exciting.
Do note one thing. Even though we discussed many ways of getting data, please don’t let this prevent you from starting to build segments starting today. The sources of data are ordered in terms of priority and ROI. You don’t have to wait until you’ve implemented the sources of data that require set up and wait to accumulate data.
You can, and you should start building segments today, starting with the data that we already gather for you automatically. This is the data based on email behavior, such as opens and clicks. The 80/20 rule applies here as well. A marketer who implements segments based on this data alone can get most of the benefits. So please don’t wait until you have implemented everything. You can start using segments today.
And then furthermore, if your plan includes it, remember that Emercury now offers smart segment technology. This is pretty exciting and takes segments to a whole new level. You can learn more about this in the smart segments announcement post.
Get A Partner On Your Side
There is no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.
If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing and market segmentation in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.
I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about best practices. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.
Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.
Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Be warned, we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.