Continuing with our ongoing series on Better Business Blogging, another great benefit of business blogging is that an effective blog allows your business a great opportunity to segment your message.
Segmenting Your Blog Posts Explained
The basic premise behind segmentation of your blog posts is that you will be creating specific blog posts intended to connect with specific types of buyers. These buyers can be sorted in any way that makes sense for your business but some examples might be by demographics (sex, income, age…) by seasonal needs (holidays, summer, back to school…) or even by psychographics (where they might be in your business purchase funnel, their own headspace, lifestyle choices…).
Buyer Personas and Why This is Important for Segmentation
Before we dive in, just a bit on buyer personas. Most businesses tend to serve a number of different types of customers. These customers typically fit into a series of buyer personas. For each business, the buyer personas will of course be unique and while we are not going to delve into how to directly determine your buyer personas, I will boldly suggest that if you have not done so, please take an hour to write out some thoughts on who your various “buyers” are and also to try to address in writing how you feel the overall effort of your existing site addresses the needs of each of these buyer. You can thank me later… (Or you can download the buyer persona worksheet that we created).
More relevant to the concept of segmentation in your business blog is the idea that not only should each specific blog post address a very specific subject, but also, many of your blog posts can be directed to specific buyers. This is immensely powerful for a number of reasons that we will shortly explore.
Using Segmentation for Communication
As we have already covered, business blogging is a great opportunity to really develop and to present the personality of your business to your audience. With segmentation we can take this even further by hyper focusing specific messaging to specific elements of your audience.
This is a great opportunity to share very specific and hyper relevant information that a very specific buyer is interested in. So rather than trying to address the needs of all your buyers in every post, you can instead take the opportunity to be specific with some of your posts. Just like your various buyers will all have specific identities, each specific buyer persona will also have specific needs that you, as the business owner will want to address in specific manners.
Another Big Benefit of Segmenting – Measurement
In addition to being able to specifically target your messaging within your blog, another benefit is that as a result of this specificity, you will also now have a much greater insights into how your website is actually performing with regard to each of these buyers.
If your blog strategy is connecting to these buyers, over time you’ll see upticks in your bottom line. If you feel you are missing the mark you can review each of these specific posts and check on things like “bounce rates” to determine if perhaps your messaging is missing the mark.
You can even take this further and start to build in very specific offers that are hyper focused on these specific buyers, and use these very targeted posts to help market (and measure) the effectiveness of your efforts. Of course if you are serious about measurement, don’t forget to tag these campaigns in some way so that you can track the performance of each offer – a few common ways to do this include using the Google URL Builder or creating distinct links through a URL shortener such as Bit.ly.
Testing New Buyers
Another great aspect of segmentation is that through your business blog you can begin to explore new avenues and to try to develop paths towards new buyers.
Rather than devoting big resources up front, this strategy will allow you to fine tune your messaging and efforts in a very light weight manner, and once you have identified real buyers versus “mythical” buyers your business can than start to develop pages focused on these buyers.
Going further you can create marketing materials directed at these newly identified buyers, and going even further, businesses can than educate their on-premise staff with regard to these new buyers along with some effective (and proven) sales concepts.
Think of the money you are about to save by testing first and avoiding the guesswork and then building once you know rather than by how you “feel.”
Different Segments, Different Voices
As a business grows usually there are different individuals that are focused on specific items inside of a business. Utilizing your business blog for segmentation is a great opportunity to bring in these staff members and invite them to write to their areas of expertise.
Rather than demanding that your entire business blog fit in a box, consider allowing your staff to join in by encouraging each staff member to write in their own voice and to try to speak to both their expertise and also to the buyers that they are typically connected with. (That does not mean carte blanche for your staff to write whatever they want as there should always be a certain element of continuity.)
This is an extremely powerful strategy as it allow your business blog to present a series of distinct voices, focused on distinct messaging, catering to distinct buyers.
This strategy also has an added advantage of conveying very clearly that as a business, the stakeholders have tremendous confidence and respect in their staff, and moving that further out, the business also has a tremendous amount of respect for their entire audience, so much so that the business has actually gone as far as to encourage the staff to actually head online and represent the business.
If you were looking to help introduce and establish personality into your blog (and you probably are) this is a great strategy to employ in concert with your segmentation strategy.
Rather than trying to “solve” for this entire situation out of the gate, consider taking small steps first. Test out what feels right for your business, and measure what actually works. Over time as you gain more confidence in your segmentation strategy begin to branch out and consider even smaller segments, but do not feel that from day one you need to address the entirety of your segmentation strategy.
Also create segmentation goals. Put them in writing.
Speaking of writing, it also strongly recommended that you create a segmentation plan. By drafting a plan you will gain considerable control and provide yourself with much needed direction. When you review your segmentation plan alongside your buyer personas you should begin to generate some very clear and targeted ideas that are specific to each segmentation group – make sure to write these ideas down too, perhaps creating a new section in your plan called “Action Points”.
The calendar is your friend here, so if you do not have a blog calendar, consider creating one. Of course with segmentation posts, the calendar is also very critical if you are going to be running specials of any kind – many of those same specials are likely to play a much larger role in your business, stretching way beyond just “digital” so again, the calendar is critical in order to ensure there is coordination and communication across many areas within your business – nothing works in a vacuum.
Lastly, within your planning strategy remember to devote time to measurement. If things are not working change them. If they are working do more and apply those ideas across other segments.
As with most items related to your business blog, be patient. Nothing happens overnight, and with segmentation in particular you are not talking broad, but rather very deep and very specific so be prepared to spend some time developing, evaluating and refining your segmentation strategy.
Please note this post was originally published on July 7, 2012 but has since been updated.