Marketing is powerful. For hundreds of years it’s been influencing behavior. With online marketing, strategies are becoming more and more nuanced as consumers get smarter about advertisements. The most powerful advancement by far might be the progression of personalization and segmentation that has allowed marketers to target smaller and more specific audiences.

Segmentation takes your big audience, whether you’re looking at the people who have liked your Facebook page, the subscribers to your email list, or your database of customers, and breaks it down into more specific chunks. Once you break down your audience you can present specific ads to them that better relate. The better you can segment an audience, the more effective your marketing will become, as it lets you start talking to individuals, will personalize your message, and you can start experimenting. 

Talk To Individuals

When a teacher talks to a big classroom full of kids, oftentimes the message gets tuned out by some and misheard by others. The only ones that get it are a few kids at the front of the room. If that teacher explains the same lesson to an individual student, applying it to their own personal view on life, the concepts tend to hit home much more effectively.

Segmented marketing lets you communicate more intimately with individual consumers, rather than trying to share it with everyone at the same time. That more direct conversation also helps consumers feel more engaged with your business, as you are addressing individual problems or needs.

Personalize Your Message

Knowing what your customers are thinking at each stage of your customer lifecycle, or the journey each customer takes from interested all the way to repeat customer, will help you better speak to them. It’s like getting a card for your birthday; it means a lot more when the card has a handwritten message inside, instead of just the printed one designed for the masses.

Segmenting your audience lets you pick and choose who you’re speaking with at any given time. Messages going to current customers can present related products they might be interested in, or to review their latest purchase, while ad creatives to potential customers can focus on conversion. You can even break it down by channel they’re coming to your website from, like Facebook vs Google, and tailor your messaging that way.

Start Experimenting

Segmentation has another benefit than just making your message more personal, it also turns your audiences into precise test groups. By dissecting your audience into test groups and control groups, you can test your messaging, creatives and offers scientifically, rather than trying multiple ads after another at random. This will let you optimize each campaign and each variable within each campaign, to make your marketing more effective.

Keeping a section of each audience the same, as a control, will help you test new variables against the old ones. That way you can better understand what needs to be tweaked and what should be kept the same. Smarter experimentation will lead to smarter marketing, which leads to better conversions.

Don’t Do It All At Once

Your marketing doesn’t need to be perfect from the start, that will come later as you test different variables and get used to segmenting your audiences. To start, try segmenting your email campaigns instead of sending the same email to everyone. Break it down by customers vs non-customers for example and tailor your message to something that will better speak to each audience’s needs.

Once you start experimenting with your outgoing marketing, take a look at what consumers are seeing when they visit your website. Landing pages can present different messages to audiences coming from different sources. If you’re running an ad on Facebook and driving people to your site to get familiar with your brand, they will need a different message than someone coming from a Google ad about a specific product.

Start Segmenting

It’s hard to start segmenting without knowing how your customers fit into the larger picture. Knowing who your customers are, with as many detailed demographics such as age, income level, geographic location, education level and more, will let you start targeting audiences on other channels with the same characteristics. Then you can start conversations with individuals, personalize your message, and experiment with different segments to optimize your messaging.

Once you’ve identified who your customers are, then you can start mapping out customer journeys to start up-selling and cross-selling your current customers. Knowing where each customer is along their journey will help you get more revenue from current customers, which is much more effective than acquiring new ones. Segmentation brings your marketing strategy and your business to a whole new level.

Consider exploring business lessons specific to small business owners to see how you can expand your reach.