Smart marketers know how important it is to understand your target market. If you’re trying to reach a more diverse audience(s) it starts with communication and research. Knowing what to say and how to say it to ensure diverse audiences know, like, and trust you is important. Creating valuable content for a more diverse market is not about watching what you say but understanding what they need.
Here are some ways that you can begin uncovering the information you need to make valuable inroads into reaching a new market(s) for your chamber.
Consider what audience you are trying to reach. Are you attempting to recruit more young professionals, or do you have something of value to offer minority business owners? Maybe you want to ensure that all business owners feel welcome regardless of background or experience.
So how do you do that?
You start by figuring out what is going well and what should be changed, altered, or expanded.
Identify the different demographics and communities within your chamber's target audience. Consult your member personas or create some so you know who your current members are and what they need. Then consider who is missing/not represented or underrepresented.
Consider factors such as:
Wanting to build a diverse member base is not all about the first four factors listed above, although that’s what most people think of. There’s also diversity of experience, economic background, educational level attained, language, etc.
Make a list of people you know you can help. We’re going to use this in designing a chamber communication strategy shortly.
Before we create a communication strategy based on the needs of the people you want to reach, list and analyze existing communication channels, messages, and imagery to identify potential biases or blind spots. Gather feedback on your existing communication. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews with diverse members and non-members.
Begin to establish relationships with people who fit your extended demographic. Don’t approach them trying to sell a membership. Instead, get to know their business and professional challenges.
When you converse with them, think about how two things:
For instance, if you wanted to recruit young entrepreneurs (under 25), their greatest challenge may be funding and a lack of business knowledge. The solution your chamber can provide may be networking (to help introduce them to potential investors or financiers), webinars on funding approaches, and an entrepreneur mentorship program.
After speaking with several under-25 entrepreneurs, you may realize that few of them know what a chamber is. That means that part of your communication and marketing strategy behind making members out of them will be educating them on what a chamber of commerce is and how it can help.
After having conversations with the underrepresented groups and understanding their needs, you should review your current chamber communications. Analyze how well your current communications and marketing strategies fit their needs. Make a list of what should be amended or altered to reach your desired market.
Areas requiring change may include:
No one will want to join the chamber if they don’t see themselves represented. They will feel like your communication and marketing initiatives are simple lip service if they don’t feel welcome and included.
To do this, you may want to:
This is the step most people are apt to forget, especially once they’re able to see some progress in their efforts to attract a more diverse audience and chamber members. But you don’t want to appear to be going through the motions simply because it’s trendy or something you “should” do. You want to be a sincere help to all member businesses and that means tracking and analyzing your effectiveness.
Some suggestions to do this include:
Remember, aligning your chamber communication with diversity is an ongoing process. By actively listening, adapting your approach, and building an inclusive environment, you can ensure your chamber truly serves and benefits all members of your community.
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