As a communicator, it’s important to remember that you have a target audience that can be defined. Think of the words that are associated with target: precision, aim, accuracy. Draw a clear connection between your content and the needs of your audience. In this week’s webinar, “An Expert’s Guide to Reaching Your Target Audience,” our guest speakers Pamela Jones, a Granicus Client Success Consultant, and Attia Nasar, Digital Media Advisor at U.S. Department of State, spoke to best practices on how to identify your targeted audience and the most effective ways to reach them.
Assess Your Communication Tools
The tools you use to communicate can be just as important as the message itself – how are you communicating with your audience? Are your current communication tools ensuring you’re reaching the right people? Think of your engagement efforts as a campaign. Define your goals and strategies. This will then help you define your tools and tactics.
Text Messaging: Text messaging doesn’t only help government organizations reach younger, more mobile audience — it helps them reach a more diverse audience as well. Ninety-seven percent of text messages are read within the first 15 minutes of sending. On average, people look at their phones 150 times daily. For these reasons, text messages are one of the best ways to reach your audience.
Email: When hurricane season was approaching, the Florida Department of Children & Family Services assessed the ways they were connecting with families on how to access food and other resources in the critical times following hurricanes. By using GovDelivery’s Communications Cloud platform, they increased their email subscribers from 2,600 to over 19,000 in order to maximize their impact when hurricanes hit.
Social Media: When evacuations are ordered due to weather, or there is an Amber Alert for a missing child in your neighborhood, social media and text messaging are highly effective at communicating and resolving a difficult situation. Bear in mind, however, that social media may not be the right platform in every case. For example, those who may contemplating suicide may not want to follow a suicide prevention account because of social stigma.
Meet People Where They Are, Then Test
Making participation easy means meeting people where they already are. It doesn’t matter if you have the best content if you can’t get subscribers to open your messages. Don’t underestimate the importance of your subject line and pre-header.
Segment Your Audience: Demographics can help to inform your content. Being mindful of audience attitudes and interests can help you shape your content and identify the best ways to reach them by testing various options.
Segmenting your audience is also useful to determine when your audience might be online. Since posts a few hours old get buried in news feeds and may never be seen by the intended audience, it’s helpful to time your postings to coincide with peak usage times, which also varies depending on the audience.
Time Your Interactions: When it comes to reaching your target audience, timing is important on a few different fronts. First, it’s important to reach them with the information they want/need when they need it. It’s also equally important to reach them when they have time to engage. Keep in mind that most people in your audience have tight schedules and, therefore, short attention spans.
Stay Consistent: All of your communications/outreach assets should communicate your value proposition. It helps you to set (and meet) audience expectations. Use a consistent voice and don’t stray from your core messaging.
Study Metrics and Run Tests: For many communicators, since their primary goal is to disseminate information, they put ALL of their content in the body of their bulletin. But how, then, do they know if the recipients found it useful? If you give them something to engage with in the body of your message, such as a call to action (a link or button that leads them to another page), you’ll have additional data with which to segment your subscribers based on interests. A/B testing (sending slightly varied messages to different audiences to determine which is more effective) can help you pinpoint the sweet spot (in terms of timing and demographics) that gets the most impressions.
When readers have a way to interact with you beyond just one message, you’ll be able to track the effectiveness of your efforts. By studying your click-through rates, open rates, and more, you’ll learn, in a very concrete way, what works to engage your audience. You can’t keep improving if you can’t measure the impact of what you’re doing.
Did you miss this week’s webinar on “An Expert’s Guide to Reaching Your Target Audience?” Watch it here.