When it comes to your business and your online exposure, you want your audience to clearly understand the message you are providing to them. However, the burden of this falls on your shoulders. You must take it upon yourself to understand your audience and cater the message to them. With good user experience at the forefront, we want the user to easily get the information they are looking for. Regardless of the type of site or application you have, your online success hinges on your visitor’s experience while browsing it. So let’s take a look at the basics of a clear message and why you should take it seriously.
What should your primary message be? Well, what does your company do? Why does this site exist? As part of your online content strategy you should always be focused on the two types of users, New and Returning. To avoid a negative user experience, new visitors need to quickly understand what the company does and what the purpose is for the site. With returning visitors, you also want a positive user experience as well, but it requires a bit more work. Makes sense right, okay stay with me.
Don’t let me throw you for a loop, but these two types are nearly the same. While technically a first time visitor is still a first time visitor, once they have gathered what you do and why the site exists they now transition into a visitor that is looking for additional content. Whether it be a news article, your latest widget for sale, or a video tutorial, they are looking for something. There is a reason they are here on your site. Something made them use a search engine that pulled up results with your company, or they have a need and followed an advert, email link, or the URL from your business card. No matter the reason, they are now warm blooded, content thirsty individuals and you need to give them what they want so you can get a lead, or make the sale, and/or convert the “visitor” into a customer.
Understanding Your Visitors
Where do they come from? How do they get here? Why do they come here? Three basic questions you need to be able to answer. Why you say? That’s a deeper question than you may realize, but let’s take each basic question one at a time:
Where do they come from?
Humor me and assume many of your users live in California while you’re based in Florida. If that’s the case, then your user needs to know that cool new widget you just launched can be ordered right there on your site, so there’s no need to look for a local retailer. How would you even know that you need to effectively communicate that message to them if you don’t know they are in California?
How do they get here?
Suppose a lot of your site traffic comes from visitors that followed a call to action on a successful email campaign. Those users would probably expect to see some sort of content related to the ad they had seen. This would help make their experience positive because their expectations were met. And since they are coming from an email campaign, many visitors will likely be coming from a mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad. Speed and performance will be an important variable for effective communication. Ante up and make sure you have a fully responsive site that provides all content to all users on all devices with speed and crispness.
Why do they come here?
Let’s say you provide an online service in a highly competitive industry, like file sharing. You have to compete with some big boys: dropBox, MediaFire, GoogleDrive, RapidShare to name a few. Well, what do you provide to your customers that your competitors do not? Lower price, better security, pay-as-you-go? All extremely useful information, and you need to communicate that. Why are they coming to your company instead of one of your similar competitors? Do you know? You should.
Everyone communicates messages on their site with content pieces like Headlines, Subheads, Pictures, Captions, and Video, but not everyone uses them to create a unified message. Without getting too deep into the topic of Content Strategy, I want you to understand the importance of it and how a good strategy benefits your business.
You must have a plan for your website. You must have a direction. Wouldn’t you agree that when you sit down with your design team/firm to brainstorm a new advert campaign, that you have a direction you want this campaign to go? Same with your site. You want to make it easy for users to give you their money. They will gladly hand it over if they you make them happy –and you make them happy by providing the content they are looking for. And if you understand your visitor like you should, then you already know what they are looking for before they come looking for it. I guess you’d be a soothsayer, in a way.