Defining your web site audience helps you craft the content of your site to match the audience, to make sure sure that your site is a fully functional business tool, not just an ineffective brochure.
What is a Web Site Audience
A Web Site Audience is the collection of people who visit your site. They can be broken down into groups. Not everyone visits your site for the same reason. For a business site, there are often two main group of people you are concerned about – people who you have never worked with before (potential customers), and people who you already do work with (existing customers). These are at least two different audiences, and you probably want to tell them two different things. Your business may also be more nuanced than that, with more specific categories of customers, different types of business partners, different demographics or markets… these are all audiences to think about.
What do I do with my audience?
That is really the key question, isn’t it? And I can’t answer it for you, but I can confirm that the next step is to answer that question. For each audience, what do you want them to do? Think about what interactions you want them to have with your web site. When do you want them to call you? When do you want them to send you an email? Or come to your business? What business transactions do you want to start with them?
In general, when thinking about your web site, are you trying to capture new customers for your site? Or does your site provide information to existing customers? If new customers, do you want to get new business directly from the site, via e-commerce functions, or are you just giving them enough information to have them call you or come visit you? Likewise for existing customers, are you trying to engage them into taking an action to interact with you, or simple passively providing them with information or self-service functions?
Now that you have thought through these questions, Lets simplify the way you think about your web site. A web site is about communication, not technology. Your web site is simply a communication channel to the audiences you have just thought through. Again, It is not about the technology – it is a way to get the message to those audiences to take the actions you want them to take.
As a business owner, you take control of your communication path to your customers. You define the messages that are to be conveyed, then partner with web developers to make sure the messages are conveyed effectively via your web site. Your tech partners advise you on the best ways to bring those messages to fruition via technology, but the communications are all yours.
And that is how an effective web partnership works – you run your business, with a tech partner who listens to you, making your business express its message online.