In the 21st century, every business needs a website. It’s been called the modern-day storefront, and what you present on your company website matters. You’ve got the look, but how can you be sure your website’s content is marketing to your target audience? What you say and how you say it is extremely important. Even in our everyday lives, we speak differently to different kinds of people. How we talk to our parents isn’t the same as how we talk to our friends, and that is almost never the same as how we would speak to a complete stranger.
When marketing, people need to believe that a product or service is made specifically for them, and language is the best way to convince them of that. So, when writing content for your target audience or target customer, you have to ask yourself a series of questions to be sure that your digital storefront is properly marketing to your target audience.
Who is your target audience?
This question can be a difficult one to answer for many people. When you are tailoring the content of your website to your target audience, you have to think about the specific audience who wants and/or needs your product or service. Think about the demographic(s) that have a problem for which your product or service is the solution. This is your target audience. In order to relate to your target audience, you must learn all you can about them, the ways they use or could use your product or service, and what is important to them regarding your product and everything that your product touches in the target customer's world.
Think about economic standing
Are you marketing to someone who is wealthy or to the average working class individual? Here’s an example of how the very words you choose can conjure up different images and resonate, or not, to your target customers. Say you are inviting friends to a dinner-party. Think about the two phrases “a hearty feast” and “a cordial banquet.” Both technically mean the same thing, but have the potential to be interpreted differently. “Hearty feast” is earthier, and may include lots of meat and a fire. “Cordial banquet” sounds more formal, like it would include champagne and require a tuxedo or nice dress. Consider the average income of your target audience, and use language that is both appealing and pertinent to the target audience.
Think about educational background
Another important thing to consider is the average education level of your target audience. Are they new high school graduates? Are they skilled workers? Do they have an advanced degree such as a Master’s or Ph.D.? Learning this information helps
you engage with your audience. People with advanced education levels tend to be well-read, and consume language in a way that is reflective of that. On the other hand, people with less formal education and experience may prefer language that is broken down in a way that is practical, relatable, and easy to understand. If you are marketing to specific professionals in one or more industries, you must learn their “lingo” including key acronyms to demonstrate to your target audience that you have knowledge of their industry.
Think about age
Younger people and older folks communicate differently. My Nana, bless her heart, likes to exclaim interest and excitement with the phrase, “Well isn’t that a sight?” She’ll say it when talking about a song she likes. She’ll say it about a funny story. She’ll say it about things she can’t even see, but the phrase means something different to her. It’s a vernacular phrase from her lifetime that just means something to the effect of “Isn’t that amazing?”
Language changes in sometimes obvious and subversive ways through generations, and when marketing to your target customer, you need to keep in mind the typical age of your target audience. By writing content that is more recognizable within your vocabulary without considering an older or younger audience, you could end up confusing, or worse offending, a potential client or customer.
Think about gender
This includes the sometimes-difficult path to walk called tone and stereotypes. People of different genders live and experience the world and society differently. If your target customers includes a specific gender, be sure to think carefully about which words you choose and how you convey ideas. You want to highlight the issues and aspects of your product or service they like and are drawn to. Gender roles and expectations have changed greatly over the past several decades. A consumer recently asked why children's underwear manufacturers assumed only boys would be interested in space exploration. Marketers need to be attuned to their target market and avoid touching on any nerves that could potentially upset your target customer.
Think about cultural background
Marketers must also consider and understand the cultural background of their target customers. The U.S. is comprised of people from all over. If you are marketing to a target audience from a specific cultural background, how you frame your content verbally is extremely important. If you want people to come to you for products and services, talking to their specific needs and wants can be a powerful lure. But more important than that, being sure that you frame the culture of your target audience in a positive light ensures that your brand is viewed positively by your target audience group. If target customers are from a different cultural background than your own, be sure to do your research, and learn about their cultural heritage. As we’ve all seen on multiple occasions, nothing can be more insulting than having your heritage handled in a clumsy, uninformed, or presumptive way. Be inclusive, but also be specific.
After going through this list, you should have a better idea of the target customer for your website and product or service. By doing your target audience research, such as reviewing industry data, having personal conversations and focus groups with target customers, and conducting surveys, you gain a better understanding of your target audience’s needs and wants. With a good understanding of your target audience, you can write content that is specifically tailored to their needs and wants. Hopefully the checklist in this blog helps you think through the process and brings to light any additional information you need. If you need help navigating through the process of identifying and effectively marketing to your target customers, your friends at CATMEDIA The Agency are here to help!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).