Today, few businesses have a target audience. They have target audiences. Here are four ways you need to segment your audiences so you can deliver personalized, relevant, effective content to your potential customers.
One term that is accurate but infrequently used to describe internet marketing is fragmented. Devices, platforms, locations, intent, preferences – these are part of long list things that fragment business marketing into ever more refined, personalized pieces.
As this fragmentation occurs, marketing content needs to change. Today’s consumers are learning to expect content that’s personalized to their needs as well as a fit for the online platform they’re using.
Here are four fundamental ways you need to start segmenting your marketing collateral. The basic rule: the closer your content matches the needs and interests of the audience it’s targeting, the more successful it will be.
#1. Keyword and Landing Page Segmentation
Say you sell a snack bar that’s a healthy alternative to beef jerky. It’s lower in sodium and is also gluten and nut-free.
You know that truckers eat a lot of beef jerky, so you identify one audience you want to target as truckers looking for healthier snacks. The other is mothers looking for a healthy, nut-free snack for their kid who has food allergies.
Keep in mind that this is the exact same product. Most businesses use the same, generic landing page for all campaigns. But if you do, you’re failing to segment your content based on the search query and audience.
If you’re targeting the search “healthy snacks for truck drivers”, you want to match your landing page content to that search. That means a hero shot, headline, value proposition, and offer that reflects the needs of that audience.
However, this content won’t be effective if you’re trying to reach moms looking for nut-free snacks.
Conversion rates go up when people go to a web page and discover exactly the content they’re looking for.
This does mean you need more content to match the audience segments you’re targeting. It’s a step many businesses continue to skip, which gives businesses that execute this tactic a competitive advantage.
I was recently shopping for dress boots. I visited several sites but didn’t buy anything.
Later, I went on CNN to check the news. Instead of seeing an ad for Vegas vacation I don’t plan to take or a retirement fund I don’t want, I saw this ad:
As it happens, the boots in the middle are the exact style I was interested in.
This is hardly a coincidence. I have been segmented into an audience that is seeing retargeting ads based on the product page I visited on their website.
Retargeting is now essential to building segmented lists, not just on search engines like Google but also on social media like Facebook.
In fact, retargeting capabilities that let you segment your audiences are at the center of how you market on Facebook because relevancy in news feeds is so vital.
Retargeting takes data from previous interaction with your brand and allows you to segment your audiences with ads that reflect the content they engaged with. This adds a strong element of personalization people are learning to expect from brands, and also lets you create tight campaigns that connect with people as they move through your sales funnel, closer to converting.
#3. Social Media Platforms
Say you want to target adult men over the age of 60. Should you be on Snapchat?
What about women interested in crafts. Would you market on LinkedIn or Pinterest?
One of the most imprecise mistakes brands make today is to try and spread their content across every social media platform instead of segmenting campaigns based on the demographics of the most active audiences on each platform.
For example, data shows that a much higher percentage of women use Pinterest than men. If you were targeting people without a high school degree, only 9% are on LinkedIn. Only 6% of social media users over the age of 65 use Twitter.
You need to plan your social media campaigns based on the audience segments that fit user demographics. Furthermore, you need to create content that speaks the “native” language of each platform.
A lot of businesses cut corners by creating one piece of content then distributing to all social media channels. This is largely a waste. Use segmentation to narrow down the scope of your social media campaigns and create content that people on the given platform will respond to.
#4. Interests, Life Events and Psychographics
Say you’re a real estate agent ready to sell homes in a new development in the area. These are perfect starter family homes near parks and very good schools.
You could advertise these homes to a broad audience that includes everything from college students to retirees.
Or you could segment your audience and target married couples under the age of 30 who are expecting a child in the next 6 months.
You might be taken aback here…you can target couples expecting a child?
That’s correct. Most people are still unaware of just how much data Facebook and Google have on consumers today. Not only do they track all your behavior on their platforms, but they also correlate third-party buying history as tracked by your credit card use.
As an advertiser, this means you can create audience segments based on more than demographics. You can target psychographics: people’s interests, lifestyles, politics, entertainment preferences, health concerns, relationship status, dietary preferences and more.
Say you want to sell a new line of Cajun seasonings for home cooks. Don’t blast your ads out to everyone. Segment your campaign for people who are known to have an interest in that type of food.
Not specific enough? You can go even further and target people who are likely to eat at a Cajun-style fast food restaurant like Popeye’s:
The challenge with this type of targeting is to make sure you don’t target it so specifically that the audience is too small to be viable. The tools will give you estimates on the size audience you’ll reach with recommendations if you need to be more specific or broad.
When you start to experiment with the targeting capabilities of today’s search and social media platforms, you’ll begin to see how absurd the notion is that you’d try to blanket a large audience with a general advertisement.
The name of the game today is audience segmentation. People’s attention is fragmented by the options technology creates. The only way to win attention is to have the right message at the right moment in the right place. Anything less and you’ll be skipped over.
This also requires an acute understanding of who your audience is and what will motivate them to act. A single product may have several distinct audiences, each requiring their own value proposition, content, and advertising channels.
Data is power. Facebook and Google know this and wield it. For your business to do the same, you need to understand your audience like never before and tailor your advertising to each segment you identify.