How To Use Database Segmentation to Stand Out

Marketing Segmentation for Nonprofit Organization

In it’s simplest form, database segmentation is the process of dividing up your data population into groups so you can isolate the group to best focus on, or the best tactics to attract particular groups. In this article, I offer essential points when using database segmentation practices and the impact benefits of implementing them in your organization.

The Essential Points of Database Segmentation

The act of segmenting your market is, on the surface, a relatively simple task that involves grouping like advocates – and potential supporters – with more of the same. A database is simply a storage repository for your information. In order to benefit from the database, you have to be able to use the insights derived from its use. And, using that data to market better is a big deal, right? Segmenting your data is essential in that goal.

How do you do that? Well, beyond just having the data in one place (or integrated nicely), it is important to utilize segmentation best practices. I recently read a white paper & an ebook from marketing automation providers which underscored some important items to consider when slicing and dicing your constituents data which prompted my thoughts on this topic.

Pulling it all together, here are the essential points you should consider when using segmentation practices:

  • Seek the Best: Analyze your current best and most involved constituents to determine the population groups they belong to and what population segments they share. In order to be successful in attracting more donors or members, you must know what group or demographic characteristics characterize your ideal supporters in order to segment effectively.
  • Focus on Interests: Prospective supporters expect relevant communication and will respond best when communications are directed at their individual interests.  Focus on what kinds of interests or behaviors do your best supporters have in common? Examine communications and backgrounds of your best donors or members to see what behavioral traits they have in common.
  • Explicit and Implicit Data: Profiling your current customers to create and define your marketing segments can easily be done when you can capture information about your supporters through explicit or implicit means. Use the explicit information your members give you, like job title, age, or IP address. You can even get such data when a member fills out a form.
  • Continuous Progressive Profiling: Constantly be gathering more information about your customers to determine some defining characteristics you can use to find new business. The fancy term for this is “progressive profiling“. But, it’s simply put an approach to gathering as much information as you can from your supporters every interaction that they have with your nonprofit. You can ask website visitors to fill out a form online to help you find where they might belong in a market segment. Make the form short and easy to fill out. Your inquiry can be progressive. Store information in a unique file and keep adding additional information with each contact. Using a sequence of short forms builds a more complete profile over time.
  • Persona Behavior: Demographic information is very important. But, when used in concert with a specific set of “behaviors”, you can truly get down to the nitty gritty in segmentation. You can take that demographic information and then segment by a supporters digital body language: received messages, opened messages, visited a specific page, downloaded a piece of content, or submitted a certain form or forms.
  • Website Visitor Tracking Segments: You can get information from implicit sources, such as web pages they visit or data from a visitor tracking tool. You can determine something about socio-economic status and personal concerns by analyzing visitor tracking data. You can take advantage of online tools designed to track and analyze traffic, or you can ask your supporters for information directly, such as gender, occupation or age.
  • Data Relevance Checks: One thing that is for sure. Data management and curating the right data is critical for organizations of all sizes and types. Unfortunately, like most things in life, at some point there will be diminishing returns for the amount of data being collected. The data that you need today may not be the data you need tomorrow. As you add more data to your collection efforts, so be sure to stop collecting data that is no longer needed.
  • Don’t overwork it! One word of caution, which is easier said than done. You do not want to overwork it. Simply put, this means keep it simple. There is a fine balance between gathering information for segmentation purposes and going overboard. You will know you are there when you find that some of your members or donors may ask for you to stop asking all the questions. Further, your staff may be taxed by the data they have collected or input. In other words, you may gather so much data that you won’t know where to begin analyzing it. The old adage of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” applies here.

When you have the right data on a suitable sample of your most targetable constituents you will see the value of using your database to provide a measurable impact on your communications and engagement.

Here are some impactful benefits in having a solid marketing automation technology to help:

  • Ease of Repeating Process: With the ability to store the right data along with the right segmentation tools in place, your staff can begin to define donor or member segments with ease.
  • Unlimited Variables: You are more prepared to create impactful marketing campaigns which target specific segments (or segments of segments) in order to zero in on new and returning constituents on a multitude of variables (behavior, demographics, personas).
  • Relevant Insights Faster: Focusing a campaign on a tighter segmentation allows you to gauge the results of your campaign easily, so you can learn what works and what doesn’t for different segments of your persona population. Then, repeat the success over and over again.
  • Smarter Campaigns: Better segmentation means smarter use of marketing dollars. The benefits include stronger supporter and prospect relationships, higher email open and click-through rates, increased contributions, and enhanced Return on Mission!

If you are interested in learning which marketing automation software technologies and which solutions may be best suited to help you in your database segmentation best practices, please contact us to see how. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits

Segmenting Your Supporters with Marketing Automation Software

Segmenting in Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits is a super feature

Segmenting your donors and members can be both the bane and the saving grace of a digital marketer’s existence. Ideally, each marketing message (from a simple Facebook social post to an elaborate email marketing program) should be targeted exactly to the portion of the audience that will find it most relevant, and is most likely to act on the call to action. In this article, I will review some of the challenges and value of utilizing segmentation in your nonprofit marketing processes.

Segmenting is Powerful in Top Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits 

While segmenting donors may be a goal, segmentation is often difficult without the proper marketing database software. Not only does it include gathering enough relevant data about your potential constituents to make segmentation effective, it also requires an easy way to segment these supporters based on the information provided. Often, that second step is where segmentation falters; not surprisingly, effective targeting is commonly named among the major obstacles of digital marketing.

Fortunately, as our digital marketing needs have evolved away from batch and blast methodology, so has the ability to effectively and efficiently segment. Thank goodness! And one of the major developments aiding marketers has been the rise of marketing automation software, which helps in both steps of the segmentation process:

Getting Smart with Segmentation of Data 

For any segmentation effort to be effective, it has to rely on reliable, thorough data. Marketing automation software like Leads Liaison, Act-On and Informz ease the process through landing pages, which gather information about your leads as they enter the sales funnel.

Smart forms have especially helped marketers in this step, as they provide only the form fields for properties they have not yet entered in previous interactions with the website. This both shortens the form and allows marketers to get more in-depth information about their potential supporters, and thus is a significant help in gathering segmentation data.

Segmenting Supporters with Good Data

Gathering the data matters little if you don’t use it for effective segmentation. Thus, marketing automation software often includes easy ways to segment, from the ability to create workflows not just on contacts but specific properties, all the way to allowing exclusion lists in email sends. Solutions like Marketo also offer thorough tutorials that explain just how supporters (potential leads) can and should be segmented to be used effectively.

Email-marketing-segmentation for nonprofits is critical

And, in many leading marketing automation platforms, segmenting can allow you to do the following:

  • Combine profile attributes: Title, Department, Location, Etc.
  • With observed behaviors: Visited specific page, Attended a webinar, Downloaded xyz content, Etc.
  • And a specified time frame:1 day, 7 days, 14 days, …and so on

In short, marketing automation software has significantly eased the process of segmentation and helped marketers in nonprofits increase the effectiveness of their efforts. In my experience, segmentation is the secret sauce that helps you make your email marketing messages personal and relevant to your unique audiences, boosting member engagement and increasing conversion.

If your marketing strategy could use a segmentation boost, contact us! We’ll be happy to help you find the right solution. Until then, please keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Questions to Ask Marketing Automation Software for nonprofit organizations