Marketing #3: Know Your Audience

Who is your target audience when you market 4-H programs?

Sure, you can say that it “depends” and that would be true.  And there is much validity in understanding that, and thus adjusting your marketing strategy to the specific audience for the specific program.

Today however, we are going to narrow things down a bit.

It is the beginning of the year and you are trying to “sell” 4-H to a new crop of young people.  Your main target audience therefor is…

The Generation X and Millennial Moms.

Why?  Even today in 2017, mothers still make the bulk of the childcare (and related) decisions.  Therefore, if you can convince the mother that 4-H is a good thing for her child, the likelihood of the child participating is increased.  So how do you do that?

Tips for Reaching Moms:

  •  Moms want to know how you are going to solve their problems… and speaking as a mom, moms have LOTS of problems (this mom has maybe more than the average).  Problems might be- how to help my science-phobic child become science-literate, how can I help my TV-obsessed child enjoy the outdoors, or even how can I help my child get into college?  Always know the problem (or as Simon Sinek would say- “the why”) for your audience and use that when crafting marketing messages.
  •  Moms are on social media.  (Specifically- Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram).  Your marketing content must exist there. 
  • Take time to check out and invest in hootsuite which allows you to automate your social media posts.
  • Take care to post at the most appropriate times.  If you Google “When to Post on Social Media” you’ll quickly find lots of suggestions as to when to post to get the most clicks, shares, etc.  HOWEVER, this page demonstrates how you can use analytics to determine the unique best time for YOU to post based on when YOUR unique audience is online:  The Best Time to Post on Facebook.
  • Trusted word of mouth is an extremely valuable tool for reaching moms.  If my “friend” on social media raves about an event she attended, I’m more likely to buy-into this event than simply seeing a flyer at the library.  Marketing through social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest, means that your posts can be highly shareable.
  •  Want moms to share your posts on Facebook?  A couple of things to remember-  use a catchy photo, keep the narrative short and include a call to action.
  • Speaking of trusted word of mouth… there are also often trusted institutions.  In most families, the child’s local school is a trusted institution.  In many schools, children have some sort of folder or agenda that comes home nightly to their parents that includes things such as brochures and flyers for local activities.
  • Many cities have some sort of parent/child activity resource page like:  Fun 4 Gator Kids.  Parents frequent this site to find activities for their children.  You need to be here.
  • Television and radio are still largely consumed by moms.  However, gone are the days when a TV commercial could reach the masses.  Now with the advent of DVR and Netflix, it is easy to never see a commercial.
  • Be brief and to the point.  NOT LIKE THIS BLOG POST.  Time is precious to moms, if you want to engage them- you have to do it quickly.
  • Be careful not to pigeonhole moms.  Even though you may market to this target audience, exercise extreme caution such that your marketing materials do not come across as patronizing or sexist.

What strategies have you used to market your 4-H program?  What tactics are you using to encourage new members as we approach the start of the new 4-H year?

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