How to maximise engagement with your ‘hard to reach’ audiences

A hard to reach resident working from home

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Our last blog focused on different ways to connect with your ‘hard to reach’ communities.

If you want to maximise engagement, you need to prioritise who you wish to target, and understand more about them to communicate effectively.

Here we share ways to maximise engagement utilising audience segmentation. By creating personas that represent your key audiences, you will be able to effectively target and tailor your messaging.

Build a deeper understanding of your residents

Audience segmentation involves organising your residents into meaningful groups. This allows you to prioritise and tailor communication campaigns to maximise engagement and behaviour change based on the preferences of each group.

Whatever audience you wish to target – including the ‘hard to reach’ – the more you know about them, the easier it is to communicate with them. It also helps you to create (and adapt) your content strategy to mirror their needs.

You may already have access to data resources such as Acorn, Mosaic or admin data from council departments. However, understanding your audience on a micro level is arguably far more important. It helps to ensure that your message resonates with the individuals you are trying to communicate with.

Segmenting your audience
Segmenting your audience

Use insights to determine your campaign strategy

Even with a better understanding of your residents, through intelligence gathering, it can still be a challenge. Especially with hard to reach groups. Knowing how to use this information to deliver meaningful, engaging campaigns, and land results, is essential.

The insights gathered allow you to effectively communicate. But taking the time to consider how you use this information, will determine your engagement levels. Therefore, it is critical to consider:

  • Who are you targeting and what is the message?
  • What is the campaign designed to do? Create awareness, provoke action or encourage sustained behaviour change?

Use audience segmentation to improve the effectiveness of your communications

By using the information gathered, you can segment your audiences or create personas. Depending on the level of detail available, you can build a robust picture of your residents.

These segmented groups are representational and will span your most important target audiences. The overview will demonstrate their needs and requirements, based on their demographic, lifestyle, and behavioural characteristics. And of course, their preferred communication method!

Creating bespoke, tailored communication campaigns for your segmented audience allows you to define specific messaging to them. It also gives your audience everything they need to fully engage with your content.

Initially residents may fall into segmented pots which could be defined by: 

  • Age range 
  • Location 
  • Dwelling type 
  • Household occupancy 
  • Participation with council run services or relationship with the local authority 
  • Engagement with previous campaigns and surveys 
  • Preferred communication method 

Continuously build resident understanding to enhance communications

Beyond this, you could consider their likes and dislikes. Use previous engagement and surveys to truly tailor communications. For example, communications may be influenced by tagging them based on their views and engagement with climate change:

  1. The Alarmed: This group take climate change more seriously than anyone. They’re already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it.
  2. The Concerned: This group also believes that climate change is a serious problem. However, they have not yet engaged with the issue themselves.
  3. The Cautious: Disengaged and doubtful. This group represents different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem. None are actively involved with any issues concerning the environment.
  4. The Dismissive: This group are the main antagonists of climate change. They are active in discrediting the cause and are opposed to the idea of reducing their carbon emissions.
Woman standing on balcony with phone to her ear smiling

Prioritise your audience segmentation

Audience segmentation is by far the most effective way to extend your communications reach. However, you must also consider your available time, resource, and budget. If you try and please everyone, you will please no one.

Therefore, we recommend that you create between 3 to 6 segmented groups, but no more than this. Having too many groups can be resource intensive. It also risks diluting your messaging bringing with it minimal returns.

By introducing audience segmentation, you will have the ability to reach and communicate effectively with all of your communities. Over time you will develop an insightful and valuable resource. You can then utilise it to engage and motivate your residents. Helping you deliver your environmental and wider objectives.

If you’re considering creating personas or audience segmentation please get in touch.

Case study: Motivating 'hard to reach' audiences to recycle more
Case study: Motivating 'hard to reach' audiences to recycle more

How do you get ‘hard to reach’ residents to recycle more?

Download our case study to see how we successfully…
  • Increased participation of diverse communities and transient populations within a Borough.
  • Engaged a high proportion of flatted properties.

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