By Kyle Hall, DTM, VC4, EH3

It is my hope that most clubs will, at some point, ask themselves this question: “Who do we want to attract to our club?”

In my experience, the first answer you receive to this question from most Toastmasters is, “Everyone!  Everyone needs Toastmasters!”

I agree, almost everyone needs Toastmasters.  Unfortunately none of our clubs can communicate with everyone.  

If we want to communicate our club’s presence and what we offer, we can be much more effective if we choose to limit the people we are targeting.

Let’s ask ourselves that question again as a club…and spend some time in deep conversation.  If we must limit to whom we communicate, “Who do we want to attract to our club?”

Our Target Audience

Whatever answer your club comes up with, this is your target audience.  Having a target audience suddenly makes figuring out how to communicate with them much easier.

Suppose your club decides it wants to attract small business owners.  If you planned an event that might interest a small business owner, how would you get the word out?  

Sixty seconds of brainstorming tells us to put announcements in:

  • The local Chamber of Commerce calendar
  • The local Chamber of Commerce newsletter
  • The local office or business supply stores
  • All the local coffee shops offering free wi-fi
  • A local business newspaper or business supplement, if there is one

If the event you are planning would be useful to the Chamber of Commerce, you might even be able to get them to market your event to their membership for you.

Why choose to limit your target audience?

1. Ease of communication, as described above, is only the first reason to choose to limit our marketing to a small target audience.

2. The second reason for choosing a niche is because attracting to our club the type of people with whom we enjoy associating will enhance our own enjoyment of our meetings.

I was talking with a club recently regarding this issue.  After a little bit of the deep conversation, the members admitted that most of them were writers…and that they tended to enjoy associating with other writers.  I advised them to consider choosing writers as their target audience and plan events that might be attractive to them.

3. This brings us to our third reason for choosing a target audience, making it easier to figure out what kind of event will attract them.  

Small business owners and writers are very disparate audiences and will respond very differently to a particular event.  For example, small business owners might flock to a presentation on “dealing with difficult people”, while writers would ignore it entirely.  Writers might enjoy a workshop on “how to use speaking to market your book”, while small business owners yawn.

4. The third reason above hints at our fourth reason for choosing a target audience… we can now attract members without regard to geography.  

In our current online meeting environment, our clubs can now market to audiences without worrying about whether they are local to us or not.  Whether our club has decided to become a hybrid club or not (see the Nerdmaster video on Hybrid Clubs), we have some powerful marketing options open to us now.  Some of those social media tools that seemed odd and irrelevant before may now be just what our club needs to attract the limited audience we want.

Do you want to learn more about various social media tools and which ones to use for which target audience? Come to the Nerdmaster’s Wednesday night meeting, September 2nd, at 7:30pm PDT (6:30pm AKT).  We are having a panel discussion covering lots of different social media tools and which might be best for your club.  You can reserve your seat here