Part 2 – meeting the needs of your target customers
In part 1 I gave some general pointers about measuring and improving your website’s the conversion rate (i.e. the number of leads generated as a % of visitors).
Website visitors are all different, with specific preferences and information needs, so if you can tap into those and address your potential customers’ most pressing needs and concerns, you’re well on your way to increasing conversions.
It is the written content of the website that visitors primarily use to get the information they need and this is what can sometimes let business websites down. The use of technical jargon is much maligned but can be a useful shorthand for “those in the know”, but for most people it is a barrier to their understanding. Making the information available in terms that visitors can understand is vital to customer engagement.
Fortunately, there are some techniques that can help you to present the information on your website in a way which will meet your buyer’s needs and encourage them to make a purchase or an enquiry. All it takes is an understanding of your customer base and a little research, for example:
What types of people buy from you?
“Buyer personas” is a buzz word in Internet Marketing. This basically means understanding the main types of people who buy from you and what their needs are. You know a lot about your current and previous customers, and you can use this knowledge to profile your target customers. It’s easier than you think. For example, let’s say you’re selling wooden flooring.
You’re likely to have at least 3 distinct types of buyer, including:
Domestic customers who’ve never bought wooden flooring before:
These customers will want to imagine what the product will look like in their home, scope out the cost, compared to carpet or other types of flooring and will probably want information about fitting. So these people will typically react well to high quality images, fitting information and tips, information about durability and the suitability of wooden flooring for different areas in the house. They may not be aware of the vast array of types, qualities and prices, so will appreciate guidance, as well as price and pricing units, i.e. is it priced by the box (if so, how much is in a box) or by the square metre and how much waste is likely.
Domestic customers who have bought a similar product before:
These customers have more understanding of the product and will be “shopping around” for a good deal or something special. They might have had some problems last time they purchased or fitted flooring, which is why they’re not returning to their previous supplier, and they’ll be keen to have a better experience this time round. High quality images will again be important, particularly if they want to match to or complement existing flooring or furniture and you should also make price information clear and easy to find. These customers will perhaps appreciate a fitting service (especially if they’ve done it themselves previously and run into difficulties) and will respond well to customer feedback and testimonials – anything to reassure them about your product and service quality.
This is a quite a different group. They probably have a lot of technical knowledge and experience and are looking for an appropriate price / quality combination. They will make their own judgement about suitable products for different areas based on the technical specification, so this is what should be most prominent for them. They’ll also be looking for bulk purchase discounts, and may want to do a deal with you. It’s more appropriate to direct Trade customers to a different area of the website which contains information targeted towards them, or encourage them to call you on the phone or in person. Rather than a domestic customer who may only buy from you once, a trade customer will want to form a long lasting relationship with you – you can help by letting them know that you value that too.
This is just an example but it hopefully will start you thinking about your own customer groups and their differing information needs.
How to identify your customer personas
Analyse your customer base to identify say 3 to 5 target groups than assess the types of people in these groups to identify their needs. Then you can develop distinct personas for each of these groups. What you’re trying to do is to paint a picture of the type of person who is buying from you. For example:
- Are they male or female or both? This is a bit of an over generalisation, but typically women want to look at the aesthetics of a product first, whereas men like to see the technical specifications.
- What age group are they? This gives a pointer to other interests they may have, and what’s most important to them.
- Are personal recommendations important to them? Do they use social media?
- Do they tend to know much about your product already?
- How interested will they be in the technical information?
- How do they intend to use the product?
- Are they motivated by price, quality, ease of use or all of these?
- Will buying your product or service improve something in their lives or solve a problem they currently have?
This might sound like hard work – but you probably have the answers to most of these questions at your fingertips. As internet consultants, trained in conversion analysis techniques, we can help clients with this type of exercise, and it is usually a good idea to work with someone else who isn’t connected with your business and can help you to stand back a bit from what you know so well.
Understanding your customer personas enables you to present your value proposition in a way that is meaningful to potential buyers. And don’t forget that even when you’re selling B2B, you are still selling to a person, who will have specific needs and objectives to achieve, so by providing the right information, in the right way and demonstrating how you can help, you’re well on the way to your next sale.