Jeremy Bartley

How to know a target market and grow your non-profit

When marketing a brand, product or anything in between, doing it well comes down to knowing your target market well. If you’ve been around marketing at all this is no surprise, but what is shocking, is how poorly we know our audience. The demographics (gender, age, race) aspect of creating a target market is easy, but do you know what their favorite tv show is? You may be thinking, “There is no way to know the favorite tv show of my target market,” but the truth is, you would be surprised how much information is available about your target audience. So why should you care about what people watch? It's simple. It indicates what kind of content is relevant to them.

What I have just described is relational marketing, which can only be implemented if you know your target market on a personal level.

The more you know about your target market, the easier it is to communicate what they want. The real game of marketing is not to let people know you have a better product, but to keep the attention of the audience longer and add more value to their lives. The reason we hear so much about the importance of brands telling a better story is that it keeps people's attention longer. Plus, most of them prefer good content over being sold something any day. To go even further, you are not just competing with local organizations for your audience’s attention, but with big brands trying to reach them too. So the better you understand your target market, the more relevant content you can create to keep their attention.

Marketing is constantly changing based on what the consumer wants from a brand. It used to be that you could talk about the features of a product or service using a famous person and people would try it. This tactic might still work for your target audience, but you still need to ask the question and find out what your market really wants.

When you begin to understand who your target market is, you will better understand what they want. If you know what the market wants you can create content that will grab their attention. After you have the attention of your target audience, they may want to learn what you have to offer. At this point, there is a high chance of getting a new supporter for your non-profit.

Here are some practical things you can do to understand your market better.

- Build a buyer persona(profile)

Create a fictional character that represents your target market through detailing their demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals. Then turn this information into a short bio/story narrative to put yourself into the mindset of your audience.

- Facebook research

Dive in and study the social media profile of your top donors. When looking at these profiles look for patterns that could be used to establish what your target market likes and wants. Also, this is an excellent way to see what content they engage with most.

- Take them out to coffee

Don't neglect your greatest asset, which is your current donors. Take some time to engage and ask the tough questions about your organization. What do they like and not like? Why do they support your organization? What are their interests and where do they spend time online? Ask the questions that are hard to figure out through online research.

Getting to know your target market can be tough, but it is worth the effort. Even if you set out a couple of hours a week to understand your donor, it will prove extremely valuable.