Why you should start segmenting your database

[ because not everyone is the same ]
by Pia Rees-Rogers Published

While data driven marketing is here to stay, unfortunately there are certain best practices that are yet to catch on in business. Segmenting your database is an example of a best practice that can greatly increase the engagement on your campaigns. Statistics show that 77% of email marketing ROI actually came from campaigns that were segmented, targeted or triggered from automation. In other words, data segmentation is a big deal in small business and you should be doing it.

Segmentation is at the core of a successful inbound marketing campaign. Inbound marketing is all about attracting an audience, nurturing that audience up until they convert into paying customers. For this to work, you need to make sure you deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The one size fits all approach doesn't work for your marketing database and for this reason you need to break it down, divide it up and start segmenting.


We all know the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears, right? Well, when segmenting your database it is very similar (sort of). You don't want to send out a message that is too hot (sell, sell, sell) to an audience who is in no way ready to buy. You don't want an audience who is ready to buy, to receive something that is meant to attract people into the business. You need the right audience to be reading the right message at the right time, otherwise, your engagement and subsequent ROI could be for nothing.

The whole point of segmentation is to provide the most relevant message to the right individual in your database, and ultimately make smart marketing decisions based off this data. 


There are plenty of ways you can segment your database for effective campaigns. From geography, industry, preferred content format to the actual topic. While these things are important and should be part of the information gathered, a good way to start segmenting your database is by using what you already know. And that is by creating buyer personas and segmenting your database into these different personas.

Using buyer personas to segment your audience is a good place to start and is actually very beneficial to know. Sit down with your team and discuss your clients in depth and determine who is your ideal customer. Are they an entrepreneur, a small business owner, Mums with at least 2 children, a Uni graduate, or a manager? Do they have money to invest or are their priorities in other places? And the list goes on. Dividing these individuals into segments according to their characteristics will achieve the best level of relevancy and personalisation at scale.


Whether it be an email or a large scale marketing campaign with multiple touch-points and media, your data segmentation will be make or break when it comes to the success of your activity. So it's important to capture data that will increase your engagement and maximise your return.

For example, let's say you run a veterinary practice, and you are building an email to send to your marketing database with a promotional message of "Free puppy flee treatment with every Hydro Bath". There are 2 critical factors to create a segment in your database and ensure this message will be relevant to the recipient. First, you need to know who in your database is a dog owner. Then, you must know who has a puppy, not a 2 year old dog, a puppy. It would be pointless sending this email to cat or bird owners who have no dogs in the house.

To determine who would fall into these segments, you need to be capturing the right data. Online forms are the best way to achieve this. Inserting different fields into forms on landing pages, website pop ups, surveys and subscriptions can help you build your segments around your buyer personas. 

Using our example above, some fields you can place into your forms could be asking questions like "Do you have a..." with a dropdown select of "Dog / Cat / Bird". Then you could ask an age using ranges, "How old are they?" with a dropdown select of "0-1 / 1-3 / 3-6 / 6+". You would then build a segment for puppies [owners with dogs who are 0-1 years old] within your "Dog Owners" buyer persona. You can then start to get more granular as you go, asking things like breed, the sex of the pet etc. and create further segments like "3-6 Year Old Male Labradoodle" within your Dog Owner persona. 

Alternatively, if you are in B2B, some of the more detailed fields you could use are things like annual revenue, postcode, industry and start qualifying someone to receive your email based on this data.

Remember, the more information you collect about your contacts, the better impact your message will have.


Not only will you see a greater ROI from all of your segmenting efforts, but you will also get a better understanding of where that ROI is coming from. Track how different personas interact with different channels, content and messages, and then use this newfound understanding to create better campaigns.

Segmenting your database in such a way can also determine how you interact with your potential customers. See if they are more likely to open an email newsletter or whether they prefer channels such as Social.

If you need any help segmenting your database or any questions, contact the friendly team at businessDEPOT Marketing.

Pia Rees-Rogers
read more by Pia Rees-Rogers

Pia is an inbound marketing enthusiast who is experienced in both B2B and B2C marketing.

With knowledge in brand strategy, content marketing and digital marketing. 

She has worked in a variety of different business models and industries internationally, but now applies her passion for marketing and branding to the businessDEPOT group through digital and content marketing.

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