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Getting the right message to the right people: Segmenting your lists

I’ve been writing a lot recently about marketing automation, specifically about planning out your automated programs (drip marketing campaigns) and using these programs to automate the marketing activities that you’re already doing.  However, before you can start sending automated messages to a specific audience, you need to identify who that audience is and segment them from your list of leads.

Marketing automation software is powerful not only in it’s ability to craft automated marketing programs, but also in it’s ability to narrow down a very specific list of contacts based on their profile and their interactions with your website and email campaigns.

Segmenting Based on Profile

The first critical way that marketing automation allows you to segment your lists is based on a person’s profile – their name, title, email, company, location, etc.  You can segment a list of only CEOs from your database, or only CEOs in Texas.  

But this is only as powerful as the profiles are complete.  If you want to take full advantage of segmentation based on the profiles of your leads, then you should start by making a list of all of the profile information you would like to collect, and then implementing a progressive profiling solution so that you can capture that information over time as the lead engages with your website.  Progressive profiling is included in most marketing automation solutions, including what Newfangled is implementing with Act-On.  Another solution to insure complete profiles is to purchase a targeted list that contains all of the basic profile information for the people on the list.

Once you segment based on profile attributes, you can then craft specific messages and campaigns based on a person’s location, sending them specific emails about regional events or specials.  You could also cater the messaging to leads in specific indistries, focusing on industry-related topics or current events.

Segmenting based on Actions

Not only does marketing automation allow you to segment based on the profile of a contact, but it also allows you to segment based on how that person has engaged (or hasn’t engaged) with your website or other email marketing campaigns.

You can segment based on whether or not they opened or clicked on a specific message, or if they filled out a specific form, visited a specific webpage, or download a specific resource, etc.

You can craft specific messages and campaigns that target people who engaged with your site in a certain way.  If they downloaded your whitepaper on brand strategy, then you could automatically send them a follow-up and recommend that they attend your webinar on branding, and nurture those leads until you’re ready to approach them about hiring you to do some brand work for them.

Segmenting based on actions allows you to get the right messaging in front of the lead.  You can send information based on what you know they are interested in, instead of sending them emails about all of your services.

In the inverse, you can create programs for leads that have not been opening your emails or have not been to your site recently.  Maybe it’s some sort of special offer, giving them a reason to come back, or maybe it’s a slow nurturing campaign over a long period of time.  Either way, it all starts with the ability to segment your lists to identify these users.

Putting it all together

Where this gets really awesome is when you combine your ability to segment by profile with your ability to segment by action.  You can narrowly target specific leads and send them automated messages that directly speak to them.

Again, the possibilities here are endless, so let’s look at another example.  Let’s say you just hosted a webinar that was on a specific topic and you’re booked to give a talk about a related topic in Atlanta in the coming months.  You could use the power of list segmentation to pull a list of everyone that registered for and attended your webinar that works in Georgia, sending them a special invite to attend your upcoming talk.  

This is just one example.  I’m sure your company will have a million different ways you would like to segment your leads, but knowing that you have this capability and making sure you are collecting the data you need to get the most out of it is the first step.  From there, it’s up to your marketing team to determine the most effective ways to segment your lists so that you are delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time.

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