Marketing your small business takes strategy in every area. Segmentation, the practice of dividing customers into like groups, is a great way to target your marketing message for maximum impact.
Research reveals your customer demographics include men ages 30 to 50 who live on the East Coast. As you analyze their online behavior you will likely see the emails they open rather than ignore as well as the links they click on when before making a purchase.

Many theories feel that segmenting lists by age, buying history, and geographical location are enough to accurately predict buying history but the truth is behavioral and demographic information does not paint a full picture.

Susan Baier, an audience segmentation expert says, “The problem with both of those types [of segmentation] is that they don’t tell us why people are doing things,” she said, “which, as marketers, is the most important thing for us to know.”

At Audience Axis, Baier helps small business owners market based on psychographic information otherwise called attitudinal insights.

Psychographic segmentation further explains the why in marketing. There are many reasons that drive purchases


• Emotions
• Values
• Habits
• Goals
• Challenges
• Hobbies

Women don’t buy sweaters because they’re women. Psychographic segmentation, reveals that some women buy sweaters as a fashion statement while others buy them to give as gifts. Major brands are having excellent results using psychographics and their and companies are resonating better with their customers because they understand them better. Subaru’s CMO said car manufacturers target customers based on their interests and passions rather than straight demographics. Ted Cruz paid a firm $750,000 for psychographic profiling during his presidential campaign.

Small business owners don’t need that kind of cash to dabble in psychographic segmentation. Here are a few ideas for beginners to get started.

Collecting psychographic information

Incorporating psychographic segmentation into your marketing efforts helps make your marketing message more relevant when the segmentation information is accurate. Making assumptions about your customer may make you miss your target audience.

If you focus on a product attribute when promoting something your message may fall flat rather than entice a sale.

Baier explains that you psychographic segmentation requires you to talk to your clients, customers and prospects to understand what they care about instead of blindly guessing.

Where should you start? Consider these questions:

• What problems are you looking to solve?
• What kind of experience do you want with your products or services?
• What do they do in your free time?
• What’s important to you

While the answers won’t represent your complete customer base, the information will offer important insights. Layer this information with anecdotal insights from keyword research and social media comments and you will have a much clearer picture of your target audience’s preferences. Your initial conversations with customers may be in person or on the phone, but you can also create an online survey for in-depth insights. Make sure your questions are open-ended such as “Why do you buy sweaters?” combined with closed response opportunities such as a list of what is most important in a sweater (color, style, price) to learn what your customers prioritize when making a purchase decision.

Send surveys through platforms like SurveyMonkey, Google Consumer Surveys, or SurveyGizmo, to reach an audience outside your current customers. This will clarify how to best target prospective customers.

Making psychographic segmentation work for you

After you identify your main psychographic segments how do you proceed? Start adjusting your marketing efforts to speak to your audience.

Psychographic segmentation will help increase the effectiveness of:

• Your content: Write blog posts related to how to use your product and include photos when possible.
• Your website: Organize products according to how customers have told you they search for information.
• Your advertisements: Segments can be very effective for advertising on Facebook and other social media platforms. On Facebook, you can target the ad to reach users who follow websites, magazines, or business pages within the same genera as your company.
• Your emails: When you segment your email lists accurately you can send direct marketing information on promotions your customers who are most likely to act upon.

Using automation software can help you define and market to customer segments by tagging people in response to their actions. This allows you to set up individual automated sequences such as an email survey follow up after a purchase.

The software automatically tags customers based on responses. You can also apply tags when someone clicks links in an email or purchases an advertised product as a gift. When you identify a segment you can send targeted emails to each segmented list instead of your complete database.

Your sales will increase because you’re marketing directly to people according to their preferences. Hopefully, using psychographic segmentation will allow you to increase your marketing investment ROI because you’re targeting only the people who are your ideal customers. It’s likely you will also see better customer engagement as well as repeat business because customers will feel you are addressing their needs.

As you measure your efforts and repeat your testing you will best determine which marketing efforts are working well.