Letter to the Ed: How do I get the right audience to my website?
I’ve got some pretty good traffic coming in to my site via search and social, but nobody is actually doing anything I want them to while they’re there. People are telling me it’s because I’m targeting the wrong audience, but what does that mean? How do I target the right one?
Ahh yes, an age-old question in the land of content strategy. We see this issue more than you’d think – numbers that look good on paper, but are ultimately meaningless because they don’t produce any ROI.
To tackle this marketing mystery, I sat down with Castleford SEO guru and possible wizard Trent Paul to find out his solution.
Why is targeting the right audience important?
Trent starts by telling a story (as all the best wizards do):
“You’re hungry,” he says. “You walk down the street and see a shop with blacked-out windows and a sign saying “food”. You think, ‘Great’, and walk inside. When you get in, you realise that it’s a McDonald’s. Is that what you wanted to eat? Maybe, but just as likely, no.
“Let’s say 100 people did the same thing. How many of them would leave without buying anything? Probably a decent percentage.
“Now let’s say that the shop was clearly labeled as a McDonald’s. How many of the 100 people who entered would buy something? Probably all 100.”
Trent explains that this is applicable to SEO and how your website is represented. If you do your best to tell people what you’re offering, each visitor will be more valuable. They’re people who want to convert, not a random scattering of readers who don’t need your product.
How do I know if my problem is that my audience is wrong?
“Trial and error is the only way to do this,” says Trent.
In short, you’ll know you have the wrong audience because your traffic – even if it’s significant – will not convert. One issue you might find is that you’ve got the wrong demographics coming in.
Imagine you want to sell Hawaiian holiday packages to 18-25 year-olds.
First, you create a downloadable ebook called “The ultimate Hawaiian beach guide”, and support it with interesting blog content. You’re probably going to see some solid traffic – it’s an interesting topic, after all – but the leads generated will be from all over the age spectrum because beaches have universal appeal. It’ll be hard to sift through all that data to pick out the people that you want to talk to.
So instead you create an ebook called “The ultimate guide to partying it up in Hawaii”, again supported with relevant blog content. As a more youth-focused topic, you’ll probably see fewer visitors total, but crucially, the visitors you get are more likely to be in the right age bracket. Although you have less traffic overall, you have more of the right traffic – it’s a lot easier to work with, and their conversion chance is higher.
Trent, feed me strategies: How do we target the right people every time?
“Put yourselves in your target audience’s shoes – what would they search for?”
People typically use search engines to find the answer or solution to a problem or desire. As a business, you need to be the one providing that direct answer. So long as you are tackling questions or problems that relate to your product, pretty much 100 per cent of the visitors who click on your article are going to be potential customers.
Example: If I Google, “How do I clean my new running shoes?”, and you’ve written an article titled “How to clean your new running shoes,” not only will I click, but I’m a potential customer, too.
“In terms of specific strategies or types of content, it varies based on what you offer and the types of content your audience is happy to digest,” Trent continues.
Simple FAQs or tips like Houzz’s ideabooks might work well for a DIY site that sells the products needed to complete a project – by offering suggestions on using certain tools, you’re subtly convincing your reader to convert.
Alternatively, you could provide a library of whitepaper resources to potential customers who are interested in your industry, but need help. If you exchange contact details for the download, you’re capturing leads from people who have a vested interest in your service, and a sales person can reach out.
And that’s it! With our conversation over, I bid Trent a fond farewell and he erupts into a ball of lightning and smoke. Or rather, he hangs up the phone because he’s in a different country, has work to do and I’m just blabbering about wizards.
To summarise what we’ve learned
If you identify who your ideal audience is, then create content that specifically answers their questions, you’ll attract the right customers every time.
It’s a simple as that. Thanks, Trent!