Any successful website has to be designed with a specific target audience in mind. If you begin the development process focused on yourself instead of your audience, you risk creating a site that does not speak to your potential customers, and as a result, does not help you promote and grow your business.
But this audience focus is only possible if you actually know who your website should appeal to. To help in that regard, here are 5 steps to defining your online audience and setting you on your way to success in the digital realm.
Website Design Tips: 5 Steps to Defining Your Online Audience
1) Analyse Your Customers
As you can probably imagine, understanding your target audience necessitates an understanding of who your current customers are. That, in turns, grouping your customers into commonalities according to age, geographic locations, demographics, and interests.
Ideally, you have this information at your fingertips, and simply have to analyse the data. But if you don't, surveys of your current customers along with more detailed one-on-one conversations allow you to gain a better understanding of your customer base.
2) Identify "Ideal Customers"
Once you acquire that understanding, it's time to focus more narrowly. Not all customers are created equal, and some will be more likely to remain loyal and profitable for your business than others. Identifying who those are gets you a crucial step closer to determining just who you should target.
One way to find your ideal customers that is particularly helpful to successful web design is persona development. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, who help you make statistical analysis and numbers more concrete. This guide is a valuable introduction to the concept and its benefits for your brand.
3) Find Pain Points
Once you have found your ideal customers, it's time to determine what they need. Ultimately, turning a web visitor into a customer requires a simple process: you convince your audience that your product or service can solve a problem they have. That problem, or 'pain point,' thus becomes a central indicator of how you can identify your online audience.
Depending on your brand, finding your audience's pain points can range from a simple to a complicated process. Techniques like the 5 Why Method get you from surface-level wants to more in-depth, underlying needs that your brand and its website can address.
4) Understand behaviours
Where does your target audience like to spend their time? Do they prefer specific social networks, or do they tend to visit your website based on specific Google searches? Understanding their behaviour adds another layer to defining your online audience, and will ultimately help to improve your website.
A website designed for an older audience on desktop computers will look very different than one that's exclusively available for mobile devices. Only understanding your target audience's behaviours can get you to a better understanding of what they need and look for when researching your brand online.
5) Determine Decision Drivers
Finally, your website can benefit from grouping your online audience based on the decision factors that prompt them to become customers. Will they be convinced to engage with you with compelling content, or do they need a tangible offer - such as a discount coupon - to start the buyer's journey?
As you might imagine, not all online behaviours are created equal. Different audiences will be persuaded by very different strategies, and understanding your ideal audience's decision drivers can help you develop a website designed specifically to guide them through their road to becoming customers.
Using these 5 steps, you can strategically identify and define your target audience. That, in turn, gets you on your way to designing a website and digital presence that speaks to your intended audience, and effectively encourages them to become customers.
To learn more about the process, and for help in designing a website specifically with your audience in mind, contact us.