I have a thing about comparing websites to shops. They both rely on people entering for them to function, that’s a no brainer. But it’s not just that. It’s not just how many people enter the site/shop. It’s about who those people actually are.
Say my name was Bob:
“I (Bob) am a butcher, and I have a shop in the heart of Bradford. I sell all types of meats, including sausage, bacon, gammon, steaks etc. All of my meat is fresh, great quality and ethically sourced. I have a really strong shop front, with an engaging brand showing my shop as a family run, friendly place to go to. My prices are reasonable, and I advertise my shop through many mediums. My shop is often very busy, but I am struggling to break even every month. And I have no idea why.”
This is a predicament that many websites go through (and shops for that matter). Everything seems fine from the outside, but the figures don’t add up.
What Bob has missed is ‘who‘ the people are that enter the shop. Bradford has a very large Muslim/Asian community. The shop is inviting and well advertised, so people are entering, realising that the food served is not halal – and leaving without making a purchase. Bob has a well exposed shop, but he is not appealing the correct people.
Now this analogy is a little long winded, but I hope it illustrates the importance of attracting the right audience. It’s about knowing who you want to attract and what they want.
Excerise – The 4 audience circles
This is a little exercise I conjured up to help you channel your thoughts when it comes to thinking about your audience. It starts off broad, and intentionally refines itself to practical action points that you can implement. Hopefully it will get you thinking into who your audience are, and what you can do to improve their experience on your site. Grab yourself a piece of paper and draw four consecutive circles, big enough to write into. Then, title your four circles the following:
Circle 1: Who are my audience?
Hopefully you should have an understanding of who your company website is targeted at. Sometimes getting data from forms on your site is a good way of getting true data of who your audience are, but If you can’t do that then try and imagine the typical person who would want to use your website. Once you have, write down their basic demographics (e.g. Age, Gender, Income, Employment etc.)
Circle 2: What do they like?
Concentrating on the positives, work out what your audience are interested in. For this box, getting data this specific can be difficult – so your imagination and good old common sense will have to come into play. Try and start by working our the obvious reasons why they have found your site in the first place, and then the benefits of that reason. e.g. Cycling site -> User enjoys cycling -> Likes fitness and being outdoors.
Circle 3: What would they like from my company?
There are two sections to this part. Firstly, consider the practical wants of your audience. What are they on your site for? To purchase something? To research something?
Secondly, consider their more emotional wants. This could be something like ‘they want to feel in a tribe’, or ‘they want feel good about themselves’, or ‘they want to lose weight’.
Circle 4: Action Points
Now you have more of an understanding of what your audience would like to be presented with, you can now assess the practicalities of doing this. If they don’t earn particularly much, and want to get ‘a deal’, then begin putting dominant call to actions of offers next to your products. If your audience are competitive, think about including a competition on your site. If you display content that caters to your audience’s genuine wants, then you are far more likely to convert. The most important part of your site is the content you present. The design is purely a tool to house this content in the most effective way.
Below is an example that I did for a fictional Cycling eCommerce website:
Have a go doing one for your company and let me know how you get on!