Determining & Reaching Your Target Audience
The term “target audience” might immediately make you think of the business world, but reaching your target audience is equally as relevant in the church world. There’s a reason that there are so many different types of churches with unique styles, cultures, and messaging – and it’s a good thing. If every church was trying to reach the masses, the result would be watered down, middle-of-the-line, unremarkable churches. And, if we’re being honest, there are plenty of those kinds of churches already.
What we need are more churches with clearly defined visions working as hard and as smart as possible to reach a specific group of people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Here are three easy steps to get you started on reaching your target audience for your church.
1. Determine Who Your Target Audience Is
This may sound obvious but, unfortunately, so many churches try to skip this very important step. Or they make the mistake of thinking that their church is for absolutely everyone. Take the time to think of who your church is truly intended for and who your message most resonates with.
Ask yourself specific questions like:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their background?
- Their ethnicity?
- Their income?
- Do they have kids?
- What do they do for a living?
- What are their values?
Let us be clear: Your target audience isn’t a means of exclusion, but rather a means of reaching the people you feel called to reach as effectively as possible.
2. Understand What Your Target Audience Needs
To do this, you really have to figure out how to spend time with the people you feel called to reach. Get some face time with those who are in your target audience and are far from God. Talk to someone who just recently accepted the Lord and ask them about how they felt before starting to attend your church. However you do it, just be diligent to understand the needs of your target audience.
Ask questions like:
- What are they missing in their life?
- Is something keeping them from a relationship with God?
- What are their hopes and fears?
3. Research the Best Methods for Reaching Your Target Audience
Knowing who your target audience is and what they need will help you determine the best methods and the best time to connect with them. One quick exercise that’s helpful for this is to create a hypothetical person who is the epitome of your target audience. Create a fake name and then determine where they work, what kind of car they drive, if they have kids, what they do for fun, etc. This will give you a “person” that you can keep in mind as you create content and messaging.
For example, if your target audience is business professionals and your hypothetical person is Richard, then you’re going to want to make sure your communication channels and messaging are effective for Richard. So, you’re probably not going to use a lot of slang or casual language. And you’re probably not going to create a Snapchat account. However, if your target audience is young twenty somethings, your approach will be based around what’s best for that group.
You can also make the best use of your digital advertising dollars by targeting the right demographics rather than trying to reach the masses.
The most important step in reaching your target audience is starting to discuss and research it. Take the time to have a brainstorm session with your team to ask yourself these questions. Then, you can move forward with a clearer and more efficient approach to spreading the message of Jesus.