Understanding Visitor Segmentation to Increase Web Conversions

Learn about how you can use user segmentation to optimize your business and increase your online conversions, transforming site visitors into paying customers.

Site visitors are naturally unpredictable and diverse in their preferences. As a site owner, this means that you always have to be on your toes ready to adjust or adapt to ever-changing customer needs and expectations. Thus visitor segmentation and refinement of your inbound online marketing techniques is fundamental to your online business.

The more responsive you are to your visitors’ expectations, the more likely you are to increase your online conversions. Without proper visitor segmentation it can be very difficult to  identify your strongest/weakest marketing channels, or even monitoring your site metrics appropriately (using A/B tests and other online relevant marketing tools).

What Is Segmentation?

Segmentation refers to the act of dividing a broad market into smaller subsets based on demographics or the interests of a target audience. Through this segmentation, marketers are able to tailor and plan their products and services to meet the needs of specific groups of people.

Ways to Segment Your Visitors

Here are some ideas to get us rolling deep and expertly in the segmentation of visitors:

Amazon segmentation strategy
Amazon's segmentation strategy

Segmenting New Visitors and Repeat Visitors

Without question, all kinds of customers are important in business. However, loyal customers don’t come easily in today’s world so it is important to provide incentives to these returning customers, and segment them from new visitors.

Shoes.com sign-in page
Sign-in page for returning users at Shoes.com

Location-based Segmentation

Segmenting visitors on the basis of their geographic location is arguably the most popular form of marketing segmentation. This method of segmentation works on the premise that people from a similar geographical region tend to have similar likes and dislikes. For example, targeting online visitors from the cold Antarctic region with ads about beachwear would be an ill-informed decision. If you really want to maximize online conversions in Antarctica, you’d be better off targeting them with warm clothing options.

Behavior-based Segmentation

Different types of industries have different priorities, making behavioral segmentation a unique concept on a case-to-case basis. In the car manufacturing industry, you can—for instance—track how visitors search through different colors of Mitsubishi. Are red Mitsubishi’s being searched more than white ones?

Other forms of behavior-targeted segmentation include: tracking the number of visits made by a unique visitor before converting to a paying customer, or even tracking which page is normally visited first (or most) by a particular visitor.

Amazon.com offers a good example of a company using behavioral targeting to increase online conversions. When visiting the site, Amazon can have as many as 100 different types of home pages for 100 unique visitors. What is their secret? It’s all based on Amazon’s tracking system that allows the company to note the behaviors of its previous visitors, and then personalize the home pages to suit the interests and preferences of the returning customers.

consumer behavior chart

Site Traffic Segmentation

This type of segmentation manages visitor expectations based on their traffic sources. In other words, visitor traffic from different sources—like social media networks, PPC campaigns, and emails—should be separated and channeled differently. By doing this, you can easily monitor the traffic from each source, and then use the resulting information to plan your online marketing endeavors accordingly.

URL Segmentation

Both internal site URLs and external URLs play a crucial role in visitor segmentation. For example, you can create a unique internal URL that directs new visitors to a specific page to receive a complimentary first-time visitor coupon. Creating a provision for such a unique URL can easily increase conversion (like sign-ups for your email list).

External URLs work in a slightly different way, but they are just as important in encouraging desired conversions. Usually, most external URLs come in the form of referrals from other sites. This means you can segment your online marketing campaigns to target specific visitors and benefit from the traffic. For example, if you are a shoe company and one of your products is referenced on a sports site, you may want to tailor the landing page of the referral URL to feature sports-related products on your site, along with some relevant keywords for SEO optimization. This segmentation will allow you to tap into the interests of the visitors from the sports site--most of whom are likely to be sports fanatics interested in the sports shoes featured on the referral URL.

URL customization settings
URL customization settings

Segmentation of Conversions

The segmentation of conversions is dependent on data and information collected from the above-mentioned ways of segmentation. For instance, it is only through the assessment of site traffic segmentation that you can discover which social media channel brings most traffic to your site. Meanwhile, it is through the geographical segmentation of visitors that we can assess strong/weak purchasing habits of people from a given region or regions. For you to succeed in segmenting your conversions appropriately, it is imperative that best-practice segmentation strategies are instituted when implementing all the other forms of segmentation we’ve discussed.

Afterword on User Segmentation and Web Conversions

Considering the fact that your site visitors will always have unique needs, perceptions, interests and tastes; it is your duty as a marketer to ensure that these unique expectations are properly segmented and attended to in the right way.

Once you have segmented your visitors using the ways highlighted in this guide, the next step would be to set the variables in Google Analytics.

As a final step, you should remember to engage these key segments using relevant keywords, URLs and other related content.

When all that is done, you can then sit back and enjoy the high conversion rates that are sure to result from market-targeted visitor segmentation.