Understanding your online audience and why it's important
Posted on 28th June 2021
Guest blog by Chris Nairne, Tesserae Communications
When you decided your business needed a website, did you spend some time thinking about who might visit it?
Or how they would find it online?
Or why they might be searching for something?
When you answer these questions, your website will work hard for you.
Want to be on page one of Google?
There are plenty of statistics that explain why it’s important to appear on the first page of search results. Most people believe that three quarters of internet users won’t scroll beyond the first page of online search results.
So, should your goal be to optimise your website for search engines?
To improve your chances, should you also invest in some pay per click (PPC) advertising?
You can do both of those things but they won’t necessarily bring you success because this isn’t the place to start.
The first question you need to ask is: ‘Who wants to find my business online?’.
The next question is: ‘What will they be looking for?’.
You don’t need everyone to find you online
Surely, it’s a numbers game. The more people that find your business online, the more visits you will receive to your website and the more customers you will have.
However, only a quarter of users click on the first organic search result (not one that has been paid for) and that rate falls to just 2.5% by the tenth result.
That’s because many results don’t provide the answer a user is looking for. Sometimes they might enter a very general term like ‘holidays’ which will deliver literally billions of results. Your website is unlikely to be amongst the ones in the first few pages. While a leading holiday company might pay a lot of money for their advertisement to appear on the first page of search results for a single word like this, only 1.5% of people will click on their link because it doesn’t provide the information they want.
In fact, most people search for four words, known as long-tail keywords.
This is why understanding your audience is important.
When you know what people are most likely to search for when they need your product or service, you will be able to optimise your website content to improve your chances of appearing on page one in the search results. The more specific the search term, the better.
What Is your target audience?
You want people to visit your website so that they can ultimately become customers.
To understand what will attract them to your site, speaking with your existing customers is a good place to start. If you don’t yet have any customers, you can ask the people most likely to buy from you. Understanding why they would choose to work with you will help you to find the keywords that will attract more people like them.
You will need to answer the very important question ‘What problem will I solve for my customers?’. This isn’t about what your product or service does, it’s about how your customers will use it and why.
You might find that different customers will use your product or service to solve different problems. You can use this information to segment your audience. Then you can start to work out what they might search for and create specific content to meet their needs.
You can use several other things to narrow down the types of people you are looking for, such as:
• location – do you work locally or nationally?
• age – the people interested in the latest fashion will probably be different to those looking for garden furniture
• income – if your product is very costly, only certain people might be able to afford it.
When people look for specific terms and find your site in the search results your chances of attracting them to your site and converting them into customers will be improved.
Measure it to manage it
In an ideal world, your potential customers would be clear and consistent about what they are looking for and how they will search for it. Of course, they’re not.
As the business thinker Peter Drucker says: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
Choosing and using the right keywords for your website is not an exact science. You will need to regularly monitor who visits your site and where they come from with a tool like Google Analytics.
You might decide to change some keywords to see what happens, but don’t change too many at one time or you could end up with a very confusing picture.
Make it personal
Once someone has found your website you only have moments to persuade them to stay and explore.
Make sure that the tone and style are right and that each page speaks directly to your potential customer. Don’t be afraid to include personal touches in your content to let them know what you’re like, as well as what you do. After all people like to do business with people they like.
We’re always happy to share tips and advice about content creation, so please get in touch.
About Chris Nairne – Chris is Director of Tesserae Communications.
She specialises in storytelling for businesses; helping them share what they’re like as well as what they do.
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