Lists and grouping are terrific ways to simplify or remember complex stuff. So today I am sharing how I categorize audience development for Internet websites.
Before I start, however, I want to emphasize a point. Management guru Peter Drucker declared, “The purpose of business is to create a customer.” Success in business depends on creating positive ROI; it requires profit. Everything below, no matter how counterintuitive, are pieces of a puzzle…a Rube Goldberg machine that delivers customers to your doorstop.
Ever website should cultivate three audiences:
- The Sales/Conversion Audience
- Search Engines as an Audience
- The Social Media/Conversation Audience
ONE: The Sales/Conversion Audience
This is your traditional target market, the prospects, leads and customers that you want to draw into your sales or conversion funnel. This group also includes customers, especially ones you hope to offer repeat sales or support. This is your Peter Drucker audience.
TWO: Search Engines as an Audience
For most businesses search engines are the top deliverer of website traffic and prospects. Search engines have their own needs: relevance, authority and trust. Meet these needs and they will feed you a steady stream of leads. This is not about manipulation. It is about cultivation. Search engines depend on certain signals to rank web pages. Develop those signals naturally, with purpose and in harmony with your other audiences.
THREE: The Social Media/Conversation Audience
Malcolm Gladwell calls them Mavens. Rand Fishkin calls them the Linkerati. The fact is that most people do not add content to the Internet and they will never link to your website. Yet, links to your website and conversations about your website are two fundamental measures of relevance, authority and trust, benchmarks search engines use for ranking pages. The Social Media/Conversation Audience will also drive branding and increase recognition among your Sales/Conversion Audience.
To get website traffic from Audience #1 you need:
- High search engine rankings – Audience #2.
- Internet mavens writing about your business and linking to your website – Audience #3
To get high search engine rankings you need:
- Lots of relevant keyword rich content
- Internet mavens writing about your business and linking to your website
To get Internet mavens to write about your business and to link to your website:
- You must provide them with compelling content that they can pass on to their own networks and audiences.
It is indirect. It is counterintuitive. Which is why most business websites target only The Sales/Conversion Audience. Look at the above image, the circles. Most business focus on the yellow circle exclusively. Others only cultivate SEO and social media when those two audiences overlap with the yellow. In a competitive world success probably lies beyond the overlap. Out there, in the green and the blue…that is where the new opportunities are.
Again, it is indirect. It is counterintuitive. So is paying a public relations firm to get a 30 second clip onto the 6:00 news about a family that uses your product.