In Field of Dreams Kevin Costner hears, “If you build it, he will come.” Many people seem to think that websites follow that same principle: that if they want to make money, all they have to do is build a website, and customers will come. If only it worked that way! But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start an online business or build a website. It just means that you should build your website for your ideal customers, for your company’s ‘sweet spot’. As a FutureNow conversion optimization analyst, a major part of my job working with our OnTarget subscription clients revolves around the creation and application of customer personas. If you’re an avid reader of GrokDotCom, personas need no introduction, but for those who aren’t familiar with our Persuasion-Architecture-style customer personas, or those who want a refresher, download our persona white paper detailing how to create customer personas.
Personas are the backbone of every recommendation I make, every test I run, and every funnel I create. Everything we do with our clients comes from their customer personas. The reason for this goes beyond just finding a market that is ideal for your product; it’s about getting to the core of customer intent because intent is the name of the game. So, with this in mind, I’ve created a few tips for helping you build-out or optimize your website for the right kind of visitor.
1. Speak Their Language!
Are you a B2B business that’s selling motors for computers or a lead generation site for moms who want to test baby products? If so, your sites should not be speaking the same language (and I don’t mean German). Furthermore, not all technology sites should read the same. Let me break it down for you even further–
When trying to attract those with a specific knowledge base within your industry, it’s okay to use industry specific terms. By doing this, you may weed out some traffic, but if visitors don’t know the terminology you’re using, are they well qualified traffic? If not, you didn’t want them anyway.
2. Don’t Waste Their Time!
Ever read a poorly written college essay that didn’t get to the thesis until the 2nd page? Well, don’t do that to your visitors. No matter who your market is, they need to know if you can solve their problem the moment they arrive on your site. If you sell products, show the product with a CTA; if you are a search site, have the search field front and center. Don’t waste valuable space above the fold on your homepage with images/graphics/information/videos that don’t tell the visitor who you are, what you do and how you can solve their problem.
I have a friend who has a site selling a great, green, environmentally-conscious product, but you would never have known that from visiting their homepage because their header image and company name took up all of the space above the fold. It was a waste of space that really hurt their visitor traffic: even those who were qualified exited the site immediately (especially if they were fast paced buyers) because it was unclear what they did.
3. Seduce Your Ideal
If you’ve never created a persona before, start by talking to your sales representatives or client-facing workers. This might be someone answering phones or someone working the floor at your brick-and-mortar shop. I guarantee if you ask them “who do you want to hear from more?” they’ll be able to tell you – that’s your ideal customer.
From there you should customize the online experience around that type of person. Want more? Say your “ideal” is a quick-thinking, high-powered executive who needs a new security system. Your site needs to have bullet points of your UVP (unique value proposition), a CTA (call to action), a contact number (with someone readily available) and a few easy to access, reliable reviews of your products (ideally from accredited publications like Consumer Reports)… all visible above the fold. From there you can mold the rest of your site to other personas, but your ideal needs to be the first one you appeal to.
Still want more? Have FutureNow create the personas for you and help you continuously make your website better with one of our OnTarget website optimization subscription. Contact us to find out which size is right for you.