More often than not, business owners tend to treat their company’s website as a project designed by their fancy with web designers encouraging this practice. Businesses thus fail to realize that the intention is not to incorporate creativity only for visual appeasement of the owner or user but to act as a prospective tool that helps the visitor find a solution to their problems.
Business websites are not simply to entertain visitors and hence the goal must never be to get your user to be amazed or impressed. The purpose is to help the consumer with what they are looking for when they arrive on your website. If the visual appeal is good but you fail to tackle the consumer’s concerns, the business will gain less from the website.
If you make the business needs primary and consumer needs secondary, chances are your content, design, targeting, and overall strategy will all be negatively impacted.
Your brand voice and mission, if tailored to the business owner’s preference, will tend to be a dictation of what the owner thinks is important rather than what may be important to the consumer. Since the user intent will not be properly understood, the goal strategy and the call-to-action will miss the mark.
Imagine hiring a caterer and asking them to serve food without informing them of the type of event and guests and of any dietary restrictions or menu choices. Will not the food be a disaster if left to the assumption of the caterer? Similarly, if missing to address the core audience’s needs, your business website may not be serving any purpose at all.
The Good News
Only knowing the who, how, what, and why of your audience will help build your website on a proper foundation thus leading to success.
A website, at its core, is a tool to communicate ideas, services and products to the visitors. The level of relevance of the message determines the success or failure of this communication.
Even if not completely ignored, the consumers requirements often become secondary if the focus of the website design and content is on the owner’s vision and requirement, and not the consumer’s expectations. Thus the question “who am I trying to talk to?” is extremely important.
The owner’s voice may work well for a personal blog but may act detrimental for a business. Only when the consumer’s concerns and needs are understood will the problem of the message being relevant enough be solved.
Imagine switching on a regional language news channel to find the anchor speaking in a different language. Will the news be of relevance to you? Hence, it is important to figure out the audience you want to cater to and then decide the message.
Another inevitable question is why would the target audience need your website.
Once you know your consumer, you must also know the reason why your website will attract them and what problem or concern will your website address so as to be of value to the visitor.
The most dangerous obstacle is to understand the motivation of the audience and provide to them a driving factor to attract them to the website, as a revisiting customer. Your website must hence focus on being of value to the consumer, and talk of how the consumer is important than talking of how great the business already is.
Once you’ve understood your target audience and their motivation to visit the website, you must also spend time trying to understand the context in which they land on your website.
You need to figure out what keywords does the business website show up for when a consumer is searching for solutions to a certain problem. Also, you need to figure out the user intent for every keyword and which pages of the website show up for that keyword. You must also know whether you are driving users through paid channels or organically.
The landing pages will differ according to the users choice of keywords. While some may be unaware of whether the problem has a solution, some might be ready to convert. Thus, to communicate and sell effectively, the website must address this dilemma, known as the buyer’s journey.
A relevant message will still be irrelevant if said at the wrong place or at the wrong time.
A relevant engaging user experience is built only one the what, who, and how have all been identified. The buyers that are motivated enough may be presented will a call-to-action or content guiding them towards a conversion. On the contrary, customers still in the discovery stage must be presented with content that captures them to go along further in the buyer’s journey.
The consumers wants and needs are what the website’s design, content, and structure needs to be tailored for.
Tie it all together
Knowing about your audience entry and exit points, their interests and concerns, and their motivation for conversion will help provide a purpose and context to your website, thus rendering it the ability to be built in a relevant and personal manner.
For any business, the consumer is most important, and if a business doesn’t know what is important to the consumer, the business is not likely to perform to the business owner’s expectations.