What if you could stop wasting time on segmenting leads? Would that save you some time and energy? You bet it would!

Yet how many times have we heard marketing consultants say it? How many email packages tell you to create lists based on how you’ve profiled your leads? You need to segment your leads, they say. That’s how you are relevant and responsive, they say. Segmenting leads is key to your success, they say.

I say they’re one-third right. Segmenting leads is key to being a successful marketer. I’ll take it even a step further and say that lead segmentation is key to being a successful content marketer, or, as I like to call it, an ENGAGEMENT marketer.

But YOU don’t have to do it. Your leads will do it for you – if you let them.

And here’s the really fun part: if you let your leads segment themselves, you’ll only create content that your leads are interested in. That’s right, you won’t waste time and energy creating content based on what you THINK people will be interested in. You’ll only create content based on what people truly ARE interested in.

How cool will that be?

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Create your top level content according to your content strategy. (Don’t have one? Hmm. We HIGHLY recommend you have a content strategy that is targeted to your perfect potential customers.)
  2. Send an email out to your entire list with two or three links in it to your valuable content – typically to blog posts that you’ve created that provide value to your readers, though you could have ONE (not all, for sure) of your links go to gated content (content they’ll need to fill out a form to get). Be sure that each click in the email has lead scoring points associated with it. We call this a “broadcast email.”
  3. Watch what people click. You might find that link #2 and link #3 get tons of clicks but link#1 gets pretty low or no engagement.

That’s okay. Look at what you have just learned. Topic #1 becomes a low priority to build on, but Topic #2 and Topic #3 are pretty hot – and therefore are great candidates for creating follow-on content – content that deepens the engagement on a specific topic. Let me explain further…

Because I like candy (and, in the immortal words of one Forrest Gump, “life is like a box of chocolates”), let’s imagine for a moment that your content is a big box of chocolates. Think about it: is there anyone, anywhere, on the planet who likes every single kind of chocolate that comes in one of those boxes? Some people love the ones with nuts. Others love the ones with coconut, or marshmallow, or that strawberry goo, or caramel. Others (me!) love the ones that are pure chocolate.

You can give every kind of candy to every potential lead; that would be one choice. Seems pretty generic, doesn’t it? You’re not going to delight anyone if you treat everyone the same. But what if you could offer three types of candy – pure chocolate, caramel, and coconut, for example – and you could keep track of which leads took which kind of candy from you? Now imagine that many leads took the pure chocolate, some took the caramel, and only a couple of people took the coconut (forgive my personal biases here, LOL).

Your leads just segmented themselves, and all you had to do was watch them do it. Now you can write follow-on content that is all about pure chocolate, and that becomes your next priority, because that’s what got the most interest. When that’s done, write some caramel content. As for the coconut people, I would offer them some additional flavors with my next email, and watch what happens. Maybe chocolate is their second favorite flavor, and you’ll be able to offer them your chocolate content. See? Or, you can circle back and develop coconut content if you decide you want to target more coconut lovers.

Now the magical world of Engagement Marketing is yours to conquer. You can create emails to respond to the topics that are most clicked, while not spending time crafting emails on topics that your leads tell you they’re not interested in (because they didn’t click it, see?). Your leads will magically move themselves from bucket to bucket because your emails allow them to do it – and they’re doing it themselves. They declare their interests, and you respond. You walk them through the journey of becoming your customer.

We know that busy marketers don’t have time to create content on the “build it and they will come” assumption. You want to know that the content you’re creating will have value to your leads and your website visitors. You want to spend your time wisely, where you’ll get the most bang for the buck.

Allowing your leads to segment themselves saves time and energy. Creating content that you know they’ll be interested in saves time and energy. Giving your leads what they’re most interested in learning more about will make your marketing feel personal to them – like you’ve crawled into their heads and understand them.

Segmenting leads is a powerful marketing tactic, and you can make it super easy by following these tips. Then treat yourself to a box of chocolates. You’ll have earned it.