When folks talk about email marketing, there’s a lot of focus on making your subscriber list as large as possible. And sure, a bigger list of email subscribers means that more consumers will be exposed to your products and services. But when it comes to marketing, bigger is not always better. That’s where target marketing comes into play.
Target Marketing in a Nutshell
At its core, target marketingis a strategy in which:
- An “ideal” customer type (or the target market) is defined,
- Marketing messages are created with a focus on the wants and needs of this target market, and
- The marketing messages are delivered (via email marketing, ads, or direct mail) to where this target market will be exposed to them.
Using target marketing assures that each consumer receives the marketing message that is most likely to convince them to purchase your products and services.Because of this, target marketing is most effective when used to market the same product or service to different target markets.For instance, a restaurant can pursue different target markets by tailoring its message:
- For senior citizens — the marketing messages can focus on early-bird specials and menus for special dietary needs.
- For families — the messages can highlight what makes the restaurant the ideal kid-friendly destination.
- For wine connaisseurs — the marketing can mention new cellar purchases and special tastings.
In this case, the product (read: the restaurant) is the same. But the marketing messages have been adjusted for each target market.
Email and Target Marketing
Email marketing is an effective way to pursue different target markets, because many email marketing solutions enable you to send emails to specific “segments,” or smaller pieces, of your subscriber list.Better yet, these same solutions allow you to define those segments based on customer data that you already have, like age, gender, or location. Let’s explore using email marketing to target different markets by walking through the steps.
Step 1: Gather Subscriber Data
Without having some type of data about your subscribers, you have no way of knowing what they want and no way to slice your list into smaller, targeted segments.Luckily, there are a few ways to get that critical information:
- The Sign-Up Form:When you create the sign-up form for your list, you can request more information than just their email address. This is a great spot to ask for their first and last names, their location, their gender, the number of kids they have and more.
For example, a restaurant could collect each subscriber’s birthday and, at the beginning of each month, send a special “Birthday Discount” email with a discount coupon.
But one important point to remember with sign-up forms is to keep them short, otherwise you will not get sign-ups. One way around this is to make only a few fields mandatory (such as email and name) so they can skip the rest if they want.
- Import Data From Other Systems:If you have an e-commerce or customer relationship management (CRM) solution in place, you probably already have a lot of information about each of your subscribers.Many email marketing solutions allow you to import that information into “custom fields” in your database. That then allows you to create segments based on the data.
- Collect Behavioral Information:A small number of email marketing solutions now allow you to use “behavioral” information to segment your lists. This means that you can create target market lists based on which links your subscribers clicked or which email they opened. In the restaurant example, the ownerscould create a “wine lovers” list by filtering out all the subscribers who have clicked on the link to their wine list at any point in the past three months.This is a really powerful feature that makes target marketing that much easier to implement.
2. Create Your Segments
Once you have information about your subscribers, you can start looking at the data to discover target markets. This takes a little investigative work, but luckily most email marketing solutions provide decent reporting functionality so you can learn which emails your subscribers opened and which links they clicked. But most of the time a business already has a target market in mind.
Our restaurant, for instance, might want more folks to come in for the excellent wine selection. Therefore, the first thing it would try to find out is whether or not there’s a solid group of folks who have clicked on their wine list link. If so, that’s a target market and they can go ahead and create a segment. To create this segment, the owners would use a filter similar to the one below:
3. Use Segments to Send Targeted E-Mails
Now that the segment has been created, all that’s left is to create your targeted emails. To do this, you need to set up the filter as shown below:
These targeted emails will reach those subscribers who are interested in wine and will contain marketing messages and offers (such as coupons) that have been created to tout the wine selection.This is where the target marketing rubber hits the road. No marketing approach is as effective as this one and, thanks to email marketing, target marketing is in reach for any business, no matter how small.
When you create an email campaign with pbSmart Connections, you’ll be able to put Matt Mansfield’s target marketing tips to work.
Matt Mansfield is not a Pitney Bowes employee and is a paid contributor to the pbSmartâ¢ Essentials blog.