Our first recommendation is to consider who really need to know about you and what action you want them to take once they do understand who you are and what you do. For example, if you run a mentoring program that pairs adult men with young boys that requires a one year minimum commitment it makes more sense to connect with the individuals that are more interested in that than the general public. In fact, it may save you both time and money.
A great way to determine who that subsect of the overall population is, consider making a communications matrix that helps you narrow down your audience for your specific program or service. In most cases, you may need to alter the matrix in certain areas to communicate with various audiences for your program. For example, the way you will communicate with school administers, teachers, parents, and students may be very different.
The four questions included in the communications matrix are: Who needs to know about you? What do you want them to know about you? Why do they need to know about you? What do you want them to do once they know about you?
(For the examples below we will use an afterschool program.)
Who needs to know about you?
This question refers to the specific audience that you need to market your program or service to in order to achieve your desired action. This category can only contain one specific audience such as parents, students, or teachers. If your audience gets too broad then it becomes a challenge.
Example: Elementary school teachers in Sunshine County.
What do you want them to know about you?
This question is a place for you to think about your program and what is special about it. Consider what makes your program more unique or different than another similar program.
Example: The Building Blocks afterschool program is available to all students K-5 Monday through Friday until 6 PM. Students are given an afterschool snack and broken up by age groups into groups. This program is sponsored by the local university and helps provide students tutoring from college students majoring in education, and allows students to explore the opportunity of college.
Why do they need to know about you?
This question can be interpreted in two ways. First, you can consider this question as answering the question of why individuals should know about you in regards to how you can work with them through a program or service. The second way to think about it is why the individual would be interested in receiving the message you are sending out. Both help you land near the same place, but depending on your thought process one might be easier than the other.
What do you want them to do once they know about you?
This question is your call to action. In many cases it will be a similar call to action for your various audiences; however, the way you are going to get there might be different. Ultimately, this is your goal – do you want people to sign up for your programs, volunteer, donation, or take some other action?
Utilizing the communications matrix can be a great way for you to narrow down your audience and ensure that you are focusing your time and energy on those that will truly take pick up the call and take your desired action.