A new way to segment your clients


My client Sarah designs and makes the most gorgeous curtains. (Click the link to see examples on her website!) Last week we spent half a day together, working on her Marketing Plan, so that she can raise funding to take her business to the next level. As part of the Plan, we talked about her clients and she told me about a great way she has for segmenting them. There are three levels:

Bread and butter clients – good clients who buy from her because they know that what she produces is good quality and they want something a bit different; they are conscious of the cost. Sarah has quite a few of these clients and they’re relatively easy to attract.

Cream clients – great clients who buy the quality and expertise that Sarah offers, without questioning the price. They always take Sarah’s advice on the best options, even if it costs a bit more. Sarah has a few of these clients; they are harder to find yet once she’s got them, they keep coming back for more.

Dream clients – for Sarah a Dream client would be a public school or boutique hotel – somewhere that needs a lot of what she has to offer and that can afford her quality and personal service. She doesn’t have any Dream clients yet and it’s going to take specific marketing and personal contacts to win some. Once she got a track record with one, it’ll be much easier to find more of them.

I’ve always segmented my clients according to how much I like working with them, how easy they are to attract and how likely they are to keep buying. I use an A–D scale, with A being the best, or the Dream clients. However you do it, it’s important to segment the clients you’ve got, so you can decide how often to keep in touch with them. It’s also vital to segment your potential clients, because that will determine the best type of marketing that will attract them and the right message to use. Bread and butter clients might appreciate being taken out to lunch and receiving elegant, expensive brochures; but will that help them refer you to your Dream clients? At the other end of the scale, you’re unlikely to meet your Dream clients at a networking event and they’re unlikely to respond to (or even open) a simple mail shot.

So if you haven’t been through your client and prospect list recently, now is the time to do it. Divide them into different levels and then look at what you need to do to market to each of those levels.

How do you segment your contact list and what do you do differently, for different people on that list?


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