The best websites balance your company’s goals with the goals of your online target audience. Before you start to build your website, you should answer the following three questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are their key goals?
- How can you help them achieve those goals?
Why Choose an Online Target Audience?
Many small business owners are skeptical about picking a target audience. After all, they want to cast as wide a net as possible. They don’t want to eliminate anyone for fear they might not be able to pay their bills at the end of the month.
The problem with that approach is that marketing is all about relevance. You have to tailor your marketing message to specific types of people with specific problems. And you have to reach people at least 5-7 times (sometimes more) in order for them to remember you. If you need proof, try to remember 1 ad in a newspaper, magazine, or on tv that you saw yesterday. What was the ad for? What stood out about the? Did the ad make you want to learn more about the product or service?
Chances are, if you remember any, it was something that was either:
- Something you’re already familiar with or have seen a number of times
- Something you’ve been thinking about recently and were looking for more information on
We’re exposed to over 3000 marketing messages each day, so why is it so difficult for us to remember just one of them? The reason is because our brains are very efficient at eliminating the clutter from our lives. If it’s not relevant to our lives in some way, we ignore it.
How Your Online Target Audience Uses Your Website
Being relevant to your target audience is just as important for your website. Just as people can turn the page, flip the channel, or head to the kitchen during the commercial break, your web visitors will click away from your site if something doesn’t interest them.
From a business perspective, when most people do a search online, they have some objective in mind. Perhaps they’re trying to find a new home in a particular area, learn how to fix their roof, diagnose an illness, find a date, or catch up on world news. If they don’t already have a particular site in mind, they’ll probably type in a few keywords into Google, Yahoo or AOL and see what sites come up. If your site is listed in the search results, there’s a good chance they’ll click onto your site to see if you can help them.
Here’s where it’s so important to know about the types of people coming to your website. Visitors spend only a few seconds scanning the site to determine if it’s relevant to their search. They don’t spend hours reading about your firm’s mission and services. Chances are, they’ll only read the headlines and maybe the bulleted lists on your page. If nothing stands out, they’ll click the back button and you’ve lost them. On the other hand, if they find something of interest, they’ll keep reading.
How To Choose An Online Target Audience
Not all people that visit your website will be a good match for your products and services. Some people might be out of the area you serve. Others might not have the money to pay you. Still others might need services you don’t provide. Your website should cater to the types of people you want to do business with. I encourage you to read an article I wrote previously on Choosing a Profitable Target Audience for guidelines.