One of the most important factors in creating a successful business website is gaining a clear understanding of the customers you want to attract.
When AttractMore are reviewing a website or building a new site, conducting research into customers (or clients, donors, patients etc.) is one of the essential first steps we take. Only then can we ensure that any recommendations or design decisions we make are targeted towards the people the business wants to attract.
If you already have a website, then understanding your customers will help you to know what to write about in blog posts or on social media and will assist in making your content interesting to your audience. Content must address the needs of the required audience and be written in a way that appeals to them.
How to understand your customers
There are three practical ways in which you can gain a deeper understanding of your customers.
- Think about your existing customers, put yourself in their shoes and consider what they want and need. Consider why they chose your business.
- Think about potential customers in the same way.
- Ask your existing customers why they chose to do business with you.
You will probably find that you have more than one type of customer and that you can break down your audience into several ‘segments’. When we were working on the website for Japlene last year it was clear that there were several segments with different wants, needs and interests, e.g. brides, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and people who wanted alterations to their garments. Although they had features in common, each segment was distinct and needed to be treated differently. The overall design had to appeal to the common features but the specific pages needed to be written in such a way that they appealed to the particular segment being ‘spoken to’ by that page.
To make this more tangible, we created fictional characters that represented each segment – these fictional individuals are known as personas. Here’s one as an example.
The purpose of building personas is to create realistic representations of audience segments. Personas must focus on the main needs and expectations of these user groups and give clear indications of how the user is likely to use the website. It helps create depictions of users who are stand-ins for real customers and this makes the process of designing and writing content more real as we have these personas who represent the various user groups. Personas may be fictional characters but they are based on knowledge of real customers.
Another tool to help you gain further understanding of your customers is an empathy map. All it takes is a single sheet of paper for each persona with areas set out as in the diagram here.
It’s a way of helping place yourself in the mind of a particular user group so as to consider their wants, needs, reactions and behaviours so helping you to understand your customers and potential customers more deeply.
If you’ve not been through a process like this to increase your knowledge about your customers, then I highly recommend it. Armed with this understanding you will be able to write more relevant content in blog posts and on social media and you will be able to write in a way that appeals more strongly to your audience because you know what they want to hear.
It’s not a process that takes a long time but it will give you significant benefits in terms of converting more of your website visitors into customers so increasing the return on investment you have made in your website. If you need any help or assistance with this process, feel free to contact us and we’d be delighted to provide any necessary support.