Who is in your target audience?

TargetOne of the critical questions I ask my clients before I start gathering information is ‘Who is your target audience?’.  I wish I could say that they are all completely clear on the answer to that question, but many aren’t and it makes my job virtually impossible if I don’t know who I’m writing for.

Too many people answer ‘Anyone who wants what I’ve got’.  It’s impossible to get to know ‘Anyone’ well enough to know what matters to them and to craft a message that will connect with them.

Some people have identified an industry e.g. architects, but then they’ll add a whole lot more – surveyors, building contractors, property developers, etc. etc.  The broader the field the harder it is to create a message that will hit the ‘hot button’ for everyone.  That’s because each one of those groups of people will have different wants and needs; they have a different emotional trigger that connects with them – and makes them want to connect with you.

I know that it’s not good business to be only in a single niche, but, if you have several different target audiences, then you will need several different messages to reach each one effectively.  This will definitely mean separate flyers and email campaigns for each target group.  Targeting people on your website is more challenging as your home page will need to give all your niches an idea of what you can do for them to persuade them to explore the page that is targeted only on their wants and needs.

Having a separate website for each niche can work – there’s nothing wrong with linking these together.  It does allow you to really hone your message so your target audience  really get it.

How well do you know your target audience?  What is important to them and which of their problems can you solve?

Making sure your message gets through

I’m back on my soapbox about the importance of not only delivering the message that your potential client will respond to, but also presenting it in a way that makes it easy for them to see and process.

After looking at many websites that start with ‘Welcome to our website’ or, worse still, no headline in any prominent position, I wonder what is going on in the heads of some web designers and site owners.  When we’re all so busy there are just a few seconds (not many) before the site visitor gives up, hits the back button and looks at another option on the list.

This also applies to hard copy documents, but there is much more to think about, including how people handle different types of document.

Let’s start with getting the message right

You need to be clear about what your website visitor wants – not what you want to tell them.  If you’re not sure ask a few existing clients what they would be looking for if they were trying to find a new supplier; what is really important to them?

Once you have this information you can use it to deliver the right message.

Remember every page needs a headline, you never know where people will land.  If they have searched for a particular product or service they may arrive on the page that features that, not on the home page.

Focus on ‘you’ (your visitor), not ‘we’ (your company) and be sure to address the ‘what’s in it for me’ throughout the copy.

Now the presentation

Key things to remember:

  • One dominant headline, not several confusing different messages in many boxes, banners and sidebars competing for attention.  It doesn’t mean you can’t have boxes and sidebars, it just means that one headline has to stand out from the rest.
  • Fast moving images can irritate.  If moving images are important ensure they change gently and subtly so they don’t distract your reader when they’re trying to read the content.
  • All capitals are harder to read, stick to sentence case for headlines – as big and bold as necessary.  Never use capitals for main copy.
  • Dark backgrounds make it harder to read the main copy.  Big bold headlines are fine, but light writing on a dark background creates dazzle and makes it much harder for people to actually take on board the message.
  • Justified text encourages people to get lost in paragraphs as there is no shape for the eye to ‘bookmark’ and results in people rereading the same line or skipping a line.  It can also produce ugly gaps between words.
  • Stick to a clean sans serif font (e.g. Verdana, Arial, Tahoma), screen resolution makes this much easier to read.  Serif fonts like Times, Garamond and Palatino tend to look a bit fuzzy making reading slower.
  • Don’t use more than one column of text for your message – people won’t scroll back up to the next column and you never know where the page is going to break with so many different screen sizes today.

Don’t assume that a web designer will know all this – it’s not generally taught as part of their training.  This is a web designer’s site that breaks most of the above ‘rules’!

Black background and caps



Social media on your website

I love Twitter!  I find it’s an excellent way to share my knowledge and help people with their marketing.  It’s also an easy way to keep up with my contacts far and wide, both business and social.  If you manage it well it is a superb marketing tool.

No matter what size of company you are, having your social media icons on your website is good practice today.  Even large corporates encourage people to visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.  It’s a great way for them to engage with their customer-base, which most of their main websites don’t do.

So a ‘Follow me on Twitter’ or ‘Like’ for a Facebook page is good.  What about a Twitter feed?

As a small business your Twitter feed is likely to be your personal account – so, consider the impact of your comments to friends and family appearing on your website.  If you want to keep the freedom to ‘talk’ to friends and close associates on Twitter, create a business account and keep that for business-related material.

The same goes for Facebook – don’t attach your website to your personal Facebook account, create a Page for your business and ensure you keep the posts business-like.

I’m not saying you can’t be friendly and approachable, but it can distract people if they see unrelated comments and there are still some people who don’t ‘get’ social media and consider it frivolous.  Seeing social chat and jokey comments on your business website can influence them away from you.

If you don’t want to do business with people who can’t cope with your comments to friends then ignore this blog, but people have expectations of a website so ensure your website doesn’t fall short of your target audience’s hopes!

In short, post material that meets your readers’ expectations – where they’re expecting to find it.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.