Every website owner should have a good idea of their site’s target audience. A target audience should be clearly defined and should have a fairly narrow scope.
Examples of What Not To Do
- My target audience is “Everybody”
- My target audience is simply “Anyone who wants my product/services”
It is important to recognize that you cannot be all things to all people.
Once you find and define your niche, you will be much better off. One way to begin to narrow your focus is to think of what your target has in common.
- What do they do? (do they have a profession/industry/job) in common?
- What are their pain points? What do they all struggle with?
- What is their passion? What do they all get excited about?
- What are they scared of?
- Do you have a solution that can help alleviate their pain and make their life better?
By answering these questions, you should be able to narrow down your audience. For example, a much better target audience description would be “someone who owns their own business, has less than X employees, has been in business less than X years, and is in need of X service.”
Creating a Persona
A common strategy is to give each your audience a “persona”. A classic example of this is the “Soccer Mom”. The “soccer mom is the widely used portrayal of an overburdened, middle income mother with school aged children who is often times under great stress, and of course drives a mini-van. This term came into being during the 1996 election to try and describe a certain group of voters. The soccer moms have similar pain points, they have similar passions, and they can be seen doing similar things and going to similar places.
While not absolutely necessary, the creation of a such a persona for your target audience can help you get inside the shoes and the minds of your target audience. Some additional questions that may help with the creation of your persona…
- What is their age/gender?
- Is their a geographic center?
- How do they spend their days?
- Again, what do they worry about and what do they celebrate?
- Do they communicate with each other?
- If so…Where do they go to talk to each other?
- How do they communicate with each other?
The Arizona WordPress Meetup Group has an excellent “Persona Worksheet” that can assist with the further development of the persona of your target market.
For more information on creating a persona, check out this blog post by our friends at Elegant Themes.
I have my target audience defined, now what?
Now that you know who you are targeting in your website, you can create a site that appeals uniquely to them. Try to think about them as you write your content, create the list of website subpages, title your subpages, and make design choices. For example, if your target audience is older, you want to choose font styles that are larger and easier to read than other sites. If you are a restaurant and your target audience are tourists and people looking for a place to dine, you will will want to make sure to have a website that is mobile friendly and that easily displays the menu and the map. Title the pages using words and terms that your target audience uses every day. Knowing your target audience can also help you write your content in a voice that appeals to your market. What are the emotions, fears and worries of that audience? Choose words and a “voice” that is comforting and familiar.
Once you have your target audience defined, continue to think like them at every step in the design process. By keeping your target at the center, you will end up with a site that is more appealing to your market, meet their needs and help you meet your goals.