Who Is Your Audience?
World-wide use of the Internet in 2016 is estimated at 3.5 billion individuals; 290,000,000 of those people are estimated to be U.S. citizens or residents. But these estimates are not the number of individuals who could be paying you for your content, products, or services. Your visitors are potentially a macro-market, however: your market.
The average (estimated) Internet user:
- Spends approximately 30 seconds on any given Website
- Uses one of the major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) to find information
- Doesn’t purchase products online (only about 8% of adult users did in 2009 on a daily basis)
- Doesn't often research services or products (only 20% did in 2009 on a daily basis)
- Spends more time on social networking sites, but is fickle about it
- Is very fickle:
- By 2006, MySpace dominated social networks
- Today, Facebook overwhelmingly dominates social networking while MySpace usage has shrunk dramatically
- Tends not to pay for content (subscriptions)
- Newspapers that attempted to charge for content failed to realize profits in the 1990s
- Some news organizations plan to roll-out new subscription sites in 2011
Innovations in Website structures, particularly with portal and content management systems, seem to make that which was up-to-date yesterday woefully obsolete today.
Just a couple of years ago, many large companies invested considerable resources in sites that used Flash™ front-ends before the visitor could get to the all-too-often stale content.
Today, small- and medium-sized companies struggle with the problems and contradictions presented them by the World-Wide Web. Most companies need to present themselves to potential customers on the Web.
Websites can, and often do, eat far more resources than they seem to deliver in return. A primary problem is that of monetizing your Website. How do you encourage people to buy directly from your site?
- Direct online purchase of services or products?
- Order products or services online?
- Content subscriptions?
Remember Your Business Plan
All online communication, whether through a Website or social media, should be based on your business plan. You communicates your goals—business or personal—through the Website.
The first thing I ask is: “How does your Website support your business plan?”
I need to know the applicable elements of your business plan before I can identify the requirements for your online project. It’s very difficult to earn money directly from your Website—your business plan should direct the use of this medium. Ask this question:
“Who will use this content?”
Your answer, supported by research and analysis, is crucial to your Website and social media projects.
In most cases, you have to identify your target audience and their needs.
Forget about making the site more convenient for yourself.
If it’s too much trouble to add and update content on your site, you’ll find visitation drops off considerably and quickly.
And, it will be hard to attract new visitors. The key to online communication is to remember that, as with other media, it truly is a two-way street. People will visit, but they may not visit again, or visit often.
Visitors don’t care what you or I want in a Website—they want what they want.
If they don’t find it, they move on to another site.