Posted in Business Forum

Your Audience is Self-Centred. There, I said it.

When I look at a group photograph that I know I am in, the first person that I look for is myself. In the same way, when I read an article or a book, I want to know how it relates to me.

When writing web articles as a business owner, there is a huge temptation to write for yourself and to write in your language. While there IS indeed a place for all this, your web articles are not about you, but about your audience. It is therefore important for you to know who your audience is, what their wants and needs are, and what they would like from you.

Who is your audience?

First, there are demographic considerations e.g. where are they located? If your business is located in Kenya, for instance, and you want to provide your goods primarily in Kenya (and possibly the East Africa region), then that is your audience. Write for that audience. Other considerations include their age bracket, their gender, their spending and so on.

Second, and more importantly, you need to realize right off the bat, that your audience does not like you. I’m not saying that they dis-like you; I’m just saying that they don’t know you, and therefore have got no relationship-like investment in you one way or the other. The fact that they don’t know you also means that they don’t trust you. The fact that they don’t trust you, means that they are not going to give you their money; which as a business, you really want people to give you money in return for a product or service that you provide. The good news is that the very purpose of web articles is to let people in, let them get to know you and begin to trust you.

Many people make the mistake of going into business with the idea that clients are just waiting for you to set up, and that they’re lining up to give you money. The truth is that even if there is an overwhelming need for your product or service, you actually do need to invite people in. You need to let people know what you’re doing, and you need to communicate this in a customer-centric way; demonstrating that you have a solution for your audience. The fine-line is to do this in a way that is not centred on you, your income or your profit; while still making a profit and growing your business. (We’ll discuss this in future blog posts)

What does your Audience want?

There is a reason that your audience is on your website in the first place. Maybe you gave them your card and they want to check you out from sheer curiousity. Maybe they saw your ad and want to learn more about you. Maybe they bought your product from one of your distributors and want to see what you’re about. Maybe, prompted by a need that they were experiencing, they googled something and landed on your website. Regardless of how they got there, they are now on your website, and it is your responsibility to guide them and show them where to go next.

It is not your audience’s responsibility to figure out what to read on your website, it is yours. (Tweet this thought)

We have already established that at this point, your audience does not know, like or trust you. This means that:

  1. You need to capture(!) their attention as soon as they land on your website. To begin with, if your page is loading too slowly, they are going to leave.
  2. You need to guide them to the next action. For instance, if your audience has landed on your Home Page, once they have finished reading it and have gotten the information that they had come for, they have no reason to stay. Unless of course, you provide them with a guide at the bottom of the page, linking them to another page that will be of interest to them.

Even if they came to your Home Page and didn’t find what they were looking for, they are likely to leave anyway, if only out of frustration that it wasn’t easier to get what they needed. To help with this, it is important to ensure that all your website’s tabs are clearly displayed in order to make navigation easy. It is also important to have a prominently displayed ‘Contact’ page/ tab.

What will your Audience Gain from getting to know you?

To answer this question, do not solely consider the products and services that you’re offering. Look beyond that and into: what sets you apart? What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? What do you offer, that differentiates you from any (or most) other similar enterprises? Take your time with this one and once you figure it out, it will launch you into your marketing sweet-spot because you will use it on your website articles, your blog, and Social Media. (Tweet this thought)

Haven’t figured out your USP yet? No pressure. Work with what you have, and talk about it with somebody whose opinion you trust. They may be able to see the brilliant, awesome, fireworks’y things about your business that you are not able to see, because you are too close to it and experience the challenges as well. Listen to the things that your customers say about your business, your products and/or your service. Your USP could be the customer experience that you provide, it could be that your product is all-natural, it could be that your product makes your clients nostalgic of their momma’s cooking… The list is extremely expansive. Write that list down, whether it has got 2 items on it, or 200; and develop it over time. Take your time and figure out what you would like to be known for. Then, use it!

When writing web articles, your audience is your top-most consideration. Your customer’s experience with you begins before they have even begun to interact with you directly. It begins when they are still looking around online and checking you out.

In the upcoming Newsletter issue, I’ll be sharing the essential keys for your Home and About pages; providing a vehicle through which your audience will know you,  like you, trust you, and buy from you.

If you haven’t already, you may receive the newsletter here.

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