Last Updated 1 year by Emily Standley-Allard

For years, a popular marketing trend has been personalization. Knowing how to segment your customer base helps determine what your clients want and when they want it. It also helps drive conversions more effectively and improve brand loyalty. It makes sense. No one wants to feel like another number rather than an individual. Anything you can do to improve how well your message resonates with your target audience improves your image and numbers.

Segmenting your customer base allows you to send info to only those people who truly might want it. For example, if you run an ecommerce store, you might have men who only buy shirts from England, women who love designer fashion and cosmetics, and parents who buy children’s clothing only made in America. When you get new inventory, you don’t want to waste the time of the buyers’ seeking shirts with information about the latest rain gear for kids made in China. 

Segmenting your customer base allows you to better personalize your marketing messages and meet client needs. The task might seem overwhelming if you have a large mailing list but it doesn’t have to be since most email software allows you to segment and categorize people and items. 



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What Are Long-Term Benefits of Segmenting?

Is taking the time to segment your customer base worth the effort? Long-term benefits of segmentation include sending more relevant emails to your clients, the ability to cater campaigns around each individual customer’s needs and creating better buyer personas.

You’ll instantly see which customers respond to which offers. You may find that spending a lot of money on a particular segment doesn’t pay off in sales. Your attention could be better spent on seeking out a new group or promoting more frequently to the ones responding best. 

Segmenting offers many advantages and may be the key that helps you stand out from the competition. There are many obvious and hidden benefits to segmenting your list, including getting to know your customers better and digging into what makes them tick.

Here are some easy steps to help you take your current customer base and segment it into groups. 


Step #1: Know Your Goals

What do you hope to gain from segmenting your audience? Set some S.M.A.R.T goals that are specific, measurable and achievable.

For example, if you know when you send out a personalized email, your sales rise approximately 10%, you might set a goal to raise sales 10% overall for the quarter through segmentation and marketing efforts. 

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Your goal can be as simple as getting your customers more engaged, having them share your emails with others or entertaining them. Decide what benefits your customer and your company the most and set your objectives. You may even have more than one goal in mind. However, it’s probably best to limit your goals to a couple to ensure you hit those before you add additional efforts. 




Step #2: Dig Into Demographics

Who are your exact customers? The more you know about the people who buy your products, the easier it will be to meet their needs.

Your messages will touch on the pain points they suffer and offer reliable solutions. Gather info based on past interactions, customer service calls, details you gather from general information and by surveying your customers. 

Around 95% of annual product launches fail, mainly because of lack of proper audience segmentation.

Even knowing where to reach your customers, such as that more women than men use social media, but more men watch YouTube than women, allows you to cater not only your messaging but the delivery method to your audience. 


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Step #3: Start Grouping

Once you have an idea of the types of customers buying from you already, segment your customers by separating them into groups of your choice.

You know your business better than anyone. You likely already have some ideas on how to segment your list. 

For proper segmentation, it’s okay to make some general assumptions, such as it’s likely that parents buy the children’s American made clothing or men buy their English shirts for work.

While there will be customers who fall outside the categories, you can always manually add people into the appropriate group later.

You could also group by product types purchased in the past and then look at the demographics of the customers in the group. 



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4. Consider the Benefits

Once you have your groups, think about how your products benefit each group. You’ll need to do a little psychoanalysis here. What drives those buyers to come to your site in the first place.

For example, for the men’s English shirts, you likely have executives who spend a lot of money on fashionable shirts because they want to make a great impression on their clients. 

What are the deeper needs underlying the desire to make a good impression? What emotions drive your customers? When you have a good idea of both the demographics and psychographics for the group, create a buyer persona to represent each segment. Anything going out to that portion of the list should be written as though it is to the buyer persona. 


5. Conduct a Survey

According to Statista, approximately 333.2 billion emails get sent every day. Experts predict the number will reach 376.4 billion by 2025. With so many emails landing in user inboxes, yours has to stand out or risk getting lost in the shuffle. 

One way to make sure you’re hitting the right notes is to survey your current customers and each segment.

Give them a list of headlines and ask which they prefer. Find out what types of offers, giveaways or discounts they care most about and are likely to open. Study when your open rates are highest.

You can gather a ton of information from your analytics to see the best day and time to send out an email to your lists. 


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Write Content and Send It

Now you have a segmented list that makes sense for your brand. Create content around each buyer persona and prepare your emails to send out into the world. You’ve put a lot of thought, time and effort into segmenting your list, but the good news is that it should pay off in more sales and better engagement with your audience. 


Author Information

Eleanor Designerly

Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn or Twitter!


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