Audience Segmentation: What It Is and Why It’s Not Just for Big Box Brands

By Raubi Perilli

      May 4, 2021     Solutions    

When local and small businesses hear a term like “audience segmentation,” they often write it off as a tactic reserved for big box brands and large businesses with thousands of customers.  

But while audience segmentation is a powerful tool big brands use to drive more interest and sales, it isn’t something that is exclusive to large businesses.  

You don’t need thousands of customers to utilize audience segmentation.

Small and local brands can also benefit by using segmentation to create more targeted campaigns for audiences of all sizes. Let’s look at how.

What Is Audience Segmentation?

Audience segmentation is the process of grouping your audience into categories based on unique characteristics so you can create more targeted marketing messages. You use consumer data to break audiences into smaller categories so your messaging is more specific to audience needs, rather than being a blanketed message that applies to everyone. 

Through audience segmentation, you can create messages that are more interesting, useful, and relevant to your customers and prospects.

When this type of personalized marketing is used, it is more likely to drive engagement and action. Audiences are more likely to respond to messages that specially serve their needs and match their interests.

Examples of Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation doesn’t have to be complicated to be powerful. Consider how you can use these examples of audience segmentation to break up your audience.

Demographic Segmentation: Group audiences by statistical, factual data such as age, gender, income, education, family situation, job industry, job title, religion, etc.  

Psychographic Segmentation: Group audiences based on personality and character traits such as beliefs, motivations, lifestyles, attitudes, values, personality traits, influences, and interests.  

Geographic Segmentation: Group audiences based on location categories such as zip code, city, country, climate, proximity to a certain location, etc.  

Behavioral Segmentation: Group audiences based on how they act and what they do. Actions may include purchasing habits, use of your website, social media engagement, email engagement, user or member status, etc.  

Customer Stage Segmentation: Group audiences based on where they are in the buyer’s journey such as in the awareness, decision, purchase, post-purchase, or brand evangelist phase.  

Technology Segmentation: Group audiences based on the type of technology they use such as mobile devices, desktops, apps, browsers, type of software, type of social media platforms, etc.  

Related: Get to Know Your Customers Through Super Simple Buyer Personas

How Local Brands Can Use Audience Segmentation

There are almost endless ways to divide up your audience into smaller, more defined audiences. Let’s look at how you can identify groups within your audience and create messaging based on those groupings.

#1) Start collecting customer data.

You can't use audience segmentation if you don’t know anything about the people engaging with your business. You must have a customer data platform that collects basic information about your prospects and customers such as their name, email, and phone number. Those details allow you to create customer profiles and reach the audience through text and email.  

From there, you need to collect more specific information about customers that will help you segment them. Seek to collect data that helps you answer questions such as:  

  • Where is the customer located?
  • What does this customer buy?
  • When was their last visit to your store?
  • What pages on your website did the audience view?
  • What emails have they opened and clicked on?

Collecting customer data is another marketing tactic that might sound complicated for small or local businesses. But, it’s not difficult to track basic information about your customers. A point-of-sale (POS) system and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool can easily track customer data.  

Also, a company like MyArea Network can help you set up a system for managing data and syncing it across multiple collection platforms. To learn more, check out: Why It's Important to Own Your Business Data and How to Start Collecting It.  

#2) Create marketing campaigns based on segments.

Once you know about your audience, you can begin to identify messaging that will resonate with them most.  

For example, if you have two segments -- customers who have visited your restaurant in the last month and customers who haven't visited in over a month -- you can create two separate messages.  

  • For the customers who have recently visited, you can send them a message that highlights their interest in your brand and invites them to sign up for your customer loyalty program.
  • For customers who haven't visited in over a month, you can send them a message that you miss them and invite them to come back by offering a 25% off coupon.

When you know more about your audience and what they want and need, you can create more targeted messages that speak to those interests.

#3) Set up marketing automation.

One of the most powerful aspects of audience segmentation is that you can run it on auto-pilot. Once you identify a target audience and the messages you want to send them, you can use marketing automation to keep your campaigns running without constant management.  

Marketing automation is the process of using software to trigger repetitive marketing tasks based on incoming data. Rather than manually identifying customers who haven’t visited in a month and sending them a “we miss you” campaign, you use software to automate the process. The software identifies customers who haven’t visited and automatically sends them a campaign via email or text marketing.  

Marketing automation works best when paired with audience segmentation. You can create multiple campaigns based on unique customer segments and program your software to trigger relevant marketing messages as customers show that they fit into one of your defined categories.

Start Using Audience Segmentation in Your Local Marketing

Yes, audience segmentation is used by mega brands with thousands of diverse customers. But, it is also widely used by smaller, local businesses who want to give their audience a more personalized experience with their brand.  

By sending targeted messages to customers and prospects, you offer a better experience while delivering marketing campaigns that can boost engagement and conversions.  

If you aren’t using audience segmentation, now is the time to get started -- no matter the size of your brand. To get started, learn more about mySuite, a local marketing platform by MyArea Network can help you get started. Or, sign up today for free.