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Customer Experience

4 Segmentation Strategies to Strengthen Mobile Customer Engagement

Jake Fabbri  //  April 2, 2019  //  8 min read

Any business knows that the key to reaching customers is by meeting them where they are. We know associations best, but every modern organization, for-profit or nonprofit, needs smart mobile engagement strategies. Businesses need to be able to communicate with their customers, after all!

The business models may be different, but the goals are the same: to increase engagement with your target audience and provide more opportunities for conversion.

Today, the easiest way to reach anyone—friends, family, neighbors, coworkers—is via their mobile devices. Many people use their phones to access the internet more than they use desktop computers. That’s why mobile marketing is so crucial: if you can reach your customers where they are, you’ll be more effective in your overall engagement strategy.

However, meeting individuals where they are is only half the battle. The other half of customer engagement is marketing to them in ways they are interested in and want to respond to. If you promote irrelevant or uninteresting content to them, they’re going to think of your brand as irrelevant or uninteresting. Code red!

Instead of allowing this to happen, there is one smart strategy that your business can use to meet your mobile engagement benchmarks and build stronger connections between your business and your community of customers. That strategy is customer segmentation.

You may already know all about segmentation, but here’s a refresher course: segmentation is when you split up your entire consumer base into smaller groups by commonalities in behavior or demographics in order to more effectively target them.

In this article, we discuss different ways to segment your customers, as well as what to do with your segments. Use this list as a guide to understand:

  1. How to segment by age
  2. How to segment by gender
  3. How to segment by previous engagement history
  4. How to reach each segment effectively

With these ideas, you’ll be able to advertise better, improve supporter retention, and strengthen your communication strategies all in one fell swoop. If you’re ready to learn more, let’s get started.

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1. How to segment by age

One of the most effective ways to segment your supporter base is by general age ranges. This is a useful tool because you can make a few different educated guesses about their preferences based on age group.

However, before we get into how segmenting by age can work, we need to discuss one important thing: the tools you need to segment your supporters! In order to efficiently sort your donors into different categories, you need two things: a strong CRM, and plenty of supporter data.

A customer relationship manager, or CRM, is software that helps your business keep track of all the relationships that you have. From one-time customers to repeat purchasers to VIP consumers, a robust CRM is necessary for keeping track of contact information and engagement history (which we’ll discuss the importance of later).

If you need help choosing CRM software, check out this membership CRM guide from Fonteva to get started.

Once you have great software, you need to start collecting supporter data. Supporter data includes anything that you might need to know about your customers, including:

  • Contact information (which can include social media handles)
  • Demographic information like age, gender, and nationality
  • History of engagement with your business
  • Geographic location

However, let’s lay down some ground rules first. As a marketer, you’ve probably followed the developments of the GDPR policies in Europe, or General Data Protection Regulations. While it’s an EU policy, you still have to comply if your business has EU customers. It’s only a matter of time before the US adopts a similar framework, especially given the recent hearings held by the Federal Trade Commission.

In order for your segmentation strategy to work, you have to know about your consumers. But it won’t be worth it if you obtain the information illegally. Keep in mind the big three rules of the GDPR:

  1. Consent to use information must be explicit and verifiable.
  2. Your customers have the ultimate power over how their information is used.
  3. You as a business have to provide transparency regarding how you’ll use their information.

As long as you keep these three things in mind, you can gather information legally and continue on your way. After all, the best way to learn about your customers is to just ask!

Now, let’s talk about how age can influence your engagement strategy. What ages are your customer personas? (If you don’t already use customer personas, you should look into it. Having a concrete, if fictional, persona with values and preferences as an example makes marketing decisions easier.)

Next, in order to engage these segments effectively, find out where they’re spending their time online. For example, all age groups use Facebook, but Twitter is the realm of the young and hip and LinkedIn is for older working professionals. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but these generalizations are based in fact.

Create specific advertisements or outreach strategies for each platform/age group, and then see what happens! For example, an ad targeted towards a younger crowd on a younger app like Instagram will be more useful to you than one pointed towards everyone on Facebook. A more nuanced and targeted marketing effort will always be more effective than a general one.

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2. Segment by gender

Another strong segmentation strategy to strengthen your mobile customer engagement is gender. This gives you an easy way to split your supporter population into two smaller groups without having to know more than some basic information about them.

Segmenting by gender in conjunction with age also gives your company the opportunity to more deeply connect with the younger generations, who demand corporate responsibility and informative, intelligent, and funny marketing outreach.

Learning more about your customers is crucial and requires an honest, open dialogue. For example, women tend to put more thought into their purchases, and desire a relationship rather than just the transaction. In order to help facilitate this desire as well as encourage brand loyalty, build a community your customers can use to build those relationships and make smarter purchasing decisions.

Other ways to build community include:

  • Creating a forum on your app for people to ask questions about the product and their experiences around it.
  • Establish a hashtag for people to use online with posts regarding your product and their experiences with it.
  • Distribute surveys to your customers that allows them to share their experiences with you and others.

For example, association management systems are built to promote conversation and networking among the members of the association. Your business could benefit from the same idea, by creating a community around your brand and through your business’s app.

Creating a community to help you learn more about your supporters and them learn about you is a strong way to make segmentation work for your engagement strategy.

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3. Segment by previous history of engagement

You already know customer retention is a key metric for analyzing your engagement strategy. With careful segmentation strategies you can easily increase customer loyalty and strengthen connections with your best customers.

How? Through segmenting by previous history of engagement. You don’t want to reach out to first-time customers and dedicated loyalty-club members in the same way. Communicating with both through the same message does neither group any good.

Instead, split your customer base into different sections like these:

  • One-time buyers, who purchased something once and haven’t returned.
  • Seasonal buyers, like those you see every holiday season and then not again until next year.
  • Semi-regular buyers, who appear every two or three months.
  • Dedicated customers, who are the backbone of your customer base.

These people will all respond better to different engagement strategies, and you’ll have more success after splitting them up. You don’t have the same conversion goals for dedicated customers as you would for one-time buyers, so why would you try to achieve different goals with the same engagement strategy?

Customer retention is the name of the game, so focus on increasing mobile engagement through all levels of supporters through targeted emails, social media campaigns, and perhaps even using your business’s app to inspire engagement.

When you send email marketing campaigns to different segments, feel free to address them in different ways. “We miss you” might be an appropriate subject line for a seasonal or semi-regular buyer, and you could probably address a dedicated consumer as “Dear friend”. These types of familiar phrases will make them appreciate you noticing their business.

In order to gain feedback that you can use to improve your business, send surveys through your mobile app to each tier of customer. Find out what keeps your dedicated customers coming back, as well as what drove away your one-time consumer.

When you segment by your consumers’ previous histories of engagement, you can more effectively inspire mobile engagement and increase customer retention.

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4. How to reach your segments effectively

We’ve talked a lot about segments and offered a few suggestions for how to reach them, but now it’s time to figure out how to use customer segmentation to strengthen your mobile customer engagement strategy.

Mobile is important today, and it’s only going to grow more and more. It now accounts for 65% of all digital media time, and that number will probably only go up. It’s crucial for your marketing strategy that your efforts are as strong, if not stronger, on mobile.

So after you’ve segmented your supporter base, keep in mind some easy tips for proactively engaging them on mobile:

  • Send your segments information they’re genuinely interested in. Given what you know about them, you can make some educated guesses about where their passions and values lie. Once you have that figured out, you can send them newsletters, updates, and more that they’ll genuinely enjoy reading.
  • Collect feedback! There’s no better way to improve your mobile strategy than to hear it from your supporters themselves. Ask them about your marketing strategies, your products, your customer service, your app, and more. Plus, your supporters will feel appreciated by your attention to their responses.
  • Create a sense of community. Whether that’s through a membership program or an app-based forum, your supporters should feel a connection to your brand and others who use your product or services. When their engagement with your business is anchored by more than just their purchases, they’re more likely to remain loyal.

While all these ideas will help you increase engagement, none of that will matter if they can’t access your messages or forums on mobile. To ensure your mobile customer engagement strategy is as strong as it can be, make sure your emails and website design are completely mobile-responsive and accessible on any device.

Mobile customer engagement is going to be a crucial aspect of your business’s strategy, but don’t stress! With a smart segmentation plan, you can communicate better and build stronger bonds with your consumers.

About Jake Fabbri

Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and events.
View all posts by Jake Fabbri >

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