Category Archives: Audience Segmentation

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How to Use CRM for Audience Segmentation

How to Use CRM for Audience Segmentation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

All customers today are looking for a highly personalized experience. They expect businesses—from the big guys like Amazon all the way down to their local coffee shop—to understand their wants and needs, and to treat them like an individual.

When you’re running a successful business with hundreds or thousands of customers, though, it is impossible to make your audience feel special if everyone is getting the exact same messaging. That’s where audience segmentation comes in. When used properly, the information stored within your CRM can be used to create subsets of your prospect and customer population who you can then approach with highly tailored messaging. This makes every individual feel like a VIP, and it makes them all the more likely to do business with you over the other guy.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at audience segmentation: What it is, how to do it, and why it matters for your business.

What is Audience Segmentation?

Audience segmentation is the process of breaking your audience down into smaller groups. There are a number of ways that you may choose to segment your audience, and each business will segment differently based on their individual needs and goals. You can consider the following categories of attributes when you’re thinking about segmentation:

  • Demographics: Do you want to break your list down by age, gender, geographical location, income, or job title?
  • Stage in Customer Journey: Is this individual a prospect, a repeat customer, or somewhere in between?
  • Actions: Have they signed up for your newsletter? Abandoned a cart on your e-commerce website?
  • Interactions: When was the last time they interacted with your business, and how did they do so?
  • Purchases: What purchases have they already made, and how recently?
  • Preferences: How do they prefer to be contacted? And how frequently do they want to hear from you?

Segmenting your audience allows you to approach different subsets with different messaging and offers. These targeted messages are more likely to meet with a positive response than if you send the exact same message to everyone on your mailing list.

How Do I Segment for My Business?

Every business has unique goals and will segment their lists differently as a result. The first step in deciding how to segment your list is to look at your ideal customer: What are their attributes, and what actions can you take in contacting them to ensure you’ll move them further down the marketing hourglass?

For example, for a retail store with both a brick and mortar and e-commerce platform, geographical location is an important way to segment your list. You want to be sure that the people receiving your email about in-store deals and promotions live close enough to actually come to the store. For a B2B business, factors like job title or company seniority might be more important to take into account when segmenting. Those who are in leadership positions are more likely to be the decision-makers in selecting your business, so you’ll want your messaging to reflect that.

The great thing about CRM tools is that they allow you to segment based on multiple attributes and actions, so don’t feel like you only have to pick only one or two. The system will manage each individual’s profile, and the more information you have on each person the more able you are to target them with the messaging that is most relevant.

Why Does Segmentation Matter?

Creating an incredible user experience is all about personalization. Marketo released the results of a survey recently, where they found that 63 percent of all respondents were “highly annoyed” by generic email blast messaging. Nearly 80 percent of those respondents also indicated that they will only engage with promotions from a brand if the promotions are related to a prior purchase they made.

With statistics like those, it’s easy to see why segmentation is so important. People are less likely to do business with you—even when you offer them a promotion or deal—if it’s not something specially tailored to them. Not only that, but when you begin to annoy customers and prospects with generic messaging, you erode trust and effectively encourage them to look for a competitor who will acknowledge their individual wants and needs.

Use Segmentation to Inform Future Campaigns

Outside of the unparalleled personalization that email segmentation offers, there’s a benefit to your team in email segmentation as well—one that goes beyond the obvious benefit of more sales. Email segmentation makes it very easy for your team to run A/B testing on different messaging and campaigns.

When you break your list down into subsets, you can send variations on the same messaging to groups in your email list and see which campaign gets greater traction. When an email campaign is successful, you know that something about the messaging was persuasive to the audience. The next step for you is to identify what made it so great and then to replicate this in future campaigns. As you continue to refine your approach, your audience will be delighted by how well you understand them and their needs, and will be all the more likely to become return clients and to refer you to their friends.

How Do I Find the Right CRM to Implement Segmented Messaging?

All CRMs allow you to collect and save data on customers and prospects, and many have campaign management and email marketing built directly into the platform. Others work with an outside email messaging system to get the job done.

If you have yet to select a CRM for your business consider a comprehensive tool like ActiveCampaign, ZoHo, OntraPort, and InfusionSoft. These platforms offer more traditional CRM functions like sales and lead scoring, plus segmentation and email marketing.

If you already have a CRM in place that doesn’t provide an email marketing function, don’t despair. Most email management systems will integrate with CRMs; take, for example, MailChimp’s integrations with a variety of CRM and e-commerce platforms that allow you to undertake effective email segmentation by bringing the tools you already use together.

Audience segmentation is the key to providing the kind of highly personalized attention that prospects and clients not only want, but expect. Using a CRM to help you create detailed profiles and send targeted messages to users based on their individual wants, needs, and attributes helps establish your business as a likable and trustworthy brand—the kind of business someone is excited to interact with.

Why It’s Time to Embrace a Real CRM Tool for Your Business

Why It’s Time to Embrace a Real CRM Tool for Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Using a spreadsheet or index cards to manage your clients may make sense when you’re first starting out: there aren’t that many to keep track of, and the clients you do have don’t have a long history with your business.

However, as time goes on, your client list grows, your track record with existing clients becomes longer and more complex, and you need a better way to manage these relationships.

That’s where a client relationship management (CRM) tool comes in. CRMs are not just for big multinationals. There are tremendous benefits to the technology even for small local businesses. The tool is designed to make it easier for both your sales and marketing teams to work effectively and drive even more conversions. Read on, and I’ll take you through all the benefits of incorporating a CRM tool into your workflow.

Scale More Easily

A lot of small business owners are happy to manage their client information in a spreadsheet or word document. At the same time, business owners hope to see their companies succeed and grow. When you’re creating your own haphazard method for tracking your customers, you’re practically ensuring an information bottleneck as your business continues to expand.

CRM tools are designed to grow with your business. When you acquire new prospects, upsell existing customers, add new products and services, or begin a new outreach campaign, these tools are designed to meet you where you are and then keep pace as you broaden your horizons.

A spreadsheet doesn’t have the same flexibility; you’ll soon find yourself struggling to add new columns and tabs, and information will get lost in the shuffle. A spreadsheet also doesn’t integrate with your other marketing and sales tools or provide reports and analytics in the same way that a CRM tool can.

Enhance Customer Experience

Customers today are won and lost based on the experience they have interacting with your business. There is a lot of competition out there, and with the digital landscape being what it is, it’s likely that your customer can find another business that does what you do. So it’s a highly personalized customer experience, with strong attention to detail, that will allow you to stand out from the pack and turn your prospects into return customers.

CRM tools allow you to track all interactions with a customer across platforms. When did they last make a purchase with you, and what was it? Did they submit a review of the product or service they bought? Did they reach out via phone, email, or online chat with a question about their recent purchase? Are they on the mailing list for your newsletter?

There are so many ways in which you interact with customers, and it’s near impossible for a human to track all of these touchpoints effectively and accurately. Having this information all in one place allows all members of your team to better serve customers.

Marketers can send targeted messaging to users who have expressed an interest in a particular good or service your provide. Salespeople can be more proactive about reaching out to customers that they haven’t heard from in a while, and can make a thoughtful reference to something they discussed in their last conversation when they reach out to reestablish contact. Your customer service team can see a history of issues a user has had with a given product and can meet them where they are, rather than making the customer rehash their issue each time they contact you with a question.

Knowing what your customer has done in the past allows you to be thoughtful about your interactions in the future. Adding a personal touch to your interactions is what distinguishes your brand. You increase trust—a key part of the customer relationship—when you show that you not only know what you’re doing, but that you care about the customer and their individual needs.

Send Targeted Messages

As I mentioned briefly above, one of the major benefits to marketers using a CRM tool is the ability to undertake customer segmentation based on past behavior.

Customer segmentation is what gives your marketing efforts that personalized touch. CRM tools allow you to group prospects and clients based on a variety of different attributes: where the lead came from, how they’ve engaged with you in the past, what they’ve purchased from you, or demographics like age or location.

You can then easily send relevant messages to those who meet certain criteria in a given group. All leads that came from attending an event you hosted last month can receive an invitation to your next event, complete with an early bird registration discount. All customers who purchased a given service in the past year can be sent a free copy of your latest white paper on a related topic. All of your customers in the Northwest can be notified when you’re speaking at a conference in Seattle.

Now, sending a message about your Seattle conference appearance to your clients in Pennsylvania might lead them to unsubscribe, since you’re clogging up their inbox with irrelevant messaging. But if that same client receives a personalized note from you, following up on their recent purchase and providing them with a training video about how to better use the item that they bought they’ll likely have a very different reaction. Email segmentation allows you to not only build trust, but also make sure that the right offers are getting in front of the right people, thereby increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

Manage Your Sales Pipeline

CRMs don’t just allow you to track the behaviors of existing customers, you can use them to manage your prospects, too. When you can see where all of your prospects are in the customer journey, you can better understand what changes you need to make to your approach to win over more new business.

CRM tools can allow you to see bottlenecks in your sales pipeline. Is there one particular area where conversions just don’t seem to be happening? Once you can see that issue, you can begin to address it. Maybe lots of prospects are eager to sign up for a free trial of your service, but then they’re not converting. That means you should focus on what’s happening with their free trial experience—are they underwhelmed with their experience, or are you not providing adequate follow-up after the trial in order to get them to commit to the paid version?

These tools will also allow you to parse your data based on factors like deal size, expected close date, and last point of contact so that you can direct your sales team to go after the most promising leads or those with the most pressing deadlines attached.

Finally, you can keep better track of the deals that you’ve lost. When you understand when and where you lost out on business, you can then begin to gather the information around the why. Did you drop the ball and wait too long to provide them with information? Did they find a similar product or service at a much lower price? This is the kind of information that allows you to improve your approach with future prospects and ensure your success next time around.

I’m Sold! How Do I Find the Right CRM?

Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the many benefits to adding a CRM tool to your business. But now the question becomes, with the myriad of options, which one is best for you? The systems run the gamut in terms of capabilities, so the real key to finding the right one is selecting the tool that best aligns with your goals and needs.

Just because your friend uses and loves a given CRM for their business doesn’t mean it will serve you just as well. Find the CRM that allows you to collect the data that you most want to track and provides the marketing automation features that are most important to you. You’ll also want to consider your team’s level of tech-savvy and workload and select a CRM that lines up with their abilities and bandwidth.

A tool like Hubspot’s CRM is free to use and is very comprehensive. The downside here is that the tool is complex. There will be a learning curve when you implement any new tech, but some CRMs are more involved than others. No matter what program you settle on, you’ll want to be sure that you’re providing your team with the appropriate training and support to make sure that you get the most out of your new system.

A nice middle ground for small business owners is ActiveCampaign‘s CRM. The system allows for marketing automation alongside more traditional sales and CRM features. The platform is fairly intuitive and they offer a variety of pricing options based on your needs and budget.

Today’s business owners are able to collect a lot of information about their customers and prospects, and it comes from a lot of different sources. As a business continues to grow, it’s nearly impossible for a person to accurately track, manage, and analyze all of this data on their own. And when you’re not able to see it all in one place, you’re missing out on valuable conversion opportunities. Turning to a CRM tool to help you manage the information, streamline the way you interact with customers and prospects, and get specific about the way that you approach each individual can empower you to take your business to the next level.