This is the second part of my series on Customer Segmentation and Customer Relationship Management. If you have not read the first article in this series, begin here:
A business only exists if it has customers (in the case of a blog, its readers) and those customers have specific needs that need to be satisfied. By successfully satisfying a customer’s needs, they exchange the value you provide them into trust, respect and loyalty, which grows with the more value you continue to provide.
The whole idea of segmenting is to treat your various types of customer differently because not all your customers are the same and therefore may not have the same needs. Naturally therefore they do not all react to the same types of marketing (explained in detail later).
Segmenting allows you to treat your customers according to their varying needs so they show you more loyalty and spend more time following you.
Yaro, perhaps unintentionally, has been segmenting his customers for years. He has offered audio versions of his key articles for customers who like to listen to them via podcasts, there are regular updates on his blog for people who like constant information, he has coaching programs for people who need more step-by-step guides and he also has videos for people who like to watch and learn.
Although Yaro has been doing this as a matter of good marketing practice, he has shown he clearly recognizes that his customers (in this case people who want to improve earnings on his blog) do have different needs.
The next step in good customer segmentation is to study and divide these groups of customers further so that he can find the 10% that give him 90% of his success (please read part one again if this is alien to you). These 10% represent out highest value customers and the ones we should spend the most time understanding and communicating with. We call the interaction with these customers Customer Relationship Management as we are going to attempt to build a relationship with them.
The other 90% do not bring us enough returns to justify building a relationship so we use standard mass marketing tactics to satisfy their needs, so that we spend the majority of our time with the 10% of customers that really matter to our business.
You can only do this by getting to know your customers better, thus allowing you to put them into groups with similar wants and needs. In essence, the key to good customer segmentation depends on how well you know your customers. Gathering enough data to make that happen however, may take some time and planning just as in the Internet Marketers example I mentioned towards the end of the previous article.
The above diagram shows at a very basic level, the first steps in any segmentation process. I always segment based on customer value. In terms of a blog, highest valued customers could be those that comment regularly whilst lowest valued customers could be those that spam and cause me to waste energy clearing up their comments.
We may not have so much data at hand about our blog readers to split them into many segments (although you should be creating a list of users as mentioned in Yaro’s Blog Blueprint) so we will start work at simply splitting our readers into three different lists.
Your most valued readers will be the ones who contribute the most. They not only read your blog but they leave good comments on a regular basis. They really appreciate the value you provide and have returned energy into loyalty for your blog and bring your blog to life with active comments.
However, do not make the same mistake as almost every blogger and simply assume that these guys will love you forever, because they will not.
Your objective with this segment is to keep them close so that they remain loyal and continue to contribute for as long as possible. The key to doing this is to make them feel special. They already bring your blog to life with comments, so now it’s your turn to show you care by giving them something back, which is unique to them.
I will discuss numerous ways you can do this in part three of this series but one tip you can use today is to create a number of unique articles that are only for your most valued contributors.
Send them a message telling them that you really appreciate their support on your blog and that as a special gesture you are writing a few articles only for them. You could even open these articles up to the rest of your blog a few weeks later, but the key is offer them something first and simply to make them feel special.
This not only makes them feel special but will motivate them to continue commenting as they do not want to miss out on other great content you only provide to the best readers.
Remember they are already fans of your work, so they only need something a little special from time to time to keep them active on your blog.
If you have been seeing a decline in regular contributors on your blog, then start treating your key readers like they are special and you will be writing me thank you letters within weeks.
(With a saleable product, your most valued customers are those who buy almost everything you sell. They are a fan of your products and thus guaranteed future customers if you treat them right.)
The easiest segment to compile is of course the trouble makers, simply because their trouble making habits make them obvious to spot. These tend to be picked up by your SPAM tools which compile this list of usual suspects for you, so unlike people with a product to sell, blog owners generally do not have to worry about screening out spammers.
I would however add to this list, people who leave genuine comments, but these comments are either useless or crazy. I know that on a blog lovers site that might sound a bit crazy, but anyone whose comments are so bad that I have to waste time either deleting them or translating them to readable English is not of high value to me. Sorry, but it is true.
For people with saleable products your trouble makers are serial refunders or people you have caught distributing your products for free. The idea of course is to simply ignore this segment of users, and at best eliminate them from your site.
In this segment we have everyone who is not your most valued reader and not a trouble maker. This segment really should be split further, so as a last minute change to the diagram I’m going to split it into two.
Mini Segment 1:
Mini Segment 2:
These two mini segments hold the key to your blog’s growth and I will give you lots of strategies to use with these groups of readers in the next article in this series.
If you have never thought about segmenting your readers, I hope this short article helps you see the benefits of doing so. If it seems a little difficult, do not worry, I studied it for months during my MBA and many well known marketers hire my coaching time as they struggle with figuring out how to do it themselves.
My advice is to make a start and simple try it. However, if there is only one thing you take from this article then it should be to treat your best contributors like they are special.
If you take away that single lesson alone, then writing this whole series is worth it.
In the last article in this series we will look specifically at strategies you should use for marketing to each segment, where I will reveal some other trade secrets alongside some results from my varied client case studies.
Your homework until the next article is:
As always please feel free to leave your comments and any questions below and I will try my best to answer them. Feel free to discuss this week’s homework and I can check you are on the right path.