Does your chamber have a target audience?
Membership

How to Plan Your Chamber’s Target Audience for Effective Membership Marketing

Most chambers mass promote every benefit possible as much as possible. And while that type of generic ad certainly has it’s place, it’s not effective. By focusing on one specific segment of potential members, you can create a Target Audience for more effective membership marketing. You want to create an ideal customer profile (ICP) or target audience avatar, so you can craft a better message that resonates stronger with who you’re talking to.

You should have multiple avatars & segments, but you should focus on just 1 that describes your perfect member. Written as one individual, it’s not the only person who will buy from you, but the best – the one member you wish you had 100 more of.

This is who you should focus your marketing efforts on trying to reach. The data in your Ideal Customer Profile determines every decision that comes afterward, so it’s important to create this avatar first and foremost. 

Your audience avatars or profiles can literally be a word document with organized bullet points, or you can download a free PDF template from DigitalMarketer.

Note: I’ll be using ‘profile’ & ‘avatar’ interchangeably.

What Your Ideal Customer Profile Should Include

A good ideal customer profile or avatar includes two types of data: demographic and psychographic.

Demographic data tells you who your target audience is. It includes things like age, location, economic status, marital status, language, and so on. 

Psychographic data tells you how people think, feel, and behave, and it’s a bit trickier to obtain. However, this information is in many ways even more important than demographics. You should try to learn as much as possible about your ideal customer’s core values, their beliefs, their aspirations, and the problems and issues they face so you can help solve them.

For example, if you ever thought about the time of your business after hours event because parents need to get their kids home – that was psychographic.

If you’re not sure where to start, then I recommend thinking about your favorite chamber member. Just 1 person. What are they like? What do they care about? How do they interact with the chamber? If they don’t get information from the chamber, where are they getting it from? Write down everything about them.

Create an avatar on these features and treat this as your target audience for attracting new members. Instead of talking to all businesses, talk to just this one person.

Collect and Analyze Data

A good Ideal Customer Profile for your target audience contains objective data, not assumptions. You have to connect with your target market and gather this data from them. Your data can includes information about the people your avatars represent. In addition to the demographics & Psychographic info, you want to know their:

  • Goals & values
  • Problems & pain points
  • Objections to membership
  • Role in their organization & as a member

You can get data on your target market both directly and indirectly.

Direct methods include asking questions, holding focus groups, running surveys and polls, and so on.

Indirect methods include looking at social media profiles, watching and participating in online discussions, and looking at metrics such as web traffic and sales data. 

Know Your Organization

Focusing on a target audience should be guided by knowledge about your organization. You should already know somewhat who your benefits best serve and why. Consider what you offer. Who would benefit best from it? Why does that matter to them?

Figure out your unique strengths and create a unique value proposition. This is a statement that describes specifically what you do and what sets you apart from other similar businesses. 

I think most chambers of commerce will have at least 4 similar big-picture audience avatars:

  1. Entrepreneurs, start-ups, new & potential businesses
  2. Existing businesses that are transactional members (aka: want to see the $ ROI)
  3. Community-minded people that are just investing because they think it’s the right thing to do or want to be able to influence the future of the community
  4. Pro-business members that care about advocacy and the local business environment

Note: these are some common segments I found in my years at my chamber, but if you want to better understand or learn how to take this even further, I really recommend Cathi Hight’s “How to Appeal to the 4 Types of Members”

Again, consider your current members and identify your biggest brand advocates. These may or may not be board members or ambassadors. Instead of the groups, think about a few individuals who talk up the chamber to others the most. Who’s beating down your door to renew membership? Try to list what they have in common.

Focus Your Membership Marketing on Just ONE Target Audience

I’ve talked about multiple audience avatars here because you will have more than one and it’s good to be aware of them. However, when you go to work on your marketing pieces to attract new members, I want you to focus on just one of these. Pick just 1 to be your Ideal Customer Profile. Who is the one member you wish your chamber was full of? Market just to them so you attract more people like them.

This is such a simple but important marketing basic that many chambers don’t do.

I know this is hard because you want as many members as possible and you’re worried about ignoring a segment or not attracting as many people as possible, but really you’re doing a disservice to yourself and them.

That’s because when you talk to everyone, you’re actually talking to no one. Your message is watered down to be too broad and is no longer resonating with anyone. (Source: any book/article ever on persuasion & storytelling)

You’ll still have the other benefits of membership & information on your website, and you’re still open to talking to the other segments of potential members, but by focusing each marketing piece on one specific type of member or avatar, your message is much more likely to resonate with them.

Building Your Ideal Customer Profile Is Ongoing

Once you have a good ideal customer profile, you’re ready to get started planning your marketing strategy. But creating an audience avatar or is a task that’s never truly finished. There may be changes in the market or changes in your priorities that will require you to update your ideal customer profile and other audience avatars. Keep collecting data about your target market and revise accordingly. Gradually, your profile will become increasingly refined and effective.

Take Action

Start a quick rough draft of some audience avatars you already have forming in your head. Just write down as many ideas you have and get them on paper. Once the ideas stop flowing, then think about who would best be your target audience.

Pick just one of these avatars. This might be the person you wish you had more of at the chamber, or simply the avatar you think you can sell the most memberships to in the short term.

Going forward, tweak your marketing pieces to better talk to just that one person.

Next:

Don’t Have Enough Time for Social Media? A Strategic Plan Can Help
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