If you’re on the flip side of this – you’re the one sending these generic blast emails – I’ll 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 it’s both doable and worth it: it’s 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 you’re 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, they’re actually the first step in understanding exactly what your target audience is looking for, and furthermore, where your company’s solution might enter the picture.
When gathering data about your target audience you’ll 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 company’s product or solution.
Step Two: Identify Important Data Points
If you’ve successfully completed the first step and have gathered tons of market research, you’re hopefully swimming in a deep pool of useful data about your target market. But what’s important and what’s trivial? Well, that’s a tougher question. If you’re lucky, your data returned an “AHA!” moment, and you’ve gleaned incredible new insight on your target market. However, what’s more than likely is that you’ve just gained a whole lot of data that you’re a bit unsure of how to sift through.
There really aren’t 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, it’s very likely that there’s 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 you’re marketing to.