How can you tell if the right people are coming to your website? How can you be sure who those people are? How can you invite them over to visit your site?
Read on and I’ll tell you.
Haden Interactive is a custom shop: each client gets a different strategy and we use data-driven decisions to implement those strategies to best serve the client. That means that our clients end up looking very different from one another, and one of the places we see that most clearly is in their Networks reports in Google Analytics. This shows the internet company that is providing service for your website visitors.
Most websites see almost all public internet service providers like Cox or Road Runner in this report. These companies are nearly always the top ten in the report, so you really have to dig further to see the networks that send fewer visitors. In some cases, though, it’s worth the dig.
Our lab site, FreshPlans, has visits from hundreds of colleges, universities, school districts, and departments of education every month. One of our sites has regular visits from numerous government offices, including the Office of the President.
While I think it’s very possible that these visits are an intern checking on Google Alerts, I like to imagine President Obama enjoying our articles.
The president never visits any of our other websites.
However, and this is important, the president is not a potential customer for most of our other clients. We have a very nice range of clients with many excellent good and services, but “Get high ranking government officials to read our blog” is not a business goal for any of our other clients.
We have readers in mind for all the sites we work on, and you should have them in mind for your website, too. The term we use for this is “persona.” President Obama may be one of the personas for one of our clients, but most of the readers we think of are fictional, or loosely based on real people. We have Viola, whom you see in the picture at the top of this post, and Betty, Fran, and Alex. We have a whole crowd of people — but just one or two per website. We focus on the specific personas for each website we’re writing for when we create a blog post or a tweet. We think about them and what they might find useful or interesting.
Think of your best, most profitable, favorite patients, clients, or customers. Choose one, or combine them all in your mind to create the person you want to talk to. Go ahead and give him or her a name, maybe even a picture. Now imagine that person at your website:
- Does he understand the navigation?
- Is he able to find the answers to his questions?
- Is the tone right for him? Will he feel comfortable with it?
If you build your website, write your blog, and post your social media to appeal to Viola but your best customer is Alex, you will probably be disappointed by your results. Viola will be the one drawn to your website, so she’ll be the lead you see most often.
A few more points to consider:
- Some websites need a lot of visitors, and some don’t. If your website relies on e-commerce or affiliate marketing, then you need plenty of traffic. if you have a lead generation website (which includes those for medical practices), you don’t really need a lot of traffic — you just need the right traffic.
- You may have more than one persona in your target audience: a small business owner and a mid-size business office manager, for example, or professional chemists and home soapmaking hobbyists. If you can create content for both at once, great. If you need to create paths through your website that send your visitors to the right areas, do that.
- Keep your personas in mind when you think about and track keywords. Get to know them well enough to know the terminology they’re likely to use. Your chemist, for example, may refer to chemicals by different names than your soapmakers.
With your goals and your target audience clearly in mind, you can create content that will draw just the right people to your website.