3 Segmenting Techniques Small Business Can Use To Train Customers to Listen and Anticipate

Most marketers actually train their audiences to ignore them.  Think about how many emails you get that you automatically delete without even thinking.  At some point you decide the content you receive from those senders isn’t important anymore.  At that point you start to ignore them.

Are you training your list to ignore . . . or to anticipate?

Good marketers actually build a relationship such that customers want to hear from them.  The secret to developing this kind of relationship lies in understanding how to segment your list so that each recipient gets only the content they’re interested in and they get it at the frequency that they desire.

I’ve found there are three powerful ways to segment your list that allow you to deliver the right content to the right people every time.

trained dog

First is By Lead Source

Knowing where a lead came from helps a marketer understand their psychographics of their prospects.  If I know a lead responded to an advertisement about lead nurturing, then I’m going to be successful talking to that person about lead nurturing, drip marketing, autoresponders and other related topics.  If I know a lead came from a customer referral, I’ll be much more successful leveraging the relationship of the referrer than anything else.

Knowing and tracking your lead source on every lead is critical to understanding how to market (build a relationship) to them.  An added bonus is that by tracking lead sources from the top of your sales funnel all the way through the bottom of the funnel gives you the intelligence you need to know which marketing activities are making you money and which are costing you money.

The Second Powerful Way to Segment Your List is by Demographics

You should be gathering as much information about your leads and customers as you can so that you can segment by demographics.  It might be that your product or service is tailored for a specific demographic – so it’d be important to know if that’s actually who’s responding to your marketing.  Also, different demographics respond to different messages.

Whether you’re comparing middle-aged prospects with young-adult prospects or east coasters versus west coasters, they’re going to respond differently to different messages.  Understanding the nuances of the different demographic groups in your list is crucial to being able to craft your messages for maximum relationship building which equates to maximum profits.

The Third (and I believe most powerful) Way to Segment Your List is by Behavior

If you track response to every message you send, you’ll be able to measure who responds to what.  If I were selling camping gear I’d track who clicked on ads about sleeping bags, who clicked on links in my emails about tents, who read my articles on fire starting, who attended webinars about great places for snow camping, etc.  By knowing what people are interested in (because they told you with their behavior), you can always ensure that the information you’re putting in front of them is the most relevant to them at the time.

Most businesses aren’t thinking about this at all.  Most people just batch and blast – they send the same email to everyone on their list.  That trains people to ignore.  If you segment your list these three ways, and you carefully think through every communication (always wondering what a particular prospect or customer would want to receive), then you’ll be way ahead of your competition.

There are many ways to segment your lists.  I’ve heard Infusionsoft customers tell me all kinds of interesting ways they’re finding profitable segments.  Please take a moment to share in the comments below your most successful segmenting ideas or tips.


Tyler Garns Tyler Garns, Business & Marketing Strategist at Tyler Garns Marketing LLC, has over 10 years of experience in the field and is a recognized expert in Internet marketing. Tyler specializes in building "done-for-you" campaigns. You can follow him on the Tyler Garns Blog.

9 Reactions
  1. Great information! This shows how a little extra effort can really pay off. I think even some of the larger companies are guilty of the “batch and blast” – I know I receive a dozen e-mails every day that aren’t really targeted to why I visited their website.

  2. I’m always amazed at how many clients I work with who don’t tag their leads/customers with the source through which they were obtained. Usually a source has messaging that will give you an idea of their intent and perhaps even their needs. Make sure you’re capturing this information.

  3. This is a smart article. Thanks for posting! As hard as it is to cater to each customer, the more you do, the more success you’ll encounter. The individual matters. And if you show them that, they’ll return for more business.

    I linked this article at http://www.facebook.com/nametaginc

  4. Hi Tyler,

    Great points! There are so many times that we receive emails from various sources for the purpose of marketing, yet those mails are never read, in fact most of them are automatically sent to the junk folder. I agree that a proper strategy must be developed to make the process worth the time and effort. You’ve listed really important points, I am sure this would help in improving the readership and response rate. Thanks for sharing!

    Riya Sam
    Training for Entrepreneurs.com

  5. I must say I’m the kind of person that tends to ignore marketing emails, when you get so many you just don’t want to know – large companies in particular.

  6. There is only one place to turn to get the best in advice from business leaders who have been trained to understand what every business needs to do to be successful. With the right person offering you the advice you need, you can grow your business to the point that it can run profitably, without you there to oversee the day-to-day activities. They’ll teach you how to take care of the customers. Check out our website; http://www.businessadvisor.net.au

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments. Sorry I wasn’t able to respond earlier. I spent a few days with a youth group from church at Lake Powell – tons of fun. Now I’m at the MarketingProfs B2B conference in Boston. Come say high if you’re here.

  8. Tyler, you identify some very important things to remember and implement. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.