Marketing and segmentation is absolutely crucial for small businesses if they want to succeed.
When anyone setting up a business asks me what I think of their idea, I might reply – ‘Good idea’ – but then ask them about their promotion plan. If they reply, ‘What do you mean? It is a great product. People will love it,’ – I refer to the immortal words from Field of Dreams, ‘Build it and they will come’. I do this because I know the opposite is actually true. The fields of the real world are littered with countless businesses that were built, nobody came, and they went bust with owners shaking their heads. Nobody came because, in the real world, if you don’t promote it, they don’t come.
Some people would argue against this and tell me about how their friend made a fortune, opening a coffee shop in a new office complex. They would say their friend didn’t do any promotion. I would then have to point out to them that they did in fact promote it. It was in the downstairs of the office complex and the workers inside had to walk past it every day; not to mention they had no competitors because they got the only space available in the building. Unfortunately, you will have competitors and you will need to promote.
With that in mind I was inspired to write a series of blogs on marketing. My tips for small businesses to make sure you don’t end up stuck in a field using our own giveaways. In today’s we are covering segmenting and targeting. You can also learn about the buyer journey, and promotion for awareness, consideration and decision stages of the buyer journey in these other articles.
What is Segmentation?
Whether you are a cleaner or a Spanish teacher segmentation can make a huge difference to your business’ success. If you are not sure what segmentation is the car market is perhaps the easiest example to understand.
Ever wondered why there are so many kinds of cars out there? It is because the car manufacturers have segmented people into different groups and made a car to suit each one of them. They identified there are rich people out there prepared to pay for solid wood interiors and extremely buff leather seats. In addition, they have also identified there are other groups who, for example, want a car that has only two seats and sits low to the ground. If they didn’t attempt to do this analysis, then everyone would be driving the same car and nobody would be very happy. Presumably, you are happy that the car company marketers identified you and didn’t leave you stuffing your three kids into the back of a sports car.
Marketing and segmentation is not just for car companies, it can also help small businesses:
Better Targeted Messages
You may be thinking I am only a self-employed Spanish teacher; how can it make a difference? Well, here is an example for you. While doing your market research, you identify older people’s interest in learning Spanish is to buy property in Spain, but that students want to learn to pass exams. Armed with that knowledge you can tailor your services and messaging to each group.
Instead of a generic advert that just says, ‘Learn Spanish!’ – you can have one that says, ‘Pass Your Spanish Exam with a Higher Grade.’ Then another that says, ‘Negotiate in Spanish and Get a Better Price For Your Home in the Sun.’ Which ads do you think will be more successful?
Play to Your Strengths
It might well be that once you have segmented the market for Spanish classes, you may find you have natural strengths or qualifications for one or the other. It is a competitive world out there and to succeed, identifying your own competitive strengths is extremely important.
More Cost-Effective Promotion
This takes us back to the pesky problem of promotion and competition. After accepting that promotion is necessary, you also need to accept that one promotion activity will not be enough. It is said that you need to get your brand in front of someone at least seven times before they take notice. As a small business owner with limited resources, it might be better to target just one segment.
If you spread your budget thinly across several segments, it may well be that you don’t reach anyone. However, if you focus your budget on just one, you have a fighting chance of not just reaching your target customer but leaving a lasting impression on them. Once you have closed a bunch of customers in that segment, built up your cash flow and revenue, you can start to target that other sector. Based on the type of should have an ideal target customer and you should write it down.
Find a Less Competitive Niche
Doing this kind of segmentation can help find a way it is easier to compete. What do I mean? Once you have identified your segments, you should always attempt to see how competitive each one is. Do a Google search around the keywords related to your business and look at the companies listed in the organic search. If there are many well-reviewed companies with excellent websites, you know your competition is tough.
Similarly, if you want to do an ad, go to Google Keyword Planner and look at the keyword prices on the keywords for each segment. Once you have done this you should have a good idea how difficult it is to break into each segment – If you are lucky you may even find a niche nobody is focused on, but at the very least you can find a less competitive one. For example, our Spanish teacher may find that nobody is creating content or bidding on keywords for the older segment, while an electrician might find that nobody is focusing on one part of his city or area.
Going through this process will give you a much better chance of being able to effectively promote, get customers for your business and start getting paid. Hoof mobile point of sale solution helps you with last part: it enables you to take payments any way you want, and better organise and track those payments.