Looking for greater website and marketing ROI? For any marketer already using marketing automation, behavioral segmentation is a great place to start.
If one of your target audience members comes to your website and downloads a piece of content, it’s really only the start of defining who they are and what they need. Yet, why is it that many marketers treat it as if it’s the final step in the segmentation process?
It’s one thing to initiate an automated email campaign to someone who downloaded a whitepaper, but without further insight you run the risk of not understanding their intent and continually marketing to them misaligned with their interests and needs.
What’s a marketer to do?
Behavioral segmentation. It’s the answer to better, more effective marketing. Use behavioral segmentation to not only make more sophisticated use of your marketing automation sequences, but to also resonate more deeply and to engage with your audience more effectively.
What is Behavioral Segmentation
Behavioral segmentation categorizes your audience according to the behavioral patterns they exhibit as they interact with your brand. This type of segmentation looks at the digital body language of your site visitors. It examines where the experience is enjoyable and aligned with their intent, and where friction enters the process and forces them to abandon your brand. Behavioral segmentation responds to the actions your audience takes and evolves over the lifespan of the prospect.
There are many benefits of behavioral segmentation, including:
- Targeting your audience more narrowly and accurately in your website and marketing
- Addressing the specific interests of like-minded individuals
- Customizing your messaging to resonate more deeply
- Delivering more personalized experiences
- Uncovering opportunities to optimize the buyer’s journey
- Increasing conversions
- Adapting your products/services to more accurately meet the needs of specific groups
- Building brand affinity
Types of Behavioral Segmentation
Like the idea of behavioral segmentation but not sure where to start?
Well, there are various types of behavioral segmentation for you to consider. Start with one or two, and then expand from there. For B2B marketers, these are some of the most common types:
- Based on Content Consumed – If one of your site visitors is consuming information about SEO and content marketing, they are clearly different than those reading about web design while on your site. Similarly, if they visit your Product A page and another visits your Product B page instead, they clearly have different problems to solve and should be targeted differently.
- Based on Website Navigation – If you’ve recognized that your top prospects go from your home page to your services page to your case studies, and then to your about us page, you can target them differently than those who read a blog post but never visited your services page (and therefore have shown a very different level of buyer intent).
- Based on Level of Engagement – Someone who comes to your site and reads one page is displaying quite different behavior than someone who has consumed more than five pages, and then comes again the following day for another five pages. Similarly, someone who visits once, downloads a whitepaper, and never visits again, is demonstrating different behavior than someone who has repeatedly taken an action in your website, whether downloading content, signing up for webinars, requesting a demo or watching your videos, etc.
- Based on Purchasing Behavior – If you’re a B2B business that enables a purchase right on your site (think SaaS), you can also segment your audience based on their purchasing behavior. For example, someone who signs up for a freemium account is different from other purchasers who have made a monetary commitment and are clearly more committed.
Behavioral Segmentation in Action
Let’s say two individuals download your whitepaper. They both receive the autoresponder, click the link and check it out.
They both return to your site, but the paths they take are quite different. One looks at Product A, while the the other Product B. One looks at certain case studies, the other different case studies. One looks at certain blog posts, the other different posts.
You can do the same thing with emails. Let’s say one clicks on a certain link in one of the emails in your automated follow-up email series. The other ignores that link, yet clicks the link in the subsequent email.
Using these additional behavioral signals you can send more finely-tuned customized emails or even split your automation altogether. From there, you can repeat the process as many times as makes sense.
In other words, everyone in your database should have been put through not one segmentation identification filter, but at least two, three, four or more. The deeper segmentation opens up a multitude of options for connecting with your audience members in more meaningful ways.
It’s nothing short of a game changer, if you want significantly greater results from your marketing.
Automated Sequences on Steroids
Too often, marketers believe that setting up an automated sequence is enough.
The reality is that it’s just the starting line.
Using behavioral cues, you are able to refine your marketing so that it becomes more and more precise with each new behavioral signal.
Beyond segmenting your audience based on what they download or sign up for on your B2B website, look to take your segmentation to a more granular level.
For example, let’s say you’ve captured thousands of contacts who have downloaded a certain whitepaper and are now in your nurture stream.
Well, you can then segment those who have ever visited your services page (something someone would do if they have serious buyer intent) vs. those who never checked out the details of your services.
You can offer those who downloaded a whitepaper a series of more detailed content, micro-segmenting them depending on which they select.
If someone not only opens your next email but also forwards it to others at their company, you may want to not only further segment them but also conduct outreach to others at the company (based on the more granular segmentation).
Others may have entered a defined “pipeline”.
Some may have scrolled 90% of the way down a page.
Still others may have triggered a higher lead score.
The opportunities to define behavioral triggers for more targeted segmentation are almost endless. And the beautiful thing is that all of this can be automated.
Using Behavior-Based Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
One of the things we like to do here at Stratabeat is to implement behavior-based CTAs in our client websites and marketing campaigns.
For one client, we show a certain CTA only in the case that a site visitor has been on the page for 25 seconds. For another, we display a certain CTA only when they’ve shown an interest in a certain topic.
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In the Stratabeat blog, we were able to increase our mailing list sign-up rate by 300% after setting the CTA to be triggered only if they scrolled 70% of the way down a blog post (and our posts tend to be very long). The idea was that we’d achieve more success if we ask someone to join the list only after they’ve clearly demonstrated that they like the content and are willing to spend time consuming it. And our assumption proved correct.
If you’re showing returning site visitors the same CTAs they saw the first time they landed on your site, you may be setting yourself up for an underperforming website. Instead, what you can do is launch new messaging or campaigns targeting those who passed on your CTAs the first go-around in your site, based on the content they consumed during the initial visit.
Capitalizing on Forms for Better Behavioral Segmentation
Forms are an often underutilized website element that can be used for greater segmentation and optimization. For example, using a multi-step form, you can then apply conditional logic. Depending on how they answer certain questions, you can then ask them more relevant, targeted questions based on their previous answers.
This then helps you to create different segments of individuals submitting forms and gives you the ability to follow up with them differently from one another.
You may be concerned about asking your site visitors to go through a multi-step process with a form, but we’ve seen form submission rates actually INCREASE when we moved to a multi-step process for certain sites.
Marrying Qualitative Data with Quantitative Data
Your prospects are real people. Not everyone in an automation is the same.
Using video recordings of your site visitor sessions via behavioral intelligence solutions to review qualitative data can be just as valuable as your quantitative data and can provide unique insight.
For example, for one financial services website, through a review of the video session recordings, we noticed that some people were having trouble with the date field in a multi-step load application wizard. The form required them to select a date from a calendar widget, whereas some site visitors were trying (unsuccessfully) to add the date manually by writing the date such as “March 1, 1980” or “3/1/80” or “Mar 1 – 1980”, etc.
So, we re-configured the field allowing them to enter the date however they wanted, whether through the widget or manually and in whatever date format desired. The result was a far higher application submission rate. Marketing automation alone is never going to reveal that type of insight.
And that’s the power of marrying the qualitative with the quantitative.
Dynamic Content Delivery Based on Behavioral Segmentation
Another method for getting more marketing ROI out of behavioral segmentation is the implementation of dynamic content. This is content on your website that dynamically changes based on the behavioral criteria you establish.
For example, let’s say you wanted to show a different message to different site visitors based on their location. Or, based on the referral source of their visit. Or, based on a custom link you created for a campaign. In other words, based on pretty much any condition you can think of – target URL, prior pages visited, new vs. returning visitor, UTM parameters, etc.
In each of these cases, you can show those who meet the criteria one set of content, and those who don’t meet the criteria a different set of content. This obviously enables you to target at a more granular level and increase engagement and conversions.
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One more benefit of behavioral segmentation is that it makes lead scoring easier and more accurate. One common challenge with lead scoring is that not all prospective leads are the same, and so the true, underlying value of a whitepaper download, webinar sign-up or email click may or may not equate to the same lead scoring value.
A way to ensure your lead scoring is working more productively for you is to segment further, identify the intent signals within each micro segment, and then apply a relevant scoring system accordingly.
Summary: Behavioral Segmentation
Too many companies treat everyone in their audience the same, limiting their website and marketing performance. Audience segmentation is a foundational aspect of good marketing. With behavioral segmentation, you take your segmentation further, enabling you to target your audiences more specifically and with greater precision. Behavioral segmentation is helpful for not only understanding your various audience groups more deeply, but then also to engage, nurture and convert them.