It’s a common misconception that, as a small business owner, you have to love your website. When you’re creating your website, it’s easy to focus on what you like and want to see instead of focusing on what will grab (and keep) your target audience’s attention. Every business owner wants to like their website, but the truth is you’re creating your website for your target audience, not for you!
Think of your website as an enormous marketing tool. It’s meant to intrigue, attract, and guide your target audience to a buying decision. You want your audience to go to your website and see exactly what they’ve been looking for. You need to grab their attention within seconds of them visiting your website! If your audience doesn’t understand what you offer, how you help them, or how to work with you within 8 seconds of visiting your site, you’ve lost them.
Make your website speak to them by calling out and solving their challenges or fulfilling a want. Here are a few tips for creating your website for your target audience.
1. Clarify your brand story.
No matter how old you are, you can recognize and enjoy a good story. The best stories have a main character you can relate to, a conflict they have to overcome, a guide to help them along the way, a plan to reach their goal, an outcome if they win, and an outcome if they lose. A story without these elements is simply not compelling and loses the interest of the audience quickly. Now, what if I told you that your brand should be a story?
I know this may be hard to hear, but you’re not the main focus of your brand story. Your audience is — and you’re their guide. When creating your website, the focus should always be on your target audience and how your guidance is going to help them overcome a problem they’re having. By addressing your audience’s story, you’re helping them solve their problem and guiding them toward your product or service.
When building your brand story and creating your website to match, ask yourself the following questions:
- What does your target audience want to accomplish?
- What challenges do they encounter?
- How do the obstacles to their objective make them feel?
- Are you showing empathy for their struggles?
- How are you showing authority for solving their problem?
- Have you created an action plan for a successful outcome?
- How have you reminded them of where they are now?
It’s often difficult for companies (big or small) to focus their branding on the customer. It’s easy to talk about yourself and your products, but that simply isn’t compelling to your audience. Your story doesn’t matter to them. They’re focused on their story and seeking your brand out to help and guide them, not to listen to you talking endlessly about yourself.
One big benefit of creating a website that focuses on your target audience’s story—and not your company’s—is that your branding is perceived as helping your audience solve their problem, instead of trying to sell them something. Being a guide and not pushing the sale will endear your brand to your audience and help your company grow.
2. Make a statement.
No one likes complicated guidance that takes a long story (and countless tangents) to understand. Most of us are drawn to the quickest, easiest solution to our problems, not a long-winded explanation. So why are so many companies creating complicated websites full of jargon with no obvious indication of what their company does? Successful websites always include a simple statement clarifying exactly what they do at the beginning of their website.
There is no need for complicated jargon and paragraphs that never seem to end to explain what your company does. Think simply. Imagine you’re trying to explain what your company does to a small child. They have short attention spans — and very little knowledge about your industry. What are you going to say to get them to understand? While most of your customers likely aren’t small children, it’s important to understand that they aren’t as knowledgeable as you are about your business or industry. Don’t fall victim to the curse of knowledge by assuming that everyone else has the same amount of knowledge you do. Make your statement short, simple, and to the point, like the ones below:
- We fix foundation, crawl space, and basement problems.
- We help small businesses grow.
- Get fit with a personal trainer.
- Clean the inside of your car in just minutes.
- A Christian board game to play with your family, friends, or church group.
3. Call your audience to action.
Okay, here is where your opinion matters a little. What is your goal when creating your website? What are you trying to get your target audience to do? Whatever it is you would like your customers to do — buy now, request a consultation, schedule an appointment, or start here — needs to be located at the top right corner of your website.
Your call to action (CTA) needs to be obvious to your audience. There should be no searching for what you want them to do or how to contact you. Your audience should know exactly where they need to click and what that click is leading them to.
When creating your website, it’s essential to include your call to action in the UPPER RIGHTHAND CORNER of your page. It should stand out with a pop of color and not be cluttered by other content. The top of the page isn’t the only location you should have your CTA, however. You should include CTAs right below the fold of your front page, or shortly after you begin to scroll down the page, and on every page of your website.
We’re all a little lazy and don’t want to have to go scrolling for a way to engage. Make it easy on your audience and include your CTA frequently on your website.
4. Portray success in imagery.
Choosing the perfect images when creating your website is key to attracting and maintaining your target audience’s attention. The images on your site are the first things that draw the attention of your target audience. A site that is loaded with obvious, cheesy stock photos or photos of the interior of your office is going to be a turn-off for your audience. Your images are meant to remind your audience there is a happy ending when they use your products or services—not to be a collage of images that you like but may not relate to your company.
Find images that appeal to your customers. Are the images displaying the right message? Do they go with your brand? Choose images that feature people who look like your target audience achieving success. You want your audience to not only relate to your images, but also to see their own potential for success in them.
It may be tempting to use images from your cell phone when creating your website, but remember: you need high-quality images! Cell phone images often are not formatted for use on your website. High-quality images are important to clarify your message without using words, so make sure those images are sending the right message.
5. Create a plan of action.
Shopping online and purchasing online are very different things. It’s easy to add items to your cart as you see them and have a cart full of amazing items, but making the leap to purchase those items is a completely different obstacle. That’s why it’s your job, when creating your website, to help your audience feel comfortable about purchasing your product or service.
A great way to make your audience comfortable making the leap to a purchase is to tell them—or show them—how easy it is to work with you and use your product or service! You can do this by creating a simple action plan with three steps.
Here are a few examples of simple steps:
Car Service Website:
- Choose where you want to go.
- Book your ride.
- Receive your confirmation.
- Pick your toppings.
- Set your delivery location.
- Enjoy a slice.
- Request a consultation.
- Discuss your situation.
- Set next steps.
We’re bombarded with sales messages and tempting purchases every day, which has slowly conditioned us to accept the constant noise and not pay attention. Break through the chaos of marketing messages and guide your audience toward your product with a simple three-step action plan. Creating your action plan is an easy-to-follow guide that will get your audience started on your product and lead them through the buyer’s journey.
Creating your website can be a stressful time for any small business. And, it’s easy to get wrapped up in building a website that you love and forget that it’s not meant for you. But, it’s so important to gear your site toward your target audience—not you! Creating your website for your target audience is a great way to point your business toward success.
Our proven marketing protocol helps companies make more money, free up time, and plan an effective strategy.
Treefrog Marketing is an agency in Lafayette, Indiana focused on small business. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.