Database Segmentation Styles for Highly Personalised Targeting

tips for identifying just the right audience

Your database is your best resource for marketing, but if you don’t know how to segment it and send targeted, relevant content to those segments, then you might not be using your database to the best of its ability.

What’s worse is that you’re really missing out on a golden opportunity. According to Marketo’s email marketing research team, 23 percent of engagement is attributed solely to the list size, proving that when it comes to emailing lists, size definitely matters. Emails that are more targeted to a smaller group are more effective than general emails that are sent out to a large group of people.

So how can you choose from the many database segmentation styles? Which one is the best way to divide and conquer your database, helping you create highly-personalised content for each segmentation? Keep reading to see how you can better utilise your contact list for better database marketing.

Anyway You Slice It

When it comes down to dividing up your database, you have three options: firmographics, behaviours and cross-channel behaviours. Marketing automation has been instrumental in helping marketers better divide their databases and see the many groups or demographics that exist.

Firmographics involves using the information that you’ve collected through sign-up forms, account creations and invoices. Depending on your preferences, you might divide your list based on:

  • Industry
  • Geographical location
  • Company size
  • Job title
  • Language

If your line of work is more B2C than B2B, you can divide your list by demographic qualifications, such as location, gender or job title.

In other instances, you might look at how certain members of your database behave. You can then divide it up as such, organising contacts into groups including:

  • Those who have paid a visit to your website.
  • Those who follow you on social media.
  • Those who have filled out forms at events.

When looking at cross-channel behaviours, the idea is to get people to interact with your company on multiple platforms. This means you want to divide your list based on those who are subscribing to your emails, but aren’t following you on social media or vise versa. Promoting cross-channel behaviours means you better your chances of getting your customers to interact with your company more than once.

audience segmentation

How to Segment and Target

We know this can be a somewhat difficult step, so we’ll walk you through this process and answer your biggest questions along the way. To better illustrate each step, let’s use the following example: you are a marketing manager for a higher education institute, and you’re planning to be at a careers day in Melbourne, targeting new students who want to improve their skills to make themselves more attractive to employers.

Step 1: Decide on a Message

Before you begin looking at your database, you first need to decide on the angle of your email marketing. You know you want to promote the careers day, but how do you want to do it? Do you want to reach out to prospective students who haven’t enrolled yet? Or do you want to encourage current students to tell their friends about the event? Deciding on a message first will help you stay focused and targeted as you divide your database.

Step 2: Analyse the Data You Have and What You Want

As a higher education institute, you probably have multiple demographics within your database. You have students as well as other companies who with your university, but even those lists can be divided even further. Dig through what you have and see what is available to you. You might not have addresses of prospective students so you might have to look to your Facebook followers to see where these students may be from.

Your database is built on the information you collect through sign-up forms and other information-gathering techniques. If you find your database lacks certain information, consider changing your forms to gather the information you need to better segment your database.

target audience

Step 3: Target and Conquer

Now that you know what information you do have, it’s time to start dividing your lists. There are a number of ways to do this so check out a few of these and see what works best.

  • Prospective students who have not signed up for classes
  • Prospective students in the Melbourne area
  • Facebook followers in Melbourne
  • People who visited your website within the last two weeks
  • People who shared your content on Facebook or Twitter within the last month

Now you could send out a generic email announcing that you will be participating in the careers day, but remember, you can promote the same event in different ways to these segments. For those who have shared your content on social media, for example, you might ask them to post about the event on Facebook.

This type of promotion makes for highly personalised targeting, and it shows the different segments of your database that you care about their needs and wants.

Step 4: Try, Try Again

Database marketing involves a lot of trial and error. What worked for one segment of your database might not work for another. The trick is to try out new messages and calls-to-action to see what motivates your database. Once you find something that works, keep testing it against new messages, designs and calls-to-action.

The options with database segmentation are endless. Regardless of your business model or industry, you can always find new ways to divide your database and create targeted emails that reward loyal customers or serve a certain need. You can send out promotions to people that have made four or more purchases from you in the past six months, or you can send out reminders about upcoming events for those who previously went to your events.

How do you prefer to segment your database? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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