Not sure where to get started with customer segments? Or are you looking for practical advice on how to use segmentation in your web store? We’ve got you covered.
- Get started with the basics of market segmentation
- Learn how to use segments in your Sana Commerce web store
What Is Marketing Segmentation?
In a nutshell: marketing segmentation is dividing your list of leads and/or customers into smaller, more similar groups for more targeted messaging.
Okay, but what does that mean exactly, and why should you care enough to make it part of your marketing strategy?
Advancements in online marketing have made it easier than ever to tailor your marketing messaging to different demographics. Even if you operate in the most specific of niches, there’s still a lot to be won by personalizing your online marketing using segments instead of using the same messaging for all your customers and prospects. Sure, your marketing list has a lot in common — they’re all interested in your specific products or services. But there’s just as much that separates them.
By segmenting your customer groups based on specific characteristics, you create smaller groups with more commonalities. This lets you personalize your marketing plan further, without worrying about alienating part of your audience.
Why Should I Use Segments?
Better, more effective marketing is wonderful, of course, but achieving this requires more than just creating selections in your customer and prospect databases. You also have to create personalized marketing content for each segment, and actually set up this personalization in your marketing software.
If you have a small marketing team (or just one person who has marketing as part of their list of responsibilities) this might seem like more effort than it’s worth. If everyone on your list has shown an interest in your products, do you really need to go the extra mile to make it more personal?
In a word: yes.
Personalized Online Marketing: the New Normal
Personalization isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s what your audience has come to expect — regardless of whether you sell to consumers or professional buyers.
Here are a few key stats before we dive into the details:
- 79% of consumers say they are only likely to use a brand’s promotions if they’re tailored to previous interactions
- 88% of marketers experienced a measurable lift in business results thanks to personalization
- Personalization can deliver 5-8x the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or more
Why is personalization so potent? Do people really get that much joy out of seeing their first name in an email subject line?
If only it was that simple! No, the reason that personalization in marketing works is because it takes the needs of your audience into account. And not just general needs — but the needs of the buyer at that time.
Buyer’s journeys can be long and complex, particularly in B2B. Manufacturers and wholesalers rarely have clients making impulse buys. There’s research into the product or service, comparison with competitors, maybe even price negotiations. And the (potential) buyer has different information needs in every step of this journey.
And the same applies to consumers, though to a lesser degree. Maybe they need a few reminders of just how great those shoes are before they finally take the plunge and place their order.
With effective marketing personalization, you can show your leads and customers what they need to see, when they need to see it in order to help them further along the path to purchase.
And personalization starts with segments.
What Data Do I Use for Segmenting Customer Groups?
There’s no right or wrong answers here — it all depends on your business. The key is to ask yourself: “What affects the way I want to communicate with my customers?”
To help you get started thinking about how to segment your market, here are some types of market segments other companies frequently use.
Geographic Segmentation Examples
By filtering on location, you can make sure that your list doesn’t receive an invitation to a really interesting event… thousands of miles away.
This is especially interesting if you do business internationally, or in multilingual countries. For instance, U.S. companies could create a segment of Canadian clients and adjust the spelling, or provide information about extra shipping fees.
Demographic Segmentation Examples
Segmenting based on demographic information means creating customer groups based on a wide variety of characteristics both in B2B marketing and B2C.
In B2B marketing, you want to consider both the company you’re selling to and the contact person you’re engaging. You could create segments based on data such as:
- Company size
- Recipient’s position within the company
For instance, you might want to use different terminology for different industries — or even promote different products entirely. This will make sure that your marketing messaging on your website and in your emails are immediately relevant to the reader.
You could even tailor your marketing strategy based on the recipient’s role in the company. A CIO will be more interested in the technical specifications of your software than a marketing manager, for instance.
If you’re marketing to very small companies (or consumers), you’re only thinking about the individual recipient and how you can best grab their interest. That could mean creating market segments based on:
A word of caution: when tailoring your messaging using this kind of data, be careful that stereotyping doesn’t sneak into your content. This kind of content personalization can backfire, making your readers feel you don’t understand them and their needs. For instance, making your font pink won’t automatically make it more appealing to women, and adding current slang probably won’t strike a chord with Generation Z.
Behavioral Segmentation Examples
Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily require advanced digital systems and a long list of cookies to achieve. Behavioral segmentation could be something as simple as customers who average a certain order amount, or haven’t placed an order for over three months. Segments like these let you reward loyal (or especially lucrative) clients with special deals to increase loyalty and re-engage customers who might be at risk of forgetting about you.
This is also very useful for prospects. By segmenting your leads based on their position in the sales cycle, you can tailor your messages to ensure the smoothest (and fastest) possible path to becoming a customer.
As you can see, personalizing your marketing using segments has a lot of potential. So why not use it in your web store?
Using Segments in Your Sana Web Store
Yes, you can also use customer segmentation to personalize your Sana Commerce web store.
The customer segments functionality is native to Sana Commerce. In other words, you don’t need a specific add-on to personalize your web store in this way — it’s built-in.
Where Does This Data Come From?
Creating your segmented lists directly in your web store is handy, but won’t this create conflicts with your other segments? What about data discrepancies?
Not to worry. All data used is retrieved either from your ERP system — your company’s single source of truth — or Sana Commerce, which is integrated with your ERP. When creating your segments in Sana Commerce, you can choose from the following data:
- Customer information from your ERP system
- Customer web store sales statistics
- Shop account data (last login, account type etc.)
- Shopping cart data (when was it modified, number of items in cart)
With this data, you can create segments as general (‘Customers from USA’) or specific (‘Customers from Europe that have spent over €50,000 this year with over 15 items in their shopping cart that haven’t logged in for 2 weeks’).
Web Store Segmentation Examples
Before you decide which segments to create for your Sana Commerce store, you need to know what your lists will be able to do. Here are the three main ways of creating a custom online buying experience.
Personalizing On-Page Content
Let’s kick off with the most visible method: personalizing on-page content.
You’ve got a lot of freedom here: you can select (multiple) segments for any of the content elements on your product pages, product lists, or flexi-pages. Think of full-page banners, images, or even just plain text.
With so much freedom, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some examples of on-page content personalization:
- A custom banner for American customers in the lead up to Thanksgiving, July 4 or another uniquely American holiday.
- A thank you message for your highest-spending customers.
- Different on-page images to appeal to different industries.
Using Web Store Segments for Email Marketing
Interested in using segments in your Sana web store, but not thrilled about having to build separate lists for your different channels? We understand.
The whole premise of Sana Commerce is letting you use your ERP database as your single source of truth for your web store: no need to build and maintain a second database. So why would we make our users do exactly that with their segments for email marketing?
The Sana Commerce MailChimp add-on makes it a breeze to use your web store segments for your email marketing activities. What that means exactly? You can use the exact same segmented lists to personalize your web store and your email campaigns.
Depending on your segments, this could mean:
- Industry-specific email campaigns
- Special offers for loyal or especially profitable customers
- Reminders for customers with items in their shopping cart
And that’s just scratching the surface. The sky’s the limit: you’re free to tailor your web store and email marketing personalization to whatever works best for your specific company.
Learn More About Personalized Marketing
Ready to see what else you can achieve with smart use of segments? Discover how to strengthen your marketing strategy with your free guide to personalized B2B marketing.