How to Segment Your Customers for Targeted Retention Campaigns

Create customer segments that help you retain more business over the long term.

By Tom Wintaugh | November 2, 2023 | 3 minute read
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A nuanced understanding of your customer base is one of your strongest selling tools, and the more personalized your approach is, the greater chance you have of connecting with an audience over the long term. Strategic customer segmentation enables businesses to fine tune their approaches to different groups, and can have a strong positive effect on retention campaigns. In this blog, we’ll look at how to shape segmentation to keep customers engaged and buying.

Why Customer Segmentation is Essential

Customer segmentation is useful in many aspects of online selling, for the simple reason that it allows you to deliver more relevant and effective service to groups with different needs.

  • Personalization: Do visitors to your site feel that their specific needs and preferences are being served? Every aspect of your website and sales process that can be customized stands to benefit. Customer segments allow you to achieve more personalized experiences for more people.
  • Communication: Segmentation allows for much more targeted communication, so customers only receive information and outreach that is specifically useful for them, and never feel spammed.
  • Resources: Efficient allocation of your human, technical, and financial resources is aided by understanding which customer groups require more focus and investment.

Identifying Segmentation Variables

The segmentation process begins with identifying the different variables that differentiate your customers. These could range from the industry they operate in to the size of their business. These are the most common general customer variables to use as a starting point.

  • Industry
  • Business size
  • Geographical location
  • Purchase history
  • Behavioral patterns

The more specificity you can apply to your customer segments, the more dialed in your service will be. Think about customer variables that are unique to your business or products. For example, a B2B automotive business might segment its customers by parts retailers or automotive dealerships. Frequency of purchases, average spend, and duration of customer relationship are other ways to determine the value of a customer group. The key is to choose variables that resonate with your business model and the product or services you offer.

Free Guide: How to Create Effective Consumer Personas for Your Online Store

Creating Customer Personas

Once you have identified the segmentation variables, the next step is to create detailed customer personas. These personas will represent the different segments of your customer base, providing a framework for targeted campaigns. We prepared a comprehensive guide to creating customer personas which you can view here. Important factors of customer personas include demographics, role in a business, and psychographic values and buying motivations.

By outlining each persona and empathetically thinking about their buying needs, you set the stage for a buying experience that “sticks” with customers, demonstrating that your business’s goal is to connect them with products that are a perfect fit.

Designing Targeted Retention Campaigns

With your customer personas as a reference point, you’re ready to design various retention campaigns that will resonate specifically with each group. A retention campaign is any kind of marketing project, service program, reward, communication, or offer that is designed to keep current customers engaged with the brand and buying. Consider these strategies:

  • Segment-Specific Content: Let the segment variables guide content topics, style, and distribution method that speaks to the specific needs and preferences of each segment.
  • Feedback and Reviews: Liberally encourage feedback and reviews to understand your clientele better and make it clear that customer dialogue is welcomed.
  • Loyalty Programs: Develop loyalty programs that cater to the different needs of your customer segments. A group that is more concerned with cost savings might benefit from a loyalty discount, whereas a segment more interested in high value products might prefer their loyalty benefits in the form of access to exclusive items.
  • Customized Offers: Present offers and deals that are aligned closely with the buying patterns of each segment. You can also play against the norms of the segment to inspire more sales, such as offering a price-conscious segment a value deal for spending over a certain amount.

Implementing and Refining Your Strategies

As you implement retention campaigns for your various customer segments, it’s important to remember that nearly continuous refinement is important. Customers’ context and motivations change over time. The balance of different segments within your total customer base might also shift over time. For these reasons, it’s important to refine these segments and their affiliated campaigns year-round.

  • Ask: Establish a feedback loop that explicitly solicits customer input.
  • Review: Check in on automated campaigns like email sequences frequently—don’t just “set and forget” any retention campaign.
  • Adapt: Avoid rigid campaigns and think of your retention efforts as iterative, changing them up as needed over time.

B2B customer retention weaves together a deep understanding of your audience with strategic initiatives designed to support long-term relationships. Segmenting your audience thoughtfully is the key to making these initiatives as relevant and successful as possible.

Customer segmentation is a dynamic process which is continually shaped by the shifting makeup and priorities of your buyers.

Retaining customers over the long term requires nurturing relationships, and communicating your commitment to providing very tailored service that assures customers that your business is always striving to meet their individual needs.

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About The Author

Katy Ellquist

Katy Ellquist, Miva’s Digital Marketing Strategist, is an accomplished writer, marketer, and social media analyst who has created sophisticated content campaigns for a broad range of professional clients. She brings to Miva a complex understanding of ecommerce trends and techniques, building upon extensive digital agency experience and a prior role as direct liaison to Miva’s top accounts. Katy is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering essential ecommerce topics like design & development strategy, site optimization, and omnichannel selling, with the goal of increasing the actionable knowledgebase of the entire Miva community.

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Author's Bio

Tom Wintaugh

Tom is a Content Marketing Specialist at Miva.

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