Clarify Your Target Audience. Reach More People
How “picking somebody” can be the key to reaching more people with your organization’s message
By: Kirk Hadden | Communications & Marketing
Do you need a target audience?
Yes, you should choose a target audience. Because when you do marketing for anything—including marketing a business, non-profit, or church,—if you pick somebody, you can reach more of everybody.
The following is a lightly edited transcription of the above video, a conversation between ArtSpeak Creative founders Kirk Hadden and Jason Bowman.
Today, we want to tell you about reaching more of everybody by picking a particular somebody.
We’re talking about dialing in on a target audience. And here’s why. The theory is if you will pick the right audience, if you’ll focus on a target audience, you’ll actually end up reaching more of some of that diversity in the other demographics as well.
I heard a story one time about a prominent Christian radio station that had different types of music depending on the time of day, and what they found was they weren’t growing until they just dialed in on a particular demographic. And then what they saw such growth that they ended up with more of that 18 to 22-year-old listening consistently than they did when they were just trying to cater specifically to their needs.
Why are we talking about all this? Well, we’ve been talking about empathy, feeling, and thinking on behalf of someone else. So the real question is, who are we thinking and feeling on behalf of?
And so we wanted to give you some tools, some things to think about as you tried to figure out who is it that is the center of the bullseye, the center of the target that we’re trying to reach.
And note that we’re not saying that is the only people that you’re trying to reach. It’s considered a bullseye. Yes, we’re going to reach everybody. Every church we talk to wants to reach everybody.
Everybody wants to reach everybody, right? You’re not called to your city to reach just one person, but everybody.
And in fact, if you want to have a growing church, then you’re going to have to have a target audience that is wide enough to cover a significant swath of population so that you can reach critical mass. You can reach enough people that you can have a sustainable church.
But what happens when you lean into a particular kind of audience? What we’ve seen, and what I think what is true over and over again, is that if you will find that one, and you will cater everything to appeal and to talk to them, you will reach more of everybody.
Yeah. I think you want to be careful though of just dialing in on trends or just doing what other people have done. I think you should try to figure out who you are most suited to reach.
And so that’s question number one. Who are you most suited to reach?
There may be things about you and about your background and your interests that would make it easier for you to reach a particular kind of person than other churches or pastors in your area.
Are you a world famous skateboarder? Well, then by all means, use that and reach the skating community in your area.
Or even a locally infamous skateboarder could reach some skaters in their community. Are you part of a young family? Do you have kids? I’ll tell you what, my kids have given me inroads into relationships with an awesome group of families in my community.
And so you are naturally going to resonate and attract people who are kind of like you. That’s going to give you an advantage to reach that kind of person.
Obviously, that’s not a hard and fast rule. There are other considerations, such as, are there people in your community that other churches are missing? People that have been unreached largely? Is there an opportunity there? Are there people that need someone to reach out to them specifically?
Wow. Could it be that God was positioning you to help serve the overlooked, right?
I mean to me is there anything more biblical, anything more compelling, than you positioned who you are, but now to serve those that aren’t being served? They might be unreached for good reasons. There may be difficulty, there might be hurdles, but what if you could become the ministry, the place that those kinds of people attend and connect with?
What if you could be the church for tattoo artists? What if you could be the church for former Muslims? What if you could be the church for a specific kind of person who may not feel like they have a good place to fit in anywhere else in town?
You could create a place for them. But what if there are also people in your community that if you were to reach them, they would have a ripple effect reaching other people in their community?
Well, let me just answer that. There are people in your community that if you reach them, they would have a ripple effect to reach others.
Anecdotally, when I was a young adult pastor, I inadvertently had brought on my very first intern, well, that was intentionally, but my first intern was an attractive athletic young man, and it turned out that summer we grew by quite a few in the attractive young female category in our young adult ministry, which then had an exponential effect when schools started back up in the young men category. But there was a ripple effect that happened with connecting with one young man in particular.
And this applies to a lot of different places, no matter if you’re a church or non-profit. In fact, the Global Center for Development has identified in Africa, if they’re going to change Africa’s narrative, they need to target rural girls under the age of 10. If they can reach them and help them, they will change the whole story because of the impact on their lives as they grow up in a different direction.
And so you might be able to identify people in your community that you specifically target, and you go all in to figure out, how can I connect with and reach those people? Because if you do, you could get whole neighborhoods, whole communities, whole cultures at once.
But the truth is, beyond all of that, these are guidelines, these are helping you narrow down some possibilities. The biggest question perhaps is who are you called to reach?
If you’re a church planter, you probably already felt this. This is why you’re here. There is something drawing you here. Maybe you knew you were drawn to the city, but maybe there’s a particular kind of person that you just feel called to reach.
The person that I think of, the story that I think of is David Wilkerson. And if you’ve ever read the Cross and the Switchblade, this rural pastor had no business coming to New York City to reach gang members, and yet that’s what he felt called to do. He came in and just put his heart on the line, put his life on the line to reach these guys with everything he had to be genuine, to be real and reach gang members.
And that impact that started there is now a national, even global movement is way bigger than if he’d just come to New York City and said, yeah I’m going to start a church now. He had a particular target audience in mind, which has left a lasting impact.
And hear me back to the target idea or the bell curve, we’re never and not advocating today that you would become exclusive to any demographic. Is there not a place at the table with Jesus for everybody? I feel like everybody’s invited to sit at the table with Him.
So don’t create an environment where you’re saying, no, we don’t want you, or we don’t want, you only want this. That’s not what we’re saying. But what we’re saying is, if you can identify who you’re called to reach, who you’re best suited to reach, who influencers of influencers might be in your community, you can position yourself, you’re probably already positioned to serve them well. But identifying that, clarifying that is going to actually help you reach more of everybody.
Want to learn more about target audiences? Check out these related resources
Why Your Church Needs Strategic Messaging ›
What Every Church Planter Should Know About Marketing ›