Why Audience Segmentation is Essential to Successful Inbound Marketing
Effective audience segmentation is often one of the last considerations when creating an Inbound Marketing plan and it shouldn’t be. Audience segmentation is essential to ensuring your Inbound Marketing is targeting real potential customers. So, how do you make sure your targeting is as effective as possible?
What is audience segmentation? Simply put, separating your contacts, visitors and readers into smaller groups - defined by who they are, where they are and what they represent. Inbound Marketing always comes back to the principle of the right content, at the right time, to the right people. Before you begin to publish, or even design, content you need to know who you want to read it and why. By grouping similar people and companies together you identify a target audience. This allows you to create content that suits the persona and design it to encourage them to move along the Buyer’s Journey.
Why do I need to do this? Knowing your audience is key to all Inbound Marketing and audience segmentation and is one of the foundations of your Inbound Marketing plan. But what about the Buyer Personas you’ve already created? Aren’t they your audience? Well, yes and no. Each piece of content you create exists to send a message, and that message needs to be tailored to the persona AND their position on the Buyer’s Journey. In fact, until you have interacted with a visitor, you have no idea how closely they match one of your personas, if at all. Here we will talk about what segmentation is, how to manage and implement your segments and where it fits into the big Inbound Marketing plan.
Where and when do I implement segmentation? Immediately and everywhere. Without knowing your target how are you supposed to know what to say or when? Don’t forget, The right content, at the right time, to the right people. This is true across all aspects of your Inbound Marketing. So take a look at your existing databases, your email lists and your social media contacts.
- What types of segment should I have? The number of segments and the parameters for audience segmentation are specific to your business. Segments can include geography (be it town, country, urban/rural, tropical/arctic…), size of company, contact’s age, job role, gender, position on the Buyer’s Journey, turnover etc.
The important thing to consider is the scope of your intended Inbound Marketing campaign. There is no point in having thirty segments if you are only running two campaigns per year. Think carefully about who you want to reach and how many different forms of content you can realistically expect to create.
How do I manage segments? Given that we are talking about segmenting everyone you are talking to, a variety of methods should be used to manage them. There are a range of tools available for managing the automated aspects of your Inbound Marketing. There are also countless CRM systems to fit every size and shape of business. The key thing here is that you find a way that works for your company, then build your campaigns on those segments.
- Can I segment my Social Media audience? Yes! It is vital to the success of your Inbound Marketing plan that you apply audience segmentation across ALL marketing activities, and that you use those segments to inform content creation and to plan your campaigns. All of the major social networks have built-in (and FREE!) tools and filters that can help you reach your target audience, and them alone.
Groups are a great tool for segmentation and are a perfect illustration of what a segment is. Open groups will allow you to reach more people and to attract new visitors with open forums. Closed groups are better suited for focusing on the other end of the funnel - populate them, by invitation, with leads near to closing, and with existing customers discussing your product.
In addition, you can look at paid advertising and sponsored posting to reach more targets that match your segment.
You can learn all about buyer personas and audience segmentation, and get FREE tools to help you, in our Ultimate Inbound Marketing Plan Workbook, available for free by clicking below.
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