Learn How to do Audience Segmentation

Petar Yovkov

There are only a few communication strategies, which attract and reach every customer. Truth be told people have different needs and values. Thus, to achieve your content strategy goals, you must know your audience.
Audience segmentation will give you crucial insights into what drives people, how to approach them in the best way as well as communicating with them.

What is audience segmentation?

Segmentation is the process of dividing a large audience into manageable, meaningful sub-groups of people with similar needs and characteristics. Audience segmentation recognizes that different people will respond differently to marketing messages. Thus, segmentation helps you to tailor your communications to the preferences of each group.

So often, we talk about our “target audience”. In reality, we have multiple audiences who behave in different ways and have different expectations. We must identify and understand these differences in order to respond to them. With segmentation, you can do this in a coherent way.

Why audience segmentation matters

If you want to convince your audience to do something, like buy your product or service, the more you know about them, the better chances you will have to succeed.

Where most companies fail is the realization that the same thing persuades not everybody. A one-size-fit-all mentality does no longer work. If you make assumptions about what your target audience want based on only a few people, you will limit the size and diversity of your audience.

Thus, to do an audience segmentation will help you hyper-target your audience and create strategies to engage particular sub-groups based on appropriate characteristics and behaviors they share. To place your audiences’ interest at the core of your communication activities, will result in a more efficient and cost effective marketing strategy.

What it means to your organization
It is important that audience segmentation is manageable for your organization, based on things you can track and do something about. Thus, the level of detail you want to segment must align with the level and variety of products and/or services you are able to offer your audiences.
Large organizations with complex offers and bigger budgets might go more in-depth with their segmentation. Whereas smaller organizations will need simpler ones.

Segmentation criteria

There are many ways of performing an audience segmentation. Essentially, the process is about grouping people based on shared characteristics. This will give you a better idea of what will engage and attract your audience.

So, how to do audience segmentation?

Segment your audience by using four main criteria:

Demographic segmentation
Gives you an idea of when to approach customers during the time of year they are most likely to be in need of your product or service.
• Age
• Income
• Level of education
• Marital status
• Religion
• Life stage
• Family circumstance

Geographic segmentation
Divides groups based on their geographical limitations. This will help determine where to advertise and potentially expand your business.
• Where do people live
• Where do people work
• Region / state
• Town

Behavioral segmentation
Helps you tailor your messages to reach each customer when they are most likely to convert.
• How people engage with brands and products
• Frequency of social media usage
• Level of purchase
• Communication preferences
• Type of activity

Psychographic segmentation
Takes into account various aspects of consumer behavior.
• Personal interests and values
• Perception towards life
• Lifestyle values and choices
• Attitudes towards your organization

4 requirements for audience segmentation

In your audience segmentation, you should keep in mind that your results should be actionable. Otherwise, it will be hard to incorporate in your marketing strategy.

Therefore, to ensure actionable results, your segmentation should be:

Measureable: Identify segmentation variables that relate to a purchase of a product and/or service. Develop a descriptive profile of the audience segment.
Accessible: You must also be able to reach your audience in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Identify whether they belong to specific chats, newsgroups or social media platforms.
Substantial: It is important that your segment actually have the ability to purchase your product and/or service.
Actionable: Your segment must also be willing to make a purchase. Keep focus on those who are relevant to your business.

Furthermore, an audience segmentation should produce between four and nine segments. With too few, you risk your segments to be too general. In addition, too many can result in too small segments, which are not usable nor manageable. With goals and segmentation in place for your content, you must also measure your content marketing ROI in order to judge how effective the segments have been for your business.