Many factors go into building a user-friendly, functional website. Sometimes in the midst of making sure the call to action is in place and the site works the way you want it to, it’s easy to forget about the intended audience for the site.
About 50 percent of marketers say knowing your target audience is one of the most critical aspects of marketing success. Here are 14 things to look at to make sure your web design is built with the target audience in mind.
1. Study Your Audience
One of the first steps is probably fairly obvious, but you may not realize all the factors that play into knowing your target audience fully.
Not only should you study site analytics, but you also need to poll your current customers and analyze their browsing and buying habits. Look at a heat map for your website. When people land on your home page, where do they spend the most time and where do they click? How can you adjust your page to reflect this and improve user experience (UX)?
2. Use Social Proof
More and more people are on social media these days, so tying your website into social media proof — such as reviews or comments from customers — allows you to pull in additional traffic and connect with customers on a social level.
AO sells appliances and provides social proof to browsers by integrating reviews and a star rating system. This shows the user why they should consider the product for their own use. Also, they have a detailed description of the product.
3. Narrow the Focus
Over time, websites tend to add a little of this and a little of that until they are a cluttered mess. Take the time to step back and consider the focus of your site and how that matches your target audience.
For example, if you sell gadgets to help those with arthritis complete everyday tasks, then your target audience is those with arthritis or their caregivers. They don’t care about the news ticker at the top of your page unless it is about arthritis research news.
4. Network With Other Marketers
Take the time to network with marketers, particularly those in your niche area. You’ll learn a lot of tips and tricks on how to design your site and reach your target audience on their level. While you might pick up skills by reading articles such as this one, there are so many insider tips out there — any little thing you can do to add to your knowledge base is helpful.
5. Fulfill a Need
Through data and polling your customers, learn what they want and fulfill their needs. Don’t add a bunch of things that don’t speak to that specific need or needs. Instead, hone in on what problem you can solve for your customers and stay focused on fixing what you can. This is your niche area, and the more concentrated you are, the more likely customers are to remain on your site.
Food Lion knows that their customers are interested in recipes and want to come up with fresh new ways to prepare meals. They meet this need by providing a wide variety of recipes, which they regularly update. Bold images and in-depth instructions make following along as simple and straightforward as possible.
6. Make Your Site Readable
No matter who your target audience is, make sure the typography on your page is readable. It’s easy to get caught up in stylistic endeavors and go with a script that looks beautiful but is difficult to read. Consider how the text will look on both desktop and mobile devices. Ideally, your font will show the personality of your brand but is mainly just clear and easy to scan.
7. Add Mobile Friendliness
All age groups are using smartphones more and more to access the Internet. Today, mobile Internet traffic is just over 50 percent of all online traffic. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, then you aren’t meeting the needs of an audience — much less your target audience. Even Google has begun to look at whether your site translates well on smaller screens.
8. Consider Age
Think about your target audience and their typical age group. For example, if your site is geared toward millennials, you might use bold colors and edgy topics. On the other hand, if your target audience is traditionalists, then the use of classic colors and more conservative topics may work better.
Fallen Hero sells clothing that has a classic, casual style. Because the designs are relatively reserved, the website also reflects that same person with masculine colors and muted tones. You won’t see any pops of fuchsia or splashes of lime green here.
9. Consider Psychographics
Even though you can make generalizations about age groups, such as Baby Boomers, remember that each person who visits your site is an individual. Take the time to dig even deeper than those generalizations and pinpoint your exact audience.
For example, you shouldn’t just say your audience is Baby Boomers. Instead, use psychographics to nail down the typical type of home your customer lives in, their possible careers and even their hobbies.
10. Add Multi-Channel Capability
No matter your demographic, you’ll never reach 100 percent of people online only. However, what you can do is integrate your website with your in-store offerings and even an app the consumer can download. About 95 percent of marketers state multi-channel marketing is vital.
B & Q does an excellent job of integrating their stores with their website. For example, you can order online and pick up in-store in an hour. They also have an app you can utilize to order in-store or online.
11. Find a Niche
No matter what type of business you own, you likely have a competitor or two. Figuring out ways to stand out from the competition isn’t easy, but one thing you can do is develop a niche audience. For example, it was recently reported that marketing to African Americans is a growing niche with increased purchasing power.
About 35 percent of African Americans say they enjoy saving and investing, which is higher than the average for the general population. If you can figure out a way to tap into this or any other niche market specifically related to your products or services, you open the door to a new audience that is highly targeted and specific.
12. Create a Persona
Knowing all the facts and details about your target audience is nice, but how do you relate to that profile? One way to make sure everything on your website is aimed at your target audience is to create a user persona and run everything through the lens of that person.
The persona reflects your typical customer. You should name the persona and give them an age, profession, and even a backstory. Now, run everything through that lens. Does the persona like the colors you used? Does it respond to the calls to action?
13. Add Relevant Content
Make sure the content you add to your site is relevant to your target audience. Content is one way to drive traffic to your site via posts on social media and search engines. However, if the content is relevant to what your audience wants, then the traffic you pull in isn’t going to be of much use to you as a business owner.
Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services utilizes a blog to push information their target audience would be most interested in. Topics include articles such as activities to help with speech and language, advice to college graduates wanting to work in the school system and news about children’s mental health.
14. Segment Your Offers
One goal of your website should be to convert site visitors into subscribers. Once you have them signed up for your mailing list, you can continue to market to them on an ongoing basis and with offers that your target audience is most interested in.
However, take your marketing another step further and segment your list by specific interests based on past orders or behaviors while the user is on your website. The more specific your segmented lists are, the more specific your offers to those leads can be.
Pay Attention to Your Audience’s Preferences
Your website is one of the first places your potential customers will go to learn more about your company. Show them you understand what you need, and you’ll be well on your way to building lifelong relationships with members of your target market.