The percentage of emails being considered SPAM is hovering somewhere around 70%, This means that email marketers need to be savvier than ever when figuring out how to reach potential customers.
If your inbox looks anything like mine, youre constantly being inundated with emails that have absolutely no relevancy to you, your job, your interests, or your needs. Furthermore, what all of these unwanted emails likely have in common is that they’re an annoyance, taking up space, wasting your attention and your time.
If youre on the flip side of this youre the one sending these generic blast emails Ill be the first to ask you to kindly stop. Take a hint from your high unsubscribe rates/low conversion rates and rethink your strategy. The answer to these email marketing woes is segmentation and personalization.
Delivering the right content to the right person may seem like an impossible goal, but its both doable and worth it: its an incredibly impactful way to boost revenue from your email marketing efforts. In fact, companies who use segmentation say it increases conversion rates by up to 30%.
Segmentation is nothing more than a very strategic way to apply intelligence youre probably already gathering, and it results in delivering targeted information that feels more personal to the recipient. Here are five easy steps to sending targeted email messages that your prospects will actually want to read:
Step One: Truly Understand Your Audience
I know you probably understand the basic outline of your audience – you know that your most frequent buyer is an HR manager or a sales professional. These general buckets put you one step closer to understanding your audience, but do you know what keeps them up at night? Do you know what their biggest pain points are? Do you know which technologies are currently giving them a massive headache? While these data points might seem too granular, theyre actually the first step in understanding exactly what your target audience is looking for, and furthermore, where your companys solution might enter the picture.
When gathering data about your target audience youll want to explore both demographic/firmographic and behavioral trends to truly understand what makes your prospects and customers tick. A good way to get a pulse on your audience is to conduct a survey we sometimes use SurveyMonkey or Ascend2 to help us ask the right people the right questions so we can make data-driven decisions. Another way to understand your buyer is to spend time talking with your sales team. Most often, sales departments have the closest relationship with prospects and have the most in-depth conversations with individuals about their role, frustrations, and successes.
Remember that this first step is 100% about the audience and 0% about your companys product or solution.
Step Two: Identify Important Data Points
If youve successfully completed the first step and have gathered tons of market research, youre hopefully swimming in a deep pool of useful data about your target market. But whats important and whats trivial? Well, thats a tougher question. If youre lucky, your data returned an AHA! moment, and youve gleaned incredible new insight on your target market. However, whats more than likely is that youve just gained a whole lot of data that youre a bit unsure of how to sift through.
There really arent any concrete rules about what data should be used to help segmentation. However, in order to get the most from your efforts, focus on data points that highlight the differences in the survey responses. Some ideas might be job title, buying habits, industry, pain points, current technology stack, geolocation, familiarity with your company or your competitors. Data that is most helpful is data that helps you craft your unique and personalized messages.
As an example, one company we know found that 90% of the leads that converted to sales for them used a particular type and brand of technology. Knowing that allowed them to craft messaging that spoke directly to that fact.
Step Three: Create Unique Buyer Personas
Even if you only sell one product, its very likely that theres a lot of variety in the people who are buying your services, and they may purchase for completely different reasons. This is where buyer personas allow you to understand the differences in the people youre marketing to.
We suggest creating a worksheet in order to granularly understand each individual persona. Most companies can identify three or more buyer personas within their target audience. Using your new understanding of their pain points, interests, and other psychographic characteristics, begin to create avatars who embody your different personas. Give them memorable names such as Molly the Marketing Machine or Frank the Feisty Founder. These personas will help you craft your messages and speak to commonalities within your target market.
Step Four: Tailor Content According to Personas
Now that youve put the person in persona, its time to figure out how to speak directly to individuals in a one-to-many way that feels as though its one-to-one. People respond best to content thats closest to their own situation, content that is recognizable. Would a CTO have the same needs and wants as an entry-level IT analyst? Of course not. If youre using a marketing automation system, its easy to segment your contacts based on these personas to deliver the right message to the right person.
The most important thing to remember during this stage is that youre no longer speaking to groups, but instead to individual people. With all of this knowledge about your target market, youre now able to deliver content by understanding and leveraging the personal dimension.
This stage is all about matching the correct content to the correct audience, and furthermore, moving away from B2B or B2C marketing and into H2H (human-to-human).
For an added touch, use fields in your database to add the recipients name, job title, or industry into your emails in order to make them feel more personal.
Step Five: Analyze and Adjust
Just as your company and solutions are always evolving, so are your personas. Its important that you dont lose touch with the wants and needs of your target audience. Put processes in place so that you can measure the results of your segmented email marketing campaigns and if you notice that your messaging may no longer be resonating with a certain audience, adjust it. Keep testing your subject lines, key messages and calls to action. Sometimes what works best isnt obvious.
The End Game
Segmenting and tailoring your email marketing efforts allow you to truly demonstrate your value proposition. People notice that you notice who they are and everyone likes a little attention, of the right kind. If youre speaking directly to peoples individual needs, wants, and pain-points, you suddenly have the authority to say We understand, and we can help.