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MANY SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS aren’t sure what their prospective clients have in common, so they don’t know how to identify their target markets. Target marketing is about segmenting your prospective customers, and then choosing a delivery method and message with each segment in mind. It is generally more efficient to attack a single segment or two at a time, especially when you have a limited marketing budget. Begin by identifying the top 10 percent of your most profitable customers. Next, think about what they have in common. Consider their demographic profile, including their age, gender, geography, education and average household income. Finally, sharpen this profile by looking at psychographic traits, like values, interests, activities, attitudes and lifestyles. For example, is your target conservative or liberal? What hobbies do they pursue? What causes do they support? Are they fun-loving, environmentally minded, family-oriented or cutting-edge? If you don’t know your most profitable customers quite this well, don’t despair. There are a few easy ways to gather this information. For example, a data or list broker can take contact information on your most profitable customers and add demographic and psychographic data to it. Once you have this information, look for the commonalities. You can also survey your most profitable customers yourself to determine their habits and preferences. With this target market profile in hand, you will have a much better idea of how to reach these kinds of customers, and what messages will appeal most to them. Be sure to give thought to an appropriate reach and frequency for each segment you’re targeting. Reach is the number of prospects within that segment who see or hear your message. Frequency is the number of times those targeted prospects hear or see your message. Focus on achieving optimum reach and frequency for one target segment before expanding to additional segments. And by all means, you don’t always have to focus on traditional ways of reaching these prospects. Let’s take the example of the CEO of a boutique personal training studio that focuses on runners as a specific niche. Instead of investing heavily in advertising or direct mail, as bigger brands in this space often do, this owner came up with a creative, highly targeted solution. While much running gear is indeed purchased online these days, specialized running shoes are still often bought in a retail location, allowing a fit expert to help the runner choose a style of shoe that works in light of his particular stride and running challenges. So this personal training CEO and her staff visited every running shoe store in the city and tried on numerous shoe styles with each visit. After placing shoes back into their boxes, they also placed business cards inside which touted their focus on runners. Runners trying on the shoes saw the cards and may have assumed other runners used the training studio. Regardless, the messages were getting into prospective buyers’ hands when they had running on their minds. This tactic gave the studio credibility and generated more calls than they could handle. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.” Why not raise your aim by reaching your most profitable customers with target marketing?

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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