Alert Solutions Blog

How to Define Your Target Audience in 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 12, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

Your clients and prospects are inundated with messages across all media.  This constant communication has driven consumers to become more sophisticated in filtering their inboxes for information they actually want to receive.

Targeting your audience can help you increase your response rates, convert more prospects and generate repeat or higher value sales.

Want to learn how to start targeting your audience?  We’ve outlined 5 questions to ask yourself:

1. What action do you want your target audience to complete? Mapping out the desired outcome of your marketing message is one of the first important steps to defining your target audience.  What is the ideal response?  Some examples are buying a product or service, donating time or money, or volunteering for an upcoming event.

2. What demographic groups will be most receptive to your message? According to an industry expert, “if only a handful of people meet all your criteria, you’ve needlessly gone too far.”  The point is, demographic groups are important for targeting but you also want to make sure the audience is large enough to be worthwhile and actionable.targetaudience.png

3. What challenges or concerns face your target audience? Think about the “pain points” of your target audience.  Understanding their challenges or concerns will better equip you to send messages that are relevant to them.

4. How does your product, service or idea help to solve these challenges/concerns? As a continuation of the above, pitch your message to your target audience in a way that makes it seem like you are helping them, instead of the other way around.

5. How can your target audience best be contacted? None of the above is definitive if your target audience can’t be reached in the first place.  Understanding how to contact your target audience is crucial in getting your word out. Communication preferences should not be overlooked and can vary from person to person.

Also important to remember is that your target audience may not be the same for every single marketing campaign.  It can be different depending on the product, service, or message you are trying to get out.

Want to learn even more about audience targeting? 

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: list segmentation, audience targeting, marketing relevance

Want to Maximize Your Email Marketing ROI? Try List Segmentation

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 @ 11:03 AM

Email marketing is already known to provide one of the best returns on investment (ROI) of any marketing communication channel.  But there’s always room for improvement!

One of the best ways to maximize your email marketing ROI even further is by list segmentation.  This process involves splitting your subscribers into different categories to send more targeted and relevant email marketing content.

Today, we’ll discuss a handful of list segmentation strategies that you can apply to your own email marketing list.  Give it a shot before your next email marketing campaign.

1. Past Email ActivityListseg.png
Try to gauge each subscriber’s level of engagement with past email marketing campaigns.  Who’s opening?  Who’s clicking links?  Who’s forwarding the email on to someone else?  Also important, who’s NOT doing those things? Dive deep into your email reporting metrics to figure out which subscribers interact the most with your messages and specially target the ones that don’t.

2. Demographics
Demographics are imperative for list segmentation.  Age group, gender, education level and household income are all demographic examples that you can use to better segment your list.  What’s an ideal way to collect demographics?  Request them during the subscription process!  You can also use email surveys to help collect demographic information from existing subscribers.  Store all this data in your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

 3. Geographic Location
Segmenting your list by city or state can be a great audience targeting method.  This helps make your email marketing campaigns more relatable to the recipient, with a special offer for their area, or a local event they would like to know about.

4. Send-Time & Frequency
We’ve talked about it before on our blog: email send-time best practices.  It is important to keep in mind so that your email doesn’t get buried in the inbox.  Also, email frequency is a very helpful list segmentation method.  Ask your subscribers when and how often they prefer to hear from you.  Accommodating their preference is best for your campaign performance!

These list segmentation techniques all have the same purpose: increase relevance to your recipients and improve email conversions rates

What better way to improve your email marketing ROI?

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: list segmentation, list segmentation best practices, email marketing, email marketing best practices

3 Steps Toward Better List Segmentation

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

List segmentation is the process of separating your list into specific groups for the purpose of more marketing relevance.  The options can be limitless: geographic region, industry type, company size, number of previous interactions, and more!

It’s crucial to achieving maximum ROI – your relevant content has to be delivered to the right person at the right time.  The following three steps can get you on your way to better list segmentation:

Step 1: Capture the Data You Need

So many organizations are limited in their list segmentation abilities because they don’t possess the data they need.  Ask yourself, “How do I want to segment my marketing lists?”  Without this foresight, you won’t be able to capture the correct information for audience targeting.

Step 2: Establish Worthwhile List Segmentsaudsegementation.png

The purpose of list segmentation is not to send each subscriber their own personalized message.  There’s not enough time in a day!  Rather, establish list segments that are large enough to be worthwhile and act upon.  List segments should also be distinctly different than one another and be relatable to the products and services you’re promoting.

Step 3: Define the Best Way to Communicate

You may not be able to communicate with your entire audience in the same way.  Defining this information increases the chance that recipients will receive and be receptive to your message.  Communication preferences should be respected and adhered to; certain laws apply!

We have more list segmentation ideas available to you.  Download Our Targeted Marketing Guide Today!


Topics: list segmentation, audience targeting, marketing relevance, list segmentation best practices, marketing lists

Creating Relevant Email Marketing Content – 4 Tips for Success

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 11:09 AM

According to MarketingSherpa, using relevant email marketing content is one of the most important, but underutilized, elements of a successfull email marketing campaign.

It becomes clear, then, why consumers cringe at email marketing campaigns that promote a product or service that’s of no interest to them.  As an email marketer, you may even share the same frustrations with your own personal email inbox.

A good step to improved email marketing performance is definitely more relevant email marketing content.

At this year’s annual MarketingSherpa Email Summit, experts shared their tips on increasing relevance in their email content.  Check it out:


Tip #1: Set realistic goals.
Tip #2: Take the time to develop good email marketing content.
Tip #3: Segment your recipients.
Tip #4: Use data to its fullest advantage.
Things to keep in mind:
At first, you may not be able to achieve 100% relevance for all of your subscribers.  Don’t give up!  This is why goal setting is so important.  Consider the effect you want increased email marketing relevance to have: better open rates, better click-through rates, more conversions, or all of the above?  Start with a goal that can be achieved and ramp-up from there.
Also, remember that email marketing relevance is nothing without list segmentation. Segmenting your subscribers by their demographics, interests or past behavior will yield much better email marketing campaign results.  How else can I go about list segmentation?  Good question.  Check out this blog post for some answers.
With email marketing being the most-preferred communication method by consumers (over 70% of respondents said so), it’s easy to see why relevant email marketing content is so crucial to organizations.
In addition to the great resources at MarketingSherpa, check out Alert Solutions’ Target Marketing Guide for even more email marketing relevance tips and tricks.

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: personalization, list segmentation, audience targeting, marketing relevance, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Content Marketing Personalization – Are You Using It Correctly?

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

Content marketing refers to the distribution of information that is primarily educational or valuable rather than promotional. This form of marketing is widely used as a method of building brand loyalty and staying top-of-mind among your target audience.

One way content marketing is made more effective is through personalization. Did you know that 95% of B2B marketers segment their content in order to provide personalized material? Truth be told, personalization is one of the surest ways to help deliver relevant content to an entire audience. But it’s not easy!

With such a large majority of marketers segmenting their content and messages, the results may vary. If your content marketing campaign personalization falls short of your expectations, check out the following tips:

1. Start small and ramp up as you move along. AudiencceTargeting-1

Personalization of your entire audience doesn’t happen overnight. Experts suggest starting slow and steady. Be methodical in learning about your entire audience by segmenting demographically, behaviorally and dynamically; not one or the other.
2. Anticipate preferences with click-through patterns.
Analyzing click-through patterns can help shed light into what your audience is interested in. And while you can’t guarantee their interests will be the same next week, this can help shape the content of your next campaign nonetheless.
3. Don’t forget: Too much personalization may not be best.
Use caution when applying content personalization. Going overboard may faze recipients who think you know too much about them.
Remember, content personalization ultimately requires you to know your leads and customers personally so you can deliver the best, most relevant content to them.

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: personalization, list segmentation, content marketing

Making Content Marketing Work for the Millennial Generation - 5 Tactics

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 13:07 PM

Content marketing campaigns have become a well-utilized tool by businesses today.  Most individuals appreciate the information provided and embrace it. However, it hasn’t been as easy to win over the millennial generation. 

A recent study conducted by DigitasLBi, Razorfish, Tumblr, and Yahoo shows 45% of Millennials are not interested in the content businesses are providing through their content marketing campaigns.  This presents an issue for businesses as the study explains Millennials will command a cumulative $1.4 trillion in spending power by 2020.

How can businesses hurdle the obstacle of a disengaged generation?  Simple – engage with them on their terms with content that interests them.  This generation looks for information through multiple channels and utilizes, on average, 7.1 devices to receive this information.  Businesses need to ensure they are reaching and engaging Millennials through all of their preferred communication channels, such as SMS text messaging and social media.


Effective content marketing campaigns are essential to a business’ marketing success, but the strategy behind it must change to fit the millennial generation.  Five tactics to achieve effective content marketing, mentioned in a recent Direct Marketing News article, include:

  • Set the Mood
  • Help Millennials Escape
  • Fuel Creativity and Play
  • Spotlight Pop Culture
  • Help Millennials Succeed and Help them Discover

By following these tactics, engaging Millennial through their preferred communication channels and providing interesting content, businesses can create successful content marketing campaigns and turn the millennial generation into loyal and powerful brand advocates.

For list segmentation and audience targeting tips and tricks, download our best practice kit today.

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: personalization, list segmentation, content marketing

Building Brand Marketing Through Customer Rituals

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Jan 02, 2014 @ 13:01 PM

Many customers go through their day-to-day by utilizing a series of habits and rituals.  As a business, it is important to become a part of these daily rituals in order to build your brand.  By placing your brand in a customer’s routine, customer loyalty will be installed.

Marsha Lindsey, CEO of the brand strategy firm Stones & Briggs explains, “Much of our daily behavior is habituated, so a business’s job is to break—or break into—customers' habits and rituals.  How businesses do that often lies in connecting with a customer's subconscious.”CustomerRoutine

Understanding a customer’s needs and daily ritual is a large part of having a successful marketing campaign.  By allowing the customer the view your brand as a part of their daily ritual and something that will make their daily routine easier, the customer’s subconscious will connect with the brand. 

Here are two examples of companies who have successfully built a brand through customers’ rituals:

1.        KFC - KFC created a container for chicken nuggets that fits into a cup holder to reach the segment of “on-the-go” customers. It's a simple way to become a part of a customer’s daily ritual.

2.       Amazon - One-click purchase is masterful in this regard because it makes purchasing undemanding and simplified.  The tougher you make it to complete a purchase the less likely customers will complete it. Amazon creates customer engagement through this simplified process which can be easily placed into a customer’s daily routine or become a ritual.

In order to create optimal brand marketing, businesses must understand their customers.  By gathering data about their customer they can create a greater brand strategy that is customized to the targeted audience.  Ensuring your brand strategy is engaging to the targeted audience is imperative in building your brand into customers’ daily rituals.

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Topics: list segmentation, marketing relevance, Marketing Trends

Want to Maximize Email Marketing ROI? Focus on Email Deliverability

Posted by Cassie Breen on Wed, May 15, 2013 @ 15:05 PM

Most businesses today utilize email for numerous marketing campaigns.  While this is a great communication channel, sometimes deliverability can get in the way of maximizing an email campaign’s ROI.

Delivery is the key to a successful email marketing campaign.  There are several strategies that can be used to improve email deliverability.  Although some of these strategies are complex and sometimes difficult to implement, there are many that provide positive results and can be easily applied to a campaign.

According to a recent study, here are some top strategies that can be used to improve email deliverability and increase your email marketing campaign’s ROI:

emaildeliverability resized 600

1.)    Communicate with Interested Subscribers

This approach follows a simple guideline: Your email will be read if subscribers are interested.  How can you ensure the majority of your subscribers are interested subscribers?  Simple.   Provide those who are not interested with an easy way to unsubscribe.  The easier it is for uninterested recipients to unsubscribe, the lower the chance they will become irritated and mark your email as spam. 

2.)    Clean Lists Regularly

Keeping your lists clean will allow you campaign greater email deliverability and protect your brand’s value.  Inactive subscribers may become angry if they receive unwanted messages and may cause your entire list to become obsolete.  If too many emails are bounced, your email marketing campaign may be blacklisted, hurting your brand’s reputation.  Remove hard bounces, evaluate soft bounces and keep your lists clean!

3.)    Remove or Reengage Active Subscribers

This is where list segmentation comes in.  Segment your subscribers depending on how active they are.  If subscribers are sitting in your database and not engaging in your email marketing campaigns, try launching a reactivation campaign.  If you still have no success engaging the subscriber, then unsubscribe them with a friendly goodbye. 

By implementing simple strategies like these you will see a positive result in both your email deliverability and in your email marketing ROI.

To learn about how Alert Solutions helps optimize the delivery of your email marketing campaigns, download our Email Deliverability Worksheet today!

Topics: email deliverability, list segmentation, email marketing

3 Ways List Segmentation Can Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 @ 15:02 PM

By now, most of us are well aware of the potential of a well-targeted email marketing campaign.

However, some businesses still fail to realize that email marketing campaigns can only achieve maximum ROI if they are delivered to the right person, at the right time, with a relevant message.

List segmentation is one easy strategy that can help you get the most out of your email marketing efforts. What is list segmentation?

List segmentation can be defined as the process of segmenting your large email marketing list based on various criteria.

Some examples of list segmentation strategies are:

1. Segmentation by Lead Source
2. Segmentation by Behavioral Criteria
3. Segmentation by Contact Type
4. Segmentation by Demographic Information
5. Segmentation by Past Purchase History

And keep in mind that most effective list segmentation strategies will use a combined approach. List segmentation strategies help you better target your email marketing campaigns and increases the relevancy of your messages—resulting in higher open and click-through rates.

The benefits businesses can experience from conducting list segmentation are huge. Here are our top 2:  

1. Improved Sender ReputationList Segmentation Strategies Improve Email Marketing Campaigns
When you can identify your more engaged prospects, it becomes much easier to target them with more accurate and attractive offers.

Inactive subscribers are most likely to mark your email as junk and should be removed from your list. It will reduce the size of your opt-in list, but you have to think of your long term goals.

List segmentation decreases the likelihood of trying to send to unsubscribes, increases content relevancy and improves overall email deliverability and sender reputation.

2. Better Email Marketing Campaign Results
Businesses that employ list segmentation techniques are able to group their audiences based upon their preferences in order to send the most targeted mailings possible. 

In fact, research has found that list segmentation strategies increase the relevancy of your messages-resulting in higher open and click-through rates. The #1 reason why people unsubscribe or opt-out is due to irrelevant messaging.  The more relevant your email marketing messages are to your subscribers, the better the response rate.

For list segmentation and audience targeting tips and tricks, downloaded our best practice kit today.


Topics: list segmentation, list segmentation best practices, email marketing

Why Inactive Subscribers Hurt Your Email Deliverability Rates

Posted by Nina Russo on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 @ 14:10 PM

Email marketing can be a powerful marketing tool. But email has its limits in its current state. Abuses like spam, phishing attempts and other security challenges have made it more difficult for legitimate senders to deliver relevant messages to their targeted audiences.

An ongoing battle for email marketers to avoid being classed as spam, successful email deliverability depends on a combination of best practices. Open and click-through rates can be dramatically affected by as much as 30% due to incorrect spam filter classification.  

Did you know that inactive email subscribers can hurt your email deliverability rates, even if they legitimately opted-in to receive email marketing campaigns at one point in time? It’s true.Email Deliverability Affected by Inactive Subscribers

Old email addresses from popular free email providers like Yahoo, Google and Hotmail are turned into spam traps if they become inactive or abandoned. Email service providers then use these traps to help identify senders that are not following best practices – making a huge impact on your ability to send email marketing campaigns to email addresses with that domain.

Inactive subscribers are most likely to mark your email as junk and should be removed from your list. It will reduce the size of your opt-in list, but you have to think of your long term goals.

The only way real way to be sure that these emails are gone is to remove every old and inactive subscriber there is. This includes anyone who hasn't opened, or clicked on an email in over 18 months. To be even more careful, you may even consider reducing your list to users who only registered in the past 6 months.

According to direct marketing statistics, the marketing list contributes approximately 50 percent to the success of an email marketing campaign. By managing lists correctly, you’ll have more success in your email marketing efforts and have maximized your time and investments.

This includes regularly scrubbing your email marketing list. List scrubbing decreases the likelihood of trying to send to unsubscribes, increases content relevancy and improves overall email deliverability and sender reputation. The result will be better ROI, more opens, more clicks, and more sales!

For more email deliverability tips and tricks, download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Best Practice Kit today!

Topics: email deliverability, list segmentation, email marketing, email marketing best practices

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