Our Take - 8 Apr, 2022 – 6 Min Read

How to cater to multiple audiences on your website

Todd Padwick
By Todd Padwick

Founder, Creative Director

Audience

Not too long ago, it wasn't unusual to see designers cramming every inch of website real estate with content in the hope that something would resonate with someone, somehow, somewhere.

Users expect personalised content, perfectly packaged and spoon-fed directly to them, without delay.

It’s fair to say that in the heady early days of the internet, the world's fascination with its shiny, seemingly limitless toy meant people had the time, energy and enthusiasm for lengthy trawls. But thirty years later, that's no longer the case. Users expect personalised content, perfectly packaged and spoon-fed directly to them, without delay.

So how can you make this happen? How do you cater to each and every one of your viewers without cluttering their experience with irrelevant content and pointless distraction?

Well over the years we’ve come up with a few tricks. And we’re always happy to share:

Get straight to the point

Sometimes, the best way to find out what your audience needs is just to ask them.

There are a number of ways to do this effectively, but ultimately you want to give them the tools to share who they are and what they’re interested in, so you can return a filtered selection of content relevant to their audience type.

One way to achieve this is with two simple conversational select fields:

Mtdata homepage

Although this is an old site, the industry and topic selection tool is still a great example.

Another option could be to use a search box with popular keywords:

Gov uk homepage

Gov.uk is a fantastic example of functional design. They present suggested search terms up front on the homepage

You could also separate audiences into two subsites entirely:

For Positive, we split their two audiences – business and education – into two separate sites

Navigate by action and audience

Navigation is an essential part of any site but ideally, you shouldn’t rely on it too much.

The page your user visits first should cater to their needs sufficiently while clearly and concisely directing them to where they need to go. At no point should they have to manually trawl through the generic navigation.

But saying that, it's still crucial to make sure the navigation is optimised to their needs. To do this, you can do two clear things:

Your top-level navigation labels should be task or action-focused, rather than a basic representation of your organisation. You can do this by using headings like ‘Shop’, ‘Learn’, ‘Contact’, and ‘Discover’.

You can also break down content within each drop down by further segments, such as industries, use cases or topics.

Protopixel division nav

For ProtoPixel, we split the navigation by their two primary audience divisions – Creators and Manufacturers

Search engine optimised landing pages

What better way to engage your users than ensuring every page they land on is already perfectly segmented? It sounds like a lot of work — but we promise it’s not.

By creating landing pages dedicated to specific audiences, industries, or use cases, we can optimise each one for search engines. This means the page becomes a likely result for people looking for those specific terms. Which in turn means that they first land on the page or pages dedicated to what they’re looking for, rather than the more generic catch all homepage.

This is why some user experience designers favour the phrase: “The homepage is dead”.

Intercom healthcare landing page

Intercom have created landing pages for each of their main industries – such as this one, for healthcare

Think dynamically

Content channels like your blog or products and services pages are often already designed with different audiences in mind. So it makes sense to capitalise on this further. With tagging and categorisation, we can cross-pollinate areas of the website with related content — creating an even richer, personalised experience for your visitor, with minimal extra effort.

For example: blog articles could automatically pull in related services; products could pull in related case studies; use cases could pull in related products — and so on. All of this will happen automatically too, whenever new entries are created, saving you time and money while also allowing you to build and develop a stronger rapport with your audience.

Personalise

If you have the opportunity to gather invaluable user data (GDPR permitting), then grab it with both hands.

Information on traits such as gender, age, interests and other attributes allows you to show more relevant content, or hide content that doesn’t fit the bill.

To tailor the website's experience, you don’t even need to use cookies, (which have all sorts of legality issues surrounding them). Instead, simply store a temporary dataset in the browser session storage or local storage.

Here are a few examples of how to tailor your site:

Account registration

If your website allows users to sign up to it, fantastic. Use this to your advantage and have a section in each user’s profile, that allows them to personalise their experience. You can even go all out and ask for information on each individual’s tastes and interests, as well as more obvious things like gender and age. Just ensure you’re transparent about your intentions — make it clear you are asking for the sole purpose of personalising their experience.

If you have an eCommerce site that shows the same content on the homepage for both logged in users and non logged in users, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Optional forms

If your website has various forms for contact enquiries or email subscriptions, you can use this to personalise the website too, even if the forms are not immediately required.

Stored attributes collected from the user in forms can be used to override defaults throughout the site — resulting in subtle personalisation.

Use session history to predict interests

If you can’t gather concrete information from the user, you can still estimate their profile by collecting the pages a user has looked at so far. The more pages they engage with, the more you can focus their experience.

You may not want to completely hide other content as your prediction may be incorrect, but you could employ things like defaulting category filters based on what industry they looked at, or show suggested links prompting them to explore similar topics.

Whether you employ one of our tips, or go all out and revamp your site with a whole host of them, one thing’s for sure — you’ll never regret taking the time to curate a more individualised experience.

Looking to build a better rapport with your audiences?

We might be the right partner for you.

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