When Designing, Building & Marketing your Website - You are not your Customer

November 26, 2021
Tom Maynard

When you approach a web design company to design and build a new ecommerce website, or a showcase for your services, you’ll likely already have a thousand and one ideas flying around your brain on how you’d like x to look, what image you want to feature on the top banner, and which adjectives you’ll use promote to your product.

If this is the case, then now is time to take a step back and get out of your own head for a moment. The key point to remember at this stage is that you are not your customer, and how you want your website to look and function, plus the information it displays, is not intended for you. We design for what we like, what appeals to us and what works for us - but in reality, we are very rarely our ideal customer. We need to be designing and creating for someone else entirely, our targeted customers.

An experienced web development company will be aware of this potential pitfall and should step in at this stage to gently nudge you back in the right direction. It’s very common for our ego’s to get in the way of what we are actually trying to achieve, and this is understandable as we can only see the world through our own eyes. But when we are creating something to fuel our own ego, that’s when there’s a real problem, and particularly so if we aren’t even aware that’s what we’re doing.

Who is your target customer?

Now that we’ve established that what you are creating needs to be aimed at your ideal customer, just before you begin to work with your chosen web development company, graphic designers and SEO experts, you’ll need to define exactly who your ideal customer is, and where they can be found.

Your ideal customers will all have one thing in common, they’ll all have a problem, and that problem can be solved by your product or service. Their specific profile can be narrowed further by factors such as:

  • How they make their purchasing decisions
  • Their location / Nationality
  • What budget they have
  • Their age and sex
  • Their core beliefs

Focus your targeting

Talk to your current best customers (not the ones you don’t want, or don’t value), find out what they like, what they dislike, ask them where they think you might be able to improve. Talk to your sales team and your web marketers as they’ll be engaging with your customers everyday so should be acutely aware of who they are and what they do / don’t want. Now gather this information that you’ve gleaned to improve your messaging and target it towards the customers you actually want to engage with. You can use the words your customers are using to describe your product, rather than technical jargon or pretentious waffle, as this will help you communicate more effectively.  

Evaluate & evolve your messaging

Your customers will inevitably change over time and you’ll need to adapt your web marketing and SEO strategies to make sure you’re still using the right language and words to speak to them. The Covid19 pandemic has brought sharp attention to the fact that nothing should be taken for granted, and for many of us, our focus has now shifted. Our awareness of the looming global environmental crisis has also forced many of us to reevaluate our consumer behaviours. Specific recent trends observed include:

  • Goods and services are now expected to be delivered more rapidly, which has proved to be a significant challenge in the face of worldwide shipping and logistics difficulties.
  • Consumers are more acutely aware of their social responsibilities than ever, so sustainable alternatives to ‘fast fashion’ products, for example, are being more readily sought.
  • We are increasingly tech-savvy, believing ourselves to be web experts with the power to find the best products and services, and we’re more willing to put in a bit of work now that we are comfortable with using the web to source everything.
  • We spend more on health, fitness and wellness than ever before. The phrase; “Your health is your wealth’ has never been more true than it has been in the face of a global pandemic.
  • We have become more willing to spend money on others. When times are difficult we pull together and this has certainly been witnessed in the last couple years.

‘If you build it, they will come’ - Field of dreams

Now that we know who our ideal customers are and exactly what it is that they want, we can set about creating an experience aimed specifically at them. Now is the time to be relaying this information to your web design company,  graphic design team and SEO experts, so that you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. You’ll know from your earlier research how your ideal customers are finding you and what search words and funnels they are using, so go for these first.

Be sure throughout the web development phase to structure your site in a way that’s easy for your ideal customer to navigate. You need to be getting your message across as quickly and easily as you possibly can. If you’re struggling here you can categorise your content into a hierarchy, with the most important info and messages being in Tier 1, which should be displayed on your home page, landing page and email campaigns. Tier 2 will likely be more thorough and detailed information about your products and services, whilst tier 3 could be social content, feedback, case studies, videos etc.

Any web development company worth their salt will be able to help you with all of the areas that we’ve covered here, as they’ll have exactly the same goal as you; to create a website that engages as many of your ideal customers as possible.

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