Your customers will never all be in the same place at the same time. Have you ever gone into a store when everyone is buying something and no one is browsing? Apart from Apple stores when new products are released, perhaps. Customers will always act as individuals, which in the context of segmentation means understanding the different point of the sales – or lead generation cycle – and how that relates to generating appropriate content for email campaigns.
The Three Points in the Sales Cycle
- Awareness. Prospective customers become aware of your product. They know they are prospective customers because you are offering a product or service which fulfills a need they have; however, they aren’t ready to buy just yet.
- Evaluation. Prospects are now evaluating how well you fulfill the need they have, and based on that, whether you are the best fit for them.
- Purchase. Now your prospects are ready to convert into paying customers.
There’s a big difference between wandering around a clothes store looking for jeans, and dashing in to try and find the right size and cut for you because you need a pair right now. In one stage – awareness – you won’t appreciate an over attentive shop assistant. At the other – purchase – you will, because help finding what you need is useful, to ensure you find what’s right so you can buy them and get out of the store.
Your emails and marketing messages are the equivalent of a shop assistant bursting into someones email account, whether they want them present or not. Which means sending the right kinds of emails – with relevant content – at the correct points in the sales cycle.
Aim to be helpful, not obtrusive. Start by mapping content.
1. Look at what you have. Evaluate what content assets you have (blogs, white papers, e-books, info-graphics, etc.) and where they fit into the different stages your customers are at.
2. Create what you need. After that, create relevant content for any points where there might be gaps in the sales cycle.
3. Segment your customers. Using a CRM and social listening software, like Attentive.ly, you can filter your database so that those who’ve just made a purchase – for example – will receive emails thanking them for being loyal customers, followed by the kind of emails those who have just entered the sales funnel would receive (i.e. awareness-centric content). At the other end of the spectrum: those who haven’t made a purchase for a while could be sent evaluation focused content with sufficient calls-to-action designed to filter those who are ready to move to the purchase stage, compared to those who aren’t ready yet.
4. A/B Test and repeat. With the relevant content assets in place, for the correct points in the cycle, you should now be ready to test these theories in a live environment. On real customers. Use this data from these initial tests to find what works, what doesn’t, and double down on what works.
Look again at your current content assets, how and when you email customers, and your current rates of success and conversions. Think you can be doing better? Might be time to implement segmentation using personas and filtering according to the sales cycle.
Attentive.ly is an easy to use tool for companies and organizations to send highly-targeted , triggered communications (email + social media) based on the digital body language of customers, supporters and prospects across the social web. Attentive.ly has been used to identify and track 5 million+ influencers on the social web by over 100 companies and organizations.