I’ve previously written about the importance of using colour to connect with your target market I’ve also talked about how your business card sets the tone for your business when meeting new people in person. So what about your website, is it speaking to your target market?
Don’t be fooled into thinking just because you’re online and millions of people at any time of day or night can visit your website that you can attract ‘everybody’ as a client. Just like in the bricks and mortar world, customers leave if your offering does not meet their requirements, however online they can do a lot easier and a lot quicker. It’s just one click away and takes no effort and you have zero control.
So you need to be speaking directly to your target market from the minute they land on your site.
Before designing your site, understand what type of website you are creating. There are two types of websites:
These websites are designed to share information about your company’s product and or services. These are essentially there to build credibility for your business and the vast majority of websites are brochure type websites.
The second type of website is an e-commerce or online store website. Just like an offline store these websites are designed to entice customers to seek to buy your product or service. Also, just like an offline store, they should absolutely grab the attention of your target market from the minute they arrive at your site.
Whether your website is a brochure style or an e-commerce style, both have the same aim; to engage with your target market and encourage them to do business with your company. You want them to take action.
By understanding whom your website is trying to communicate with, you can start designing around that. The first thing any good web designer will do when you ask them to design a site asks you who your target market is. Today, many business owners create their own website. I always advocate using a designer as part of an overall brand strategy, but I get that sometimes budgets restrict this and your first website may be one you design yourself.
This is not problematic as there are plenty of sites out there that help you – www.wix.com and www.squarespace.com are two that spring to mind. You may also want to check out www.fiverr.com or www.upwork.com that offer a kind of in between service.
Either way, knowing whom you want to connect with before you start the design process will help you avoid having to rebuild your site at a later stage when you realise your ideal customer simply is not taking action.
So what are the components of a website that you need to look at to make it attractive your target market?
Firstly, you need images that relate to your ideal client. Think of a finance company seeking to work with high net worth individuals. The kind of website images that site is going to need are obviously going to be very different from a health and wellness website that is looking to engage with younger people who are highly active.
The biggest trap business owners fall into is that they design a website for their own likes and taste. Remember this is not about what you like, but what your target market likes. It is very tempting to design a website that speaks to you but if you are not your ideal target market, then you need to get some advice as to what your target market does like.
Once you’ve designed your site and before it goes live, test this with your target market.
One of the best ways to do this is to take a screenshot of your website’s relevant pages and post these in groups on Facebook. People are very happy to give you feedback, but make sure the groups that you’re participating in compromise of your target market. Asking your friends and family can be quite dangerous because most of the time I’ll tell you what you want to hear and if they are not your target market, it’s probably not very valuable feedback.
What constitutes a good website?
A quick Internet search using Google ‘worst websites’ will deliver you a myriad of sites and blogs dedicated to showing you what a bad website looks like. By looking at poorly designed sites you can get a better understanding of the pitfalls to avoid.
Spoiler alert, bad design and too much information seem to be the biggest pitfalls.
As well and is doing a Google search for bad websites you can do a search for great websites. This search delivers you a plethora of sites that are highly regarded by experts around the world – you can even engage their services if you want what. It seems that simple, clean sites, with great imagery and clear messages, win out.
Spoiler alert – a picture tells a thousand words seems to be the common denominator.
Design tips when connecting to your target market:
- Images – do these speak to your target market? Will your target market relate to these images? Are they professional shots and are they clear?
- Colours – what colours reflect your target market’s positioning? (See my previous post) Choosing colours that reflect your brand positioning tells your potential customer in an instant the kind of business you are.
- Information – are you speaking to your ideal customer? If you are targeting to 15-year-old’s you obviously would use different language to that used to targeting 50 year-olds. If you are stuck on language, consult a copywriter – we’re not all experts in language and neither are most web designers. Tell the copywriter whom you are trying to speak to and they’ll craft language that resonates.
- Can your target market understand your business on the first page? This is where a great picture can assist.
Finally (and most importantly), what action do you want your target market to take as a result of visiting your site?
If you are a brochure site then it’s quite likely you want them to call or email you. Make this really easy. If you’re an e-commerce site, make sure they can get in a buy your products quickly and easily. A great designer can help with this.
In this article from Time Magazine, it is reported that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. That’s nine seconds (and well done if you’ve read this far). But I think this is a great statistic to bear in mind because it makes it very clear that you have to design a site that your target market will resonate within a few seconds.
If you grab the attention of customers on your website and they take your desired action, you’re clearly speaking their language and your website is geared to your Target Market.