Advanced Segmentation for Marketing Automation: Applications and Examples
With so many new technologies appearing for email marketing segmentation every day, it may be hard to see how this or that functionality can be applicable to your business and generate benefits. It’s twice hard when it comes to such a complex issue as advanced customer segmentation.
In general, customer segmentation is a unifying term for all email marketing segmentation techniques and practices you employ to split (segment) your contact base into groups so that to deliver them relevant offers and personalized content and customer experience. The more of such practices you use, the more advanced your segmentation becomes.
Its applications for marketing automation are massive and depend on business type, contact base, sending strategies, etc. Below, we’ll take a look at some of its most important functionality:
- Content personalization;
- Product recommendations for website;
- Campaign frequency strategy;
- Unified customer profile.
Content priority is one of the highest levels of personalized content marketing. This functionality enables to send bulk campaigns, at the same time delivering each subscriber only relevant content:
- Preferred brands;
- Most viewed product categories and items;
- Relevant price.
How does it work? At eSputnik, we use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze customer preferences and pick up the best offers. AI processes all the available data on customer behavior:
- Search requests;
- Viewed categories and products;
- Engagement on each page;
- What items are bought and when;
- Preferences on price range/model/color/size/brand... etc;
- Campaign activity;
- App activity;
- Current location;
- Gadget type, etc.
The right hierarchy of the content in campaigns increases sales growth, as the main task of AI is to pick up the products that are most likely to lead the subscriber to the purchase.
How It Works
These two variants of a thank you email sent in response to survey completion are a good content personalization example. One of them is sent to a female Julia, another – to a male Tom. You see that the layout of the template is the same but the copy is a bit different.
The block with recommendations (Recommended for you) features items that Julia and Tom showed interest in, either by searching the same products or by adding the similar to their carts.
Thanks to it, a regular cold promo turns into a personalized message. Personalized product recommendations can be incorporated in both bulk and triggered emails and tailored to each recipient based on their shopping activity.
Product Recommendations for Website
Website product recommendations are blocks with recommended items that can be added to different site pages: main page, category page, product page, cart, 404 page. They can be bulk or personalized depending on the algorithm you choose.
This block may have different titles and appearances but they all serve the same purposes:
- Show enough offers to encourage a visitor to make a purchase;
- Save time searching for the product you need (especially relevant for big ecommerces with a wide product range);
- Get a satisfying experience interacting with the company and its site.
Reach target audience with Advanced Segmentation
You can make them personalized by choosing the corresponding algorithms. For example, in the eSputnik system, you can select 50 different recommendation algorithms for different pages or even for different blocks within one page.
As the result, people will be able to quickly jump to the category they’re most currently interested in, you’ll get more cart adds and completed purchases.
With competition growing, eCommerce product recommendations with a customer-based approach are what gives companies a competitive advantage. And well-organized product recommendations can give you increased average session duration and depth, convenient navigation, soft promotion of diverse products, cross-selling and upselling, and finally increased conversion rate.
Campaign Frequency Strategy
All email marketers have a special relationship with a campaign plan, especially beginners, who’re always extra cautious, making sure that emails are sent to the right segment at the right time. However, with modern solutions, you can automate this process and eliminate errors, saving more time for creative experiments or analytics.
For this purpose, you can set up frequency strategies which will help you:
- Automate sending of regular emails to permanent segments (it's enough to set it up once);
- Manage your campaigns more easily and conveniently;
- Control the number of emails a contact receives (especially relevant for contacts included in different segments).
You can set several separate strategies depending on your audience segmentation.
Let’s imagine that a certain school of foreign languages has two email marketing segmentation strategies:
For loyal customers (students and graduates who have already used their services);
For prospects (potential customers).
First strategy – Loyal: students, graduates
It includes 4 segments:
- Students ES;
- Students FR;
- Graduates ES;
- Graduates FR.
According to the customer funnel terminology, people included in segments for this strategy are classified as "warm." It is easier to sell and cross-sell them services such as:
- Intensives with native speakers;
- Movies in foreign languages;
- Books and special editions in Spanish and French.
What emails are included in the strategy:
- Payment reminder. It’s sent twice a month. The first email reminds that the class is paid for in advance and offers to take care of it beforehand. It’s sent in the second week of the month. The second email informs that the payment deadline is close. It’s sent in the fourth week. The campaign is sent only to students.
- Promo on new arrivals is a regular weekly newsletter. Since current students have an intense program with enough supportive material, it is more rational to offer books to graduates. Graduates of Spanish receive these emails on Saturday, and Graduates of French on Friday.
- Results. Week results are sent only to students on Friday.
- Meeting with a native speaker as well as watching movies together is held twice a month. The schedule of the campaign is as follows: for example, if a movie is shown every 2nd and 4th week, emails are sent in the odd week to announce and invite in advance.
- Vocabulary. This is a series of emails with a set of words for learning. The campaign is sent to current students every day.
Second strategy – Prospects.
It includes 6 segments:
- Demo users ES;
- Demo users FR;
- Webinar participants ES;
- Webinar participants FR;
- Subscribers ES;
- Subscribers FR.
What emails are included in the strategy:
- Newsletter. The school has two subscription categories: useful content for learning Spanish and useful content for learning French. Emails to these segments are sent twice a month on odd weeks.
- Vocabulary. Campaigns with vocabulary are sent every day to everyone who is testing online training (demo users). The goal is to demonstrate the advantages of the class, describe the process and encourage a purchase.
- Updates. News on system updates and improvements are sent to different segments on different days. Emails are sent to demo users as they are the “worm” segment most interested in the information on the learning process and are most likely to buy.
- Promo. Promo campaigns are sent once every 2 weeks to all segments.
This is just one small example of how a frequency strategy can be implemented. This functionality gives you control over segments and email schedule. The strategy excludes segments that we can add by mistake or forget to exclude. It will warn you if you’ve made a mistake while planning. Its usefulness doubles when the number of your subscribers, segments and campaign types grows.
Multilanguage is the functionality that enables to create an email in different languages within one template.
If you’re a company running multilingual marketing, this feature will help your marketers:
- Save time creating emails;
- Make it easier to schedule emails in different languages to different segments;
- View the results on all language versions in one report.
Functional convenience of Multilanguage isn’t its only advantage. It’s an important component of advanced segmentation and personalization because it allows to send messages in the preferred language of the recipient, raising their chances for success and response. Brands with subscribers and customers around the world use multilingual content marketing to build a deeper connection with their global audience.
Send multilingual campaigns in unlimited languages
In eSputnik, Multilanguage is built in the drag-and-drop editor so you don’t have to switch between tabs. You simply select a template, specify the default language, add the necessary languages, and fill each variant with the corresponding content as regular emails.
By the way, Multilanguage is available for all communication channels: you can create, edit and preview multilingual SMS, mob pushes and web pushes in one template.
The statistics on multilingual messages is also available within one report. You don’t need to open multiple windows to compare the results of different languages.
Unified Customer Profile
Roughly speaking, a contact’s profile doesn’t belong to advanced segmentation. It’s a contact card with all the data you’ve managed to collect on your subscribers and customers.
It can include:
- Email address, phone number, push tokens;
- Physical address (country, city, zip code, etc.);
- Name, age, job position and other personal details;
- Subscription categories, etc.
However, advanced segmentation allows to unify all this data within a single profile, and its importance for effective automated marketing is hard to overestimate.
Apart from management convenience (you see all the available data in one place), a single unified profile helps build multichannel and omnichannel workflows, engaging all communication channels: Email, Mob Push, Web Push, SMS, and Viber.
To see what I’m talking about, take a look at this workflow for the abandoned browse campaign.
It includes 4 types of messages – web push notification, mobile push, email, and Viber message. It’s launched after a certain visitor has viewed some products on your website but didn’t add any to their cart.
So, the browse abandonment event is registered in the system, and the visitor immediately receives a web push notification. You give them 20 minutes for consideration, check whether they’ve read the push, and send a mobile push to those who haven’t. If both pushes have been ignored, send the prospect an email within the next 3 hours. The following day, check whether it has been opened, and if no, send a Viber reminder.
How to collect contact data
You can start collecting data on the website with cookies. Every visitor consented to your cookies is assigned with an ID that will record their behavior on the site.
Subscription forms can be located on the website, on social media or in pop-ups and typically collect email addresses and names. However, there are forms for phone numbers that also offer to subscribe to text messages.
Profile and preference management
After a visitor has become your subscriber, offer them to complete their profile on the website, or send an email asking to state their preferences or select topics of interest.
Web push notification request
Web pushes are permission-based notifications. You need to ask people whether they want to hear from you using a request prompt that appears on top of your website page. If a visitor allows notifications from you, they’re assigned with a token and get to your contact list.
Mobile push notification request
To send mobile pushes to Android users, you don’t need their permission. They’re automatically opted for your notifications and assigned with a push token by merely installing your app. However, to send to iOS users, you first need to ask for their consent. If the answer is OK, the user’s device is assigned with a token, and you may start sending them app notifications.
How contact data is unified by the system
- Let’s imagine, a certain user visits your website. They see a cookie notice, consents to it and keeps on browsing the site. From now on, they’re assigned with a unique ID that is used to record their behavior (visits, viewed items, abandoned carts, purchases). You can send any of this data to our system via web tracking or API methods.
- Next, this user subscribes to your emails and/or text messages. The corresponding data (most often email address, name and/or phone number) is added to the system. Now, they're officially subscribed to you and start receiving bulk campaigns. Next time when they go to your website by clicking a link in the email, their profile is unified: personal data specified in the subscription form merges with ID’s cookies data.
- The user continues opening your emails and visiting your website. During one of such visits, they subscribe to your push notifications. They’re assigned with a token that is also added to their contact card in the system.
The order of the above steps isn’t important. It is important that the user goes from the received messages to the site and subscribes to other channels during these sessions. The more data you, the more accurate your segmentation will be.
Summing up, this is what you can get using advanced segmentation in our system:
- Use data from external sources and databases within a single platform;
- Add blocks with personal product recommendations to any message;
- Add product recommendations to the site;
- Manage campaign frequency for any number of segments;
- Launch targeted campaign based on any piece of customer data;
- Unify contact data and build multichannel workflows for effective communication.
Advanced segmentation is a complex functionality that requires more articles to be fully explained. The main thing you need to understand about it is that it enables to split your contact base into multiple segments and microsegments based on any parameter you set – location, language, sex, age, website activity, campaign activity, shopping history, event parameter, etc.
Whatever contact data you’ve managed to collect, advanced segmentation will help take the full advantage of it. And your customers will always receive relevant offers at the right time to the channel they’re most likely to open them in.