Micro-Segmentation Marketing: A Guide to Standing Out with Hyper-Relevant Messaging
Consumers are bombarded with ads and offers these days. To stand out, your marketing messages need to be hyper-relevant to each website visitor’s needs at any particular time.
But, this is much easier said than done.
You can’t expect a salesperson or agent to engage with every single visitor. And standard, broad audience segmentation can still result in some pretty generalized messages.
This is where micro-segmentation comes in—empowering you to slice your broad segments into smaller groups based on shared details.
So in this post, we'll show exactly how this is done. We cover what micro-segmentation marketing is, how to create a strategy, examples, and how to improve conversions by sending targeted messages to your segments.
Let’s roll 👇
What is micro-segmentation marketing?
Micro-segmentation marketing involves segmenting your audience into highly targeted, small segments of people based on granular details—such as pages they’ve viewed, products in their cart, and so on.
The goal? To send relevant messages to micro-segments, so you’re targeting the right people at the right time to convert leads (and sales!) better.
Micro vs. regular segmentation
Regular audience segmentation is good ol’ segmentation that divides an audience into broad categories based on location, demographics, etc.
Micro-segmentation, however, is more specific. A micro group, for example, can contain folks from Buyer Persona A who've purchased from you before, or Buyer Persona B who abandoned their cart.
In other words, micro-segments are further niched down groups within your broader segments.
Since micro-segments group prospects based on granular details, the segments tend to be small. However, the audience in each micro-segment shares similar behavior and characteristics, which makes it easy to target them with personalized marketing campaigns.
Regular segments are the opposite. These are typically large groupings, including members with varying characteristics that fall into different stages of their buyer’s journey. Naturally, this means targeting them with ultra-relevant marketing messages is tricky.
Micro-segmentation marketing strategy
So now that we know the difference between regular and micro-segments, let’s dive into a 5-step action plan to create a micro-segmentation marketing strategy.
1. Define your broad segments first
Before you get to slicing your audience into micro-segments, create broad segments. Common factors generally used for broad segmentation are:
- Location. Information on where the audience is from, including city, state, country, or continent.
- Demographics. Factual information such as age bracket, job title, and gender.
- Behavior. Or, how they’re interacting with your site: pages viewed, content downloaded, free trial sign up/products added to cart, and so on.
- Traffic source. Covers the marketing channel the lead comes through. It could be a review site, social media, the search engine, etc.
- Technology. The browsing device such as desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.
- Funnel stage. Is the lead visiting for the first time, or are they a regular visitor or return customer? Someone visiting for the first time will be higher up in the funnel stage than someone who’s a returning lead/customer.
- Psychographics. Qualitative information such as interests, personalities traits, and social class, for instance.
Bonus tip: Get visitors to self-identify which broad segment they fall into
You can encourage site visitors to self-identify the segment they fall into. Here are three ways to do so:
👉 Use a site survey to ask visitors what they need help with or why they’re visiting, as ConversionXL does on its blog:
👉 Leverage form fields on gated content to identify which segment a visitor falls into.
For example, ask for details like their team size, job title, etc. on research reports and PDFs to ask for valuable information for segmenting your audience. Sprout Social asks for details like phone number and whether the visitor works at an agency in exchange for a report:
👉 Launch a quiz to uncover a visitor’s segment.
Let’s say you run a natural skincare ecommerce store. Create a quiz telling visitors what kind of skin they have and collect information to add them to a segment.
Bonus: use the information you gather to recommend personalized products to the visitor, like Undersun Fitness does.
2. Define your micro-segments
Now to start micro-segmenting, define the target group based on your broad segments.
Ideally, micro-segments are a combination of traits from broad segments, such as buyer persona + on-site activity/behavior, buyer persona + funnel stage, etc.
As an example, let’s say you own a video editing tool that targets two buyer personas—freelancers and agencies.
In this case, your micro-segments might look like this:
- Freelancers who signed up for your freemium version
- Agencies who viewed pricing pages and took the free version in the last 30 days
You can also go deeper such as:
- Female freelancers from California who signed up for your freemium version
- Small agencies who viewed pricing pages and took the free version in the last 30 days
When it comes to ecommerce, you could think about aspects such as "people who've bought product X in the last 30 days" or "people who go to exit the website with products still in their cart."
3. Set up visitor segments in your conversion tool
With the paperwork out of the way, let’s get into execution mode. How? By pre-defining your broad and micro-segments to target with CTAs in the future.
To do this, we’ll use ConvertFlow’s dynamic visitor segments feature.
For example, your broad segments could be based on the purchase intent concepts mentioned earlier:
You can then micro-segment even further by creating sub-groups.
Like visitors going through the checkout:
But, you could also use:
- Returning customers who've already spent above a certain amount with you
- New customers who got a failed payment notification
- People who've done something to indicate they fall into a specific buyer persona
Use these micro-segments to send super-relevant messages to the people in the segment. Example: a first-purchase discount to new visitors, but a referral partnership invite to high-spending repeat customers.
See how Sweaty Betty knows I haven’t purchased from them (yet!), and they’re sharing a relevant first-time purchase discount message with me:
4. Map out your funnel, so you know what needs creating
On to the meaty bit now: creating targeted messages for each segment.
This takes some forethought as you work out what content people in various segments would prefer to consume.
Look at Groove HQ, for example, as they create content for different audiences: startups, small businesses, and ecommerce owners:
Let’s put this into our video editing tool example from above. What content do you think an agency owner in a segment covering agencies who use your freemium model would prefer:
- How your tool’s paid collaboration features can help them collaborate with their clients on video production or
- The seven best video editing tools for freelancers
The first one, isn’t it?
Since the target agency already has a taste of your tool with its free model, educating them on your collaboration features can help nudge them forward.
However, the second topic will help your other target audience (freelancers) who are early in their buyer’s journey.
To ensure you’re creating relevant content for all your segments, layout your funnel based on different buyer personas and stages. Your plan should look like this.
Content for different audiences that you’re targeting:
- Buyer persona A
- Buyer persona B
Remember that some content can serve all audience profiles, such as ‘types of videos to create to take your business to a whole new level.’ But you can’t do with common-ground-content only. Instead, you’ll need specific content to address each persona’s concerns to convert them better.
Content for buyers in different stages of their journey:
- Top of the funnel (TOFU)
- Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
Most segments you create will have people in any of these stages and will target people from any one of the audience profiles. Every time you push content to them, make sure you’re sharing the right piece to move them along their buyer’s journey with you.
5. Create marketing messages for each segment
By taking this last step, you’ll get the ball rolling. So let’s walk you through ways to target your segments with personalized messaging both on your site and on other marketing channels.
On your site, start with personalized CTAs for each segment. Display these in various shapes and sizes:
- Targeted popups. For instance, at ConvertFlow, we show segment-specific popups. Here’s what this looks like for our SaaS and ecommerce audiences:
- Site messages. Usually positioned at the bottom-right or left corner of your site.
- Sticky bars. These are horizontal CTA bars that are stuck to the top and/or bottom of your website.
- Embedded forms. These typically offer relevant gated content. Hootsuite, for example, shares a relevant template in their blog post:
The key here is to make sure the personalized CTAs show only to specific micro-segment(s). ConvertFlow makes this part easy by letting you add multiple visitor segments to the “ALL” targeting conditions.
On to targeting your audiences off-site now: personalize your ad campaigns and emails.
Using the information on each micro-segment, fill in details for your custom audience to reach people in specific segments with your target ad campaigns.
Say if you have a micro-segment of prospects who have viewed specific products on your site, you can target them with an ad featuring the same products with a discount code.
Like this display ad from Shopbop:
Similarly, segment your email list based on the micro-segments you’re targeting.
For instance, send a discount code to a segment that shows a high-purchase intent instead of shooting the same message to the entire email list, including people who aren’t ready to buy yet. Similarly, send helpful guides to subscribers that are only getting acquainted with your product/service.
Sending personalized emails such as these helps you meet subscribers’ different interests, intentions, and goals—where one segment is interested in buying, and the other wants to learn only.
Since relevant messages resonate better, your audience is more likely to engage with you than when you send a generic message that doesn’t satisfy their needs and interests.
Start micro-segmenting today
So you see, micro-segmentation marketing effectively targets the right people with personalized messages to convert them better.
Start with broadly dividing your site visitors, then go deep into the specifics for further segmentation. Don’t forget, you’ll also need a content plan to engage your segmented audience with relevant content and targeted CTAs.