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Why your website target audience is crucial to your online strategy

If you've decided to create a website to help migrate your small business to the digital age, your first inclination might be to differentiate yourself from the competition and, in doing so, assert your superiority as a business. But before you begin, you must know and understand your website's target audience. Begin by asking yourself this question: Am I trying to present my company to the world, or am I zeroing in on potential customers looking for specific products or services?

Identifying your target audience

Your online presence should present potential customers with compelling content that convinces them to buy from you. Consider these two questions:

  • Who are your target customers?
  • What type of presentation would appeal to these particular people?

Your online presence should present potential customers with compelling content that convinces them to buy from you.

Answering these questions will allow you to adopt the approach best suited to addressing your customer needs, whether that means offering a full-fledged e-commerce website, providing free content through a blog or e-book, or merely having a digital home for advertising and promotion. Consider the differences between a website for a children's game and one for a car dealership. Each utilizes drastically different content, layouts, color schemes, and design choices. Your website should offer a positive experience for any visitor, however, your objective is to appeal to those most likely to become customers. To do this, you need to source and study some basic demographic and psychographic information. Typically, demographics will tell you who is buying, while psychographics suggest why they buy.

Demographics

Start by considering how your products or services best fit within the following demographic features: age, location, income, occupation, education, gender, ethnicity, marital status, and number of children. Focus on data that defines your core market. Learn what's important to your customers and build a picture of their lives. Getting to know your prime demographic can help define specific, actionable parameters to guide you as you formulate your marketing campaign. Remember that establishing a targeted profile doesn't mean you're excluding anyone, but rather, it helps keep your messaging focused on those people more likely to make a significant impact on your business. Plus, you're more likely to add new customers once you're successful and have made an impression within your core market.

Psychographics

Psychographics broadly refer to buyer motivations that cause them to take action. True psychographics are crucial in marketing to your target audience, but require the proper resources to obtain and examine the psychological profiles of your target customers. While this can be difficult for a small business owner to accomplish, you can still develop a familiarity with and understand your audience by studying how they present themselves online and what it is they consume. In this regard, social media pages can provide insight into a person's core personality, lifestyle, activities, as well as their favorite sports teams, recording artists, TV shows and more. Having access to this type of data lets you tailor your message and maximize your marketing efforts.

Applying your research results

After determining your target audience, implement the following in your site design:

  • Clarity of presentation. Make your business's goals and offerings obvious to readers. Customers should be able to understand your value proposition and intent the moment they hit your home page. Attention spans run short these days, so be clear with your business message and don't obscure it with complex visuals.
  • User-friendly design. Leverage the expressive power of simple language and strive to make your website easy to navigate. Regardless of your target audience's sophistication level, present them with a pleasant experience that is efficient from a technical perspective and features intuitive navigation options.
  • A clear call to action. Be specific about what you want readers to do once they've explored your site. You may want them to buy your product, use your service, subscribe to your newsletter, share your story, or simply contact you. Whatever your goal, make sure you offer visitors a clear path to proceed with the desired action.

Put simply, your target audience is the group of individuals you want to view your content. Sharpen your sales pitch by evaluating your audience's preferences, biases, hesitations, purposes, and perceptions. Aim to effectively address their needs, attract prospects, convince them to continue to consume your content, and, ultimately, buy from you.

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