Whether or not a site succeeds is based on many, many factors. Of course every site has it’s own definition of success depending on the ultimate goal of the site. Informational sites are there to educate and inform. E-commerce sites end goal is to sell products. Service industry sites purpose is to reach customers and create leads. Branding sites are often part of a larger marketing campaign to build awareness of a brand or product. But in order for any of these sites to be successful, they will all need to do one thing: determine their target audience.
For some businesses and organizations, the target audience may seem obvious. For example, if I’m a Realtor, I want my site to attract persons looking to buy or sell a home. But what if I only sell upscale, luxury homes? Or maybe I only sell commercial property. Perhaps I specialize in selling homes to people who are trying to rebuild their credit. In each instance, my target audience is going to be vastly different. How those websites are designed and optimized will be vastly different as well.
So how do you go about determining a well-defined target audience? First thing you want to do is to examine what you have to offer and then paint a picture of who your ideal client is. Ask yourself, is what you offer more geared towards men or women or both? Is there a certain age group your product or service appeals too? Who would find value in what you offer? What problem can you solve for someone? The more you can define your ideal client, the better chance you will have at reaching the right people with your website.
Of course that doesn’t mean you only want to appeal to that client but that will give you a good starting point to branch out from.
Another important factor is location. The great thing about websites is they can literally reach almost anyone in the world. But maybe you just have a local business and want clients from a certain area. This will be very important to consider, especially during the optimization phase of building a website.
We are also in the social media age which is a great resource for not only finding potential clients and customers, but it can also help you discover who your audience might be. It’s a good idea to follow your competitors on social media so you can see how they are marketing and to who. In most cases, you can go to your competitors social media page and see who their followers are. Take note of those that engage with comments or shares, as you will want your followers to do the same.
One quick note about social media, it will be well worth your time to only follow people that may fit your target audience. Most think its best to simply follow as many people as possible on social media. But you would be surprised at how much information you can gather by watching what your target audience posts. If you just follow everybody, there’s just that much more information to weed through.
Determining your target audience is an very important step before you even start to have a website built. Everything from design, keywords, content, and images will revolve around who you want your website to reach and will ultimately help your website be more marketable and successful.