Do you know who’s your minimum viable audience is?
You know, the core audience. The group of people who love your business, organization, or church more than anyone else.
The die-hards, if you will.
Every successful organization has them.
Can you describe those people? Do you know their views, their likes and dislikes, their situations, their needs, and their struggles like the back of your hand?
I’m not talking about demographics. Forget about ethnic groups, income brackets, or education levels. I’m talking about the people who’s worldview lines up with yours.
The way they see themselves and the world around them line up with your atmosphere, approach, and overall brand. It resonates with them more than anyone else.
Who is that group? Do you know who they are?
If you don’t know who they are, it’s time to dig in and start learning about them.
If you don’t have one, that means you probably don’t have a sustainable marketing model yet. If not, the first step is to find your minimum viable audience and start serving those people like crazy.
But if already know who that group is, you need to ask yourself an important question:
Should you get more specific with your marketing and focus the majority of your time and attention on those people? Or should you just try to appeal to more people?
This isn’t a new approach by any means, and it definitely isn’t rocket science. Most marketing books would tell you to get specific, niche down, focus on one group of people, and become the go-to [fill-in-the-blank] for that group.
Once you’ve become THE solution for that specific group, those people will be so well served and so happy that they will start to do your marketing for you.
That’s my summary of Seth Godin’s outlook on marketing.
Basically, successful businesses grow more because they stand out more, and they stand out more because they focus on meeting the needs of one specific group better than anyone else.
There are exceptions, but for the most part, this is what you’ll find when you look around at truly successful businesses.
But that’s not how many businesses operate. Strangely enough, the ones that don’t think like this are usually the ones struggling with marketing and growing.
What’s interesting is that many churches and nonprofit organizations desperately need this mindset as well, but few embrace it.
Should churches and nonprofits know their minimum viable audience?
I think churches tend to think they should shoot as wide a net as possible and wait for something to stick.
After all, churches are supposed to be open to everyone, right?
But what if churches adopted the same marketing mindset as businesses?
Think about it:
No single clothing store can serve everyone. There simply isn’t enough rack space for all the different styles and sizes out there.
No single grocery store can even serve everyone. Some people only want to save money, others are willing to pay more for quality and a good atmosphere. Trying to serve both groups will kill your credibility with both.
You’d struggle to find a single business that could meet the needs of everyone. Not even Amazon, Apple, or Walmart. Especially not Amazon, Apple, or Walmart.
So why do churches think they can do it?
1 Corinthians 12:12 says the body of Christ has many parts, just like the human body. In the human body, hammers go in hands, shoes go on feet, and hats go on heads. These different parts of the body attract different things. You wouldn’t put a hat on a foot because it’s not a good fit.
This is not only Biblical, it’s common sense, really.
Every business and organization on the planet, like it or not, has a core audience that they appeal to.
The real question is, how well are you catering to your core audience?
An even more interesting question is:
How much better could you cater to that specific group? And if you focused solely on serving your core audience better, what would happen?
You don’t have to shun or ignore other groups of people. That’s not what I’m saying at all. But when realize exactly the type of person that’s attracted to your church and you start focusing the majority of your time and attention on serving that core audience, think about the impact your church could have.
But many people – both in business and in ministry – are too scared to take that leap.
After all, it’s much safer to diversify your audience base. It’s easy to have a mediocre impact on a lot of people. It’s much more difficult to genuinely change the lives of a few.
It’s really difficult to be exceptional at serving anyone when you’re trying to please everyone.
The sad truth is, with all the noise and competition for people’s attention today, being average is the same as being invisible.
Mediocrity = irrelevance
So the question for you is this:
Which specific group of people loves your business, organization, or church the most?
Again, not demographics. Forget ethnic groups and social classes. It’s about the way they see the world.
Which group of people’s worldview lines up best with your atmosphere and approach?
Now how can you focus on serving them better, even if it means you have to sacrifice some of the attention you’re spending on every other group?