How to Create a Website with Your Target Audience in Mind
Your target audience can make or break your business. They’re the ones who come back time and again. Repeat customers tell others why they love your product or service.
They are the core of your company, so your website can and should cater to their needs. Creating an only gathering place for your target audience isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ll need to dig deep and figure out what they want.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are approximately 32.5 million small businesses in the United States. No matter what industry you’re in, you likely have or will have competition.
If you want to stand out, you must understand your target audience and match their expectations. Pay attention to the competition and make sure your site stands out from the rest.
Where do you start when it comes to designing a website for such a specific crowd? First, you must know who your typical customers are. Your first step is understanding your customer.
How Do You Create a Target Audience for a Website?
If this is your first website, you won’t have the analytical data of a brand that already has an online presence. You’ll have to get a bit more creative to figure out your target audience for your website.
Start by studying your competition. Whom do they cater to, and how does it compare with the audience you think you serve? Some other steps you can take to figure out your target audience include:
- Study your customer databases
- Survey your current customers
- Think about who is most likely to order online
- Invest in geographical data for your area
It would help if you also thought about your current customers or your ideal customer. What needs do they have, and how does your business fulfil those needs?
You can always tweak your target audience later, but for now, guess as close as possible so your design functions for your average customer. Focus on the following as you create a website.
1 – Segment Your Audience
You likely have multiple buyer personas. Figuring out which niche each customer fits in helps you cater to that person’s needs and increase the odds of conversion. Spend time digging through your analytics and separating your target audience into groups.
Look at age, location, gender and other demographic factors. Next, dig into the emotions driving each individual.
A single mom may have different needs than a married middle-aged male. Spend time surveying your current customers to get a handle on their expectations and pain points.
Think about your products and services and how each meets different customers where they are. The features of your items may be the key to how best to segment your audience.
CornellCookson separates its audience into several segments and uses personal, first-person language to entice users to click on the appropriate section. For example, they offer an “I’m an Architect” choice with a description and relevant photo.
The combination of a personal heading and short description works to ensure users get to the appropriate section for their needs.
2 – Create the Right Content
Once you truly understand your target audience and their needs, it’s much easier to find answers to their problems and offer creative solutions.
Start by creating a buyer persona. Next, make a list of your buyers’ pain points. Finally, come up with solutions to those problems and create content around the answer.
How does this look in action? Imagine you own a small bakery in the business district of your town. Your typical customer is an office worker who comes in on their lunch break or perhaps coffee before work. You create a buyer persona based on this demographic.
What pain points does your typical customer have? Perhaps they run late to work but need caffeine. Can you offer a speedy service or order ahead on your website to save them time? Figure out their issues and solve them to create a website that matches their needs and solves their problems.
The bakery likely has several types of buyers. The busy, late-for-work executive, the lunch hour worker and local families stopping in for a favourite treat. They must create content to showcase what they offer to each customer type.
3 – Choose Colours With Emotional Impact
There is entire psychology to the way people see colours. Once you understand your users, you can figure out which colours might strongly impact them. Although there are some generalities, culture and life experience can change how folks view certain hues.
For example, red can elicit excitement and yellow positive feelings. Black is serious and can denote tradition. In some cultures, black is a negative colour, so you need to understand your customers before entirely choosing shades.
You’ve likely noticed that many banks use blue in their website designs and for their colour palette. Blue has a calming, reassuring effect. Restaurants often turn to red to generate excitement and stimulate appetite.
U.S. Bank features blue around their “Apply Now” call to action (CTA) button. They also add a medium-blue to their logo. The combination of red to generate excitement and show a modern edge with a more reassuring traditional blue is the perfect look for their site.
You can include colours without them completely taking over your design. The CTA button is a great place to elicit emotions without changing your brand’s colour palette.
You can even incorporate some hues into the images you use on your site. Note how the hero image has a red walky-talky clipped to his jacket and a blue liner under his helmet.
4 – Cut the Clutter
It’s hard for your users to focus on anything if you cram too much information on a single page. Ideally, each site page has a single purpose, and everything on the page leads the user to a specific action.
Ask what the goal of the page is and cut anything not matching. The more honed in you are to the needs of your audience, the more likely they are to stick to your page and not bounce to a competitor’s.
Think of each page on your site as a map. You want the user to start at Point A and move down the path to the destination. There may be stops along the way, but the final goal remains the same no matter how far or where they diverge on your site.
5 – Solve Pain Points
Your content should address your users’ pain points. They may all have different issues they’re dealing with.
For example, if you run a heating and cooling company, one customer may have asthma and be worried about a full-house filtration system. Another may need a unit replacement and worry about the costs.
Dig deep into the issues your clients face and think through the best solutions. You can help with some things via the content you share on your site. You may want to write articles, create videos and even give custom advice when able.
Be cautious not to diverge to topics unrelated to your goals and users’ needs. It’s easy to want to show off your vast wealth of knowledge, but unless it addresses customer pain points, you should leave it out.
Kirby addresses common pain points on its landing page. They focus on financial issues by saying you can buy once rather than constantly replacing your vacuum, saving money in the long run.
They talk about air quality for those concerned with pathogens in the air. They even hit on the quality and how the machine is built in America.
Your pain points might look similar or might be quite different, depending on your audience. Once you know their specific needs, it’s easier to hone in on the appropriate points.
6 – Study Your Competition
Although research is vital to creating a beautiful and functional website, you may still miss a few features if you don’t thoroughly familiarise yourself with your competition. Take notes on what they do well and why.
Is there any difference between their target audience and yours? Some other brands may have very similar customers, and some may specialise. Know what their unique value proposition (UVP) is and how it stacks up to yours.
Once you have a list of what your competition does well, you can combat it on your website by offering even better quality and features. You never want to copy other brands, but you do want to ensure you’re meeting all your customers’ expectations.
7 – Play Around With Typography
Did you know different typefaces elicit varied emotional responses? You can tell the user a story through the font hierarchy for your site. You should save the largest and most exciting type for headings.
You should also set off subheadings with a bolder and slightly larger size. Your body text should be plain and easy to read on different screen sizes.
Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the combination your audience responds best to. While a script font might be cute, make sure it’s readable. It’s always better to go with something people can decipher than something fancy. Ideally, you’ll find the perfect mix.
Banks Power features a unique font for its logo. You can still make out the word “Banks”, but it is a modern, bold font that grabs attention the minute the user lands on the home page. Note how other features the brand wants users to hone in on are more significant and bold text.
As you move down the page, it is clear what they want you to read first and move through the content in order. Things such as navigation are in smaller font size but still bold enough to quickly locate.
Your navigation hierarchy may look different than the Banks Power site, but the key is to know the purpose of your varied typefaces and how they impact the user’s experience. More significant, bolder elements draw the eye first, and the customer moves down from there.
8 – Invest in Professional Photographs
In many ways, your website is a visual experience for the user. They’ll form an impression of your site before they even register the content on the page. While each facet of your site reels in visitors, aesthetics are one of the essential features.
Don’t try to use boring stock images. Instead, invest in relevant photos directly related to your company. Hire a professional photographer to help you come up with high-quality visuals.
Your images should be consistent throughout your online presence. Use similar photos on social media and your website. Choose a style and personality so that people know what to expect from you.
Don’t just go with your personal preference. Choose something that your buyers will like. Their taste may vary from yours.
9 – Embrace Mobile Devices
There are approximately 6.378 billion smartphone users globally or 80.69% of the world population. Many use their mobile devices to surf the internet. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you risk losing a significant percentage of your site visitors.
Make sure your website adapts to different screen sizes. Does your menu shift to a hamburger menu on smaller screens? Do images size down but remain clear? Text can be another concern. Make sure it doesn’t fall off the screen or become so large as to be unreadable.
Test on different operating systems, too. What looks good on an iPhone 12 might not look good on an Android with a smaller screen.
10 – Ask for Feedback
Once your site is ready to go, send an email to your regular customers and ask for their advice. What do they love and hate about the site? Since your customers are the ones using your website, you want to ensure it meets their needs.
What do they expect from a site in your industry? Make sure you go above and beyond, so the final result is something the user feels thrilled about.
Author Bio: Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.