Reader profiling for personalized newsletters.
A reader recently inquired about client profiling and segmentation. This newsletter publisher needs tips on audience profiling to personalize a newsletter. It’s a topic I’ve touched on before but certainly bears digging into.
Like many elements of a strong newsletter strategy, segmentation doesn’t happen overnight. You may be lucky enough to start with some key identifiers. For the most optimized personalization, you’ll establish a process to build up increasingly more information over time. Use it to drill down until you know every little nuance about your readers that relates to how they think about, evaluate, buy, use, recommend, curse, love (or hate) your product or service.
Of course, there are obvious ways to segment. Geography may seem like a pretty simplistic segmentation tool, but it can carry more weight than you may realize. In the high-tech industry, our clients around the country bought technology products differently. In pockets of high-tech hubs, such as Silicon Valley, Massachusetts’ Rte. 128 area, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, early adopters were always found. Think about geography not purely in terms of location and proximity, but also as an indicator of buying patterns and other influences on your product’s or service’s purchase cycle.
The same applies to job title and function. A CFO wants to know about return on investment (ROI), especially in this economy. A programmer/analyst just wants to find better tools to do more work with less. When combined with job title, job function sometimes goes beyond the basic information of what people do for a living. It often defines how they relate to your product or service. Are they potential users with no buying power? Or do they control the purse strings?
The most important segmentation category is the kind of information readers want from a newsletter. Do they want product specs, ROI analyses, functionality tips, or information about how other customers use your product? Do they want to hear the joke of the month?
How do you get all this information? Here are a few ways to start:
This should get you started on segmentation. Done something interesting lately? Let me know!
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Kathleen Goodwin is the former CEO of IMN (formerly iMakeNews), specializing in customer acquisition and retention through permission-based e-newsletters. For nine years, she was vice president of marketing for Ziff-Davis' publishing division, where she oversaw the marketing of all print publications and their early online siblings. She also serves as an advisor to early-stage companies and has been responsible for several successful new-business launches.
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