When a client comes to us to discuss a web design project, one of the first things we do is hone in on their target audience and develop a persona that we can build a website around.
However, for companies with multiple audiences, that can become a little more challenging.
In an ideal world, your website should be designed with a specific customer in mind, as you’ll be able to optimise your user experience to increase conversions and sales.
But when that isn’t possible, careful research and planning can result in a website that meets the needs of the majority of your users, building a cohesive digital presence in the process.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the techniques and strategies to consider when building a website for more than one user group…
Why not launch a dedicated website?
On the first inspection, you might think that launching multiple websites to serve each of your audience segments would work in your favour, and whilst ‘microsites’ are still used as part of digital marketing strategies, businesses are rewarded by Google and other search engines by ‘putting their eggs in one basket’ and maintaining a core digital property that serves as an authority in their niche. Invest in SEO and PR, and you’ll rank well for relevant search terms.
The added benefit of keeping everything under one roof is cost – you’ll only have to pay for the hosting and maintenance of one site, and you won’t need to tweak marketing campaigns and promotional materials to include different URLs and email addresses for each segment.
Having said that, dedicated websites still have a time and place. At Zudu, for example, we launched a microsite for our Chinese digital marketing services as we wanted to differentiate between our core offering.
Weigh up the pros and cons of both options before deciding.
Set clear goals
If you’ve decided to build one website for multiple audiences, then first define exactly what you want to achieve on your new site, and set out clear, documented, prioritised goals to help you get there.
Your long-term goal might be to develop an augmented reality tool for B2C consumers to try on clothes before they buy, but building a B2B section might take priority so you can start marketing wholesale clothing through PPC and SEO, for instance.
Take time to understand the wants and requirements of your audience.
You might decide to hold a focus group or conduct an online survey to properly get a feel for your target market, especially if you’re new to the industry or you’re lucky enough not to have any competitors.
Once you’ve done that, you can split your audiences into defined groups, find commonalities and prioritise the most important user types and user journeys to increase conversions.
For example, you might decide that 80% of your customers are going to be B2C, and so focus on them in your navigation, with a small portion saved for the B2B market.
Choose elements carefully – buttons, forms, and calls to actions – by placing them on your ‘hotspots’ such as your header and homepage, where most users will see/interact with them.
Finally, accept that some audience segments might be too niche for your main website, and think about where else they can find you.
You might highlight your search function or focus on off-site work such as SEO to drive traffic to landing pages that don’t make sense in your standard navigation.
Introduce distinct design elements
Use elements such as colours, fonts, and imagery to differentiate your products and services for different audiences – this is a great way to push people to the right parts of your website.
If you’re designing a new site for your hotel and are looking to target overnight hotel guests and wedding parties, for example, then you can use silvers, golds, flowers, and script fonts to create an elegant and sophisticated sub-brand for your wedding packages.
Think of it in the same way as Tesco differentiating its Finest and Everyday Value lines on supermarket shelves – different audiences, different branding, but both have room in the same space.
Implement new technologies
If your audiences are worlds apart and there’s no way to marry the two together, consider implementing new technologies such as chatbots to guide users through to the right parts of your website.
Conversational user interfaces are growing in popularity and serve as ‘butlers’ to your site’s homepage, reducing friction and delivering the right content to the right people.
For example: “Welcome to Maya’s Shoes! Are you looking to buy shoes or buy wholesale?”
With the right implementation, your robot can help move specific personas along the most appropriate customer journey – though be mindful of the fact that consumers want less AI when talking to brands, and that a chatbot homepage could actually reduce conversions and increase bounce rates.
Experiment with A/B testing until you’re confident with your interface.
Use landing pages to push users through funnels
Think about landing pages as separate entrances – at a department store, for example, it might be possible to enter through the main doors and be greeted with the latest in fashion and lifestyle, or enter through a side door into a department such as music or technology.
It is easy to do the same on your website – and ensure the right people see the right content.
Develop well-designed landing pages and optimise them for conversions, and you’ll be able to push visitors through sales funnels and get them to watch your videos, see your products, or sign up for a service without having to visit your homepage at all.
You just need to take advantage of search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising to get them there.
Accept that you can’t be everything to everyone
A website trying too hard to serve too many people will ultimately serve nobody.
It’s better to design a website that has been optimised for one user group than to compromise on a site that makes no sense and fails to deliver on all fronts, with a miss-match of navigation, calls to action and copywriting.
Be very careful about packing too much into your homepage or a landing page and consider the benefits of splash pages to direct people to a particular area of your website, or go the whole hog and develop unique sites for each of your user groups.
Building a website for multiple audiences can be hard work, so take your time and work with the experts here at Zudu.
With years of experience developing apps and websites, we can build a custom solution that delivers ground-breaking functionality for all of your users – and increases your bottom line in the process.
Click here to arrange a free consultation.