How to use Web Design to Connect With Your Target Audience

April 1, 2020// Category: Digital Marketing // Author: Samantha Hager

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You’ve likely heard the term ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ many times before. However, the reason why this term continues to be used to this very day despite its origin coming from the mid-1800’s is because it is still as accurate now as it was then. This is why we dress up for interviews, why some women wear makeup in public, and why you often hear that a firm handshake and a confident smile are all you need to succeed in life.

This being said, this is also why it is vitally important that your company makes a great first impression with potential clients as well. Without a lasting first impression, you are likely to lose potential clients the minute they visit your site because you are giving them no reason to stay on it. How can you expect someone to want to buy a product or service from you when you offer them nothing to persuade them to do so in return?

Fortunately, the solution to this problem is actually relatively simple and is completely digital in nature. By simply using your web design to create a satisfying user experience (UX), you can increase the likelihood that a potential customer will purchase from you by up to 400 percent.

So how do you take a lackluster site and turn it into an ROI masterpiece? Well, it’s easy. All it takes is a bit of knowledge about what UX design actually is, what your target audience looks like and thinks like, how to target them effectively, and what mistakes are made often that you can easily avoid with a bit of forethought. With this combination, you are sure to impress the masses, increase your profitability exponentially, and give that lasting first impression you need to succeed without fail.

UX design example bison travel

What is UX Design?

According to Crazy Egg, “User experience design employs a combination of art and science while using the many rules that have been developed after studying user behaviors during the testing process.When delving deeper into the ISO definition of UX, you notice that the definition includes all the emotions users might feel as they interact with the product, service, or system, as well as their perceptions, responses (both physical and psychological), and behaviors.”

To put it simply, UX is a combination of everything that a potential customer thinks or feels when looking at your website or using it. Designing with this in mind is how you essentially tailor the experience they have to better fit your intended outcome. This coupled with the fact that 88% of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience is exactly why the way you handle this aspect of your web design process is absolutely vital to success, above and beyond other marketing efforts.

UX should not be confused with UI, however, as UI relates to the actual interface of a website or tech product. This has nothing to do with design unless it positively affects the usability of a website. It is important to know the difference as UI should always be what you start with and the UX is how you hook people in through the frontend of your site.

With this said, the key to a quality UX is based on the audience you have and the branding you do to attract them. In many ways, it’s a lot like fishing. Just as you wouldn’t try to catch bass with the same things you use to catch catfish, you wouldn’t want to create a basic website or target an audience that isn’t going to care about your products or services whatsoever.


Benefits of Designing for a Target Audience

After outlining what your target audience will be, the next step is actually designing with them in mind and recognizing the value in doing so.

Well, the truth is that there is so much more to UX design that makes it not only ideal but essential to the success of a business—so, let’s start with the statistics.

These statistics show a clear and definitive truth for both small and big businesses alike. That truth is that people like good-looking websites that attract their attention and give them the information they want in a visually appealing manner. This is the crux of why UX is so important to begin with.

However, this is not the only reason likewise. Another great reason has to do with the fact that a good site can actually improve your domain authority (DA) which is essentially the best way to get new customers without paying a penny in marketing or advertising online.

By using your UX to improve your ranking on search engine results pages, you can slowly make your way to the first page when looking for particular keywords related to your business and see an influx in site traffic and profitability because of it.

buyer persona example

How to Identify a Target Audience

Identifying a target audience is truly as easy as three simple steps. By doing so, you can truly see just how beneficial demographic research can be for your business’ growth and profitability.

1. Determine who to Emulate

When determining a buyer persona, one of the first steps to take is to look at your competition as well as the companies you want to emulate. Why? Because these are the companies that will have a strong follower base more than likely and will help you to determine what characteristics your average consumer has likewise.

To start, look at your competitors’ social media accounts, look at what kinds of people like their posts and blog content, look into their site traffic origins, and find the patterns. These will serve as a foundation for what the most likely people to also look at your content are.

For example, if your company is a fashion company, you may find your competitors targeting the average Gen Z consumer. This could be valuable information when marketing as it will help you to know what types of targeted design will resonate best with your audience, what things they are interested in, and what kinds of emotions they like to feel when visiting a website.

From there, you can turn to the sites you want to emulate. Even sites that have nothing to do with your particular industry but have a strong follower base and look incredible can serve as great inspirations for your future design process. They can help you to see what a good marketing strategy is, how to properly use calls to action or design elements, and what engages the average consumer best.

2. Look at Your own Company’s Demographics

The next step in the process is to look inwards. While it is easy to find patterns in your competitor’s engagements and site traffic statistics, it is typically harder to find the same patterns in your own company.

However, the effort is sure to be rewarding in the end as it will allow you to see if you are on a similar path to the companies you are looking to emulate or if you are taking a different path that could help you to set yourself apart from the competition.

To do this, look at your site traffic, your engagements on social media, your past sales, and your most frequent buyers. Find what they have in common, break it down into characteristics, and use it along with the information from your competition to truly rise above the pack.

3. Create Educated Buyer Personas

Once this process is complete, you will then want to take this information along with a quality breakdown of your own past clients and engagements to create buyer personas that effectively match every single consumer type you want to target through your design.

The buyer personas marketers make look at these characteristics as actual people so you can target one person rather than an entire group of people. In this way, it becomes a lot easier to figure out what your target audience likes and doesn’t like, what emotions they want to feel when visiting your site, and how to market to them effectively.

While demographics focus on groups of people, buyer personas have names, families, hobbies, jobs, and real personalities that make it far easier to design for than massive groups with similar traits.

What information is included in an audience profile?

A great first step is to define your target audience by looking at the personality traits you want to target specifically. You can also look at professions, income levels, hobbies, buying patterns, age, gender and locations match these traits best, and how these combinations would appear as actual people. A great foundation for this can be found on Hubspot where they not only outline how to create an optimal buyer persona but also provide templates for your convenience when getting started.

The big thing to remember is that these personas may change as your company changes and going back to them to make alterations over time is essential to continue to grow and prosper as a business.


How to Reach Your Target Audience

Once you have your target audience outlined, you will want to figure out exactly how to market to them. The best way to do this is by thinking about what the characteristics of your target audience are.

You can then use these characteristics to your benefit. If the person you are trying to target is a middle-aged woman with children, you may want to opt for an inviting and sophisticated look to your site as she will likely want the website to emulate her in that regard. Performing a detailed website target audience analysis is the crux of UX design.

For example, if your business is a luxury car dealership, you may design your website to match this feeling of class and luxury that you want your potential customers to feel when thinking about buying an expensive car. This may lead to darker and more ‘royal’ colors, lots of lavish photos of the vehicles throughout the site, easy to maneuver menus and galleries, and branding that resonates with professionals and the ‘elite’.

luxury auto ux design example

Similarly, if your company is a ‘doggy daycare’, you may want to stick with fun and welcoming color palettes, lots of photos of your customers’ animals, and branding that is inviting and gives off the sense that you love the work that you do and the animals you take care of. In this way, you are creating a sense of warmth and love that a user will be able to feel throughout your site which may help them to make their decision in your favor.

doggy daycare ux design example

No matter what your company is, however, the best way to determine how to go about designing for your audience is by analyzing truly what they care about and what that looks like in a website. With this, the opportunities are endless.

ecommerce affinity infographic

ux design examples

3 Examples of Websites That Target Audiences Expertly

If you don’t currently have brands you are looking to emulate with your design elements, these three target audience website examples may be the perfect solution. While they may not be in the same wheelhouse as your company, their expert UX design is the sole reason why they aren’t just popular but serve as some of the leaders in their industries as of now.

mailchimp ux example

1. MailChimp

 One of the biggest brand elements of MailChimp is the iconic chimp logo itself. However, they don’t just end the cartoon branding look or chimp aspects of the site there. As you move throughout their website, you will continue to find their whimsical yet soft color palettes, their logo, the chimp’s arms and hands, and various other cartoon qualities that make it very inviting and fun in nature.

The reason why this particular cartoon-related style is strong for their given audience is because it represents a strong brand identity, conveys an easy-to-use format, and also resonates with the younger generations that use their tools daily.

Coupled with their easy-to-navigate website and easy-to-use services, MailChimp is a great example of UX design and development done right.

nest thermostat ux design

2. Nest Thermostat

The Nest thermostat is already a highly popular brand seen all over both in pop culture like movies and television shows as well as in targeted audience branding campaigns likewise. However, where this company truly shines is through their incredibly simple website that focuses on family, bright and welcoming colors, and soft and inviting messaging throughout.

By doing this, Nest offers its users a sense of ‘home’. This makes them associate the Nest brand with their own families and homes which may not initially pay off. However, when people move into a new home, they immediately think of this brand and choose to buy their product to feel more comfortable and happy like the families shown throughout their website. This being said, the Nest thermostat is truly a wonderful brand to emulate if you sell any product for families or homes.

rover ux design example

3. Rover

If you haven’t heard of Rover before, you likely don’t have an animal. This brand is one of the most widely-recognized pet-related companies out there. With its very easy-to-navigate system, its wonderful use of adorable pet photos to market its services, and its well-known pawprint logo all throughout the site, Rover is truly a wonderful service-based website example.

The company focuses most of its imagery on the animals and their owners. In doing this, it eludes without saying so to the fact that the pets and their owners come first in the process. Similarly, it’s really no surprise that pet lovers love to look at pets.

By adding lots of animal photos throughout the site, having a very informative pet-lovers blog, and focusing on the bond between an animal and its human companion, Rover creates a great UX that is probably why their site traffic numbers are astronomical year after year.

Now that you know more about the value behind UX design, how to get started, and what exactly you should do to succeed, let’s talk about the other side of the coin. By knowing the most common mistakes that businesses make with their design processes, you can learn from these experiences without succumbing to them and also avoid going down a path that inevitably leads to failure from the start likewise.

common ux design mistakes

The Top 3 Most Common Mistakes

There are countless mistakes that can be made when designing a website but many of them are caused by a lack of understanding when it comes to the  target audience. However, with UX-based design, these three below are by far the most common and most disastrous if they occur.  Fortunately, if you know what they are and what to do to avoid them, you can easily move past these common mistakes and succeed off the bat guaranteed.

1. Creativity Over Usability 

The first big mistake businesses make with design is focusing too much on how creative their site is rather than how easy it is to navigate and use. For instance, some site owners think that a great way to set a good first impression is by standing out. While this may be true to some degree, if you stand out too much, it may be because the site is too unique to even function for its initial purpose.

A good example of this mistake is when you download a popular game on your phone. You may have downloaded the game because it seemed fun but the minute you open the app, you find yourself bombarded with ads for other games and products to the point where you can’t even play the game you downloaded the app for to begin with. This leads you to remove the app because there’s no point in a phone game that you can’t play.

The same can be said about UX design. Something that ‘looks cool’ or ‘seems good on paper’ may not always be the best decision for the overall user experience that stems from it. If a luxury car company focuses on virtual tours of their cars to set themselves apart.

This may seem like a good idea for a luxury brand target audience, but the could slow down the website, which would detract new visitors and negatively affect their business greatly. It’s all about finding the balance between being engaging and easy-to-use.

2. Designing Without Quality Content

The best way to explain design without quality content is like trying to sell a lamborghini without an engine. While it may look good on the outside or may make some people click on the ad, once the individual sees that there is no engine, they will likely move on to the next car.

In fact, even a subpar vehicle with an engine suddenly becomes more useful than this high-quality vehicle without one. In the same way, a website without content is nothing but a beautiful shell without a heart.

Having said this, your site copy and additional content should be reflective of your audience as well. You wouldn’t want to write in a fun and simple tone as a law office just as you wouldn’t want to write in a very professional and dry tone if you are a surf shop. This is where learning how to write share-worthy blog posts and targeted site copy comes into play.

3. Not Using Calls to Action Effectively

Lastly, when creating a UX-based site design, calls to action are the best way to keep people engaged, get them to visit other parts of your site, and eventually buy your products or services as well.

They say that the best CTA’s are big enough to read on the page, use stand-out colors to attract readers’ eyes, are spaced out throughout the site in an effective manner, used to direct consumers down the funnel to the actual purchase of your products or services, and typically offer incentives for clicking on them.

This is the best way to not only get people to click on the CTA buttons but also follow the sales funnel from the first point of contact all the way to the last purchase and follow-up.

Some good calls to action can be seen on sites such as Rover, MailChimp, and Nest as well. For instance, Rover uses ‘Book your next rover sitter.’ This is a simple one but it has such a good effect. It makes the request seem like it benefits the user more than the company behind it. Next, MailChimp uses the CTA, ‘Pick a plan.’

This is also a great call to action because it assumes the sale, isn’t too intrusive or long, and also doesn’t seem like it takes you straight to the checkout which people tend to hate. Lastly, Nest uses ‘talk to a Google Nest expert’ which is another great way to assure people before they purchase your product. It serves as a CTA for their benefit and not yours which is always a great approach to take.

In the end, while UX design may seem confusing at times or useless to some, the truth lies in the statistics that prove time and time again how effective targeted design elements can truly be. By identifying and prescribing the target audience for a website, there truly is no telling how much more site traffic and profits you will see in no time at all.

All it takes is a bit of consideration, planning, research, and trust in the process to go from a business with very little engagement to a business that is leading in your given industry year after year.

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