Knowing your website target audience

Monday, November 10, 2014 by Richard Howe

Knowing your website target audienceIf your website is to be successful in terms of converting visitors into clients or customers, the need to attract the right people in the first place is crucial. If your bounce rate is high, if you have a low level of returning visitors, or if you have few goal conversions, this is probably an area that needs some attention.

This blog post aims to break down just what you need to know about your target audience and how this can help you to tailor your website for maximum effectiveness.

Demographics

Demographic information is, according to Wikipedia, ‘the quantifiable statistics of a given population’. Typical demographics include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Main language
  • Employment status
  • Income
  • Home ownership
  • Disability
  • Mobility

Defining who your target audience is in these terms is probably fairly straightforward – taking a look at your product, your services, your current client base and your business aims and objectives will clarify this. But do your current website visitors fall into this target category?

By using Google Analytics or a similar online tool, you can easily drill down into your existing visitor statistics to see exactly who is visiting your site and whether or not they fit into your target group. Where they do, you will have a good ‘template’ for your ideal visitor, one that you can replicate.

If you combine simple demographics with behaviour patterns on your site, you might find interesting trends. Perhaps most men choose to exit your site on a particular page. Maybe younger people have a higher bounce rate. Or maybe you get an overabundance of female visitors. Taking this latter example, if you own a cosmetics company, this might be exactly what you want (although you might want to target the obvious gap by providing something for men who are looking for presents for their wives or girlfriends). If you run a minibus rental company though, or a graphic design agency, you would need to look at why there is such a gender skew and make appropriate changes to your site and your marketing strategy.

Geographics

Information about language and location tends to come under the category of ‘geographics’ and this type of data can be useful in terms of marketing, social media and content. If your users are predominantly from the United States, for example, it makes sense to use U.S. English for your website copy. If the majority of your visitors come from India, but you are a U.K.-based company, you might choose to time your social media posts to correspond to the relevant time zone. Making things easy for your visitors is important in getting them to stay on your site for longer and to revisit at a later date.

Psychographics

While demographics and geographics are useful sources of quantifiable data, you can also find out quite a bit of qualitative information about your website users, which can prove to be not only fascinating but extremely valuable in terms of attracting more users to your site. This includes visitors’:

  • Values, opinions and attitudes
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Purchasing choices
  • Online and offline behaviour

One way in which Google Analytics does this is to look at ‘affinity categories’ to show visitors’ interests. Categories might include Cooking Enthusiasts, Political Junkies, Shutterbugs, Technophiles, Shopaholics and so on. This might prove useful from a marketing perspective. If, for example, you run a chain of restaurants and you find out that a large proportion of your visitors are into photography, you might decide to run a social media contest to snap the best photograph of one of your meals, or decide to set up a Pinterest account where you can show off your food with beautiful images.

Remember, knowledge is power. Learning about the things that interest and motivate your existing users can help you to target new visitors and drive business.

Devices, browsers and mobile

Finding out whether your users are visiting your site on their desktop, their tablets or their mobile devices and learning which operating systems and browsers they are using can help you to optimise your site accordingly. If you find that they are using mobile devices, you may decide that a responsive design solution is the way to go, or choose to create a customised app. Again, see what your target audience need and tailor your offering accordingly.

To sum up, here are a few ways in which you can start learning more about your audience:

  • Carry out analysis of existing traffic – Google Analytics or similar online tools.
  • Ask them – Carry out surveys and polls.
  • Analyse reactions to promotions, campaigns and special offers.
  • Leverage social media – Join communities and learn what people are talking about and what they’re looking for.
  • Look at the competition – What keywords are they using? How are they positioning their brand with advertising and content?

By using these strategies, you will soon have a very clear and detailed picture of your existing users and your target audience, which will in turn enable you to tailor your website design, content strategy and marketing plans so that your visitors get exactly what they are looking for and keep coming back for more.

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