The last thing your prospects and customers want is to feel like they’re being marketed to.

At the end of the day, despite whatever marketing automation tools you might be using, we’re all human. Marketers are humans developing content for other humans.

So why do we typically spend so little time personalizing our contact database? I’ve been guilty of it myself. Sending the same generic email blast to hundreds of my contacts. Signing everyone up for the same newsletter, regardless of whether or not they’re a customer, or that they’re interested in one product or service vs. another.

Sound familiar?

Right Message, Right Person, Right Time

As marketers, it’s our job to develop the right content for the right person, and to deliver it to that person at just the right time. A lot of that effort involves personalization.

There’s a lot of data indicating that personalization yields stronger results. The more we segment our emails, the higher engagement we’ll have from our prospects and customers. The more landing pages we build, customizing our content to folks with different interests and at different stages of our buying process, the more leads we’ll generate.

What is a Contact Database?

contact list segmentationThere are hundreds of tools to help you manage your contacts. CRM systems like Highrise or Salesforce are focused more on sales activity. Email service providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact let you segment your email addresses into different groups. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot enable you to track your contacts’ behaviors, like when they visit your website, how engaged they are with social media and email marketing, and what content they’ve consumed in the past.

Regardless of what system you’re using, you should track as much information about your contacts as possible, and you should be using that information to send ultra-targeted and personalized messages.

You might have a lot of this information already, but you might also need to adapt your lead generation forms or marketing activities in a way that better captures data in a non-invasive way.

Contact List Segmentation Examples

Here are a few different ways to think about how to segment your contacts.

Segment your contacts by industry. Perhaps your product or service caters to folks in a number of industries. Wouldn’t it be more effective to send targeted emails with industry-specific lingo or use cases of your product or service? If you sell enterprise software, you might market yourself different to someone in the financial services space versus the real estate space.

Segment your contacts by job title. You’re likely going to communicate differently with someone depending on what their job title is. Personally, I’d want to send a different email to a CEO versus a more junior-level hire. I’d also want to send a different message to someone in the marketing department versus the sales department.

Segment your contacts by geography. Do you host or attend in-person events like breakfast briefings, workshops, trade shows and conferences? Segmenting your contacts by geography lets you more easily reach out to folks in the area. Just yesterday I received an email about an upcoming meet-up in San Diego. I’d love nothing more than to travel to San Diego for a meet-up, but the tone of the email was informal, and the meet-up was in less than two weeks! Doesn’t make sense to send that email to someone living in New York.

Segment your contacts by engagement. This is where it gets more interesting. These days, it’s easy to track how engaged someone is with your website and other marketing materials. Wouldn’t you want to communicate differently with someone who has barely spent time on your website, versus someone who has viewed your pricing page, attended a webinar last month and engaged with your brand on social media?

Segment your contacts by lifecycle stage. Your contacts are at different stages of the buying process with your company. Some are brand spanking new, while others are delighted customers who have been with you for years. Some have downloaded one eBook, and others are reading case studies and have signed up to receive a demo or a complimentary consultation. The more you can tailor your marketing to where someone is at in your buying process, the more effective your marketing and sales funnels will be.

Segment your contacts by industry-relevant data. What contact data is relevant just in your industry? If you’re selling to college students, it might be helpful to track each students’ anticipated major. If you’re selling jewelry, you might want to track anniversaries or birthdays. If you’re a multidisciplinary pediatric clinic, you might want to track what topic or condition your prospects are interested in, like autism versus infant torticollis.

How are you segmenting your contact database?