Audience Segmentation: How To Split Your Audience To Work Smarter and Not Harder

By September 25, 2020Inbound Marketing

No matter what marketing medium you use, you will always have a target audience. These are the people you want to see and react to your campaign.  Many marketers create uniform messaging and distribute it to their whole target audience to save time. However, by utilizing audience segmentation, you can organize your audience into smaller groups so you can more personalize your message. This gives you higher conversion rates and more data to help you optimize your creative. 

At its core, audience segmentation is the process of grouping people based on shared characteristics.

You can segment your audience based on: 

  • Demographics – Age, gender, marital status, etc.  
  • Behavior – Website history, devices, shopping habits, etc.
  • Life stage – A fabulously sophisticated model incorporating as many as 300 data points per individual, driven by Big Data and advanced analytics
  • Buyer’s Journey – Depending where they are on the path of awareness, consideration and purchase decision
  • Geography – Country, state, zip code
  • Level of Engagement – Do they visit your site frequently or is this the first time?

Here are some tips on how to best utilize audience segmentation.

Don’t Make Your Audience Segments Too Small

Although you want your audience segment to be specific, it is possible to make it too small. If it is too small, you’ll either reach too few people or you’ll be writing messages for too many different audiences.

Focus on a few groups, but keep those groups broad enough to ensure that you can still get a good number of potential impressions. Instead of “middle-aged customers that shop at Christmas, pay with Visa, and live in Little Rock,” try defining your audience as “Arkansans that make more purchases during the holidays.” The latter audience segment allows for much more wiggle room and gives you a higher potential reach.

Create Attainable Goals & Track Them

The first thing you need to do is create marketing goals. Make sure your defined goal is attainable and measurable. At Thoma, we use SMART Goals. Each audience segment should have a unique goal that is in line with your organization’s overall goal. You can use Google Analytics to track your website visitors, bounce rate, top pages and more. More importantly, you can set conversion goals in Analytics that allow you to understand the activities that are driving your successes online.

Setting goals and measuring them is simple—and it can provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a marketing plan.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Much like anything in marketing, you must always be diligent in reviewing performance. If some of your audience segments aren’t yielding results, experiment with another combination until you find a perfect audience. As you measure data to see where people are landing on your site, how long they’re staying, and what’s making them leave, you’ll be able to improve your campaign.

A good way to determine if an audience segment you’ve created will be useful is to see if it meets four criteria:

  • Are these people going to take action?
  • Is it unique and distinguishable from other segments?
  • Is it a sizable group to be targeting?
  • Do you have the means to effectively communicate with this group? 

Use Different Channels for Different Audiences.

One of the keys to audience segmentation is knowing what platforms your audience interacts with. Tik Tok is not the right place to market to Baby Boomers. 

With billboards, blogs, social media, display ads and much more, there are a plethora of options for you to get your communications to your audience segments. Just make sure to research your audience and use the research to work smart and not hard. You may only connect to an audience via social media and that’s okay. You want to use the correct platforms to help curb your level of effort and maximize your ROI. When you use different channels thoughtfully, you’ll see a return on that effort in the form of increased interest, increased sales, and repeat customers. If you have any questions about how to execute these strategies, contact us!

Author Amber Helms

Amber is Thoma's Director of Production and Media. Amber leads all strategy and execution in Thoma’s media buys. She’s planned campaigns such as ARORA’s Save 8 Donate and Hendrix College’s Advantage Plus. Amber is an expert in media management, account service, strategic planning and critical thinking.

More posts by Amber Helms

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