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Why List Segmentation is a Must for Email Marketing

Email segmentation is a must for a successful online marketing strategy. Have you ever gotten an email from a business that was completely irrelevant and thus extremely aggravating? If you said “no,” you’re either extremely lucky or you’re doing business with a brand that has a great marketing department behind it. If you said “yes,” then you know exactly why list segmentation is a must for a successful marketing strategy.

To get a clearer idea of what we mean, say you signed up for a health club’s email list and indicated that you are interested in swimming and weight training on the sign-up form. You’d think that you would receive emails geared toward your stated interests, but if that health club didn’t segment its e-mail list, you might receive emails about anything from youth programs to yoga.

What kind of impact could email segmentation have on our hypothetical health clubs’ ability to nurture leads, convert them and ultimately retain them as paying customers? Let’s start by looking at some key statistics that attest to the benefits of email segmentation.

The Numbers Behind Email Segmentation
Email segmentation is an easy enough concept to get your mind around: Instead of treating your email list like one undifferentiated mass, you separate your leads into different segments based on certain criteria (demographics, place in the sales cycle, geographic location, etc.) and then tailor your emails to each specific segment. This makes it possible to bring a higher degree of personalization to every email you send and fosters a stronger connection between you and your customers.

This isn’t just another overhyped marketing tactic – it’s a tried and true technique and the numbers prove it. According to research from Lyris, 39 percent of marketers who segmented their email lists saw higher open rates, 28 percent were able to lower their unsubscribe rates and 24 percent improved deliverability and revenue.

x_0_0_0_14123236_800Segmenting your email list will help you give your readers a more personalized experience.

More recent research from MailChimp, a popular email marketing service, turned up similar results. MailChimp measured the results of segmented campaigns run through its platform from all over the world and compared them to those of non-segmented campaigns. The results?

  • The open rate for segmented campaigns was 14.47 percent higher than non-segmented campaigns.
  • Segmented campaigns received 58.89 percent more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.
  • Unique opens were 10.55 percent higher in segmented campaigns.
  • Unsubscribes were 7.88 percent lower for segmented emails than for unsegmented email blasts.

These statistics serve as proof to something that makes sense on an intuitive level: People respond more favorably to something that was clearly written with their interests and needs in mind rather than something that was obviously mass produced.

“Segmented campaigns received 58.89% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.”

How Should You Segment Your Email List?
There’s no right or wrong way to segment your email list, but there are some ways that are more helpful than others. One thing to be aware of from the start, however, is that if you try to segment your subscribers by too many criteria, you’ll end up with an unwieldy mass of segments that will take up too much of your time to maintain.

One of the most effective segmentation strategies is to differentiate your contacts based on their level of interest in your business. Where are they in your lead nurturing cycle? Someone who has signed up for your list could be characterized as a Lead, someone who is interested enough in your business to have downloaded some of your content.

Alternatively, someone who has downloaded several pieces of content could be segmented into your Sales Qualified Leads category, and should be ready to receive more product-focused emails based on what they’ve downloaded. People who have bought from you can be segmented as Customers and repeat buyers could be considered Fans or Evangelists.

To do this, you can set up form fields on your sign-up page that let subscribers identify their key interests, demographic profile, job title, industry and so on. Going back to our health club example, the club could have checkboxes on the sign-up form that allow them to indicate if they’re interested in swimming, group classes, weight training or other activities. From there, it’s possible to segment an email list based on those choices and ensure each subscriber only sees what is relevant to his or her interests.

By sending content and offers that are relevant to each segment based on where they are in the buying cycle, you’re more likely to engage them and get them to interact with you. If you stick with this best practice, your audience will see your name in their list of unread emails and it will be one of the first they open because they are expecting to get interesting and relevant content.

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How To Use Buyer Personas To Create Content For Every Part Of The Sales Funnel

Previously, we discussed the importance of creating accurate buyer personas that adequately represent the audiences your business needs to reach with its marketing efforts. To sum it up, buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. These profiles are created using a variety of data and research on your existing customers.

Creating accurate buyer personas can help your entire business become more customer-focused, but it is absolutely essential for the marketing team, especially when it comes to creating content. This is because it helps you create content that addresses specific pain points and hits on key geographic and demographic themes. This article will explain how to set up your marketing funnel to ensure you’re tailoring every piece of content to a specific persona and section of the funnel.

Matching The Sales Funnel To Each Buyer Persona
Once you have established three to five buyer personas, you can start mapping out their respective journeys through the sales funnel.  While many incarnations of the sales funnel exist, the most basic model, as laid out by HubSpot, goes like this: Awareness, Evaluation and Purchase. This is the map that illustrates the journey a customer makes from the time he or she first discovers your content to the time of purchase.

Essentially, you’ll want to split the funnel vertically among each of your personas and tailor the content for each buyer accordingly. How does Persona No.1 make it through the funnel, how does Persona No.2 get through it, and so on? It’s important to do this because businesses today no longer have a linear sales funnel – it’s more of a sales maze with varying points of entry. Because the Internet makes it so easy for potential customers to do a lot of their own research and evaluation without ever contacting a business, you could be dealing with people who are well past the awareness and evaluation phases by the time they contact you.

Customers in each persona could be very different in terms of how they find you and interact with your content, so it’s important to create a unique funnel that is geared specifically for them.

x_0_0_0_14116497_800Buyer personas can help you move prospects down the sales funnel.

Using Content To Raise Awareness
At the top of the funnel, it’s critical to discern what information each of your buyer personas are interested in learning more about. Do some personas already have an advanced knowledge of your industry or business? Are others more likely to have a beginner’s’ grasp of what you do? Here, you want to address each persona’s key pain points and adhere to a writing style and publishing schedule that fits into each reader’s life.

Here are a few types of content that work well for building awareness:

  • Blog posts
  • Landing pages
  • Whitepapers
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • FAQs
  • Social media posts
  • Videos (How-to’s, quick tips, etc.)

Helping Leads Evaluate Your Offerings
The middle of the funnel, the evaluation stage is all about moving prospects from awareness of your products to having an interest in learning more about them. People are looking for demos, prices and data that will help them compare your offerings to your competitors’. It’s important to also consider the persona’s schedule here – don’t only consider what the best subject matter is for the webinar/email, but also when to schedule the webinar/ email. The following are common formats for content at this stage:

  • Case studies/testimonials
  • In-depth webinars
  • Demo videos
  • Email marketing/newsletters
  • Product/services comparisons

Creating Content That Closes The Deal
This is where you move to close the deal with interested prospects. Again, you need to consider pain points here: For one buyer persona, price might be a huge factor if they have budget restraints or if they’ve been burned by another company before. Another persona might just need the right solution, no matter what the price is. Whatever the case may be, with your bottom-of-funnel leads, you want your content to eliminate any remaining objections your leads might have.

Here are some content types that can do just that:

  • Free trials
  • Customized, in-person demos/consultations
  • Coupons and deals
  • Estimates and quotes

By understanding your prospects deeply enough to create detailed buyer personas, you should be able to set up a sales funnel that is fueled by targeted content that speaks to the right people at the right time in their journeys.

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6 Ways Creating Buyer Personas Will Improve Your Customer Experience

Even the greenest marketers have likely heard of “buyer personas,” but it’s not always clear why they’re so important. In this post, we’ll look at what buyer personas are and how they can help you improve your total customer experience.

What Is A Buyer Persona?
Before we can understand why it’s important, it helps to know what a buyer persona is. HubSpot has provided a concise definition of the term: “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Essentially, you should use customer demographics, behavioral patterns gleaned from analytics and research and other data points to see what kind of personas comprise your customer base. As HubSpot noted, taking the time to create personas will help your entire business become more customer-focused, since you’ll know exactly what to do to attract buyers.

“Buyer personas will help your entire business become more customer-focused.”

Here are six ways that creating buyer personas will benefit your business:

1. Understand Your Customers On A Deeper Level
Well-defined buyer personas help you to better understand who your customers are on many different levels. You don’t want to look at your customers as an undifferentiated mass — each persona (which represents individual customers) has specific wants, needs and lifestyles, so it’s important for every customer to be aware that you understand and care. Using personas allows you to personalize the entire customer experience to specific individuals.

2. Facilitate Better Customer Service
On a similar note, you’ll have a better idea of whom you are dealing with at any given time and how to address his or her issues. Rather than starting with a blank canvas, you can paint the picture before the customer interaction begins. Customers will feel that you can relate to them, which will build their trust in and respect for your brand.

3. Generate Higher Quality Leads
Knowing what will attract certain personas, as well as where they spend time and find information, helps with creating and targeting your content. You can create content for a specific persona and even take it to the next level by basing the content on where that persona could be in the sales cycle. Marketing today is about reaching the right people in the right places at the right time with the right content. Using buyer personas can help you master that.

4. Increase Sales Efficiency
Buyer personas are extremely useful to your sales team in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Your sales reps will not only know which persona to focus on the most, but they will know how to communicate to the leads that fall under that specific persona. By understanding the leads’ motivations, your sales team will be able to accurately tailor their sales pitches before the conversation even starts. They’ll be prepared for questions customers might ask, and they’ll have a better understanding of what it takes to close that particular deal.

5. Build Understanding Of The Customers Across Your Business
Not only do personas help within the sales department, they also work across different functional areas. This is hugely important for the Sales and Marketing relationship but it also works outside of that. Using personas to reference individual customers ensures that everyone from engineering and product development to customer service knows how to respond to the customers’ needs.

6. Improve Product/Service Development
You can also leverage buyer personas for creating new products, services or features that better suit their needs. Knowing their issues and best ways to solve them will lead you to offer products or services your customers want. By growing and changing with your customers you will be more likely to have long and successful relationships with them.

Let’s start looking at our customers more like actual people with specific interests, wants and needs. You can get to know your customers a little bit more by creating buyer personas and improve the entire customer experience by using them.

What other benefits do you think you could leverage from buyer personas?

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The Power of Influencers

What is an influencer?

Have you ever tried a restaurant, product or service because it came highly recommended by a friend? That is the power of influencers. Who are influencers exactly? Well, an influencer can be anyone who is thought to be in-the-know and trusted for their opinions. We all have influencers in our lives and the concept has successfully made its way into the world of marketing. The term ‘influencer’ is a buzzword right now but rest assured, we’ve been subject to influencers for quite some time.

Here’s the beautiful Ms. Marilyn Monroe promoting Chanel No.5 ad and legendary actor John Wayne endorsing Camel cigarettes.

marilyn

camel

So we know that influencers have been around for some time, there’s nothing exciting about that. What is exciting is how influencer marketing is evolving. Influencers are no longer reserved for the big screen and Hollywood lights. Today, the term ‘influencer’ is reserved for everyday people who have positioned themselves as go-to resources for the lifestyle they embody, organically influencing their followers into potential buyers for brands and products they represent. Influencers are often academics, journalists, industry professionals, brand advocates and self-made celebrities.

Influencers have embraced their role as opinion leaders and when done correctly, have been able to profit from their following. You might be thinking, that’s great I’m really happy for them but how does it make me money? We’re getting there…

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a simple concept with an incredibly effective outcome. Over the years influencer marketing has shifted its focus to key individuals rather than the target market as a whole. Marketing efforts should be motivated by selling to these influencers, or offering incentives for influencers to work with you. Influencers can be willing to accept goods, sponsorships and payment in exchange for a review of your product or service. This type of review is called a native ad. Dissimilar to standard paid ads, a native ad appears organic and seamlessly flows within the user experience. These types of placements are targeted and relevant, gaining the trust and buy-in of the viewer.

As the fastest growing customer acquisition method, Influencer Marketing can go viral when done correctly and is definitely something that should be explored for your product if you’re looking to expand your reach. Check out Sideqik’s infographic identifying the power of Influencer Marketing and how it’s being digested.

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Instagram is currently the leading platform for Influencer Marketing. To see some of the most successful Instagram marketing campaigns led by influencer and brand partnerships click here.

Is Influencer Marketing right for me?

Influencer Marketing could be a good fit if you’re looking to accomplish one or several of the points below.

  • I am looking to create ongoing relationships with my product/service
  • I am looking to strengthen brand loyalty
  • I am looking for a brand ambassador
  • I am looking for an avenue to share the content I’ve created/have had created
  • I am looking for ways to gain brand/campaign awareness in a particular demographic
  • I am looking for targeted traffic to reach my objectives

How can I get rich?

Alas, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Show me the money! While we can’t promise you that you’ll be able to hightail it out of here on the next flight to paradise, we can help optimize your influencer marketing tactics so you get the most out of your marketing dollars. Here is our 9 step life cycle of Influencer Marketing.

1. Identify an authentic brand message. Your message must be genuine and clear. Remember, your influencers will need to speak with your brand voice.
2. Identify influencers. Find people who have a greater than average impact on your marketplace. Take note of their name, relevance, URL, active social platforms and their respective following as well as their overall reach.
3. Find an appropriate network. Networks are useful in connecting you with the appropriate influencers and take the guess work out of the negotiation process, for a fee of course. They typically serve as mediators, settling both pricing and content details. With the help of networks, you can specify they type on influencer that will be producing content in your name, the number of followers, your target demographic, preferred platform and type of promotion.

4. Decide on quality vs. Companies often ask themselves if it’s better to spend $100 for 1,000 less influential bloggers or $1,000 for 100 solid bloggers. It will really depend on your budget and your campaign KPIs to determine the perfect fit. Ideally, if you can achieve a balance of great content paired with a handful of great influencers you’ll be set.

5. Market to your influencers. It helps influencers get on board when they see their community is already invested in the product or service you’re offering. By increasing brand awareness within their community you’re strengthening future ties. You can market to your influencers by:
a) @Mentioning themb) Include them in a relevant curated list
c) Include their commentary or posts in your content

6. Market through your influencers. Once your influencers and the type of campaign has been confirmed use influencers to increase brand awareness within their community. Provide them with the most relevant key words and tracked links to gauge the success of their involvement.

7. Market with influencers. The ultimate goal of marketing through your influencers is to transform them into advocates so the promotion lasts far beyond the campaign.

8. Evaluate. Review the tracked links and ROI. Identify the necessary improvements and evaluate your strategy and influencers for the next campaign. Ways to evaluate your Influencer Marketing campaign ROI are as follows:
a) Impressions: how many times the post is viewed
b) Engagement: how many times the post was liked, commented on, shared, favorited, etc.
c) Conversions: how many times a trackable link/promo code were used
d) Mentions: how much are users are discussing your brand
e) Content quality: how relevant was the post to your key words, your audience, your target demographic, etc.

9. Repeat.

Before you embark on your Influencer Marketing journey, it’s important to note that not all influencers can be evaluated on a project by project basis or a singular campaign experience. Often times, given the nature of the relationship they’ve established with their followers, strategies must sometimes respect a longer timeline. A dedicated approach to fostering strong and sincere relationships with influencers can be instrumental to your success.

If you want help integrating Influencer Marketing into your digital marketing strategy but you’re not sure where to start, contact DigiWorld Partners today for a consultation.

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