Designs and user experience are just as important as your product, so tailoring everything to your audience– from your postal packaging to your website’s navigation menu — can make the difference between converting a few customers every so often and generating endless leads.
We asked 11 young entrepreneurs how they incorporate their target audience demographics into their site experience, their app design, and iterations of their products.
Seek out design aesthetics
Allow the design of your web or app design to follow the design aesthetics of your target market by using brand archetypes. Look at what other brands your audience uses and get a feel for what design aesthetics they respond to. Don’t copy, but use these designs as inspiration for your own designs. Think fonts, colors, spacing.
Content will always be king
Thursday Bram, @thursdayb, Hyper Modern Consulting
No matter what app or site I’m working with at any given time, making sure that the content we publish lines up precisely with the audience’s demographics is crucial. Content creates context, showing the audience why they need to be using a particular tool that otherwise might not make sense to them.
Introduce your team members
The previous owner of my hair salon catered to ethnic hair. Since our team and clientele is diverse, when we rebranded the business we decided to post fun photos of ourselves. We scheduled a photoshoot to show the diverse looks of our stylists. Our clients feel comfortable choosing which stylist they want based on their photo and bio on our website.
Measure Your Audience With Quantcast
You can also look at Quantcast and see the demographics of your competitors which will be yours. You want to make sure the images and written content you use on your website speak to those demographics.
Consider the visitor’s urgency
A design factor that’s often overlooked is addressing the urgency associated with the problem your visitors are trying to solve. Let’s say they have a leaky faucet and it is flooding their bathroom. They want answers fast and don’t care about design. Solve high urgency problems (even getting through your shopping cart without hassle) in as few steps as possible.
Broadcast headlines over brochures
Our product caters to all demographics, but we try to keep it simple when it comes to web design. Simple or bold headlines, along with a call to action and limited followup text, work well. People don’t take the time to read, so you have to make an impact with your headline versus a brochure. Drive them to learn more by sending them to your sales team, who can then close the deal.
Don’t limit your own audience
Despite my website being pink, over half of my clients ended up being men! This led to a website redesign with a bright blue spot of color. I also had my designer integrate lots of white space and curved lines to create a sense of peace and calm, because my clients want to achieve more with less stress.
There’s no substitute for data
Rather than trying to guess what our audience wants, we regularly test different messaging and images on our site and see which ones convert the best. Many of the results seem counterintuitive at first but make sense once we dig beneath the surface. There’s no substitute for data.
Color, copy and consistency
Target demographic information is one of the most important factors of the design process. To make our experience enjoyable for cool and quirky fans, our design features primarily gender-neutral colors that have a real kick as well as copy that is lively and inviting rather than dull and pompous. The majority of the site is aesthetically similar to what our target demographics are used to using.
Play off their media interests
Our clients eat pop culture for breakfast, so it’s crucial for our company to deliver magazine-quality content and create a visual brand experience that’s inspired by entertainment media. I suggest researching other brands your customer’s patronize and what type of media they enjoy reading/watching/listening to and infuse these elements into your web/app design.
Try speaking their language
While our web-based software does the same thing for everyone — helps people improve their own Google results — users want to do so for different reasons. For example, job applicants want to get a job, real estate agents want to get more clients. Based on these motivations, we tweak the messaging so each user understands how the product can help them accomplish those specific goals. For example, the landing page for a job applicant might say ‘Employers are Googling you, make sure you get an edge,’ where that same landing page for a real estate agent might say, ‘Sellers will Google you before doing business with you. Make sure you aren’t losing opportunities.” The product is the same, but by speaking their ‘language,’ we’re more likely to sign them up.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
Image via Funky64/Flickr