Behavioral segmentation examples & strategies to send behavior-triggered messages

12 min

You need high-precision marketing tactics to help you target the right audience, manage your budget well, sell more, and build long-term relationships with customers. 

One of these tactics is behavioral segmentation, which helps you monitor customers’ habits as they interact with your brand. You can then optimize your marketing campaigns to match those behavioral patterns.

In this guide, we’ll cover the different types and examples of behavioral segmentation to help you build campaigns that increase customer engagement and sales.

First, let’s explore what this marketing strategy is.

What is behavioral segmentation in marketing?

Behavioral segmentation is a type of marketing segmentation that groups customers based on how they interact with your business. This allows you to filter your target audience based on their actions and hyper-target customers who are more engaged and likely to convert.

For example, an online bookstore can segment customers based on their reading habits or past purchases. The store can then send personalized recommendations or exclusive offers to frequent shoppers interested in specific authors or genres.

Other types of marketing segmentation include:

  • Geographic segmentation: Grouping customers based on geo-specific variables, such as their location, culture, climate, and language. For example, a clothing retailer might sell warm clothes in colder regions and lightweight apparel in hotter areas.
  • Demographic segmentation: Splitting your audience based on objective information such as gender, age, profession, or income level. For instance, a toy manufacturer could advertise its toys on kids’ TV programs to target children aged 3-6 years and appeal to parents who make buying decisions for this age group.
  • Psychographic segmentation: Segmenting consumers according to features such as personality, social status, lifestyle, and hobbies. For example, an adventure travel company can target people who value outdoor activities and create marketing campaigns that emphasize adrenaline-inducing events.

In summary, geographic segmentation groups customers based on location, while demographic segmentation categorizes them based on measurable characteristics

On the other hand, psychographic segmentation focuses on your audience’s attitudes and lifestyles, while behavioral segmentation examines their behaviors and interaction with your products or services.

Types of behavioral segmentation 

  1. Benefit-sought segmentation
  2. Loyalty-based segmentation
  3. Purchasing behavior segmentation
  4. Occasion- and timing-based segmentation
  5. Usage behavior segmentation
  6. Customer journey segmentation
  7. User status segmentation

1. Benefit-sought segmentation

Benefit-sought segmentation groups your target audience based on the perceived value they’ll get from your services or products. It’s meant to solve your customers’ problems or fulfill their needs.

For instance, skincare companies often consider different customer needs while targeting multiple segments. They manufacture products for various skin concerns, such as dark circles, signs of aging, pimples, and uneven skin tone. 

Customer segments that want anti-aging products will look to buy serums and creams that target sagging skin and wrinkles. On the other hand, consumers who want to get rid of their undereye bags will want ointments that address this issue.

Example: Natura Bissé

Natura Bissé is a luxury skincare brand that segments its customers based on the benefits they’re looking for.

For example, the company uses ingredients like peptides for customers seeking anti-aging solutions. As a result, its marketing campaigns focus on clinical results and how the products can deliver long-lasting anti-aging benefits.

For shoppers looking for an even-toned complexion, Natura Bissé uses ingredients like vitamin C and botanical extracts that brighten the skin. Its marketing messages highlight how these solutions can reduce dark spots and boost radiance to help customers achieve a youthful glow.

Natura Bissé homepage
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By segmenting customers based on the perceived value, Natura Bissé tailors its offerings, marketing campaigns, and customer experiences to meet the specific needs of each group.

2. Loyalty-based segmentation

Loyalty-based segmentation categorizes customers into specific groups based on their level of loyalty to your brand. 

For example, you can divide your audience into three groups:

  • Loyal customers
  • Those at risk of leaving your business
  • Consumers who have already left your company

You can also group customers into segments based on whether they participate in your loyalty program. Rewards programs encourage shoppers to remain loyal to your brand by offering them promo codes and other incentives to purchase more.

Example: Starbucks

Starbucks offers a loyalty program that rewards consumers for buying products with its app. The program tracks customers’ frequency of visits and purchases, helping the company create different loyalty tiers. 

Starbucks Rewards page
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Consumers can accumulate points and redeem them later for a free drink. It also encourages loyal members to buy on specific days by rewarding them with bonuses or double points, prompting them to purchase on a different schedule than they might have intended. 

With such a program, Starbucks is able to create targeted strategies to retain loyal customers and boost their engagement.

3. Purchasing behavior segmentation

Purchasing behavior segmentation groups customers by their buying considerations, purchase frequency, or likelihood of shopping with your brand.

For example, you can create a segment for price-conscious customers and another for shoppers likely to buy impulsively. You can then target each group with content and offers that resonate with them. 

For instance, the impulsive buyer may respond well to flash sale alerts, while a bundle deal like buy 2, get 1 free would be attractive to the price-sensitive shopper.

GetResponse MAX’s AI product recommendations feature uses artificial intelligence to match your products to each customer’s habits, needs, and preferences and suggests the items they’re most likely to buy.

That way, you can upsell and cross-sell effortlessly and increase sales by recommending products your audience wants.

Example: Amazon

Amazon gathers data on its customers’ behavior, such as their browsing history and purchase decisions.

Based on this data, the ecommerce company segments its consumers and targets different groups with personalized recommendations. 

For example, customers who often purchase electronics get promotional emails related to new gadget releases. On the other hand, shoppers who buy books receive recommendations for similar genres or authors.

Amazon’s product page
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With this approach, Amazon can offer personalized user experiences, boosting engagement and sales on the platform. 

4. Occasion- and timing-based segmentation

Occasion-based segmentation involves grouping customers based on special events or yearly occasions when they’re more likely to buy from you. 

These can include:

  • Life events (e.g., weddings, birthdays, vacations)
  • Seasons (e.g., spring, summer) 
  • Holidays (e.g., Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day)

In contrast, timing-based segmentation means placing your customers in different groups based on when they interact with your business or their daily routine. For example, they might buy groceries in the evening after work or purchase coffee in the morning.

GetResponse MAX helps you implement Time Travel and Perfect Timing to optimize the exact time you interact with consumers.

With Time Travel, you decide when your email campaigns should be sent, and it automatically adjusts the timing based on your customers’ local time zones. Meanwhile, Perfect Timing looks at past behavior data and sends your messages at the best time for each consumer.

Our 2023 Email Marketing Benchmarks report shows that Perfect Timing and Time Travel have higher than average open and click-through rates (CTRs)

Send-time optimization metrics

The average email open rate is 26.80% and CTR is 1.89%. But Perfect Timing has an open rate of 27.84% and a CTR of 2.09%, while Time Travel has an open rate of 30.21% and a CTR of 4.41%.

Example: Hallmark

Hallmark collects contact details from its customer base whenever they purchase online. 

The brand then stores the data, such as the cards’ category and time purchased, and uses this information to segment buyers based on when they shop for cards and gifts. For example, customers might buy for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays like Christmas.

Hallmark’s occasions and holidays page
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Hallmark then sends push notifications and emails with reminders and suggestions for upcoming events. The company uses these messages to recommend suitable cards, gifts, or personalized items based on the occasion. 

This segmentation strategy helps the brand provide a more personalized experience to its customers. As a result, it strengthens its position as the go-to destination for cards and gifts for various events throughout the year.

5. Usage behavior segmentation

With usage behavior segmentation, you can divide customers into segments based on how often they use your services or products.

For example, you can group them as:

  • Heavy users
  • Moderate users
  • Light users

That way, you’re able to strategize marketing campaigns for each segment and convert your light and medium shoppers into heavy users.

Example: Verizon

Verizon offers various mobile plans and phone services to its customers. 

The telecommunications company analyzes customer data such as text message volume, call duration, and data consumption. It then segments consumers based on how often they use these services. 

Verizon’s homepage
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The segments can include:

  • Heavy users who regularly consume large amounts of data.
  • Moderate users with medium usage patterns.
  • Light users who use minimal services.

Based on these segments, Verizon tailors its pricing plans, service offerings, and marketing campaigns to meet the specific needs of each group. For example, the company can target heavy users with unlimited data plans and special high-speed data offers and light users with more cost-effective plans but limited data.

With this approach, the brand can optimize its marketing efforts, improve customer satisfaction, and maximize revenue.

6. Customer journey segmentation

The customer journey typically has five stages: 

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision
  • Retention
  • Advocacy

Grouping consumers based on where they are in the customer journey helps you align your communications with how each prospect moves through the stages.

For example, a potential customer in the consideration stage might benefit from content, such as user reviews and comparison posts. As they move closer to purchasing, they may respond better to promotional offers or emails offering discounts.

You can use GetResponse MAX to enhance your customer journey map. The marketing automation platform helps you run paid ad campaigns, collect emails from prospects, and nurture them with automated messages based on their actions or specific triggers.

Example: Airbnb

Airbnb segments its clients based on their customer journey stage and provides relevant recommendations and content. 

Airbnb’s homepage
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For consumers in the awareness stage, the company may target them with content showing popular destinations, travel tips, and why staying in a local home is better than a hotel.

Those in the consideration stage who are actively looking for different options may get personalized recommendations based on their browsing history.

In the decision stage, the brand sends special offers, discounts, or time-limited promotions to encourage clients to complete their bookings. 

Airbnb is able to enhance the customer experience, increase conversions, and build long-term brand loyalty using this example of behavioral segmentation.

7. User status segmentation

Like the customer journey, dividing consumers based on their user status helps you align your content based on the level of interaction with your brand. 

You can segment them as follows:

  • Prospects
  • First-time buyers
  • Repeat customers
  • Brand ambassadors

A first-time buyer may benefit from content that gives them tips and instructions on how to use your products. In contrast, you should reward brand ambassadors with exclusive deals and discounts for spreading the word about your company.

You can use GetResponse MAX’s Conversion Funnel to:

  • Convert your prospects into brand ambassadors
  • Build your landing pages
  • Automate your email campaigns
  • Sell your products
  • Recover abandoned carts

For instance, you can use the standard opt-in funnels to capture new customers on your landing page. Webinar funnels can then help you build solid consumer relationships and turn your expertise into revenue.

Example: Sephora

Sephora groups its customers based on engagement levels, such as frequent shoppers, occasional buyers, and non-purchasers who interact with the brand through social media.

Sephora’s homepage
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For frequent shoppers, Sephora may offer early access to new items or exclusive rewards. The brand may also invite these customers to special events or give them new product samples.

The company targets occasional buyers with discounts to incentivize repeat purchases. It may also send personalized emails with recommendations based on items they bought before to encourage further engagement.

Non-purchasers may receive content like product reviews or makeup tutorials to motivate them to buy something. 

By segmenting consumers based on their level of interaction, Sephora can convert prospects into active buyers, encourage repeat purchases, and promote customer loyalty.

How to create a behavioral segmentation strategy

If you implement it well, behavioral segmentation can be a powerful tool to grow your business and revenue.

Here are a few pointers to get started with this strategy:

Choose an effective marketing automation platform

The Litmus State of Email Report shares that 56% of marketers use automation for segmentation. The right tool can help you group customers based on their behavior and send them relevant and personalized messages.

GetResponse MAX offers advanced segmentation to help you understand your audience and take action based on their behavior, engagement, and interests.

The platform allows you to deploy custom fields to gather accurate and relevant data to create advanced segments and send personalized offers. You can also use powerful tagging and scoring to target your most loyal customers and win back lost shoppers.

For instance, Submission Technology uses GetResponse to segment its audience and consistently get high email engagement rates.

In one of its email campaigns, the company grouped its clients by gender and saw unique CTRs of 6.44% for males and 7.31% for females. That’s 121% better than the industry standard for men and 149% higher than usual for women. 

Here’s what the emails looked like:

Submission Technology email segmentation by gender.

Research your target audience and create buyer personas

Conduct surveys and interviews to find patterns in customer behavior and preferences. With the information you get from this research, create the buyer personas that represent the typical shoppers you want to target.

For example, suppose your company sells fitness apparel and accessories. You could create a buyer persona with the following buying behavior:

  • Regularly shops online for variety and convenience.
  • Does thorough research before buying products by reading reviews and comparing prices.
  • Willing to pay more for products sold by trusted and reputable brands.
  • Values recommendations from friends and fitness influencers.

Creating your buyer personas helps you focus your marketing efforts on messaging that better connects with your target audience and meets their needs.

Create behavioral marketing campaigns

After creating your buyer personas, the next step is to segment customers that fall into each persona based on their behavior.

Use the different behavioral segmentation types to divide those consumers into specific groups. Then, send targeted, personalized marketing emails to each segment.

Our 2023 Benchmarks report shows personalized emails have higher open and click-through rates and a lower probability of bouncing than non-personalized emails.

ALT: Email personalization metrics.

Final thoughts: Behavioral segmentation examples and strategies for marketers

Segmenting your consumers based on their behavioral data helps you understand why they choose to buy from you. As a result, you can adjust your marketing materials and messaging to stay ahead of your competitors and increase customer loyalty.

To build advanced behavioral segments, you need marketing automation software like GetResponse MAX to help you hyper-target your customers and boost engagement.

Anna Kvasnevska
Anna Kvasnevska
Anna is a content marketing specialist and a proud member of the GetResponse team. With more than 5 years of experience in content creation, as well as her intercultural background and cross-industry perspective, Anna is happy to share her insights into the latest updates from the world of online marketing, eCommerce, and technology. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.