People crave connection now more than ever, especially after what we've all been through in the past few years, and when it comes to building a sustainable fashion business in 2023, having a connection with your customers is essential for growth.
Segmenting your customers and understanding your different target markets makes marketing your sustainable fashion brand a hell of a lot easier, and I know from firsthand experience because it's one of the changes I made to take me from stressed and in debt, to making over half a million dollars in a very short time running the largest online store for ethical and sustainable fashion in Australia.
Before I segmented my customers (which is a fancy way of saying 'splitting my customers into different groups of people'), I was running my business without a strategy. I also operated with a very broad approach and I thought I could sell to everyone, I thought I could connect with everyone, I thought I could convert everyone. But the fact is, when you try to sell to everyone, you sell to no one.
Getting clear on my customer target markets dramatically changed my business, it dramatically increased my sales, and it made marketing a lot easier too, because having a broad approach to marketing simply doesn't work in 2023. It might have worked ten years ago before Instagram and before social media and before the internet, but it doesn't work now. In 2023, you need a clear picture of your different customers if you're going to grow your fashion business effectively and efficiently.
So, if you're running an ethical, sustainable, circular or slow fashion label and you want to foster authentic relationships with your customers to increase your sales, you have to segment your audience.
This is why...
1. Segmenting your customers means personalisation and relevance.
Segmentation allows you to divide your target audience into distinct groups based on their needs, behaviours, demographics and values. When you have a few clear and distinct customer groups, you can create personalised marketing messages that resonate with each segment. In simpler terms, you can create content that really connects with each audience, and when people feel connected to something they see, they reach the checkout a lot faster. Different customers have different reasons for wanting to buy eco-friendly fashion too; some customers have environmental values, some have ethical considerations, and some might even have health reasons for buying natural and sustainable fashion. So, by tailoring your marketing messages to connect with these different buying motivations, you'll make your brand more relevant to each customer group, which is going to increase your engagement and conversions.
2. Segmenting your customers means efficient resource allocation.
When you're just starting out and launching your ethical, sustainable, circular or slow fashion brand, time and resources can be pretty stretched, so it's important to invest in the things that give you the best outcome. If you're going to spend hours and hours creating content every week, on top of designing and making your range, on top of managing an online store and every day-to-day task, it's important to make sure the content you create is being published on the right platform, in front of the right audience. If you spend time understanding your customer target markets first, you'll understand where they're hanging out and what social media platforms they're using, which means you won't waste time (or money) posting to the wrong platforms, speaking to the wrong people. For example, the largest age range of users of TikTok is aged 10-19. If you're trying to sell corporate fashion to 40-year-old women and if you've done your homework on your customers, you'll know that you don't need to spend a lot of time marketing on TikTok, because your target customers aren’t hanging out there. If you don't segment your customers and you don’t do your target market research, you'll spend time creating content for the wrong customers on the wrong platform and time is money, so don't waste it.
3. Customer segmenting helps to build brand loyalty.
Any brand that tells you brand loyalty is dead - has never had a true loyal customer. Some of my most loyal customers spent $4000-$5000 a year when The Fashion Advocate was an online and bricks and mortar store. They also supported my social media posts, they read and responded to my newsletters and they told their family and friends about me. But I didn't find those loyal customers by chance, or marketing to everyone and anyone and hoping for the best. I got clear on my target markets, and I opened stores in suburbs that make sense to them, and I actively found people who shared my values. That's what customer segmentation helps you to do - understand the needs and values of different people so you can sell to them - easily. Understanding your different customer target markets and segmenting your audience helps you to build more meaningful relationships with your customers, and in 2023, customers want meaningful products from brands who care about their customers. When customers feel like you understand them and align with their beliefs, they become super loyal advocates.
If you've just started out and you're struggling to reach 'your people', if your engagement has dropped or if you're pouring money into marketing with no return, it's time to focus on your customers and define your customer target markets.
I could talk all day about the power of segmenting your audience and why it's so important to define your customers, because I know it works. It’s worked for me, and it’s worked for hundreds of brands that I’ve worked with. The proof is in the pudding! If it's something you want to learn more about to increase your sales and increase your impact, you'll find everything you need in my Customer Target Market Online Masterclass Course.
Because ‘sustainability' isn't just about fabrics and waste; it's about sustaining your business in a fast-paced industry so you outlast your competitors, and defining your customer target markets is going to do that.