Finding our audiences

The Garden exists to tell as many people as possible about plants. As part of the Glasshouse Restoration Project we want to help lots of new people to see our plants. Through research we know that right now, we have lots of visitors, but they are all quite similar. We have less visitors from ethnic minorities. We have less visitors who don’t have a lot of money. We have less visitors who are under the age of 40. We have less visitors from the LGBTQIA community. Therefore, we are not telling as many people as possible about plants.

As part of the Glasshouse Restoration Project we are doing lots of activities to help more people from these groups see our plants. These groups do not already visit the Garden or visit our websites and social media accounts. This means that the ways that we often use to tell people about events won’t work for them. We also often used magazine adverts. The problem is that the new groups don’t read the same things as our current visitors. Even computers can’t help us. We use Google to make sure that the Garden appears top of people’s search results. Google tries to help us by showing us to people it knows will be interested. It does this by finding people who are like our visitors. This means it ignores the new groups.

All this means that we have had to find new ways to reach these groups. We have set ourselves targets for how much of our marketing budget we want to spend on these groups. This helps us to make sure we don’t ignore them. We are making sure that we put adverts in new magazines. We have tried this out in Attitude Magazine which is the UK’s largest gay men’s magazine. We have also placed online adverts in Pride magazine. Pride is a magazine aimed at women of colour. We have also spent money to make sure that our social media posts appear to the new groups. Getting Google to do what we want has been very hard. So far we haven’t been successful. That’s why we have now asked a company to help us train the computer to find us the right people. We think that all of this is having an effect. Lots of people from these groups have come to activities we have put on. What we don’t yet know is if this will change the number visiting the Garden in general. Over the next few months, we will be surveying visitors and this will help us to know if we are being successful.