How to target ethnic minorities in the UK? – Offline Channels

27th January 2017

One of the most frequently asked question by current and prospective clients, is ‘how do I target ethnic minorities in the UK?’. Well, there are several ways and today we will explore some of the best.

Just like mainstream audiences, there are several channels that we can adapt for ethnic markets as part of a marketing campaign, whether this is offline or online. In this blog, we’re going to look at the offline channels of promotion that are available to you.

Offline channels

Ethnic publications

Have you ever heard of Cooltura, Ziarul Romanesc, El Iberico, Planet Philippines or The Nigerian Watch!? These are some of the UK’s largest ethnic publication, where each one is written in a different language.

Most ethnic groups in the UK have their own publications, which are printed in the mother tongue of their country of birth. These might be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly, with some titles local to a specific area of the country, whilst others have coverage across the UK. Some of these publications even have a larger and wider circulation than publications for mainstream target audiences.

When planning advertisements that directly target ethnic minorities, it pays to engage with a marketing agency or a media house, as most of the time they can offer better prices than going directly to the title – HOW? It’s all down to economies of scale and long standing relationships – marketing agencies and media houses will buy in bulk and have probably worked together on a number of campaigns before.

Merchandising in ethnic stores

Some people may think that leaving a leaflet in a local store is an old fashioned form of marketing and won’t generate a lot of ROI. However, when it comes to ethnic customers, this is one of the best ways to reach out to them, as you are targeting them in a place where the highest concentration of your target audience will visit.

Leaflets, brochures / catalogues and posters produced and delivered to ethnic stores are normally displayed on the counter near the till or on a window seal by the entrance.

There are over 3,000 ethnic stores across the UK – more then 500 of them are Polish alone!

Ethnic TV and radio

Although there are a lot more ethnic printed titles then there are TV and radio stations, some companies are utilising these channels to promote themselves to specific groups.

Most ethnic TV channels can be found either on Sky or Virgin, with a handful that broadcast online only. When it comes to radio stations, there are a few that broadcast on FM, whilst others opt in for DAB, and a majority are available online or via mobile apps.

With these channels, you can chose the traditional 30-second advert slot, as well as run programme sponsorships, interviews, in-app advertising and more.


A handful of companies have tried this and it has worked, even though the mainstream audience wont understand what they are seeing – advertising in native languages of target audiences on buses, bus stops, phone kiosks or even on 48 or 96 sheet billboards. A key to success here is to pick locations where your advert is going to be seen by the largest concentration of your desired target audience – it might not necessarily be at a tube station or airport, but perhaps nearby a community center, ethnic shop or place of worship.

For example, GottaBe! Ethnic holds extensive databases of ethnic locations – from shops, places of worship, community centers, restaurants, Government institutions, to Saturday Schools.

The DigiVan is also proving popular – in a nutshell, it’s a van with two big screens on either side, and they can play a video, run a slideshow or display a static picture. The huge benefit of the DigiVan is the fact that the client can specify the hours of operation. What’s more, you can also plan your own route that the van will cover each day and it can park in various locations too.

Face-to-face interactions

Everyone has been stopped in the street before, so how about someone doing this on behalf of your company?

Face to face interactions are proving very successful – bi-lingual promotional staff can engage and explain your products and / or services with ethnic target audiences in their native tongue. This allows them to build greater rapport, before handing over a promotional voucher, leaflet, catalogue or even generate a lead.

A new addition to this service is AdWalkers – Brand Ambassadors who are equipped with a backlit LED-advertising board. These mobile billboards are a great addition to bi-lingual Brand Ambassadors.

If you and your brand are looking for effective ways of engaging with ethnic minorities offline, please fill out the form below and we would be more than happy to discuss this with you.

Also, check out our next blog coming soon and find out how to market your brand to ethnic minorities using online channels, such as e-mails, social media, display, and mobile.

Let's see how we can work together