One-size-fits-all marketing isn’t an effective way to reach the right people. Trying to capture everyone with the same message is like throwing a net and hoping for the best. 

Instead of creating generic marketing messages and campaigns that speak to no one in particular, businesses should segment their audiences based on characteristics, behavior, and key demographics.

Doing this means you can craft personalized content for each segment that resonates and, most importantly, converts.

audience segmentation

What is audience segmentation?

 

What is audience segmentation?

Audience segmentation is a marketing strategy that involves identifying audience subgroups and creating tailored messaging that taps into their specific wants and needs.

Subgroups (or “segments”) can be based on multiple different identifiers, including:

  • Demographics like age and location
  • Behavior and shopping habits
  • Psychographic tendencies, including wants, needs, fears, and challenges 
     

Why should you segment your audience?

 

Segmenting your target audience into different groups is a great way to better understand them. You can then tailor your marketing messages so they speak directly to the potential customers you want to reach. 

Let’s say you have two different audience segments that are interested in your product: 

While both segments might be interested in your product, they will each have completely different wants and needs. They will therefore need to be served different messaging and solutions. 

When a customer feels like a message was written especially for them, they are more likely to be receptive and ultimately convert. They’ll feel valued and understood, which also increases their chances of coming back for more products and services.
 

importance of audience segmentation

Let’s understand this better with an example: 

audience segmentation facebook ad screenshot

This Facebook ad is targeting people who speak English, live in the UK, are over 24 years old, and have an interest in MacBooks. 

Understanding this key segment means CleanMyMac can target consumers who will be interested in their product. 

You might have seen the term “cohort” thrown around when talking about audience segmentation. Cohorts refer to the experiences, events, and other factors that are shared by a specific group of people.

While a group of consumers might not be within the same age range, they might all have recently got married or started a new job, in which case they can effectively be treated as a similar group.

 

Segmentation significantly increases our understanding of our audience’s pains and challenges in its professional environment,” says Loïc Gentilini, Growth Manager at Pick Your Skills. “It also allows us to dig more and find out how, when and where we need to address our audience, based on which conditions are the best for them to receive our message. That way, we can focus our efforts on the most effective channels of communication."

He adds, “This directly improved our business through better conversion rates and brand image. Being able to offer our audience extremely personalized content and solutions for their pains has made us appear as experts in our field.

Where does audience segmentation help?

 

Audience segmentation fuels your entire marketing cycle. Knowing exactly who you want to reach and how to reach them makes your campaigns more effective. This drives conversions and creates loyal customers. 

A solid audience segmentation strategy helps:

Defining your buyer persona:

Audience segmentation lets you hone in on your most valuable customers and understand what they might need from you.

Driving high-quality leads:

Targeting the right people with the right message increases your chances of generating click-throughs and sign-ups.

Accelerating contextual conversions:

Delivering the right message will help consumers convert quicker, which in turn will improve your overall sales cycle.

Building customer relationships

Loyalty is key for businesses, and audience segmentation helps you craft marketing messages that resonate.

 

Segmenting your audience 

There are several ways you can segment your audience.

The segmentation criteria you choose to implement will depend on the product or service you’re selling, whom it helps, and what kind of solutions those people are looking for. 

Here are the main ways you can divide your audience into different segments: 

  • Demographic
  • Behavioral
  • Psychographic
  • Technology
  • Buyer journey process
audience segmentation types

1. Demographic 

Demographics are objective facts about your customers, like where they live, what language they speak, how old they are, and whether they’re male or female.

For example, you might choose to target men aged between 40-60 years, who live in a large city in the US. 

 

2. Behavioral 

Behavioral information refers to the way your customers use the internet, how they shop, and their past interactions with your brand. Insights are driven by a customer’s actions, whether it’s because they buy products at a certain time of the year or are at a certain point in the sales cycle. For example, you can target customers who have bought at least three times from you in the past or customers who log in to use your product on a daily basis. 

Behavioral segmentation will include: 

 

The best piece of advice I can give anyone looking to break their customer base into audience segments is this - know who purchases your products, who uses your products, and know who influences the purchase of your products. They may be the same person, but they're probably not,” says Sunny Hunt, CEO of Hunt Interaction

Once you can identify these three roles you can start doing research and collecting data about them including; their levels of awareness, purchase motivation, and understand their objections, anxieties, and switching costs that should be included in your sales arguments and marketing.

3. Psychographic 

Psychographic segmentation taps into the traits that influence a consumer’s buying decisions. It draws insights from people’s lifestyles and preferences to ensure the content you deliver is of interest to them. 

Psychographic tendencies you can tap into include: 

For example, you might decide to target people who are staunch eco-warriors or people who spend their weekends' cycling and camping. 

Goodfood is targeting people who find meal planning and grocery shopping stressful. 

audience segmentation goodfood screenshot

4. Technology

Different consumers prefer different devices. Some spend their days browsing the web on a desktop computer, while others prefer to use apps on their mobile devices. Segmenting people based on what technology they use helps you reach large groups in the same place. 

For example, you might decide to target people who prefer to use apps to make purchases, or you might decide to target solely mobile users. The device a person uses can also provide other information about them: someone who solely uses mobile might prefer shorter marketing messages and be on the go more than someone who prefers to browse on a desktop.

You can then optimize your messaging based on the technology a customer uses. Email campaigns for desktop and mobile users vary in different ways, from the length of the subject line to the template and body of the email. 

audience segmentation technology segmentation

5. Buyer Journey Progress

Someone who’s at the start of the buying process will need completely different information to someone who is nearing the end of it. Segmenting your audience based on where they’re at in the process can help you deliver the right information at the right time. 

For example, a person who’s just become aware that they have a problem that needs solving might need some educational content, such as “how-to” pieces and research reports. However, someone who understands they have a problem and is weighing up their options might need to see some testimonials or content that tackles any last-minute objections they have, like case studies and product demos. 

Segmenting people based on where they are in the buying process can mean grouping them because they’re at either one of the following stages: 

  • In the awareness stage

  • In the consideration stage

  • In the decision-making stage

  • In the post-purchase stage

audience segmentation buyers journey

How to get started with audience segmentation 

 

Understanding why audience segmentation is important is the easy part. The hard part begins when you have to identify and define the segments you want or need to target. 

Here’s how to get started. 

Customer surveys

Send out customer surveys that require your audience to answer simple demographic questions as well as provide deeper insights into their challenges, fears, and buying habits. This will provide you with a comprehensive overview of multiple different types of customer, and you can start to identify patterns between them.

Customer interviews

You can take the surveys one step further and hold interviews with a handful of your best customers. This gives them the chance to go deeper into their purchase motivations, their struggles, and how your product has been able to provide a solution. 

Social listening 

Social media is full of consumers having discussions and conversations. If you don’t have access to a large pool of pre-existing customers, you can scan your social channels and competitor channels to see what their customers are talking about. In particular, look out for questions they’re asking and topics of conversation that regularly crop up.

Use these three methods to get a human insight into who your audience is and the real-life inspiration for their pain points and interests. You can use these to create buyer personas for each segment that will help you craft personalized messaging and campaigns. It’s likely you’ll need 2-3 buyer personas to cover every segment of your audience - remember to go deep and apply psychographic tendencies as well as demographics. 

 

2. Identify the Priority Audience

Once you’ve got an idea about who your audience is, you can combine this information with cold hard data. Tap into your CRM and analytics tools for customer data to get granular details about the people who buy from you the most. Look at their average spend, their demographic information, and their purchasing journey.

 

Google Analytics can provide demographic data about the people who visit your website. At this stage, you want to identify the people who buy from you the most or who spend the most amount of money with you. These are your “best customers” and should become a priority when defining your audience segments. 

 

3. Identify Segment Buckets

Finally, segment buckets will help you group your audience into cohorts. These will be defined by their key experiences, events, and the stage of the buying process they’re at. Knowing this information will allow you to serve messages on the right platforms at the right time to shorten the sales cycle.

Here’s an audience segmentation example that might become apparent after running through these steps: 

While your product is a good fit for these two segments, they need entirely different information and content. Understanding their unique wants and needs will help you create marketing copy, visuals, and offers that appeal directly to them. 

 

4. Test and Iterate

Marketing is always a game of trial and error and your audience segments are likely to change over time. You’ll become more aware of the pain points of each segment and will start to notice more and more information about each group.

Test out your messaging for each of your segments, monitor the results, and tweak or optimize your campaigns to better suit their changing needs. The more you experiment, the closer you’ll get to finding segments and messaging that are truly aligned. 
 

Audience segmentation tips & best practices

 

Audience segmentation might sound like a long and arduous process, but with a few handy tips and tricks, you can make it a breeze.

 

1. Organize contacts logically

The first step is always the hardest, but if you organize your contacts logically from the get-go, it becomes far easier to add them to segments and identify them. When you land a new lead, take the time to identify which segment they fall under and file them away right off the bat.

2. Prune your lists regularly 

Your contact list will age over time.

Someone who was interested in your product three years ago may not still be interested, or their circumstances might have changed making them unfit for any of your segments. 

Make a habit of regularly going through your lists and removing contacts that bounce, contacts that don’t open your emails, or contacts that rarely click through on the links you send them.

Try and do this once a month or once every two months to keep your list in great condition.

audience segmentation prune list

3. Tailor your message for each segment

Once you have a deeper understanding of the segments you’re targeting, you can create messaging that speaks directly to them.

Think about the copy that might resonate with them, the words they use regularly, and how they prefer to interact online. All of this information will help you craft and deliver messages that resonate and convert. 

For example, a marketing assistant isn’t going to be interested in the language that a CEO regularly uses and vice versa.

Bear in mind the pain points that each segment has and use those to ask questions and make a connection. 

audience segmentation sleeknote screenshot

Sleeknote calls out its audience by using key phrases like “stressed”, “overworked”, and “busy”. People who resonate with these feelings are more likely to listen up and click through to see what the brand is offering.

 

We send long-form data-driven content to our email list three times a week,” says Mushfiq, Founder of The Website Flip. “Our email list is segmented based on interest. We have three aspects to our business: (1) data-driven guides, (2) case studies, and (3) online businesses for sale analysis. Not all subscribers are interested in every topic and thus we allow segmentation based on any one or combination of the three aspects

We have seen our email open and click-through rates increase significantly. Currently, our open rates are in the 40-50% range, with click rates in the 15% range. This is thanks to the segmentation.

At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure our audience receives the right type of content in their inbox. Segmentation allows for that to happen.”

4. Use a tool to monitor your audience

Help is at hand in the form of audience segmentation tools. You don’t have to manually segment your audience and create campaigns when you can automate the process and free up your time elsewhere. 
There are plenty of tools available that allow you to monitor your audience, generate engagement, and track results all from one central dashboard.

Freshmarketer lets you do exactly this, providing you with a deep understanding of your audience and how your campaigns are performing.

Freshmarketer

Freshmarketer for audience segmentation

 

Freshmarketer is an all-in-one platform for campaign creation, audience segmentation analysis, and audience monitoring.

The segmentation feature helps deliver messages based on your customers’ unique needs. It identifies patterns in their behavior and automatically groups them together based on similarities. 

1. Create personalized engagement 

The platform makes it easy to segment your leads and customers based on demographic information like their age and geographic location, as well as their shopping behavior, including links they’ve clicked, items in their cart, and pages they’ve visited, and psychographic information. 

Once you’ve segmented your audience, you can send automated emails to filtered groups to generate the biggest impact. 

Audience segmentation in Freshmarker

2.  Create contextual engagement with automation 

Delivering the right message at the right time is key in nurturing an engaged and loyal audience. Freshmarketer allows you to automate your email communications that are triggered based on the date, time, or when a customer carries out a particular activity or action.

You can:

  • Craft the most complex journeys easily using the intuitive drag-and-drop components
  • Eliminate cart-abandonments, set purchase reminders, auto-respondents, and welcome emails with a series of well-timed email triggers.
  • Measure your marketing efforts with performance reports
  • Identify users that need to be added or removed from automated campaigns based on their behavior or interactions with your brand.

Learn more on automating customer journeys

 

Audience journey in Freshmarketer

3.Build engaging emails

Stay on top of your audiences’ minds with visually appealing emails. Freshmarketer lets you create beautiful and responsive emails from scratch without prior HTML knowledge.

You can also select from hundreds of pre-built email templates, customize them for your brand’s guidelines, and optimize them for different platforms—computer, mobile, or tablets.

email builder freshmarketer