Small businessWhile it’s tempting to try to be all things to all people when you’re starting your small business, a faster track to the top may lie in market segmentation. Simply put, it’s determining the best market for your product, and then tailoring every effort toward maximizing this segment. The following tips suggest how to go about it.

1. Think Like Your Ideal Customer
Say that you sell vintage records, electronics and clothing. While you would undoubtedly be happy selling to anyone, consider the profile of the ideal customer. Take a good look at the average person who comes to your shop, and you might get a picture that looks something like this:

• male or female in late 20s
• alternative music fan
• attends a handful of concerts a year
• has entry-level professional or service industry job
• has one or more tattoos
• lives within 20 mile radius of business

Keep this vision in mind as you consider this market segment. If it helps, search online for images of this ‘typical’ customer, and print them out. These are the people you’re trying to reach.

2. Build a Marketing Plan Around This Consumer
Look closely at your ideal customer and consider what marketing tactics would likely reach him or her. You may come up with a plan that incorporates:

• radio ads on commercial alternative rock stations and online providers, like Pandora
• alternative concert sponsorships
• Facebook page that promotes periodic discounts and tie-ins
• reciprocity offer with local tattoo parlors
• geo-fence discount within five mile radius of business

When developing tactics targeting specific market segments, it helps to think local first. As your plan is implemented and begins to pick up steam, you can begin to consider ways to leverage your market segment into additional areas.

3. Consider a Street Team or Strike Force
Because you’re dealing with a specific market segment, it’s easier to identify opportunities where your potential customers can be reached. As such, a street team or strike force can help precisely target members.

For instance, say that an alternative music festival will take place in your vicinity. By creating a street team outfitted in t-shirts with your business name on it, you can deploy it to the event to hand out discount coupons, free swag with your logo on it and other goodies.

The team can consist of employees, if you can spare them, or volunteers who may agree to work in exchange for free or discounted merchandise from your store. You might even consider wrapping your business vehicle with your logo and colors to convey your street team to events.

For more insights into street teams, click here.

4. Leverage Your Segment
Once you’ve successfully targeted your market segment, you can consider going after additional segments. For instance, you might use your insights to begin targeting consumers who are into cosplay or gaming, if research shows there’s potential here.

Segment marketing is a way to dive deep into the demographics of some very specific consumer groups. By doing it successfully your business can thrive.

While it’s tempting to try to be all things to all people when you’re starting your small business, a faster track to the top may lie in market segmentation. Simply put, it’s determining the best market for your product, and

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