Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a nonprofit community organization, success in the digital space starts with being able to reach your target audience. But with new digital platforms emerging almost daily, which channels should you be using to effectively communicate to your intended audience?
To put it simply (and unhelpfully), it depends. Are you trying to sell a service or gain support for a community issue? Does your target audience skew younger or older? Are you launching a campaign to promote a new product or respond to a crisis?
While every company or organization’s objective is different, figuring out how to reach your target audience digitally starts with these same fundamentals:
1. Define your target audience.
Are you looking to reach men, women or everyone? Are you trying to appeal to C-suite executives or consumers working in a specific industry? Are you hoping to connect with parents or young singles? While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how often this step is skipped when developing a digital campaign. But knowing who you’re communicating to will help determine where you should be communicating, so don’t skip this step.
2. Meet your audience where they are at, not where you want to be.
Once you’ve figured out who your audience is, the next step is to find out where and how they engage with online media. It’s natural for businesses and organizations to want to be on new and trendy platforms like TikTok but does your audience actually use it or even know what it is?
The best way to know which platforms your audience uses is to … wait for it … ask them! You’d be surprised at how much people will tell you if you just ask. Quick pulse surveys delivered via email or on the social channels you do have can give you immediate feedback from your audience that tells you exactly what you need to know. And you might be shocked to learn where your audience is spending their time and how they prefer to be communicated with.
Keep in mind, this is not to say you should delete your social media profiles if your audience says it prefers email as it is extremely important to have multiple communication channels available. But if you learn where your audience is engaging online, you should use that information when developing your digital strategy to ensure you’re reaching the people you want to reach where they want to be reached.
3. Personalize your messages.
The verdict is in and personalized messages work better. For consumers, it can still be a little weird when we’re shown content that is so specific to our individual interests, but ultimately, people are more put off when they receive a message that was so glaringly not meant for them. According to a recent report from McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect to receive personalized interactions, while 76% get frustrated when they don’t. And with access to more audience data than ever before, personalization has now become the norm when trying to reach and grow your audience.
4. Analyze and use your data.
Being digital is a mindset, not an end goal. And regularly collecting and analyzing data from your digital campaigns is part of that. Your data will tell you who your audience is, what type of content they like and, most importantly, what they don’t like. It also will tell you if the message you put out was successful or not, so it’s important listen to what your data is telling you and use it to your advantage when developing your next campaign.