Know Your Customer! Why Profiling Is The 1st Step in Business Web Design

August 30, 2016 1 Comment


What makes a successful business website?

It’s all in the eye of the beholder & it can vary depending on the industry. But in our experience there are several common outcomes business owners seek when launching or re-developing a company website:

  1. good representation of their business
  2. a professional online image
  3. a source of lead enquiry and new customers

Of these, a regular stream of enquiries coming from your site is often the clearest signal that the web developer has done a good design job. But what underpins this? How do reach this ‘promised land’? You need two things: web traffic, and a site that connects with your target audience for good ‘conversion’. We’ll cover traffic another time, but today is all about Know Your Customer! Why Profiling Is The 1st Step in Business Web Design.

When we start work with a new client here at Webbuzz, the VERY first thing we do is learn about their business so that we can clearly understand objectives and WHO we need to target. A lot of web designers have only a passing interest in these questions, but they are fundamental to your success! The choice of target audience for your website will have a massive impact on almost every conceivable design element:

  • colours
  • font choice
  • lay out
  • images and photos
  • headlines
  • copy writing & text

If your web designer is not borderline-obsessed by who your customers are – SACK YOUR WEB DEVELOPER!

It’s that important. Without knowing exactly who your target is, how can they get the design right? Even if the site looks slick and works well, if it does not reflect the wants, needs and aspirations of your customers it will fail on an ‘instinctual’ level. Poor conversions are a dead giveaway for this.

Your business is too important to rely on a web developer’s hunch. You should conduct your own customer profiling as a first step before you even start the website building phase. Here are some quick ways you can develop a good customer profile:

1. Customer database analysis

Don’t just just rely on ‘gut feel’. If possible, drill down into your own customer data to generate a statistical profile of your typical customer(s). Your are looking for a mix of demographic and sales data that will help you paint an accurate picture of who your customer really is. Factors may include:

  • age
  • gender
  • product/sale type
  • location
  • profession

If your database is large and/or it’s too difficult for you to extract this data, I recommend you run a report based on a sample of at least 100 customers.

2. Buyer personas

I’m a big fan of buyer personas. This is where you create ‘characters’ of the different types of buyers or customers you may have. They’re a great way of taking what you already know through data and building clearer pictures of customer motivation and outlook. You can find a great buyer persona great template by David Meerman Scott  HERE.

3. Customer interviews & surveys

Another way to get more insight into who your customers are and what they want is to conduct a series of one-on-one interviews, or run a survey through survey monkey or a similar service. These techniques can be particularly useful for new businesses or start-ups without any existing data to draw on.

4. Empathy & insight

Empathy plays an important role in website design too. If you or your developer are able to project into the mindset of your customer, your design is likely to be much more effective.

There are other techniques you could use too, but the main thing is to at least do some form of customer profiling BEFORE you start building your website. May sound like common sense, but not many people do it!