SMS campaigns can be an incredibly effective strategy regardless of your goals. However, to make the most of these campaigns, you want to ensure you use SMS targeting. In other words, you want to carefully choose who receives which text messages instead of sending every message to everyone on your list whether for marketing campaigns, SMS for customer service, or any other communication.

The following guide will help you create a mobile segmentation strategy that optimizes your chances for success. 

Customer Segmentation: A Quick Overview

Customer segmentation refers to dividing your customers into various groups depending on their common traits or characteristics. The idea behind segmentation is that it lets you target each group more effectively for text messaging campaigns. 

You will send each customer segment only the most relevant content. This makes recipients feel as if you’re talking directly to them. Common segmentation characteristics include age, marital status, gender, location, and the customer’s position on the sales funnel. 

Types of mobile segmentation defined for mobile marketing

We’ve previously identified some types of marketing segmentation you may use in general marketing campaigns, but here are some additional types of segmentation to consider for your message campaigns.

  • Behavioral segmentation – This type depends on consumers’ actions (or inactions), such as the features they use, session frequency, spending or consumption habits, average order value, or browsing history.
  • Demographic segmentation – This is when you segment the audience based on their marital status, occupation, age, gender, income, or similar factors.
  • Geographic segmentation – This is when you divide the audience depending on their city, state, or country. As a local business, you may segment your audience by county or smaller towns, using location data to your advantage. 
  • Psychographic segmentation – This type of segmentation is based on customers’ values, interests, personality traits, and personal attitudes.
  • Technographic segmentation – This is based on customer preferences regarding mobile phones and tablets, software, and other technology. 

When using SMS marketing to discover your target audience, what variables should you consider?

As you look at the variables to consider, you will notice some categories are very similar to the names of the segmentation types. This makes these variables easier to understand.

  • Behavior – Choosing to segment customers based on behavior involves using measurable trends, such as brand loyalty or purchasing patterns. An example of this would be sending promotions about the same brand to shoppers who always buy that brand.
  • Demographics – As mentioned, demographics include religion, age, gender, and education level. Think of it as anything that you can define quantitatively. One example of using this variable would be determining your audience’s education level and then using a readability analysis to ensure the content you create is at the appropriate reading level.
  • Geography – It is advantageous for local businesses to target your audience based on their location. This includes where they live and where they shop, work, travel, and dine. This is as simple as being mindful about what’s available in your area for your audience and using location data wisely. 
  • Psychographics – As a refresher, psychographics let you categorize people depending on psychological criteria, such as goals, preferences, and attitudes. One example would be targeting people passionate about rescuing animals; using marketing that tugs on their heartstrings would be effective.
  • Socio-economic status – You could include this in your demographic variables, or you can leave it alone. This ties in with your brand’s identity, such as whether you are a luxury brand or a more affordable brand. An example would be that you want to send coupons via SMS marketing if your clientele wants an affordable brand but not if they want a luxury brand. 

Using attribution data for user segmentation

Using attribution data ties closely into using behavioral variables to segment your subscribers. As a refresher, attribution data refers to the touchpoints or events that lead to your ideal outcome, such as a sale.

You would likely use your attribution data to determine which actions customers take are the most relevant to their sales journey. From there, you could segment users based on whether they have already taken those specific actions and target customers accordingly. 

Privacy: The no-go zones for user data

There are numerous regulations and laws to protect consumer privacy, including regarding SMS marketing. The relevant laws for local businesses in the United States are primarily the TCPA and the CAN-SPAM Act.

The most important takeaways with these laws are that:

  • You must get user consent to send messages (an opt-in)
  • You should only send texts between 8 am and 9 pm
  • Customers must be able to opt-out easily
  • You must identify your business in the initial text

You have various options in getting customers to opt-in to SMS campaigns from your business. Some methods include paper forms, online forms, and website popups. You can get more ideas from our SMS marketing guide

SMS targeting and segmentation analysis best practices

As you segment and define your target audience, keep the following best practices in mind. For convenience, each of them includes an example. Use these examples along with our other SMS marketing templates

1. Turn frequent customers into brand advocates

Remember that word of mouth is one of the quickest ways to gain more customers. Take a look at your customers and identify those who make purchases frequently, high-value purchases, or both. Think of these as active users who can become mobile marketers for you. 

Then, target these customers with an SMS campaign that makes them feel valued. One common strategy for this segment is to offer a referral program with discounts for both the new and existing customers. This is also the segment to target for review requests.

Some SMS templates you can use for this scenario include:

SMS segmentation example

“We’re happy to have you as a loyal customer. Use this exclusive code for 20% off your next purchase.”

SMS segmentation example text

“We’re glad you love our products. We’d appreciate it if you would take a minute to leave us a review!” 

2. Re-engage dormant users

A dormant user is someone who was previously an active customer but no longer is. You will likely define this segment as customers who haven’t interacted with you in a set amount of time. The length of that period will depend on your business model.

When targeting this segment, remind customers what they are missing. Let them know about any recent updates to your product line or offer them a discount to return.

An engaging SMS for this customer segment would be:

text segmentation example

“We haven’t heard from you in a while! Here are some new products we think you’d love!”

3. Build user habits

Use text messages to target users and get them to create habits involving your website, app, or brand. Remember that actions become habits over time. Your goal is to get users to think of your brand and interact with you consistently.

You can do this by sharing tips for getting the most of your brand or website or sending them links to relevant pages on your website or app. An excellent SMS template would be:

text segmentation sample

“There’s a new purse from your favorite brand. [link to product page].”

4. Upsell converted users

Once you have already converted a user, use SMS marketing and segmentation to upsell them. Remember that gaining repeat customers costs less than attracting new ones. To make the most of this, create a segment consisting of customers that have purchased in the past but either don’t do so very frequently or don’t buy much at a time.

Loyalty and rewards programs work incredibly well for attracting this segment. Depending on your products, this is also an excellent opportunity for traditional cross-selling. So, if someone buys a new phone, try to sell them a set of headphones to go with it. If someone buys new boots, try to sell them a water-resistant coating they can apply.

segmentation example

“Thanks for being a loyal customer! You are just three purchases away from a free [item]!” 

5. Activate new users

One of your segments should be composed of new users or potential customers. If you have a mobile app or website, this segment includes people who have downloaded the app or signed up for an account but have not used it yet. 

This segment is not yet engaged enough to use your website or app without prompting. So, you use SMS marketing to encourage them to do so. You can entice them by sharing texts about key features or texting offers. If you use a mobile app, then you can also do this with a push notification. 

sample sms for segmentation

“Welcome [name]! Get 10% off on your first purchase via our website.” 

Send your first marketing messages in minutes

To put all of the above advice regarding segmenting and targeting your audience, you need a system that will let you send marketing messages. Podium lets you do just that through a 14-day free trial. You can get started in a matter of minutes! With a better idea of how to segment your target audience for your mobile marketing efforts, you should be on your way to success in no time. 

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

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