Audience Insights Key to Website Redesign
Understanding Your Audience Will Drive the Redesign Process
There's an adage that instructs marketers to "Know thy customer." This same advice can be applied to a website redesign, especially one taking place under tight budget restrictions.
The marketing team often has at their fingertips a wealth of insights into an organization's target audience, such as demographics, preferences, and behaviors. Perhaps just as important as knowledge of the current audience, the marketing team also possesses knowledge of developing trends and how the audience may be changing.
The knowledge of an audience's current needs, as well as how those needs are evolving, are critical to the success of a website redesign, particularly one that me be phased in over an extended period of time. This awareness will inform the redesign's overall plan, help avoid any unnecessary missteps, and keep the project focused and within budget parameters.
Start With What You Know
Undoubtedly, the marketing team already knows a great deal about your audience, including demographics and preferences for receiving information. The team also is aware of audience behaviors, such as conference attendance and website usage. This expertise will feed the website redesign.
For example, if your organization has a wealth of content to help members' career development but that content is not being seen by users, then a new site navigation or more sophisticated search capability might be needed. Not only could that yield immediate results, but faceted and federated search functionality could expose users to even more content, increasing visitors engagement with the site.
Similarly, if you know your audience prefers to watch videos vs. read articles, you'll want to make it as easy as possible to upload and access video content. A good content management system such as Sitefinity can import videos posted on third-party content delivery networks such as YouTube, so they load quicker and take up less storage space on your website server.
Close Gaps Through More Research
Even with a treasure trove on internal data you might not have all the information you need to ensure a successful website redesign. There are a number of effective ways to fill in those knowledge gaps. For example:
Technographic Survey: A technographic survey attempts to determine how familiar, connected, and comfortable your users are with websites. This may seem trivial on the surface, but can have a significant impact on your website. These discoveries early on in the project will save you time and cost by not having to rework these elements later in the redesign process.
Google Analytics Review: Your current website can tell you a lot about how your users interact with your content. A deep dive into your current Google Analytics data will show you what is and is not working along with identifying any user behaviors that can point to possible improvements.
Audience Analysis: Personas are fictional characters that embody the characteristics and lifestyle of a targeted audience. Defining who these personas are allows you to test if proposed website decisions would be appropriate for that audience.
If you don't have the expertise, or the budget, to conduct this additional research yourself, a third-party vendor might be able to help, especially if you're using a vendor to handle the more technical aspects of the redesign.
When working with constrained budgets and extended timeframes it's important to have a guiding light to keep a website redesign focused and on track. The marketing team has, or can obtains, the audience insights necessary for keeping your project on the path to success.
President Vanguard Technology