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Know Your Audience to Increase Sales: Why Target Marketing + Customer Segmentation Works

Target Marketing

April 5, 2022

One of the best ways to increase sales is to get to know your audience — and then market to them directly.

It’s not unusual to feel apprehension about this approach, however. It can feel like you are narrowing your potential customers. “So many people can benefit from what I do,” you may think, “so why not cast the broadest net?”

It’s a common thought. But I’m here to tell you — if you are selling to everyone, you are doing something wrong.

Why Selling to Everyone Doesn’t Work

Most people won’t buy from you. It’s harsh, but it’s the truth. Maybe you’re out of their price range, or they just don’t need your service, or they’re not at the stage of life where they could benefit.

Recognizing that is the first step, because if you continue to market to everyone, you are wasting your time and money.

It’s important to remember, you also don’t need everyone to buy from you. You just need the right someone — the “ideal client” — who is looking for exactly what you offer.

In your marketing, focus on the people most likely to purchase from you. Marketers call these folks your “target audience” or focusing on your “ideal customer.”

These are customers or prospects that are:

  • Happy to pay you (and you make a profit)
  • Will buy from you again (and refer people to you)
  • Benefit from your services or products (and fits your business model)
  • Will make a great case study or example

A straight-forward exercise is to craft an elevator pitch for your ideal customer, as if you are speaking directly to them. Then use the messaging in your marketing initiatives.

Customer Segmentation Can Grow Your Business

Once you’ve identified your best customers, you may spot trends — and realize that they are grouped or clustered together. This is a critical step, and one my agency helps guide companies through. It’s almost like having to take a step back to view the forest for the trees.

For example, here are some ways — by no means all the way — you may spot trends among your ideal customers.

For B2C (business-to-consumer) companies:

  • Demographic (age, gender, family, location or income)
  • Lifestyle (values, profession, interests, passion)
  • Pain point or maturity level
  • Behavior (spending, purchasing or browsing habits, which is critical when marketing during a downturn)

For B2B (business-to-business) companies:

  • Industry
  • Revenue or number of employees
  • Paint point or maturity of business
  • Business model or services fit

The Proof is In the Sales Results

This upfront planning and strategy work is important. It sets the stage for everything that follows, such as what to say on your website, what to put in your sales material, which social media channels to invest in or how to craft a stellar advertising campaign.

For example, one of our clients said he never received any sales leads off his website. After we redesigned it, changed his messaging according to his “best fit” clients and industry segments, he received two sales leads in two days!

Another client invested in customer segmentation. He never used to sell anything through his website, so we put together a plan to create content that speaks to different customer segments as well as distribution partners, among other efforts.

The multiple approaches worked (including the often-overlooked impact of email marketing, which can be four times more effective than social media marketing.) He doubled his revenue in a year.

Yes, it takes time to do this up-front strategy work. But I promise, it’s worth it.

The next time you want to skip ahead, stop and think. The effort you put into marketing strategy now can save you — as well as make you — money later. And that combination is a powerful way to grow your business.

Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need or sign up for Mentor Connection to build relationships with a trusted group of mentors.

Mackenzie Walters

Mackenzie Walters is the owner and chief strategist of StoryStruck Marketing, an agency in West Des Moines that uses journalism techniques - including customer interviews - to craft marketing strategy. They primarily work with professional service and product-based businesses.