Who Are You Actually Talking To?

Whether you call them key stakeholders, ideal clients, or your target audience, you need to be clear about who you’re trying to reach. We all know that you can’t please everyone, so “everyone” should not be your target audience.

Who are you best suited to help? Why? How?

If you have clear answers to those messages, you are well on your way to developing a communication strategy that will attract the right people for your service or product.

When I begin working with a new client, I ask, “Who, precisely, are you hoping to communicate with and what do you want them to do as a result of this communication?” Goals can be big or small, short-term or long-term, but they cannot be vague if they are to be useful.

Are you better suited to work with men or women? Young or old? Rich or poor? Socially conservative or liberal? Active or sedentary? Are they parents or grandparents? Twenty-somethings or teens? Are they college educated? Are they white collar or blue collar? Are they building their future or thinking about their legacy?

Depending on the answers to these questions, your approach should vary widely. A message that will strike gold with a rebellious teenager probably won’t impress his or her conservative grandparents.

Of course, a single organization can serve more than one audience. Just be clear about your communication goals each time you communicate, whether you’re writing a blog post, publishing a press release, placing a paid advertisement, or hosting a booth at a community outreach event.

I work with a philanthropic foundation focused on helping people extend their legacies in perpetuity through charitable giving. That same foundation wants those looking for grants to apply. The messages to these two audiences are quite different, yet completely consistent with the overall goal of “offering people effective ways to engage in advancing the well-being of our communities.”

Now, I know there are those of you out there saying, “But I really do want to reach everyone. My (fill-in-the-blank-with-your-product-or-service) can help everyone.” While that may be true, your messages won’t hit their mark if you don’t narrow your approach, so pick a few audiences you most want to work with and develop messages for them. It’s okay if those messages don’t resonate with everyone. They’re not meant to.

Want to hone your messages? Let’s chat.