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Why Segmentation is Vital to Your Marketing Success

When I say “segmentation” with regards to marketing, what comes to mind for you?

Chances are, you immediately think of email segmentation. Segmenting your emails is crucial to improving your customer engagement and conversion rate.

But although emails are the most widely talked about segmentation type, there are countless others. Unfortunately, it’s a process that’s little-used beyond the realm of email marketing. Let’s take a closer look at the various marketing channels that can (and should) be segmented for better results and why segmenting as a whole is so important.

Email Segmentation – Where It All Began

Email is one of the oldest and most-used marketing methods, so it’s understandable that companies have collected and analyzed a great deal of data regarding their subscribers.

These days, segmenting your emails — by customer group, purchase history and other actions your subscribers did or did not take, is a no-brainer. A study by MailChimp and Marketing Charts even looked at the data to determine just how much of an impact list segmentation has:

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From opens to clicks to abuse reports and unsubscribes, rates across the board were improved for segmented versus non-segmented. Of course, this should come as no surprise to seasoned marketers — still, having the numbers is better than pure guesswork.

But what about segmentation in other areas — beyond email?

Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you could also segment other parts of your marketing, you’d get results that are just as solid? Let’s take a closer look:

What to Look For With Segmentation

Just like with email list segmentation, segmenting your other marketing techniques should be rooted in the data you’re collecting. Don’t just skim over your analytics reports. Dig deeper and look at the big picture as well as the individual pieces. Chances are, there are some small but highly engaged groups that may stand out. Here are some common areas that may stand out:

  • Geography – You can use this demographic for multiple areas of your marketing. Are more users from a certain country converting at a higher percentage than others? Is the paid traffic from Indonesia converting? Segment your paid traffic and organic traffic to see which markets are outperforming and cut off funding to countries that don’t convert.
  • Device type – Many marketers may be looking at their overall conversion rate without segmenting by device type. Do significantly more conversions happen on desktop than mobile? That may be a signal that your mobile site needs work.
  • Product category – E-commerce companies may want to dig through the data on their first-time purchasers. Is there a particular item that they like to order? If one stands out, you may want to use that in your paid marketing to see if those ads outperform others.
  • Signup type – SaaS companies frequently have a couple different ways to convert visitors to prospects – they either signup or request a demo. Build a funnel through the buyer journey – from first visit to paying – and see if you get more paying customers from either signups or purchases. If one significantly wins over the other, you may want to make that your only signup method.
  • Marketing channel – Think about all the different channels that are sending traffic your way. You have paid channel (and multiple channels within that – facebook ads, adwords, etc), organic search, referral traffic (backlinks), email, social, and more. Breakdown your site traffic and conversions by channel.

By the way, you can do all of this in Kissmetrics.

What Else Can You Segment?

The real question is — what can’t you segment? With the right analytics foundation, you can split test, monitor, track and analyze almost anything. Every attribute a person has – what city they’re visiting from, what browser they’re using, what time they visit, gender, etc can be segmented. The key, however is that you find the key segments that matter so you avoid analysis paralysis.

Beyond email marketing, you can (and should) create segments for your funnels and even your revenue to see which groups are engaging with which test, how far along they are in the funnel and what they’re buying.

But when it comes to segmenting these other things, it’s easier said than done, right?

The good news is that Kissmetrics allows you to segment and analyze nearly any data you can collect. There are a few Kissmetrics reports that can help you with identifying the key segments in your business.

1. Funnel Report

The Funnel Report is used to identify the roadblocks that are preventing visitors from converting. Part of the power of the Funnel Report is the segmentation. In the image above, we’re segmenting by the marketing channel the visitor came from. With this level of segmentation, we’ll find the key groups of visitors that are dropping off, or performing well throughout the funnel.

Each table below the funnel shows the actual segmentation. At a glance, you can easily monitor and judge performance based on your own segmentation criteria.

2. Cohort Report

The Cohort Report lets you see how user behavior changes over time. This is particularly helpful for seasonal businesses, but can still be used even if you don’t focus much on seasonality. See how user behavior changes week after week – including purchases, signups and other criteria. This gives you at-a-glance insights into your next steps to ensure you target the right segments at the right time with the right offer.

3. Activity Report

You can think of this as the “Segmentation Report”. You pick an event, and then segment it. Then drill down further to truly understand what’s driving each action.

4. Populations

With this feature, you’ll identify the KPIs in your business and track their performance overtime. For example, if you’re a SaaS company, you can view the number of people that have logged in in the last week. E-commerce companies may want to view the number of first-time purchasers in the last week. Put that criteria in, and then track it with Populations.

Getting Started with Segmentation

As you can see, the benefits from properly segmenting your customers don’t just stop at email, although that is by far the most popular and widespread use of the strategy. It may seem like a painstaking undertaking to segment so many small groups, but using the right platform and zeroing-in on the right behaviors can make all the difference, and even open up some heretofore-unknown profit streams that you can nurture and grow until they become a thriving addition to your bottom line.

Are you using segmentation in your own business beyond email? Share your thoughts and success stories with us in the comments and let us know how it has helped you in your marketing campaigns!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!