Elise Dopson

Audience Segmentation: How to "Segment & Personalize" Your Marketing For More Conversions

Audience segmentation is a powerful tactic that's being massively under-utilized by most marketers.

Sure, you can play around with a variety of CRO tactics hoping to increase conversions. Things like reducing form fields, changing button colors, adding trust signals, showcasing testimonials, and so on.

But all of these pale in comparison to sending a tailored, personalized message to your website visitors.

Segmenting your audience is what allows you to do this.

So in this post, we share how to adopt this "segment and personalize" philosophy in your marketing. We cover everything from creating segment groups, to getting visitors to segment themselves, organizing your CRM, and then how to use the data to create personalized messages.

Let's get started 👇

What is audience segmentation?

Audience segmentation is the process of dividing your target market into different groups. Each group of people can then have more targeted messages sent their way, resulting in a greater conversion likelihood.

Segmenting your website traffic gives each person a more personalized experience—starting from their first impression, right through to the emails you send, content on your website, and remarketing efforts you put out.

Why segmentation is important in modern marketing

Now we know what audience segmentation is, you might be questioning why it's different from the other website conversion tactics you've tried already.

Truth is:

People don't want to be blasted with a generic one-size-fits-all offer designed for the masses. And tinkering with the color of your button isn't going to convince them otherwise 🤷

They want to see content that solves their specific problems—making segmentation a crucial conversion play in both B2B marketing strategies and B2C.

Audience Segmentation Diagram

Let's put that into practice and say you're a marketer shopping for a new work computer. You've already visited a brand’s website before, and now you're coming back to price match the iMac you’ve been browsing. 

Which of these popups are you most likely to engage with?

  1. "Hey, Bryan! Want a 10% discount code on our best selling iMac and a free guide on how to pitch this as an expense to your boss?"
  2. "Join our mailing list and get exclusive content to your inbox"

Option one wins. Every. Single Time.

If that wasn't convincing enough, a huge selling point of segmentation is that it's now relatively easy to do with modern tech. Let's take a look at how...

7 ways to create segment groups

Before we start delivering those personalized messages, you need to clearly define the actual groups you're going to segment your audience into.

You can do this pretty much any way you like. But some commonly used audience segmentation options are:

  1. Demographics. Factual information about someone like gender, age, ethnicity, or job title.
  2. Location. Such as their town, city, state, country, or continent.
  3. Behavior. Like which product pages they've viewed, webinars they've watched, or emails they've opened.
  4. Technology. Whether they're browsing on mobile, desktop, app, etc.
  5. Traffic source. If they visited from social media, Google, a review site, etc.
  6. Psychographics. More qualitative information, like someone's interests, social class, hobbies, and personality traits.
  7. Funnel stage. Someone new to your website will be higher in the funnel than someone who's returned multiple times and is on your email list.

You need to decide which one (or combination) of these is best for your business.

For most, the easiest way to go about this is to build up at least 2-3 well-defined buyer personas. These will encompass all the details and problems of your different audience segments, and enable you to deliver each one a message that's uber-targeted to them.

Be careful, though:

Having too many subgroups means people could fit into too many segments, resulting in messaging that doesn't hit the mark on everything.

It's better to start wide, grouping your target audience based on the one core thing that differentiates them. That way, you can deliver a niche message that’s almost guaranteed to make them take action.

PRO TIP:

It's a good idea to physically map out the buyer journey for each of your audience segments. This helps to get crystal clear on next steps for each visitor, and the content you need to create.

A mind mapping tool like Miro can be a great way to do this:

Buyer journey mind map in Miro

How to divide people into segment groups

Now we know the different traits and qualities you can use to segment your audience. But how do you actually capture that information from website visitors, and divide people into your relevant groups? 

(That's what you'll need to segment them, after all.)

You can dive deeper into your website visitors and assign them to a particular audience segment using the following techniques:

Survey your website traffic

Surveys allow people to identify themselves as being in a particular audience segment. 

For example: 

Say you have an ecommerce site selling pet food. You could use a multi-step website survey that first asks a customer what type of pet they have. They answer "dog," so the following steps in your survey direct them to your dog training videos:

Pet shop survey audience segmentation example

You can set up a survey to collect all kinds of information about your website visitors—like which company they work for, their job title, and the size of their team. All three of those traits could place them in a smaller subgroup you can use for segmenting. 

Create your own using the website survey templates in our campaign library.

Create interactive quizzes

Quizzes are a superb way to get your website visitors engaged. This is because they ask them to do something, rather than passively scroll through your page.

For example:

You run an ecommerce site that sells hair care products. You could create a quiz that tells people what type of hair they have.

At the end, you'll capture them as a lead and then recommend a set of products designed for their hair type.

This type of quiz kills two birds with one stone.

  1. The shopper gets a list of personalized products
  2. You've collected information that will place them into a segment 

That's great data you can use in retargeting campaigns if the quiz doesn't immediately result in a sale. Once they do buy, you can use the data to upsell, cross-sell or push repeat purchases 🙌

Track email activity

The people on your email list are already interested in what you have to say. They're closer to purchasing than someone visiting your site for the first time.

But, not all subscribers are created equal.

Popular email marketing platforms like ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, and ActiveCampaign all provide great data on the people engaging with your emails.

You'll be able to tag and segment subscribers based on:

  • Which lead magnet they signed up through
  • Which offer they claimed 
  • Whether they open your emails
  • If they click certain links

All of this data helps you personalize future emails you're sending, and craft unique landing pages to convince them to buy. (Just make sure you protect this customer information well.)

So you could do something as simple as ask new subscribers to click on a link in your welcome email:

ActiveCampaign welcome email segmentation

Then add a specific tag and send a different follow-up sequence depending on which link is clicked.

Or add CRM tags to people based on particular content downloaded, or forms filled out around your website:

ConvertKit forms

How to organize your CRM for audience segmentation

When it comes to audience segmentation, your CRM is a crucial tool. This does all the 'behind the scenes' work making sure visitors and subscribers are stored properly and placed in the correct group.

So it's absolutely imperative you keep your CRM organized in line with what you want to do from a segmentation standpoint.

For example, you might want to create groups around contacts who:

  • Have had a sales call recently
  • Watched a webinar or product demo 
  • Already purchased something in the past
  • Started a free trial of your software
  • Fall into a particular buyer persona

Some of this data may be automatically tracked, depending on which CRM you use. But other data points may require the creation of custom tags and fields.

At ConvertFlow, we add a tag of "Segment - Ecommerce" or "Segment - SaaS" etc. in our CRM (ActiveCampaign) as soon as a subscriber indicates what industry their business is in.

But, we also want to personalize a lot of our messaging according to what funnel stage someone is in. So to do this, we built a custom dropdown field in ActiveCampaign that gets updated (via Zapier) as soon as someone passes into a particular stage in our funnel:

Using custom fields for audience segmentation in ActiveCampaign

Take a look at these help guides for more info on how to segment your lists in various CRMs using ConvertFlow's automations.

Personalizing your marketing strategy for each segment 

Once you have data on your website visitors, you'll want to craft a personalized marketing strategy that's unique to each segment.

Here's how to put that data to work and improve your conversion rates.

1. Write personalized ad copy

The more qualified and relevant your website traffic is, the more chance you can convert someone.

It's like having a website promoting your B2B SaaS tool. If all 1,000 website visitors are people working at a B2B company, your conversion rate would be higher than if half were from a Facebook post your mom shared.

Put your data to work by creating adverts based on each segment.

It'll drive pre-qualified traffic to your site—those with a higher likelihood of buying. 

Say your B2B SaaS company is running Facebook Ads to drive quality traffic to your website. You have two segments that form your main customer base:

  1. Marketers working at a startup company with fewer than 10 staff 
  2. Marketers working at well-established companies with 100+ employees 

You should build two different groups inside Facebook Ads for each segment. One targeting managers at a startup company who don't have a dedicated marketing team, the other targeting marketing executives at companies like HubSpot, LinkedIn, and Google. 

People working at a startup wouldn't want to see Facebook Ads that share a case study on how you've helped HubSpot. Similarly, your enterprise-level customers won't be interested in your small team discounts.

Breaking them into two smaller groups allows you to get more specific with your ad copy. 

We can also take this a step further and create two types of audiences for each segment:

  • Custom Audiences. Retargeting people who've already purchased from you in the past, which convinces them to buy again.
  • Lookalike Audiences. People who have similar qualities to those who've purchased, but have never engaged with your brand before.

The result:

Four different audience segments you can target with personalized ad copy.

That's what will bring relevant traffic to your website—and improve your overall conversion rate. 

2. Customize your landing pages  

As you begin to collect information about the people visiting your website, you can direct them towards customized landing pages.

Say you have an SEO tool.

  1. You run a survey that first asks people to enter their first name
  2. The survey then asks what type of company they work at
  3. Then what specific problem they're facing
  4. Before finally whether they're actively looking for a tool like yours (or just browsing)

If they fit your buyer persona and they’re ready to buy, you can direct them towards a personalized landing page tailored specifically towards showcasing your product as a solution to the problem they indicated:

Customized landing page example

The same idea applies to any other type of landing page you want to direct a segment to.

Everything from the headline to the call-to-action can be personalized. It gives audience members a truly customized experience when arriving on your website, depending on which segment they fall into.

Alternatively, you can simply create completely different pages showcasing your product(s) as a solution to each segment group.

Asana has done a fantastic job at this, providing a multitude of pages pitching the product to different teams and for different use cases:

Asana user segment pages

Yes, each page is easily accessible from the main navbar. But each of them can also be used within a particular audience segmentation campaign.

3. Create personalized calls-to-action

Calls-to-action (CTAs) give someone an obvious, clear next step that you want them to take. You can use them on any page of your site—including landing pages, home pages, and checkout pages. 

You might have a handful of CTAs around your website using things like:

  • Popups
  • Site messages
  • Sticky bars
  • Embedded forms
  • Buttons

All these calls-to-action can be personalized according to the audience segmentation data you've already collected on a specific person, regardless of where they are on your website. 

For example:

In ConvertFlow, we can use the CRM data discussed above to target, say, a sticky bar to only show for visitors in our ecommerce segment AND not already customers:

Sticky bar targeting to segments example

Let's put this into practice with popups.

For an ecommerce website, a completely new, unknown visitor may respond well to a general discount coupon popup:

Say this person subscribes to receive the discount code, but doesn't actually purchase. Instead, they browse a specific product page and then leave.

You could segment this person as being a "Subscriber" (i.e. not a customer yet) and interested in "Product X."

Next time they come back to your website, you could show them a popup like this specifically promoting Product X again:

Take a look at this post for more product recommendation campaign ideas.

4. Send visitors through personalized email sequences

Your job isn't over once you get a website visitor on your email list. 

Use the data you've already collected to segment subscribers based on which links they've clicked. You can send each segment an email sequence based on the thing that differentiates them.

Let's use an example of an ecommerce website selling candles. They have two different audience segments, each of which gets a completely different series of emails.

Segment #1: Signed up through a form offering a discount code:

  • Email 1: The discount code
  • Email 2: A list of your best selling candles 
  • Email 3: A reminder that their discount code expires soon 

Segment #2: Signed up after watching a candle-making video:

  • Email 1: Link to a blog post that talks about candle-making
  • Email 2: Guidance on how to choose a candle-making kit
  • Email 3: A link to a personalized landing page with all of the products used in a tutorial they watched

Each segment has massively different goals, intentions, and interests—one wants to buy ready-made candles, another wants the ingredients to make the candles themselves.

But remember: specificity is key. The more you can tailor an email to someone, the more likely they are to engage with it.

Start segmenting your audience today  

Segmenting your audience is one of the most effective ways to deliver a personalized shopping experience. With more and more shoppers expressing their want for personalization, use the techniques here to give the people what they want.

Fancy a head start? Inside the ConvertFlow template library, you'll find customizable templates for surveys, quizzes, popups, and site messages—each designed to help you find out about the people browsing your website.

Here's a ready-to-use audience segmentation survey you can get started with right now:

With our automation tools and integrations, all of that data can be fed back to your email platform or CRM for storage and then used in the targeting of any future calls-to-action. Talk about making it even easier to deliver tailored marketing messages to potential customers.

About the author

Elise Dopson

Contributor, ConvertFlow
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Elise is a writer at ConvertFlow, and expert in B2B marketing. She's been featured in publications like ConversionXL, HubSpot, CoSchedule, Content Marketing Institute, Databox, and more. You'll usually find her cooking up some high-quality content for the ConvertFlow blog or campaign library.