Top Segmentation FYI's For Marketing Automation
Over the past few months at Layer One Media, I’ve been talking with several companies about what Marketing Automation is and is not. I’ve found that it’s certainly a buzz word right now. Everyone is interested to hear about it, but when I paint the entire picture of what it is, it can be a bit overwhelming. And rightfully so, as there are so many different moving parts. That ‘picture’ looks like the following path:
Segmentation > Nurture Programs > Scoring Model > Reporting
Let’s focus on segmentation. By definition it is dividing the marketplace into parts or groups, which are definable, accessible, actionable, profitable and have growth potential. How about in English? E-mail segmentation is creating target groups from your company’s master list that are interested in a particular topic/brand/product. From these segments you then begin feeding relevant information to qualify a contact or lead. Here’s what you need to know:
- Don’t make assumptions based on lists or previous interactions more than six months old. You purchase a list from one of many vendors and you assume that an SIC code or industry listing is accurate - WRONG. It’s a start for sure, but don’t assume that the analyst in San Francisco who did some Google searches got it 100 percent right. You need your own, homegrown confirmation. When I was a kid, my parents would ask me if I cleaned my room. My answer was always yes, yet they always needed to go upstairs and see for themselves. They wanted confirmation with their own eyes and companies should act the same way. Assumptions exist in the business world (and there is no way around some of them), but people who make them can still turn into a certain something (hint: use the first three letters), so minimize them where you can. Guarantee your contacts’ activity and interest BEFORE you start blasting e-mail topics to them.
- Minimizing opt-outs is just as important as form submits and conversions, and it starts with segmentation. Many companies are taking their master lists and blasting out e-mails on various different topics. Sure, this does a morsel of good, but the damage done will far outweigh that tiny benefit. Think about it. You’re interested in a new Chevrolet automobile, specifically a Corvette. However, I send you information about trucks, which you aren’t interested in. I then also send you MORE information in the same format about minivans a week later. You’re not interested in that either, and you’ve now checked a box that says don’t contact me anymore. What if Chevy sent you information about the Corvette first and didn’t spam you with trucks and minivans? You’d probably be pretty interested in the sports car and even welcome some more information depending on the type and/or offer. My point here is that the longer you can keep someone on a nurture path, the more likely they are to convert to a qualified lead. But, it has to be relevant! That can’t happen if people are opting out, and the less opt-outs you have equals the more conversions you’ll eventually have.
- Good segments have higher open/click rates. Perhaps you’re saying “Yeah, duh” but some of the people who are saying this are the same people who aren’t creating accurate segments. It goes back to the idea of conversions. The higher your open/click rates are, the higher your eventual conversions will be. Sometimes Marketing Managers are so busy they go into execution mode, and it’s more important for them to just ensure e-mail marketing is done rather than ensure it’s done right. All I'm saying is don’t be in the ‘some’ category. A little extra effort for extra conversions that could turn into big business will supersede any monthly status report that is generated for the sake of it.
You probably noticed that I did not tell you how to get the ‘homegrown’ confirmation for segmentation. It’s easy for me to talk about this stuff, but I’d rather do it than write about it. The ideas aren’t hard to understand but setting up the work can be. My personal preference is to run Marketing Automation from beginning to end for clients, but our business model includes making marketing departments smarter, not replacing them. With that in mind, whether its Layer One Media or someone else, keep a digital company in mind to at least bolster or assist with your Digital Marketing efforts, even if it’s just segmentation to start.
I also know there are smarter people than me out there in this world, and for the ones who are doing all of this already, kudos to you. Keep it up! Collectively, we’ll be the ones (a great many ones) responsible for this Digital Marketing revolution, which I believe is an ambitious and worthwhile endeavor!