Shawn Peterson’s Advice: The Best Thing You Can Do with Your Email Prospect List

Written by: Shawn Peterson
Shawn Peterson, CEO of Quantum Business Solutions

Shawn Peterson is the CEO of Quantum Business Solutions. He comes with a decade of experience in the technology services industry as an executive. Shawn is a visionary focused on high growth and performance through sales, marketing and client experience.

Audience Segmentation By Buyer Personas

If you’ve spent time in the “marketing world” at all, you’ve heard the saying, “the money is in the list.”

It’s true.

Your prospect list can be (after the people that work for you) your most valuable resource.

But here’s the catch:

You can have the biggest list in the world, but if you don’t know how to leverage it for your greatest advantage, you’re not going to get the results that you seek.

So, let’s dive into the topic of audience segmentation by buyer personas and show you the very best thing you can do with your email prospect list—segmentation.

What is a “Buyer Persona”?

Think of a buyer persona as a fictional person you have created to represent a segment of your audience. You would give that buyer persona the attributes, likes, dislikes, style, buying habits and thinking patterns of that audience segment. That fictional character–you could even give them a name–then becomes the template of your ideal customer in that audience segment, giving you a clearly defined target(s) for your marketing team.

An Example of Buyer Personas

If you were a vitamin company, you would build a buyer persona representing each potential segment of the general population that would be a likely customer of yours. You would have a buyer persona for each of the following:

  • Young, active men
  • Young, active women
  • Expectant and nursing mothers
  • Caregivers of young children (parents – because children don’t buy their own vitamins)
  • Middle-aged men
  • Middle-aged women
  • Older men
  • Older women

Each of these “segments” of your potential customer base has two things in common.

I. A reason to buy your product
II. The means with which to buy your product

However, using the same messaging to promote your product to all these segments is a BIG MISTAKE and a waste of your marketing budget and resources.

Audience Segmentation by Buyer Persona – The Best Use of Marketing Resources

Let’s stick with the vitamin company example for a moment.

If you are the average 65-year-old woman, you’re not likely to be persuaded by a social media ad or an email that has been geared to grab the attention of an active, muscular 25-year-old male that hits the gym every day at 6 a.m. before going to work.


Because they are two separate audience segments.

Here’s what separates the audience segments:

  • Different ages
  • Different needs
  • Different goals
  • Different opportunities
  • Different problems/pain points
  • Different genders
  • Different values and ideals

Sometimes, audience segmentation is also divided by different cultures or different geographical regions as well.

So, you can see how widely your potential buyers can vary. Pushing out the same marketing messaging to everyone simply drains your marketing resources, lowers your conversion rate and dilutes your message.

Marketing to “everybody” is always a mistake.

Even national television commercials that run continuously on television have a specific buyer persona in mind. The marketing team behind the national commercial chooses not only the time of day but also the shows in which the commercials appear based on the time of day that their buyer persona is likely to be watching and the shows that their buyer persona is likely to enjoy.

Where is Audience Segmentation Most Profitable?

As we’ve noted, the most common marketing avenues where marketing segmentation is utilized are email marketing and social media marketing. However, in the race to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, don’t forget the B2B marketing avenue of LinkedIn prospecting and old-fashioned (but still highly effective) direct mail campaigns.

Social Media Marketing

In the case of building out ads for your social media marketing, you can (and should) use the targeting filters in the platform’s ad creation tool to narrow the ad audience to the specific persona addressed in the ad’s messaging.

For example, if your ad is about B2B technology support for insurance companies, you want to ensure that you’re targeting decision makers within the insurance industry—not someone in construction.


Because even though both industries use technology, they have different pain points and need different things from their technology support resources. The messaging that will resonate with your insurance decision maker persona isn’t the same messaging that will win over the leader of a construction firm. In fact, messaging delivered to the wrong audience segment may backfire and turn them off rather than spark interest in your brand or product.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the Holy Grail of advertising opportunities at the moment. Why? Because it is cost effective and requires no middle-man such as a newspaper, radio or social media platform.

But, as we have already noted, it’s a mistake to gather a massive list of email addresses and blast away with advertising emails to that list.

Instead, create buyer personas that represent the different ideal customers that you’re trying to entice to buy your product or service. Next, segment your massive email list based on the buyer personas that you have identified in your market research.

Now that you have a segment for each buyer persona and have separated your email list accordingly, you can create customized marketing emails that speak directly to the recipient’s hopes, fears, needs, ambitions, point of view, etc.

By curating your email list in this fashion, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to show your ideal buyer that you identify with them and that your service/product is right for them.

Where is Audience Segmentation Most Effective?

Your brand has an image and ideals associated with it—and that’s a good thing.

What many internal marketing teams often forget is that each segment of their general audience—each buyer persona— comes with its own well-defined set of values, hopes and aspirations. By segmenting your audience, you have a much greater opportunity to speak in the emotional or heart language of your buyer persona.

Why is this important?

Simply put, people generally don’t buy with their head. They buy because they need a product and identify, at an emotional level, with the story that the brand is telling in its marketing efforts.

Why McDonald’s and not Burger King? Why Pepsi and not Coke? Why Hershey’s instead of Mars?

Buyers are becoming more interested in aligning their buying habits with their personal values. By segmenting your prospect lists, you can speak more effectively to the places where your brand values align with your buyer persona’s unique outlook and set of ideals.

In Conclusion

Marketing teams that fail to segment their prospect lists in line with predetermined buyer personas are missing out on prospects that could be in their sales funnel. But more than that, they are losing the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with unique segments of their audience based on shared values and ideals. These unique brand/prospect relationships, if carefully managed, can become significant—and valuable— assets for your business in the future.

Quantum Business Solutions
Phone: 712.389.4639
Email: [email protected]

Share This Article