How to Grow New Audiences for Businesses and Nonprofits

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audience building

Most organizations reach a point when they realize that business growth is leveling off. Maybe their core customer base is aging and not being back-filled by new younger customers. Or a company may launch a new product or service that doesn’t align exactly with its existing audience. In times like these it’s important to make strategic changes to tactics to build the base you need in order to support your goals and objectives. Here are some time-tested methods for changing the size and profile of your base.

Strategically manage social channels

Social media is a powerful tool for creating authentic engagement with your audiences. It’s also a very effective channel for incrementally developing new audiences or evolving the profile of an existing audience. For instance, when done strategically over time, it’s possible to attract and retain a younger demographic while retaining your existing base. It requires planning, deliberate execution, and persistence but it works well for a number of reasons.

Why social media works for developing new audiences:

  • User-generated content is a valuable third-party endorsement
  • Social media marketing is low cost and can be quickly implemented
  • You can build your own audience and engage with them over the long term
  • You have total control over your message and have editorial control over the conversation if needed
  • Facebook, in particular, is very measurable and provides robust analytics through its “insights” feature

Leverage affinity groups

Marketing to an audience that shares common interests that overlap with your brand’s offerings is far more effective and economical that a broad-brush approach. When speaking to a group with known likes and/or dislikes you can hone your message to appeal to their unique needs, wants, and concerns. Clear and targeted messaging delivers much higher ROI than a generalized approach.

How marketing to affinity groups can grow your audience:

  • Editorial coverage within a targeted affinity group provides a valuable third-party endorsement that’s delivered to interested prospects
  • Advertising to an affinity group allows for highly-relevant messaging, imagery, and calls to action.

Reach prospects through strategic media channel selection

The more you know about your prospective customers the better. If you know which media your target audiences use to gather information and you hone your messaging to fit the prospect and the channel, your rate of engagement and ROI will benefit. Put the right message in front of the right audience at the right moment, and you’ll win!

How to reach new customers through strategic media channel targeting:

  • Establish and maintain a consistent and appealing presence in channels that your target audiences frequent, and build overall awareness of your brand
  • Communicate in channels where your message is relevant and welcome, and garner support from existing audience members
  • Establish relationships with media contacts/writers/editors and become a go-to source for information on your area of expertise

Tailor your message and imagery

Whether your goal is to expand communication channels to existing customers or reach new ones, a relevant and appealing presentation is key to ensuring audience engagement and action. Learn as much as you can about what interests and motivates the audiences that you seek to grow, then hone your messaging, imagery and voice to maximize your appeal to those groups.

How targeted messaging and imagery helps to grow new audiences

  • If your messaging creates an emotional connection with your desired audience the likelihood of engagement is much higher than it would be with a generic message intended to appeal to a broader base
  • Well-chosen imagery can help to attract your target audience at a glance, drawing them in to learn more and take a desired action

It can be easy to grow complacent with the size and character of your current audience. And it can seem nearly impossible to imagine changing the nature of your customer base. But with planning and disciplined execution it can be very rewarding and may even infuse new energy into your business. But it can take time, so get started before the need becomes too dire.