By Amanda Maksymiw published April 5, 2012

How to Use Content Segmentation to Differentiate your Brand Online

Is your website best positioned to convert visitors to subscribers and buyers of your products or services? Sure, you may have developed a content marketing strategy around your buyer and user personas, but how is your website structured?

Many websites have trouble engaging each of their specific audiences in an effective way.  They often will simply try to market to everyone at once rather than crafting valuable, relevant content for each target audience. In trying to market to everyone, B2B marketers may be setting themselves up for failure.

Website content segmentation is the practice of presenting your online content in a clear and concise manner specific to each of your website visitors.  A few of the basic principles of content segmentation are based on design, messaging, and presentation of content. It can help improve your engagement, better differentiate your brand from competitors, and improve your content marketing effectiveness.

If improving your website segmentation is something you have yet to master, read on for tips to get you started.

1. Encourage visitors to self-select

Websites can be set up with segmentation in mind by role, problem, or industry.  Break through the clutter and create the immediate ability for your visitor to choose the content that applies to them. And place the options on your homepage.

In this example from Randa Solutions, one click on the homepage lets teachers, administrators, and parents drill down into the details about how Randa’s educational data management can help each of them.

2. Speak directly to your target audience

Once visitors click through on your site, you have the opportunity to deliver targeted messages and valuable content. Share videos that speak to your buyer personas, create blog posts, write articles that key into specific pain points, or compile case studies that share customer success stories and testimonials.

In this example from AppSense (a provider of user virtualization solutions), web visitors are encouraged to self-select their role — user, IT manager, or executive.  Each landing page then shares features, quotes, and case studies on persona-specific wants and needs, testimonials from related clients, and more — all tailored to that persona. By speaking directly to the audience, AppSense is using website content segmentation to ensure that all visitors will see the most relevant content for them.

3. Keep segment-specific pages clean

While you may feel compelled to share ALL of your relevant content with your specific audience as soon as they click through, there’s a good reason why you should resist: a simple user experience is a satisfying user experience.

It is important to have a simple design to your website so that your visitors do not feel overwhelmed or bombarded with information all at once. Consider sharing your best content first, and include links to further reading so that your audience can decide what to read or view next.

For example, one of your main goals for the segment-specific pages should be to focus on sharing your value proposition, or reason why your visitors should buy from you. This can be simply done by incorporating your value proposition into the copy on the page.

The example below from DecisionLens shows a simply and prominently laid out drop-down menu that helps to keep site visits focused. The highlighted copy in the segment-specific page (below) shows the easy-to-understand value proposition.

4.  Tailor your content, and provide diversity

Just as different industries and personas have different pain points or are looking for different product features, not all customers evaluate solutions in the same manner.  Marketers can overcome this by creating a variety of content types (such as quotes, infographics, or newsletters) to ensure their brand can engage properly with their target audience members, no matter how they prefer to receive and digest information.

Consider incorporating website content segmentation to help your visitors find the right type of information when they want it by offering these different types of content to your audience on your segment-specific pages.

In this example from Janrain, the use of case studies and product feature descriptions gives visitors a deep view into specific segments.

(For a great list of content types mapped to stages of the buying process, take a look at Eloqua’s Content Grid.)

5. Use interactive content

Consider developing an interactive tool such as HubSpot’s Grader suite, a blog, social media profiles, or webinars to demonstrate your thought leadership and keep your audience coming back for more.  These types of content are inherently engaging because your visitors are encouraged to participate, engage, comment, or interact in some form or another.

The example below, from JDA (a supply chain management software provider) shows a useful self-assessment that gives users a quick test to benchmark their company against the best in the industry.

Don’t let your content efforts go to waste on the wrong audience. To learn more about website content segmentation, you can watch this video from OpenView Labs and read our report on Website Content Segmentation.

Author: Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda Maksymiw is the content marketing manager for Lattice Engines, a leader in B2B sales intelligence software helping Fortune 5000 companies sell smarter and achieve a 6-14 percent increase in sales productivity within one year of deployment through Intelligent Targeting, Contextual Conversations and Measurable Execution. She is responsible for setting and managing the company's content marketing strategy including creating, producing, and publishing engaging content. Follow her on Twitter at @amandamaks.

Other posts by Amanda Maksymiw

  • http://www.rayskillmanautomall.com/custom/hyundai-dealership-indianapolis/ Leisa Dreps

    The term ‘content segmentation’ may sound complicated to ordinary netizens, but it simply means giving simple and exact messages to each of the website’s target audience. That technique is usually used in pharmaceutical sites (content tab for doctors and patients) and education material sites (for teachers and students).

  • Jonward7

    Has anyone tested a truly segmented “even though the product has basically the same benefit to all, but tailored messages to a persona” test.  Such as having content for IT executives who self-select versus functional IT?  Or even by titles (CMO, CFO, etc.), i.e. department function? 

    Do the extra clicks that are required for self-selection pay off by using segmented content?  I’d love some real stats (which for some reason marketers barely every use in articles as support for point made).

  • Jonward7

    Sorry about the grammar – I hit “post” before proofing!!

  • bluesky

    Abercrombie & Fitch?has become known for their shirtless?male models, Abercrombie Outlet but a new series of videos shot by famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber has taken things to the next level. One clip called "Other Sports Require One Ball. Wrestling Requires Two," shows several guys wrestling, yes, but also showering together in minimal wet clothing, and groping each other while in compromising or highly?suggestive positions. The steamy clip is not all innuendo–at the end one of the models kisses the other on the forehead.?