As a B2B search marketing agency, one of the first things most clients ask us about our services is, “What...
As a company grows, marketing strategy must grow with it. Demand may increase, visibility may grow, and your marketing and sales teams may need to adjust. To keep things organized throughout the B2B sales cycle, many search marketers rely on marketing funnels. The marketing funnel is a process with stages that each need special attention. This is where segmentation comes in.
Segmentation comes with many benefits for B2B marketers. It can transform each stage of the funnel, making positive differences for your marketing strategy. Ideally, you will have unique campaigns and content for each stage in the funnel to help move your users further down the funnel and closer to conversion. We’ll walk you through how marketing segmentation can work for every stage of the B2B marketing funnel.
What is Market Segmentation?
Market segmentation refers to the focused division of the target market. The marketing team creates discrete groups based on similar requirements for services and products. Each group, or segment, will differ from the others. These differences focus on individual needs and purchasing behaviors of the market. For this reason, success in segmentation varies from group to group.
Segmentation occurs in different ways. Some companies segment by size. This means basing segmentation requirements on the size of the company’s sales reports and employee amount. Other companies segment their market by customer. This refers to dividing your B2B market based on buyer specifications. Here is a rough outline of the different market segmentations you can consider:
What is the Marketing Funnel?
The marketing funnel is a visual representation used to understand the process of turning B2B leads into customers. The funnel is also identified as a marketing cylinder. It is meant to work in a downward position (hence the funnel) that turns leads into customers, step by step.
The funnel should outline your marketing strategy based on what you want your site visitors to do. In essence, the funnel outlines the B2B marketing process by breaking it down into five stages. Of course, it is important to note that there are many different versions of the funnel. Some funnels have more than five stages, while others have less. It’s key B2B search marketers know at what point their potential leads are in the funnel, to determine how to nurture them in a manner that will move them towards conversion.
The Stages of the Funnel & Marketing Segmentation
According to Kissmetrics, the five stages of the marketing funnel are as follows Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Commitment, and Sale. You can see how they feed into one another in the image below. In the following sections we’ll dive into what each segment of your marketing funnel needs in order to move your user onto the next stage.
Stage 1: Awareness
The first step of the marketing funnel is awareness. This stage is dedicated to generating demand through common content marketing trends. These trends include social media, online ads, videos, and email campaigns. PR, trade shows, SEO, and eBooks are other forms of content marketing that B2B marketers use.
The point, of course, is to get the word out on your company. You may have heard the phrase, “widen the funnel.” This refers to casting your net far and wide to draw in site visitors. Various social media platforms, a polished website, and strong SEO are a great start to acing stage 1.
One way to use marketing segmentation in stage 1 is to divide up the target audience by demographic. Different customers have different needs, and your company can cater to them separately. By dividing your target audience into groups, you can provide better focused content marketing to each.
Stage 2: Interest
Interest is the next stage of the marketing funnel. Just because you raise awareness, it does not mean you have immediate interest in your specific brand. To get to this stage, you must take things a step further. Newsletters, emails, viral campaigns, and videos are effective ways to take awareness to interest.
Segmentation during this stage can be done many ways. Some simple ways to do this are through calls to action on your site and social media platforms. Images, coupons, incentives, custom pricing, and more are great ways to up visitor interest.
Stage 3: Evaluation
Evaluation is the third stage of the marketing funnel. During this stage, the visitor becomes a bit more comfortable with your brand. This leads to consideration (or evaluation) of the product or service you’re offering. Evaluation is evoked by any landing page that inspires action from the viewer.
Segmentation for this stage relies heavily on product pages. How you execute these will decide how much viewers evaluate your products.
As the point of the marketing funnel is to create customers and close sales, product pages must be strong and enticing. Not only that, they should be focused and dedicated to singular goals to make conversion easy on users. Dedicating your landing pages towards singular conversions will streamline your user experience, like the graphic above.
Stage 4: Commitment
The fourth stage of the funnel is commitment. This stage leads directly into closing a sale. If stage 3 is executed well, commitment should be easier to entice out of users.
Segmentation during this stage relies on following through with your customers. Show them that your service or product does what it is meant to and works well. This can be done through trials and demonstrations on your site through videos, images, and graphics.
Stage 4 is oftentimes where you see marketing and sales teams integrating their respective data to get a better picture of what needs their prospective customer’s need solved. If you want to see how you can integrate your B2B marketing and sales teams for a more targeted, account based approach, you can check out Directive’s complete guide to B2B Marketing below.
Stage 5: Sale
The final stage of the funnel is sale. It goes without saying that sale refers to making the transaction that turns a user into a customer. Segmentation of this stage relies on retention–or turning one time customers into return customer/brand advocates.
Segmentation in this part of the funnel comes down to prime customer service and follow up. Send your customer emails offering new deals and incentives. Show them that partnering with you as a B2B customer doesn’t end when the transaction does. It takes work to retain your customer after a sale, and segmentation can help you do this effectively. Each customer is different, so segmenting customers into different groups and finding the best ways to keep their interest and business is beneficial to your brand.
The best B2B search marketing agencies align their goals with those of their clients to ensure that their campaigns are focused and cost effective. Be better than Dilbert.
B2B marketing segmentation can be applied to every stage of the funnel. By focusing each stage of the funnel, you can generate better results and turn leads into customers sooner and more efficiently.
Understanding the funnel is the first step, which is why we hope this walkthrough provides the information on segmentation and the B2B marketing funnel provides all you need to succeed. For more helpful guides and tips, be sure to subscribe to Directive’s blog for weekly updates on our latest content!