Web Design for your Online Target Audience


Published: February 15, 2016 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
Web Design for your Online Target Audience

Once you have decided to create or update your company’s website, the next major step is to consider your target audience.  You need to understand your customers and why they buy your products and services.  It is tempting to design a website that you like, but this isn’t the best approach.  First, you will need to create personas for your target audience and create a profile of their interests.  Then apply the information you gathered to your web design.  Finally, you should assess the effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary.  Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Create personas for your target audience

Most business owners have a pretty good sense of their customers, but this isn’t necessarily the same as your target audience.  A target audience is a very specific group of individuals who have a problem.  For example:

  • A new, budget conscious parent, that is concerned about their child's health and safety.  

  • A young, urban, professional, in their 30s, looking to grow their career by dressing to impress, but look cool and trendy at the same time.

  • A retired person, in their 60s and 70s, with joint pain, looking to relax and spent time with their grandchildren.

Your product or service is the solution to their problem.  Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating personas for your target audience.  Who buys your product or service?  Who is a typical customer?  Specify demographics including age range, sex, geography (local, national, international), education, income, profession (parent, self employed, blue collar, white collar), company title and experience (owner, C-suite, management, worker), industry, business size?  What are your customers motivators, such as price, value, quality, or safety?

Create a target audience profile

After create personas for your target audience, the next step is to create a profile for them.  You can use focus groups, surveys, and market research to help you define what your audience likes.  You will have to make some assumptions as well.  Let’s profile out one of our examples.

“A new, budget conscious parent, that is concerned about their child's health and safety.”

  • They are looking to save money by using coupons and taking advantage of discounts or promotions.  You will want to offer these on your site.

  • Interested in products and services that keep children safe.  Website should reference safety data.

  • May be interested in “best products” that also save money.  Think about branding and taglines that reflect the quality, yet price.  ie. "Live, Learn & Then Get Luvs"

  • New parents might be interested in organization tips to keep child safe.  Reference articles that help new parents.

  • Information about preparing healthy meals and snacks.  Might want to include recipes, tips for shopping, nutritional information, cooking in advance, etc.

Hubspot offers a free template to help you to organize your thoughts and create these profiles. Your web designer can also help you brainstorm ideas and think about the best ways to apply these to your website.

Apply target audience information to your Website

Now that you have profiled your target audience, you can apply this information to your website.  Here are a few things to consider when working with a web designer to custom and tailor your website to your audience.

  • Branding - If your product or service is branded, it is important to follow the colors, fonts, logos, taglines, etc.  This will ensure consistency across your marketing platform.

  • Colors - If you do not have branding, then you should at least consider the colors.  In our previous article, A Word about Color, we reviewed the importance of color on your website.

  • Lifestyle Photos / Images - The photographs and images on your website should convey a story the target audience can relate to.

  • Content - Use keywords from the profile in your content.  If your target audience is budget conscious parents, you will want to focus on the value they will get from your product or service.

  • Typography - The style of typography used helps to set the tone of your message.  A plain font is best for professionals.  A font in cursive creates a softer tone.

  • Call to Actions  - Use calls to action to help your users engage with your website.

The goal is to attract your target audience, then entice them to engage and eventually purchase your product or service.  If you simply attract them, but the information you provide is not useful or appealing, they will leave your website without considering or purchasing your product or service.

Assess the target audience and adjust the website

As with other marketing campaigns, you should monitor the activity of your site to ensure it meets the target audience's needs.  Look at what is working well and needs to continue, what needs to be added and what should be removed.  Don’t hesitate to make adjustments, if necessary.  You may involve customer surveys or focus groups to gather feedback.

To design a successful website, you should consider your target audience for the product or service.  You should profile your audience to figure out what they like and their interests.  You can then use this information as the architecture for your website.  Finally you should make necessary adjustments based on feedback.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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