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Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:21 PM
I've noticed that many of the web site reviews generally fall down when it comes to specifying a target audience. The feedback from the experts is usually along the lines of 'you're not being specific enough'.
What are the general guidelines, tips and advice for people like me that are keen to learn more about this area in particular?
Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:43 PM
Karon can speak more to this as she's the expert, but it just really good common sense that there's no sense having a Website that speaks to the wrong target audience, or more likely speaks to no target audience at all.
Most sites do the latter. They simply talk about themselves with no regard to the people who might actually buy something from the site. Visit site upon site upon site and you will see the same thing -- we do this, we do that, we are this, we are that.
They either don't have a clue who might actually buy their stuff, or they never thought about it much. Even if they know, they just never thought to use that info when writing their site.
One thing that we see time and time again (and this is really kind of funny): When we do paid site reviews, Karon has a target audience form that we ask the client to fill out. Most of the time, these clients write all kinds of great information about their audience, and why their site is so much better than the other ones out there, and lots of great stuff like that. However, you go to their site and NONE of that is there. I mean ZIP, NADA, NOTHING!
It's not that they don't know, they just never were required to think about it before!
Posted 04 May 2004 - 06:07 PM
It's true. If you don't know who you're writing to, how in the world are you going to communicate effectively with them?
That's why my Copywriting Course and my seminar presentations are center around knowing your target audience before you begin to write.
And Jill is absolutely correct... it is AMAZING how many people give super info in their analysis, but don't include ANY of it in their copy. There must be a black hole there somewhere that they fall into in between the thinking and the writing stages.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 06:38 PM
When designing sites the most difficult thing is usually getting the right information from a client. They are mostly relieved if you tell them that you can have somebody write their copy for them if they fill out this questionnaire which will help us learn more about your business and who your target audience is...
Posted 04 May 2004 - 08:30 PM
The more you know about who buys your stuff, the better. My favorite response to "Who's your target audience?" was:
People with an internet connection and a credit card
The more you know about your target audience, who they are, where they live, their gender, their income level, their likes and dislikes, the more you can design and write to appeal to them and offer specials that will move them to act.
If they are price-sensitive, free shipping might do it. If they are time-sensitive, free expedited shipping upgrades will get more action. If they are status-concious, limiting your offering or being "selective" about clients will light their fire; if they are super busy, adding auto-reorder or notifications may increase sales.
Selling to a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids is way different than selling to an executive who works 60-70 hour weeks which is way different than selling to a college student on a budget. Their needs and their reason for buying are all different. It all makes an impact.
I wrote an article for Jill a while back on Personality Targeting that covers some of these concepts.
Posted 04 May 2004 - 08:44 PM
Good answer, Jill! I'm proud of you
See...ya can teach an old dog new tricks!
I really do read your books and your site reviews and even listened to your seminar presentation! (While I was doodling...it helps me listen...I sware!)
Posted 04 May 2004 - 09:06 PM
Let's say you sell inkjet printer ink. The lazy target for your audience is "people with inkjet printers". Good luck with that...
On the other hand, let's say you target small businesses with your offering. You design and write your site to appeal to things like buying in bulk to save on costs and shipping, you build auto-reorder notification into your site features (Would you like us to remind you to purchase more ink before you run out? How often?) as well as adding a "remember my last order" feature to make reorders simple.
Then you find out what the most popular models of printers are for small business, and you start your site optimization with the ink for those models. OR, you look at the inks you make the most margin per sale on, and you target those styles in order to make less sales, but more $$. It's all part of your business strategy.
Then you find out where small biz owners go- and you buy advertising there. On sites, in newsletters, etc. Get links from sites that your target customers go to. A sponsorship of a small biz guru newsletter may be just the thing- once you get them to the site, you've hooked them with the ease of reordering and by catering to their needs (on time, low cost, bulk supplies).
That is targeting your audience and building a business site and marketing plan that caters to that audience. Will homeowners buy your ink too? Sure they will. Major Corporate accounts? Could very well happen. But by honing in tightly on one segment of the market, you can excel at meeting their needs exactly and concentrate your marketing expenditures (including SEO) where they will have the most impact.
Posted 05 May 2004 - 03:23 AM
Thanks for all that information! Top stuff.
I have actually been looking at Karon's various articles, which includes the D.I.S.C profiles. I'm going to take a look at those links and I'm sure the information that I find there will be of great assistance to me and others.
When you're asking people about their target audience and they say 'errr...people with names, either male or female' what do you do? Tell them to go and find themselves a target audience or try and weedle the information out of them. I've found that quite often they will have a target audience - they just aren't actively conscious of it.
And at what point are you happy with your target audience analysis? I know this is a big general question and - like most things in life - it depends, but at what point are you happy?
Posted 05 May 2004 - 05:47 AM
You really just have to ask the right questions, which in turn gets them to think about what they never really thought about before!
Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:35 AM
There is a difference between actively targeting a specific customer and having to find out who they are after the fact... it's helpful if they do surveys or gather info at the point of sale. If they honestly don't know who they are selling to, they need to take a look at their sales data.
If nothing else, they can determine geographic region and gender (which may or may not play a role). They really need to know where those people are coming from as well- stats can tell you about search engine and other site referrals but doesn't always reflect any offline or word-of-mouth sources of business.
Often, just thinking about how their products or services are used gives lots of clues as to who is buying (or would want to buy) their products or services.
Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:42 AM
One of my favorite tools is Survey Monkey. You just set up a survey, send out the link and WHAM! Your target audience tells you who they are and what they want. What could be easier?
Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:47 AM
Just to reiterate what you said, do you mean that there's a difference between targeting a hypothetical customer AND recording what sort of person has previously bought from you?
I actually sent your last-but-one newsletter (Scottie) to a friend who's got an online business as it made good sense to me. It was the article about using your web stats properly - this started me off on this thread!
Would you say the following statements are true:
1) Use your web stats to research what your current market needs are.
2) Use SEO to cater to that market.
3) Use SEO and market research to attain new markets and customers.
I say this as sometimes web stats are mentioned there is a tendancy to look at things as they are, as opposed to how they can be.
What I mean by this is that many articles deal with the fact that:
1) these are your visitors
2) this is what they search for, and;
3) you should react to this information.
It's almost a case of 'this is your lot, deal with' it as opposed to 'this is your lot, deal with it AND move upwards - don't just stand still or move sideways'.
Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:57 AM
targeting a hypothetical customer AND recording what sort of person has previously bought from you?
Yes... because you should never target a hypothetical customer. You should always know what kinds of real people you're dealing with. Who they are, what they do, what they want, where they are in the buying process, what their preferred communication style is, etc., etc.
Using past history and stats is a good way to contribute to the process but nothing beats getting the information straight from the horse's mouth
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