So you know who your target market is and what they want. Or do you? Unless you’ve taken the extra step of dividing your audience into specific categories through market segmentation, you likely don’t have an in-depth picture of exactly who your ideal customer is.
It’s one thing to say your company offers a service, but to whom? “Anyone with a pulse” just isn’t going to be enough to let you connect meaningfully with the people that you really want—those with the right kind of needs, the right kind of challenges and—dare we say it—the right kind of money!
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
We all know the importance of researching our target markets, but far too many of us stop short of segmenting those markets further. In this age of inbound marketing when clients have the opportunity to actively choose what information they want to consume and reject the rest, it’s critical to be able to speak directly to the tightest niche possible.
Think of the difference that market segmentation makes between the way companies sell products for kids compared with selling products for teenagers. Marketing a type of football for kids requires speaking to the parent as well as the child; marketing the same football to a teenager likely requires speaking directly to the teen. It’s the same product, but the method, format and channels used to market are very different. Market segmentation enables you to identify those.
Paint a Picture
To get a really clear view of your ideal client, you need to create a customer persona for each group of clients. This is simple enough if you operate in the B2C market, but even in the B2B market the same principle applies. Identify who would be the person most likely to need your product or service, or who in a company would be the one to approach with your offering. Now, paint a visual of what this person “looks” like – not just his or her demographics, income levels and location, but also include:
- What his social situation is
- What his family issues could be
- What his personal style is
For example, let’s say your company offers marketing services to small businesses. What type of businesses are your best bet as clients? How would the needs differ between mom-and-pop convenience or grocery stores, young fashion designers working from home, and paralegals wanting to offer their expertise to independent law firms?
Find the Sweet Spot
Once you identify a few specific market segments—and each of the business types mentioned above could be an individual market segment—take a look at where they overlap:
- Perhaps they overlap in terms of location, in which case you could use local media to reach them all.
- Perhaps they overlap in terms of social media—chances are good the paralegals and the fashion designers are active there, but perhaps not so much the mom-and-pop shops. In that case, you might want a social media strategy aimed at reaching those, while you target the shops with a different approach.
The “sweet spot” is wherever all your segments overlap—that gives you the most bang for your buck in terms of reaching them with your marketing.
When you speak directly to the heart of the challenges your ideal client is experiencing and offer realistic, workable solutions based on his circumstances, that’s when you become invaluable to him, and that’s how market segmentation helps you to grow your client list.