Why I have no target audience

Poor marketing, that’s what I do. I volunteered to start a church marketing team to get the word out about the amazing work God is doing through Messiah Lutheran Church (you can also *like* us on Facebook, thank you, Jason Vana!), but I’m learning I don’t know much about marketing. One fact remains: I cannot grasp the idea of a “target audience.”

I read tips to improve my blog, and many tips I have applied over the last few months, and grown my traffic and comments, but I still possess no clear picture of my target audience.

Last night, I sat in a meeting in which we discussed who the target audience would be for the health fair we are planning. My ideas are probably too inclusive — I say it’s anyone who needs health services and education. Too broad. That will never do.

Marketing literature, even and especially church marketing literature, would say that we should decide who we are targeting with our green-and-blue logo design, signage, ministry events, mailings and more. I can’t. Do we target 20-30-somethings? Young families? Sure, but how about older singles? grandparents? kids? teens? college students? middle-agers? retirees? drug addicts? alcoholics? welfare recipients? the terminally ill? prisoners? and here’s the one most likely to shock you… child molesters?

Did Jesus come for all, or just for a target audience? He did identify 12 core members first, but they weren’t the most savory crowd, were they?

My blog has no target audience. I write about things I know and I write as the Spirit lays a subject on my heart. I don’t write for 30-somethings, I don’t write for the Church, I don’t write for the un-churched, I don’t write for unbelievers, I don’t write for my family, I don’t write to exercise judgment on others… I write because I am called to write and if my “target audience” is too broad, blame Jesus.

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,Β and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus – Romans 3:22-24

—————————————

Jesus’ demographic was any who needed salvation and grace. His marketing plan would not pass muster with investors, now, would it? I’m glad that my church family is growing by young people and old people, by families and singles, by churched and previously unchurched, by people like me and people completely different from me. I think that represents the readers of this blog, too. I’ll gladly follow his successfully “unsuccessful” mode for spreading the word, without a target audience.

What company do you feel has the best marketing campaign? Why?

Describe yourself, please, your “demographic of one.”

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44 responses to “Why I have no target audience

  1. I’m probably not your target audience, well, because I’m a devout atheist. I do enjoy your writing though and have learned things from you. I don’t think a target audience is necessary. Just keep speaking from the heart and people will keep reading…people from all walks of life.

    • I think if I had to be truthful, my audience is “people who willingly read what I write without guilt” which is a pretty small sample πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading, Ash. Love to you and your zombies.

  2. I’ve read and applied tips to my blog too, but haven’t grown readership/comments (though I suppose even gaining one new reader/commenter is an improvement :o) ). I’ve tried making a target audience…but that would really limit me. If I make my blog for singles (like me), then married people probably wouldn’t come and read/comment. I certainly can’t do a mommy or wife blog, because I am neither of these (and these blogs, if their focus is on parenting or being a wife, I stay away from as they aren’t directed at me).

    So, my “demographic of one” (if I understand what you are meaning/wanting) is that I am single. I am 42. I have no kids, am not divorced, don’t have a permanent full-time job (only a supply job that doesn’t get me much work this year), and I’m also Canadian :o).

    I like your blog just the way it is. I love the stories you tell about your girls (even though I don’t have kids of my own, these are cute stories and I do enjoy them). I love your honesty, the topics you choose, and your writing style. Your blog has quickly become a favourite of mine.

    • I’d say writing about the things you like and interest you is the best way to grow a readership.

      I’ve found that when I get controversial and preachy, that’s when my readership and comments go up, but that’s not always what’s on my heart to write, and if I did it just to be controversial, it wouldn’t have the mark of the Spirit upon it and that “success” would mean very little.

  3. Nice post (by the way, I’m on brand new long range planning committee for my Lutheran church in Canada – I kind of rep the social media side).

    Anyway, if you want to know your target audience, you can plug your site (or any site) into alexa.com. According to them: “Based on internet averages, messiahmom.wordpress.com is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 35-44, have children, are college educated and browse this site from home.”

    Happy Friday, my friend!

    • that’s a pretty cool tool. It’s also surpising, because most comments are left by married males 25-35 who visit from their iPhones. πŸ˜‰

      • Jonathan B

        Alexa.com only gets stats from people who use the Alexa toolbar (which most tech guys will tell you to never use ;> ). Hence, your average commenter may vary. πŸ™‚

  4. I am right there with you. I do not have a target audience either. I write what God prompts for whoever God decides needs to read it.

    • I think people identify with me because of my age or marital status or children, but I don’t think that’s who I write for (and certainly dont write for fellow English majors – they would be appalled at that last sentence!)

  5. I’m not your target audience because I’m a male with a young son, you (of course) are female with young daughters.
    Parenting experiences & little kids saying funny things are universal though

  6. Lol…I don’t know who my target audience is either…I think?
    One thing is for sure though…when I write funny stuff about my kids…my traffice sky rockets!!! If it’s about “You are going to hell for this or this…then not so much traffic…

    I’m still learning my style of writing…..I’m a really quiet person in person. But writing I love!

    My deomographic is….uh…my email contacts, my facebook friends, and anyone who is following me….and of course a small group of blogs I read…including yours…

    I like you blog cause it’s simple…and then you lose me on the who sheakspear thing! lol

    • I usually shy away from condemning people to hell, but I know that people respond to my most honest and forthright posts… and that sometimes includes my rants.

      Shakespeare isn’t as inaccessible as people make him out to be, he’s just a little more outside the norm than we’re used to nowadays

  7. right on – don’t have a clue about a target audience, either. i just write down what comes, join in memes that interest me and follow a whole bunch of blogs to sample what’s out there. it’s fun, interesting, often inspiring. but i do think i’ll check out leanne’s link – just for the heck of it. thanks for this one.

    • I should say that the one thing I make sure to do is to positively reflect on my church home. Not that we’re perfect or do everything exactly right, but because I love them and I want to be a reflection of the love and grace I’ve found there.

      I think many people write about their interests, some are more narrow than others — I’m a big picture kind of girl

  8. Don’t feel bad. I don’t think I have a target audience, either. πŸ™‚ Or it’s something like …

    WildThing having – Compassion Lovin – Sarcasm interpreting – Unschooling – Jesus Followers. πŸ˜•

  9. Yeah, funny enough I thought I knew who my “target audience” was. When I started the blog I thought I was going to be another Daddy blogger… Turns out, like Robert said, kids can teach anybody (young, old, married, single, kids, no kids, etc, etc) universal truths about our Father. I’m okay with that, I suppose….

    • my favorite thing about your blog is that it is so purposeful, that it shows in each and every blog post the intentional way you have of speaking into the lives of others, and that resonates with more than just me, I’m sure.

  10. Carolyn Courville

    No distinct target audience? That just means you have a very wide appeal. Many groups of people enjoy. I’m older, grown kids, but I can still identify with your struggles and triumphs. A well-written piece with deep thoughts can be a good read even if it doesn’t directly apply to someone.

  11. The best writers write for themselves any way. It’s good to consider the audience but there’s a risk of pigeonholing if we focus on who we think might be reading our words.

    I’m a 31 year old sassy young lady who is trained as a social worker but dreams of being a writer, obsessively roots for the White Sox, inhales books like candy, and wrestles with the messiness of faith, life, and love. How’s that for a limited demographic?

  12. I really dislike the idea of church marketing.

    In terms of a blog, I don’t like the idea of finding a target audience. I do like the idea of finding your core message. I think that may help you rethink this concept.

    You mentioned writing about things you know. When you focus your writing to the things you know best, you focus it. The target audience finds itself.

    For example, I used to write about any and everything under the sun. I would write devotional posts. I would write about technology. I would write movie or album reviews. You never really knew what to expect when you came to my blog.

    I realize that the topic of identity is my life message. I see how finding your identity in Christ ultimately ties to walking in your destiny. So bam, I had my focus. I know I have an endless supply of topics to write on those two subjects.

    I still write about other stuff, but the focus is identity and destiny (living intentionally/exceptionally).

    Maybe you can look through your posts and find the topics that you felt most comfortable writing. The ones you felt carried the most authority because of your life experience. You may just find your life message (I believe each of us carries our own life message).

    I’m not the boss of you, so you do whatever you want. Just some thoughts to consider. I want you to be successful now, so when you’re a famous writer, professor, speaker and human trafficking activist, you can give me a shout out on your ridiculously popular blog.

    • what, specifically, do you dislike about church marketing? I don’t like pandering or gimmicks, but I obviously don’t have a problem with social media and websites making it easy for people to get excited about what’s going on at Messiah.

      I am trying to look at those posts in the past that have made me happy to write or that helped me get a grasp on something or pointed to my voice, but I’m pretty sure it won’t limit what I do in the future, because (and you can ask my graduate adviser about this) I’m interested in pretty much everything!!

      • I don’t have a problem with getting the word out with marketing at all. I love technology and I believe it needs to be leveraged in the body of Christ.

        I’m referring more to catering to a specific set of people. I’ve seen church marketing that comes across very exclusive. I don’t think that’s the heart of the kingdom at all. Plus, you end up creating a consumer driven church. People come for how they can get their needs met more than for how they can be part of a community of believers and (gasp!) serve.

        I think the same strategy I talked about could apply to marketing a church. If you’re big on outreach, talk about that. If you’re big on discipleship, talk about that. Highlight your strengths and people will be drawn to how they can be a part and serve. If you focus on what you do well or your core message, the target audience will find you.

  13. *3rd paragraph, 2nd sentence edit

    When you focus your writing to the things you know best, you strengthen it.

  14. I think Apple has a great marketing campaign.

    Personally, I think your blog is like those magazines in the doctor’s office. You don’t care what is the topic, but you still open it, read it, glance it and enjoy it. If necessary, you also write on it. (what… you don’t write on doctor’s office magazines?). Then you find yourself going to the Dr’s office even when you don’t have an appointment just to read the magazine for free. (I can’t be the only one that does this? Right?)

    As for myself? I’m a New Yorker that skips his way in life while laughing and appreciating spiritual truths. I am not easily intimidated by the shannanigans in this web world and I happen to like the folks I meet through these tubes.

    • I am just glad you put my blog on par with National Geographic (without the nudie pics) as something you would pick up no matter what!

      you skip? videos or it didn’t happen πŸ˜‰

  15. I’m the worst about not having a target audience on my blog. As far as my regular commenters go, I have an atheist, several married Christian moms, a couple Christian single moms, a few dads, a couple pastors, some very liberal single moms… The list could go on. I usually get responses from the parents on the parenting stuff I write, responses from the single moms on the things I write that have to do with being single, and responses from Christians when I write about anything spiritual. In the past I have considered narrowing my focus a little bit, but all the things that bring in different types of readers are part of me. So I just write anyway. I’ll never have the most popular blog out there, but I’m okay with that. πŸ™‚

    • Oh, and as for me… I’m a Tennessean that still claims Seattle as home after 16 years. I’m a 30-year-old single mom, a Christian, a “non-traditional” (a nice way of saying old) college student, a future elementary teacher, a lover of books, a runner, and a blogger with no target audience.

  16. I’m not your target audience b/c I don’t have children and don’t attend a regular church. But I do read your blog. And I enjoy it. I love books and stories and anything that could possibly enrich my life.

  17. I love your blog because you are….you. Whether you are telling a story about your girls or going all Thoreau on our buttocks, your transparency makes me feel like I just walked into your house and felt comfortable enough to go grab a drink from your refridgerator without asking. You’re honest. You can hit hard or you can make me laugh. You challenge me and make me think. I likes.
    I don’t really think I have a target audience. I feel like people that have never cracked a Bible can appreciate/enjoy what I write without feeling like they’ve been smacked across the face with a Hymnal, but at the same time feel challenged wherever they are. I don’t market myself much right now. I write when I feel like something is bursting out of me; otherwise, I wait. I talk to my dog, I tell funny stories, I make people cry. I’m all over the place. But…that’s how I am in real life, so I feel like my blog is a good rep of who I am.

    • your blog is the perfect representation of who you are. You’re awesome.

      thanks for the kind words about my blog, Katie. You know you’re welcome to just come on over and take anything you want from my fridge. If you could start by cleaning out the crisper, I’d appreciate it πŸ™‚

  18. I think buffet restaurant does the best at this–they target overweight people (like me).
    As for my demo–I am a 33 year-old husband, father of 5, brother, son, friend, pastor, assistant registrar at a private college, nerd. Hope that helps πŸ™‚

  19. Brilliant post, Kristin.

    Some of the best marketing I’ve seen comes from the Heart Attack Grill (http://www.heartattackgrill.com). They know who they are, they are up front about it, and make no apologies for it. In a market full of fast food enterprises that try to make their unhealthy food appear healthy, I find the Heart Attack Grill’s candor refreshing.

  20. Kristen,

    Is it wrong for me to wish you never get a target audience? I too, don’t have anyone I’m trying to focus on.

    I feel like bloggers that do that, I often unfollow because I like things mixed up. A smorgus board of thoughts and creativity.

    Rock on, sister.

  21. I’m a teetotaler, but I have to say the beer companies do the best TV commercials of any one industry. The Budweiser Frogs, the Clydesdales, and even the silly “Hooray Beer!” guy from Red Stripe are stuck in my brain. I never want to try their products (drinking rotted grain, really?), but I will stop what I’m doing to watch one of their commercials, especially Budweiser. They’re sometimes funny, sometimes heart-tugging, but always well done. You not only remember the commercial, you remember the product tied to it. Some other commercials are really great entertainment but really bad commercials, because no one remembers the product 30 seconds later even though they remember the commercial.

    The opposite end of the spectrum for TV commercials are perfume ads. I swear they sniff too much of their own product. πŸ˜› They’re trippy and usually have little to nothing to do with the product.

    Geico Gecko commercials are usually well done, along with the Aflac duck. Coca Cola polar bear commercials, too.

    The classic commercial of my generation was probably “Where’s the Beef?” but I couldn’t tell you who it advertised without looking it up. (It’s under the pickle, if you were wondering. My school actually had burgers one day where the pickle was bigger than the patty, and my class quoted this at random for at least two weeks after.)

    The old Folger’s Crystals commercials probably deserve a nod. Those of us above a certain age still make “We’ve replaced –something– with Folger’s Crystals. Let’s see if he/she notices.” jokes. Such as “We’ve replaced Barry’s Brain with Folger’s Crystals. Let’s see if he notices.”

    And of course, there was Grey Poupon. I can’t tell you how many times kids in my class asked anyone and everyone “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” at random after those commercials came out.

  22. I love that you write what God lays on your heart. What a poetic thing to say. I guess I’m the same – I write what moves me. Or rather, the posts which garner the most comments/interest/conversations/phone calls from my mother that begin with, “So-and-So read your blog. What did you WRITE?” are the ones that flow right out of me. Almost like I am but the tool through which the words come. Does that sound crazy?

    I overshare, but have long gotten past feeling that it’s wrong to do so. Well, most of the time. My heart’s on my sleeve and it’s what either draws you to me or repels you. It’s my gift…and sometimes a curse, but mostly for others.

    I love your words and the mixing up of topics and thoughts. Keep it up!

  23. great post!i believe that’s just the whole gospel of Christ you just summarized right there.love it!

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