By Warren Coles
22 October 2020

4 Top Marketing and Segmentation Tips for Self-Employed and Small Businesses to Outsmart the Competition

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: unfortunately 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 when they opened a coffee shop in a new office complex without any promotion - I would then have to point out to them that they did in fact promote it because it was 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 wanted to give my top marketing and marketing promotion tips to make sure you don’t end up stuck in a field using our own giveaways. It needs to be a series of articles and in todays, we are covering segmenting and targeting.


What is Segmentation?

Whether you are a cleaner or an electrician or a Spanish teacher segmentation can make a huge difference to your business’ success or failure. 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. Not only have they identified there are rich people out there prepared to pay for solid wood interiors and extremely buff leather seats, 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 because they want to feel like a motor racer. If they didn’t attempt to do this analysis, then everyone would be driving the same car and nobody would be very happy. Presumably, if you are a car owner 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 or vice versa.

Below are four ways targeting and segmentation helps your business:


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 to each group, and most importantly tailor your messaging. Instead of a generic advert that just says - Learn Spanish! - you can have one that says - Pass Your Spanish Exam with a Higher Grade - and 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 identified those sectors 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. You have accepted that promotion is necessary, but 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. Obviously, as a small business owner you have limited resources, so might be better to target one segment or another. Spread your budget thinly across several segments and it may well be that you don’t reach anyone, but focus your budget on just one and 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 you to some 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 a number of companies who are very well reviewed and have excellent websites, you know your competition is tough. Similarly, look at the ads at the top of the search results, then go to Google Keyword Planner and look at the price 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's 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.



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