You Talkin’ to Me

Identifying Your Target Audience

In the 1976 film Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro captivated us all with a single question—an ad-libbed query that would go down in history as one of the most iconic movie scenes of the actor’s career. And now, 40 years later, the viewers of your web page pose the same question to you:

“Are you talkin’ to me?

Are YOU talkin’ to ME?”

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Knowing Your Audience

Fortunately (and unlike the eponymous Taxi Driver), your audience isn’t asking that question with a loaded gun pointed at you. Still, the question is worth some thought. If there’s one aspect of your web development that should be locked down before any other, it’s knowing who the heck you’re talking to.

Some web developers take a shotgun approach to this process, trying to hit all the highlights and cater to everyone who might stumble across the page.

This is wrong.

You can’t please everyone. It’s tempting to cast a wide net in hopes of connecting with as many viewers as possible, but the bigger the reach, the more prospects will slip through the cracks.

Instead, site owners need to narrow their focus and address the specific viewers they want to engage. To do this, you must first understand who they are, what they want, and why the heck they’re visiting your site in the first place.

1. Do your research

We know—homework isn’t sexy. Nonetheless, customer research is an integral part of identifying your most desirable audience.

If you’re an established business that is just now launching a site, then great! You have a ready pool of customers whose preferences can provide insight into how your site should be structured.

If you’re a fresh up-and-comer without an ounce of brand recognition, the job is a little harder. Instead of pulling raw data, you’ll need to extrapolate. Who is your product/service made for? Are you trying to reach young consumers eager for game-changing solutions or Baby Boomers with established spending power? Many businesses leverage consumer surveys in situations like these to gain this valuable data.

Considerations like these will determine how your site will be structured, so don’t pass on this critical first step. It will form the foundation of all other decisions to come.

2. Then that microscope on yourself

Of course, it’s not enough to simply aggregate data. Research is productive, but it’s only a means to an end. After combing the web and getting inside your ideal customer’s head, it’s time to put the data to work by combining it with the features of your own business strategy.

For example, companies specializing in online marketing often offer a variety of services to potential clients, including content marketing, social media management, and email drip campaigns. While these sound great on paper, a laundry list of services won’t do much to engage your audience. Rather, they want to hear how their lives will be made easier by partnering with the company in question. What can you do for them? And why do you do it better than your competitors?

This breakdown of features and benefits is how you’ll identify the unique value you can offer your market. Understanding this value—and knowing how to sell it to the market identified in step one—is your primary goal.

3. Design with them in mind

So! You’ve identified the characteristics of your target audience and have reviewed your own business’s unique value proposition. What’s next?

The development itself.

How can you craft your site to both appeal to your target market and highlight the value of your own brand? It’s not easy—there are lots of factors at work.

Complex services that need plenty of informational background will mean text-heavy pages, which must be accounted for. More laid-back brands that target younger users, such as indie clothing stores or fashion boutiques, can get away with funkier colors, stylized fonts, and image-oriented design.

This is where the services of dedicated web development companies really shine. There’s no true “right” way to do it. There’s only the way that’s “right” for your own brand. Experienced development boutiques can give you the insight you need to bring these ideas to life.

4. Don’t neglect the basics

Having said all of that, there are some tried-and-true web development principles that every site should have. We’ve discussed these must-haves before:

  • Coherent visual hierarchy
  • Intuitive navigation
  • Fast page loading times

These might seem rudimentary after the exhaustive market analysis you’ve put into your development, but these issues are hurdles that every website must overcome. All of your initial work will go to waste without a strong development framework to back you up. how can i get rid of viagra emails

5. Get their feedback

The final step, naturally, is to fine tune the identification of your target audience after the rest of the steps have been completed. Use on-site feedback channels, surveys, and any social media tools at your disposal to gain this insight. Does the market you’re targeting appreciate your choices? Are they taking action on your site? Is your material too complex? Or worse yet—do they feel patronized?

Use consumer channels to receive direct feedback about what’s working and what isn’t.

Know to Whom You’re Speaking

A broad approach to web development won’t give you the results you want. For a marketable, ROI-generating web presence, identifying a target audience is key.

Step up your research, tailor your design to your market’s preferences, and fine tune as you go. sildenafil with 60mg of dapoxetine

Here’s one last hint: If your market has to ask if you’re talking to them a la Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver…you’ve done something wrong.