Lesson 93: How to segment your translation market?

Lesson 93: How to segment your translation market?

In my previous article, we looked at segmentation and how does it help us selling translation. This week’s much more practical. I’d like to walk you through the process of segmenting your customers. It’s very hands-on and practical, so just follow it step by step. No woolly introductions this time.

1) Identifying real segments

Customer segmentation is not about creating segments, but about finding the needs and values that certain customer share that make them different from each other. This is why customer segmentation starts with thorough market research to first identify these needs and values for all of your existing or potential customers. Then it’s much easier to say lawyers value reputation, while business owners value quick delivery, and put them into two distinct segments. However you decide to divide up your prospects, make sure that all segments of your translation market are homogenous and different, measurable, accessible, substantial and viable. In other words, creating a segment for Polish poetry readers may be doable, but not necessarily measurable or viable for my business.

2) Setting an objective

Segmentation is just a tool to help you achieve your objectives, therefore it’s paramount to establish clear goals you want to achieve with each segment. For example, in my business segment, I may want to gain more high profit customers, while in the legal translation sector I may want to boost customer retention (so make sure they keep coming back for more).

3) Analysing the situation

Then, it’s important to identify your current position, capabilities, and constraints. I may have identified a great segment in astrophysics translation from German to Polish, but I neither speak the language nor understand much of astrophysics. This is just an extreme example, but you’re bound to find customer or prospect segments where you’re more likely to fit in well, and those where it would require you to overcome many obstacles and constraints. To maximise the benefits from segmentation, concentrate on aligning your situation with the segments you’ve identified. You should also compile a list of marketing tools available.

4) Segment profiling

If you’ve ever been to any of my talks or done my School course, you’ve heard me talk about Ideal Customer Avatars (and yes, there’s a month coming up on this topic, too). The main idea here is that each of your segments should have a profile of an ideal (representative) customer, outlining demographical and behavioural elements.

5) Selecting segments to target

As I said in point 2, you need to have clear objectives and match them with segments. The key part in here is to select segments to target in some sort of an order, so that you don’t just try to target everybody at the same time. Look at your objectives against feasibility and start with segments where all actions are more likely to bring the desired return.

6) Developing a marketing strategy

The beauty of segmentation is that it gives you a clear idea of how to target each segment most effectively. By the time you get to point 6, you’ve learned so much about your potential clients that you simply know what works with them, where to find them and how to market your services to them, in each segment separately, one at a time. Knowing who to target, you can select the right tools and fire away.

Happy segmenting! Next week we’re going to cover mistakes to avoid when segmenting your market.

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