Successful websites are user-focused. In order to develop and maintain a user-focused website, you will need to consider and analyze your target market. Ask yourself the 22 questions below to identify your target market and develop a plan to meet their needs with your website.
- What is their age?
- What is their sex?
- What is their income?
- What is their geographic location?
Knowing the demographics of your target market will affect how you design your website and how you market your products and services. Design aspects such as color and graphics should reflect the audience that you are targeting. Demographics will have an even larger impact on how and where you advertise. For example, if you are targeting a local audience, advertising on national websites will be a waste of money.
Related reading: Website Communication – 21 Ways to Speak to Your Visitors
5. Will they be looking for information or entertainment?
Websites that primarily exist to provide information will typically feature fewer graphics to make the text stand out more. Information seekers want to be able to quickly find what they are looking for and are usually not interested in bells and whistles.
Websites that primarily exist to provide entertainment will use more pictures, video, and sound as the text has less value. Visitors looking for some type of entertainment will want more of a visually-appealing website.
6. What is their level of knowledge on your subject?
Websites that market to a knowledgeable audience in a specific niche market will be able to use more industry-specific language or jargon than a website that reaches a general audience. If you are marketing to visitors with a lower level of knowledge of your subject be sure to explain things in a way that they will understand. If you are targeting a more specific audience, over simplification may bore them.
7. How will you provide products and services to them?
Most websites are intended to produce income for the business. Some will sell products directly from their website and others will provide information about their services like an advertisement would. Knowing your audience can help you to determine how your business can benefit from your website.
8. What types of products and services will they need?
Statistics show that about 80% of a website’s visitors find the site through a search engine. Think about what your prospective visitors will be searching for, and what they will expect to find at your website.
Related reading: Characteristics of a Good Website
9. Will they be interested in purchasing a product?
Some visitors will be looking to buy while others will be looking for information. Knowing the mindset of your visitors can help you to market to them more efficiently.
10. Will they be concerned with privacy?
11. What will make them feel more comfortable with you?
If you hope to sell products online you must provide enough information to make visitors feel comfortable about buying from you. Consider the following options:
- Provide complete contact information including address and phone number.
- Display testimonials from customers.
- Offer a money-back guarantee.
- List any professional memberships such as a chamber or commerce, BBB or other associations.
Related reading: 21 Ways Your Audience Affects Your Design
12. Will they be using a high-speed internet connection or dial-up?
Designing a site with a lot of pictures and video will decrease your effectiveness if most of your visitors are using a dial-up connection. On the contrary, if most of your visitors are using high-speed connections you have more freedom to use the elements in your design. Many statics programs, including Google Analytics, will provide you with information regarding the connection speed of your visitors.
13. Will they be familiar with RSS?
If your site publishes an RSS feed, your visitors should be familiar with RSS. If they are not, consider explaining RSS to them.
14. What other websites will they visit?
If you plan to do any advertising online, it is crucial to consider which websites your target audience will be visiting. Advertising on these sites will usually give you the best return on your advertising expenses.
15. Which search engines will they use?
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is one of the easiest ways for a new website to start advertising. Google and Yahoo have the largest PPC programs and receive the most searches. If you are only targeting a local audience, some PPC programs, such as Google’s, will allow you to specify what geographical area you want your ad to be shown in.
16. What publications are they likely to read?
Advertising in printed publications is also an option. In this case, choosing a publication that has a similar target audience will produce the best results.
If You Are Selling
17. Will they trust you enough to make an online purchase?
Some people are still very hesitant to purchase items online. Using a well-known and trusted service provider such as Verisign or Paypal may help some of these people to feel more comfortable. Both of these companies provide graphics that you can display on your website to show your commitment to your users’ security.
18. Would they prefer to purchase by phone or mail instead?
Providing additional purchasing options may increase your sales.
19. What will motivate them to buy?
Knowing your visitors’ needs and wants will help you to market your products and services more effectively. Try to provide answers to their questions and overcome their objections for purchasing.
20. Will they have a sense of urgency?
Products that may be needed immediately will sell better as downloadable products. Higher prices can sometimes be charged because of their need and the convenience that you are providing.
21. What additional products might your customers be interested in?
Add-on products and product bundles can help to increase sales revenue. If you don’t have any additional products to sell, consider promoting an affiliate product as an add-on. To find affiliate products that would be appropriate, visit www.cj.com or www.clickbank.com.
22. How can you convert your customers into repeat customers?
Following up with your customers by email, mail, or telephone can help to increase the likelihood that they will buy again. A popular method is to combine add-on products with your follow-up. Try sending an email to your customers thanking them for the purchase and provide information about some of your other related products or services.