Understanding Your Audience: Why You Need Buyer Personas for a Website Redesign
September 13, 2017
Why do you need to understand your buyer personas before undergoing a website redesign? Simply put, understanding your organization’s buyer personas allows you to create a website that is not only tailored to their unique needs and pain points but also drives them through their buyers’ journey until they are ready to become a customer.
Your organization’s buyer personas—detailed profile descriptions of your ideal customers—lend a level of strategy and direction to your website’s redesign. After all, complete buyer personas should go into far more than just demographics; they should include psychographic information as well. From challenges and pain points to frequently asked questions, information about their decision-making, and even their purchasing processes, this knowledge will facilitate the creation of a website that will help you attract visitors, convert visitors into leads, and close those leads into customers.
Understanding Buyer Personas Brings the Right Visitors to Your Website
Understanding the reasoning behind your target customers’ online activities can drastically improve not only your organic search traffic but your organic search rankings as well.
Writing the Right Content
Because you understand your personas’ questions, you can develop your website content in a way that presents them with answers. Align your on-page copy with their searches and aim to answer their questions as thoroughly as possible. That being said, isn’t it usually the case that answering one question can lead to many more? We think so; by understanding the follow-up questions that they’ll have, you can be sure that you continue to develop content, such as blogs, that speaks to your personas’ questions and searches.
Optimizing Your Website
While it is possible for you to create a search-engine-optimized website without an in-depth understanding of your buyer personas, what would be the point of doing so? After all, it doesn’t matter how high your website ranks on the first page of Google if it’s only ranking for a search phrase that nobody relevant to your business is searching for.
By understanding your buyer personas, you can optimize your website not for search engines but actually for the visitors you hope to attract. Think of it like having one ear on the ground: By knowing and using the same specific words and phrases that your personas do while they seek information, you can tweak your website copy to match and thus ensure that your website will actually rank for the right phrases and be found by the right people.
Understanding Buyer Personas Makes Your Website User-Friendly
Not only do you want to get visitors to your website, but you want them to stay on your website, return to your website, and ultimately convert on your website. While powerful, relevant content certainly helps you achieve this end goal, a positive user experience is critical to your website’s success as well.
And once again, it is developing and understanding your buyer personas—specifically their preferences and online behaviors—that can help optimize your target customers’ website experience:
Ease of Navigation
In years past, many organizations treated their websites as nothing more than online brochures, simply using their domains as a way to establish their presence in the digital world. Now, however, that same strategy no longer applies.
Visitors reaching an organization’s website now have their own set of expectations. And while some of these expectations are fairly consistent across the board—for example, 86 percent of visitors want to see information about a company’s products or services on the homepage—others are not. That is where understanding of your target customers comes in. Think about their wants and priorities as you develop the structure of your website; what pages do they want to see first? What is their natural progression through your website? Use your persona knowledge to structure your website in a way that makes sense for them.
During a standard website redesign, the copy is usually prioritized over the imagery. And while copy is the driving force behind a website—especially from an SEO perspective—we must not forget that imagery is critical not only to a human's ability to understand information but also for how your website is perceived. In fact, 46.1 percent of people say that a website’s design is the number-one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company.
That being said, here is another instance where your understanding of your personas can allow you to create more impactful content. If your target customers are very visual people, perhaps you should shy away from stock imagery. If your target customers tend to have more design-oriented backgrounds, you might want to include more white space and ensure that your website design follows all design best practices. We as humans process visual information faster than text, so make sure your website’s imagery is set up in such a way as to give you an advantage.
Clear Calls to Action
Even if your website’s navigation and imagery resonate positively with your visitors, there is no guarantee that visitors will become leads or customers—especially not without a clear way for visitors to take their next steps. And that is where your calls to action (CTAs) come into the picture. As you know, CTAs are essential tools in a lead-generating website. But just like with imagery, not all CTAs perform the same. Again, use your knowledge of your personas to make educated guesses about styles of CTAs. Are your personas visual? Try including thumbnails. Are your personas budget-conscious? Try including the word “free.” While you will need to continue testing these efforts, it is your knowledge about your potential customers that allows for a strong start.
Setting Your Website Redesign Up for Success
Your website should make a strong statement about your product or service and the benefit that it can bring to your customers. However, in order to have a truly successful website, you must not only demonstrate your expertise around your offering, but you must do so in a way that the benefits are clear for your potential customers as well.
Doing so doesn’t need to be difficult; simply use the knowledge that you have about your target customers—your buyer personas—to create a website that resonates with them and allows them to work their way into becoming a customer.
About the author
Kristen Patel was formerly a CRO Strategist at SmartBug Media. She joined the team with years of inbound agency experience under her belt, and two Bachelors of Science in International Marketing. While technically based in Maryland, she's often on the move (2018 will bring her to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico... and that's only through February!). Read more articles by Kristen Patel.
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