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Market Segmentation Part 2 – an accountant’s guide

First of all, make sure you’ve read our article discussing market segmentation and why you need it in your life! Then strap yourself in and come straight back here, so we can tell you how to do it.

Prepare

Step 1 – Specialisation

What do you want to be? It’s important to decide or define the area of accounting you want to specialise in. This could range from audits to advisory, or bookkeeping to budgeting. As we mentioned in part 1, it can be a mistake to offer too wide a range of services. Don’t over complicate it and stick to what you know and do best.

Step 2 – Differentiation

Who are your competitors? What do they offer that makes them different from you? Once you understand this, you can understand what it is you need to do to persuade your client that they should buy from you instead. It’s important you know who is operating in a similar market space to you, and it can be useful to keep an eye on what services they are offering so you can develop your unique proposition.

Step 3 – Segmentation

Once you understand what services you are offering and who your target audience is, you can split your customers into different groups based on their characteristics. You might want to separate your clients based on their geographical location, their industry type, their business size, or any combination of these! You can tailor your marketing strategy for each segment, based on their characteristics.

Step 4 – Determination

What’s your goal- get more clients? More referrals? To increase profit? In this stage you must determine exactly what it is that you aim to get out of your marketing process. A popular method for planning this is SMART goals. These are carefully organised goals which are targeted and achievable.

  • Specific – be exact about what you want to achieve. For example, rather than saying you want to simply ‘increase traffic’, say ‘increase traffic from small business in the construction field’.
  • Measurable – pick a metric which is a strong indicator of whether you are meeting your goal.  For example, page views would not be an accurate measurement of visitors – sessions or users should be used instead.
  • Attainable – while your goals should be ambitious, they shouldn’t be unrealistic. Don’t set yourself up for inevitable failure!
  • Relevant – ensure your goals are in line with what is best for your business and not just something that would make your team feel good. For this, you can use the CEO-rule. Would your CEO care if you met this target?
  • Time-bound – finally, when do you want to have met this goal by? Make sure you can review at the end of this period to look at your progress.

Marketing

How exactly are you going to achieve your goal? At this stage it’s important to develop a marketing plan to ensure you hit the targets you want.

Step 5 – Marketing channels

Think about the marketing channels via which you want to reach your target audience. You will need to tailor your marketing mix to the channels that will resonate with your audience. Here are some ideas:

  • Content marketing

Write blog posts, articles, profiles – anything that sets you apart and makes you memorable in the eyes of your target segment. You can host these on your blog, or externally on sites like Medium or Linkedin. But remember – only good content will be effective! There’s no point churning out dozens of posts if they aren’t interesting or useful to your target audience. However, if done well, you can use content to show your knowledge and share your thoughts on topics related to your services.

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If you’re new to the world of organic search it’s worth reading a more detailed overview of what SEO entails. In short, SEO is about making sure your website gets found by the people you most want to see it. There are a multitude of strategies involved – far too many to go into here (we should probably put it down on my list for future articles!) – but here are some top tips to get you started:

  1. Pick a good keyword – choose the search term or phrase you want to be found for. You should do some research for thus using Google Keyword Planner to figure out what people are searching for to find accountant pages like you.
  2. Research the competition – use a private browsing mode on your web browser to search your keyword and then look at the top ten results that come up.
  3. Write good content – in order to be ranked highly by a search engine (meaning to appear on the first page of a search) you need to be writing content that’s better than anyone else’s.
  4. Put your keyword in your title page.
  5. Put the keyword in your header.
  6. Put the keyword in the name and alt-text of images.
  7. Put the keyword in the URL and in the post – instead of this post being https://fluidly.com/blog/5727398016/ we’ve chose to call it https://fluidly.com/blog/market-segmentation-part-2. This way, a search engine can easily tell what the post is about – market segmentation.
  8. Insert internal links – insert links to other posts you’ve made and other pages on your site. Not only does this keep people on your website for longer, but it shows Google that your pages are worth linking to!
  9. Get external links – pretty much the same as above. This shows that other sites see your page as well-informed, quality material and therefore that Google should rank it highly.

 

  • Networking and events

Traditional networking or event marketing may be the perfect way to get in front of your ideal client and raise your profile. The tactic you choose with your networking/event marketing could be specialised conferences, or local networking groups. It could be a stand at an industry specific event, or sponsorship of a seminar. To be successful you need to find the method that will get in front of your ideal client, so talk to them about the events that they attend. Conduct research into the companies and job roles that attend particular events so you can figure out which ones are of interest to you.

  • Social media

You’ll already know this but social media is one of the most direct and natural ways to communicate with your target audience. But make sure you’re using the platform that’s most popular with your target demographic. You won’t be making any impact if you’re doing all your hard work on Instagram or Facebook when your ideal customers are only using LinkedIn. Which leads us nice and conveniently to our next phase and step….

Step 6 – Tools

Let’s talk about the tools you should use to both execute and monitor your market segmentation strategy. There are many options, but here are some examples of software you can use to help your marketing progress:

Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Mixpanel) – honestly, the information analytics software can give you on the behaviour of your website’s visitors is a little frightening. Using analytics will allow you to keep track of everything from which websites you’re getting your traffic from, to which of your content is the most popular. It’s a priceless tool in terms of being aware of your users’ behaviour and of where you might be able to get more clients from.

Spreadsheets – we would advise keeping a record of your site’s metrics data in Excel or Google Sheets (or the spreadsheet software of your choice! We’re not judging). This will allow you to keep track of your progress and of which marketing strategies are working.

An email marketing platform (Mailchimp, Hubspot, ActiveCampaign) – use an email marketing platform to send out newsletters! You can use this to target your carefully chosen market segments, perhaps with geographically specific information or content relevant to a certain industry.

Social media automation – Take the stress out of content and social media management by using automation software to arrange all the posting of your content to every one of your social media platforms. It will even pick the best time based on when your posts get most attention. Some possibilities are CoSchedule, Hootsuite and buffer.

Analyse

Step 7 – Assess

Use these tools and see where you’ve made progress and where you haven’t. Which of your marketing efforts worked and what clients are they bringing you? Have you achieved your determined goal? You’ll need to report on your key metrics weekly or monthly and compare progress over time in order to see what is working and what’s not. Tie these metrics back to the marketing goals that you set earlier.

And finally,

Step 8 – Reassess

As you discover more about your ideal client base then you’ll want to rejig and rework your marketing appropriately. This is a continuous process to figure out what marketing segmentation works best! Once you’ve figured out which strategies bring you your ideal clients then you can perfect and make the most of them.

We hope you found this market segmentation guide helpful! Have a quick look at more of our advice for accountants.

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