Segmentation Secrets: Finding Your Audience is Crucial for Content Marketing Success

finding-audience-segmentationTake advantage of effective target market segmentation to increase conversions.

“Define your target audience” has become a buzz phrase, but are you really taking advantage of market segmentation with your content? There’s a difference between a demographic division and effective audience segmentation, and you want to be doing the latter as much as possible. The practice of target market segmentation can be as simple or as complex as you choose, but it’s how you segment and what you do with the data that matters.

Outbound Blanket Marketing vs. Inbound Targeted Marketing

Content strategies can be categorized into two broad marketing schemes – outbound and inbound. There was a time when outbound marketing was the norm, but smart marketers understand that traditional outbound blanket marketing is dead. Instead, print and digital content strategy has shifted to an inbound “pull” rather than outbound “push” marketing focus.

Consumers today are attracted to businesses, products, and practices that fulfill a need, gratify a desire, or satisfy a sense of moral obligation. In more intimate ways than ever before, consumers can interact with brands to express admiration or angst, and successful marketers are listening. The professionals over at Advertising Age explain:

“The ultimate goal is to listen to what your customers are telling you. This builds reference points that you can then use to expand your understanding of who your audience truly is — because there are so many potential customers we’re not seeing right in front of us.”

At the core of most effective inbound marketing strategies is strong audience segmentation.

Audience Segmentation Basics

“You have to hone in, in a surgical manner when it comes to your preferred client base in order to hit the jackpot,” says Neil Patel with the Content Marketing Institute in regards to how successful content marketing demands detailed user segmentation. Patel gives the example of Mercedes-Benz utilizing segmentation insights to create Generation Benz, an online community for Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts.

Demographic divides are still a good place to start your segmentation, but it’s important to understand that demographic data is more complex than A or B. From simple demographics to more complex insights, here’s how you can scratch the surface:

  • Age, race, gender, location – Simple yet helpful starters.
  • Financial restrictions or allowances – This can be influenced by demographics. Financial restrictions and allowances help define how and why a purchase is made.
  • Cultural era media preferences – Nostalgia goes a long way. When did your audience grow up, and what products and media from that era influence them as a consumer?
  • Problem/solution – What kind of problem is your product solving? For which consumers? Don’t create an imagined problem if there is none, but be sure to highlight your solution if it’s a smart one.
  • Empathy and relate-ability – Do you relate to your target audience?

It would seem that Apple has done a fine job of missing the mark if the controversy around the iPhone 7 headphone jack is any indication. They’ve answered an unasked question, provided a solution to a non-problem (by removing the headphone jack from the phone and providing a convoluted workaround, angering many iPhone/Apple fans), and some would say they’re no longer able to relate to their audience.

Audience Segmentation Utilization

With basic audience segmentation data in your hands, you can utilize various strategies to reel in target consumers.

  1. Restate needs, wants, and desires within the context of your brand voice. This notion plays into the idea of listening to your audience. You know what your target market wants and why they want it. Now, let them know that you’re listening with content that says so.
  2. Always focus on a quality user experience. It may not be audience specific, but regardless of your target market, you need to provide a streamlined user experience across content platforms. If it looks bad and it works poorly, you’re doing something wrong.
  3. Start a conversation with consumers. Social media marketing has revolutionized the way consumers interact with businesses. The conversation you have with your audience, or the one you don’t have, can sway public opinion. This is most recognized when companies don’t respond to consumer concerns, but plenty of brands are proactive and engage their audience to drive the conversation. Which kind of company are you?

Talk Back for Best Results

How to create a content marketing plan is as subjective an idea as how to segment your audience, and there are plenty of tactics available for doing both. We’ve found that the most successful way to ensure success is to keep the conversation going. One of the most important ongoing strategies you can employ in addition to thorough audience segmentation is to keep your finger on the pulse. Consumer preferences change, sometimes often, and it’s your job to follow trends, listen to opinions, and adjust strategies when it’s good for business.

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