Designing Websites for Multiple Audiences

Part
01
of five
Part
01

Case Studies: Designing Websites for Multiple Audiences

Amazon, Charity Water Organization, and Vanguard University are examples of organizations that have set up their websites successfully to target multiple audiences.

CASE STUDY 1: AMAZON

Description of how the website is targeting multiple audiences

a) Allowing Professionals Such as Doctors to Connect with Patients

  • Through the Pillpack service, Amazon coordinates with the patient's doctor and insurance to gather their prescription. The patient needs to have a list of their medications, doctor information, insurance information and payment method set up.
  • By engaging professionals and pharmacists, the service ensures that every month patients get pharmacy support and automatic refills.

b) Website Prioritizing the Customers

  • The site is targeting multiple audience by prioritizing the customers. The site has different segments partitioned for each product category such as Sports & Outdoor, Computer & Accessories, Kitchen, Beauty, and Personal Care.
  • The website also provides a link for the Amazon Web Services, which targets specifically those interested in AWS.

c) Focusing On The Primary Audience

  • With the priority list, Amazon focuses mostly on the buyers, focusing the main page design on them.
  • There is a main heading on the homepage that addresses the customers and tells them what they want to know. For instance, the main page of Amazon reads, "Welcome to Amazon. We ship over 45 million products around the world."
  • The statement at the home page is specifically outlining the essence of the site and offers a main call-to-action.

d) Having Secondary Services/Options in Familiar Locations

  • Scrolling all the way down, Amazon has provided links for all the services they offer through the website's footer.

How the Microsites (targeted pages) are Designed

  • Looking from an aesthetic point of view, Amazon’s web store is neither simple nor beautiful, two things that are expected of a good design. The focus is on the simplicity of experience, process, and functionality.
  • Amazon’s design is more cluttered and busy. The top menu bar and rotating slideshow on its homepage are standard but there’s also a second set of navigation options in the top right for logging in and viewing past orders.
  • Scrolling down, there are a number of subsections featuring product descriptions or noteworthy occasions.
  • The website also has personalized recommendations.
  • The design is such that it uses a simple one column structure as a list view for the interface.
  • The design has been kept simple by introducing high level functions and options that are important such as search, cart, wish list, and streamlined menus.
  • Information for the product is minimal but, if the user is interested, the website provides a next layout with more details.
  • The design graphics, colors, and overall aesthetics are clean and minimal, which help performance and keep maintenance costs lower.

Why the site was selected as an example of best in class

  • Amazon is undoubtedly the most significant force in the digital transformation of commerce, with an estimated 44% of all online sales being made by them. Moreover, more than one in three U.S. adults have Amazon Prime.
  • Amazon targets multiple customer groups, including general consumers, industry professionals, and vendors such as Pillpack, Comixology, Home Services, and Box Office Mojo.

CASE STUDY 2: CHARITY WATER

Description of how the website is targeting multiple audiences

    • The nonprofit Charity Water gives visitors the option to identify with the action they want to take.
    • A customer can donate, get involved, or even volunteer in their areas of expertise. The organizations mainly targets consumers/beneficiaries of the programs and industry professionals.

    How the Microsites (targeted pages) are Designed

    • The Charity Water website has been designed to walk visitors through the campaign process of the company.
    • Scrolling down the page, the website also introduces customers to the idea of becoming a sponsor or a donor.
    • The emphasis has been placed on starting a campaign, with the first ⅔ of the home page devoted to the benefits of doing that.
    • Sponsoring a project and donating have been moved further down the page either because fewer visitors are interested in taking those actions or the charity prefers to get more people on the campaign bandwagon.

    Why the site was selected as an example of best in class

    • As a non-profit, the health of Charity Water is dependent on fostering relationships with donors, bringing in volunteers, and engaging with those in need, aspects that have been clearly brought out in the page's design.
    • The design of the website has made it simple for customers to locate the information they need to make a decision, which is critical when it comes to decision-making.

    CASE STUDY 3: VANGUARD UNIVERSITY

    Description of how the website is targeting multiple audiences

    • The site mainly targets students doing their undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.
    • The site is also targeting donors. Engaging donors was a main goal of the school's advancement program, which was perfectly emphasized by their new Giving section that features a colorful, photo-rich site section.
    • There is also a section devoted for their alumni. The site acknowledges that alumni are pivotal to the Vanguard community.
    • In fact, alumni are also a primary target audience, as the website provides information on upcoming events, attractive photo slideshows, and ways that alumni can get involved in the university events.

    How the Microsites (targeted pages) are Designed

    • The site has sections that cater to the different audiences, which offers a higher chance of conversion.
    • When users arrive at the homepage, they are directed to click on one of three site sections, which lead to internal pages that feel more like a site-within-a-site, featuring relevant information and value propositions for each area.
    • There are colorful calls-to-action that push users to give back to the university at the bottom of each page, featuring several "Stories of Giving" that connect the school's centrally-placed strategic priorities with the students.
    • The website also offers campus tour segments. Visitors are taken on a VR-style walk around the campus, with 360 degree views of campus buildings, dorms, and outdoor spaces. Along the way, the university provides colorful calls-to-action to "Register Now," "Schedule a Visit," or "Apply Online" in order to incite a reaction from their audience.
    • The design also includes organized portals for the school community.

    Why the site was selected as an example of best in class

    • The site design is clear, consistent, and very informative.
    • The site architecture is designed to reflect the school's unique personality and mission while targeting multiple audience at the same time.
    • The design entailed proper planning by incorporating a lot of reusable assets that Vanguard to maintain consistency while simultaneously highlighting each path a student could take.
Part
02
of five
Part
02

Best Practices: Designing Websites for Multiple Audiences

Three best practices for designing websites for multiple audiences include identifying and prioritizing audiences, creating distinct design elements and UI, and creating multiple entrance points. These points and how they were selected, are discussed in detail below.

IDENTIFY AND PRIORITIZE AUDIENCES

  • To be able to speak to professionals, the vendors, and the procurement representative that are to be targeted, careful research and planning will need to be done. Even if assumptions are made, hard data is needed to support or disprove them.
  • Research can be done by holding focus group sessions or conducting online surveys to understand the target market a bit more. This way the brand can decide which user type to prioritize. For example, based on user research, a brand may see that 80% of their customers will be B2C, hence navigation and content will be prioritized to B2C while only a small portion of the site will be B2B.
  • Know what motivates each user group to take any action on the site such as sharing and purchasing so that they can be moved farther along the funnel. Understanding this will help to make decisions on what tone to use, whether casual or formal. A deep understanding of the needs and challenges of the audience is also needed.
  • Craft user personas that are mapped to certain touchpoints on the website that have certain actions, such as making a purchase, sharing with a boss, or downloading a whitepaper for more information. Personas put a face and a name with a business's end users, and each persona will have unique things about them such as what makes them tick.
  • Accept that there may be some audiences that will be too niche for the main website, so it is best to look at other channels to target them.

Example

  • The Swiss-based company Smallpdf set up a survey on their homepage and used the results to build basic user personas to run more research. When they tailored the website to each persona's needs, the success rate of their tool increased by 75% and their Net Promoter Score increased by 1%.

CREATE DISTINCT DESIGN ELEMENTS AND UI

  • Elements such as colors, fonts, and images should be differentiated for each audience that the website is trying to target. This follows the tactic used in large retail stores where they have different kinds of displays and promotions on one shelf, often for similar products.
  • Features such as chatbots can be used to dynamically change the way the customer interacts with the website regardless of where they entered the site. Called "conversational design", this will help the brand to test how people arrive at the website and test how they interact with specific elements.
  • Specific UI and design elements will reduce user friction and deliver content that will help them move along the correct customer journey at their own pace.

Example

CREATE MULTIPLE ENTRANCE POINTS

  • A landing page must be thought of as an entrance to a large department store — there are multiple entrances where the customer is greeted by a warm welcome and a curated display of the store's best merchandise.
  • The best landing pages convey a tailored message for an audience with a specific offer or opportunity that is not drowned out with any other information on the rest of the site. Hence, a landing page should be created for each audience type.
  • Each landing page should be optimized for conversions. This will help in pushing visitors through sales funnels to get them to watch videos, see products, and eventually, buy a product or sign up for a service.
  • From the entrance points, the navigation must be straightforward where tasks are simplified for primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences.
  • To get customers to these landing pages, keyword research, other good SEO practices, and pay-per-click advertising will need to be utilized to get them there.

Example

  • When users access Fifth Third Bank's LegacyLink platform, they are greeted with page asking them who they are. The option they click determines what content is showed to them. This tailored experience helps move the users further down the sales funnel.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To find best practices for designing websites to tackle multiple audiences, we looked at articles written by four web design and marketing agencies. These firms are from the US and also the UK, which is the case with Zudu, a leading and award-winning web development and design firm. We then selected the most common themes that we saw from each website. We did this because we believed it would be best to get content from experts, but we also didn't want to depend only on one source in case one source mentions something that is not really followed throughout the industry. Getting the most common themes from these websites shows a bit of a consensus and ensures that these really are the best practices that must be followed.
Part
03
of five
Part
03

Website Content: Consumers

Video content is the most popular type of content consumers look for on a brand's website. Consumers also look for information regarding company contact information, as well as outside approval through other customer reviews or acknowledgments. Complete details about the top types of content consumers are looking for on a brand's website are presented below.

OUTSIDER APPROVAL

  • Customers want to view client tributes, customer records, contextual analyses, grants, and acknowledgments.
  • Consumers would like to know what others think about a brand through customer reviews, testimonials, and influencer endorsements.
  • Statistics show that 97% of people read reviews for businesses.
  • 93% of people say online reviews affect their purchasing decisions.
  • 89% of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews.

VIDEO CONTENT

  • A study by BrightCove indicates that video content is the most memorable form of content.
  • 52% of people in the United States want to see a video from a brand. Globally, 54% want to see video content from a brand.
  • 36% of consumers would prefer video content as opposed to other forms of brand marketing.
  • 76% of consumers and 85% of millennials purchased a product after watching a video.
  • Video content improves traffic by 157%.
  • 73% of people from the United States want to see entertaining videos, 74% want to see funny videos, 53% want to see informative videos, 46% want inspiring videos, and 26% want animated while 24% want to see live videos.

CONTACT DATA

  • A consumer will use a website to know the contact data of the company including its telephone number or physical address.
  • Within the first ten seconds of visiting a website, a consumer would like to know how they can contact the business.
  • 87% of consumers have looked for a business phone number on an online platform.
  • 49% of consumers use the business website to find the contact details of the company.
  • 51% of consumers believe that thorough contact information is essential on every business website.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

The research team leveraged scholarly articles, leading publication and expert blogs to identify the top types of content and/or information consumers are looking for on a brand's website. The team started the research by searching for information on the topic via articles that are written by industry experts and other relevant industry leaders. We also referred to information from multiple business magazines, business websites and scholarly articles. Thereafter, we made sure that all the articles that we referred to were from actual research done or written by industry experts and expert bloggers. We then corroborated the information across multiple sources. Using this strategy we were able to compile all the information required to present the top types of content.

Part
04
of five
Part
04

Website Content: Industry Professionals

There is no study or report in the public domain specific top content types professionals such as doctors, engineers, or scientists look for on a brand's website. Therefore, the research examined relevant brands that made the Bowen Craggs' 2019 Index of top websites in the world and provided information on content types that make a brand's site stand out, according to reports by Crazy Egg, Sparksight, Forbes, and others.

A Definitive Company & Product(s) Description

  • According to Digital Doughnut, the first thing professionals go through on a brand's website is their company and product descriptions. As per the report, the description on a brand's website should get the visitor's attention and interest, highlighting what the company is about, how the business started, its vision and goals, as well as the services/products and value it offers to customers.
  • Website content that describes a brand should pitch the passion and excitement of the company, highlighting critical information about the brand comprehensively, according to Digital Doughnut.
  • Crazy Egg's report observed website visitors are drawn to content, which benefits them. As per the report, when writing the company or product description on a brand's website, the focus should be paramount on the benefits the target audience wants.
  • The pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, was 2nd on Bowen Craggs' 2019 Index of the top websites in the world because the company's site featured "an exceptionally clear and well-structured overview" of its "About Us" and "Our History" pages.

Clear Navigation

  • A report by Sparksight observed that a site's navigation (or Nav Bar) is the “GPS” of a brand's website, having the buttons that get visitors to sections of the site they need. When professionals visit a company's website, they want to find what they need immediately; hence, the navigation content on a brand's website should be simple to use and uncluttered, according to Sparksight's report.
  • To make the navigation content easier for visitors, a brand should also include a site map, which directs customers to what they are likely searching for faster. According to Digital Doughnut, when visitors can easily navigate a company's website, the chances of converting them increases.
  • According to Bowen Craggs' 2019 Index of the top websites in the world, BP's website made the index because the navigation on the company's site enhanced excellent usability for visitors.

Call to Action

  • A brand's website should have calls to action (CTA) buttons on its home page and other relevant pages, giving visitors explicit direction on the action they should take, according to Fits Small Business.
  • The call to action content must have a relevant copy, a clickable button, and placed at prominent positions on a brand's website so that customers can quickly identify it and know the action they should take. Examples of CTA copy content for a company's site include "Add to Cart," "Request for Quote," "Buy Now."
  • Examining the websites of companies in Bowen Craggs' 2019 Index of top websites in the world showed that they all had CTA buttons, which is an indication that professionals seek them to take specific actions when they visit a brand's website.

Research Strategy:

We began by investigating surveys or reports, with the hope of identifying insights into top content types professionals such as doctors, engineers, or scientists look for on a brand's website. For this, we examined significant domains such as McKinsey, Business Insider, KPMG, and others. Unfortunately, resources by these directories discussed advances by companies and how they were strategizing for customers, but nothing regarding top content types professionals such as doctors, engineers, or scientists looked for on their sites.

Next, we examined the discussion forums of some professional bodies of doctors, engineers, and scientists, hoping to find any discussion relevant to what these professionals looked for on corporate websites. We investigated organizations such as the Science Council, American Medical Association, and others. Still, such information was not available in the public domain.

As a third strategy, we investigated reports by media and marketing companies. This time, we hoped to find information on brand websites professionals preferred, which may have insights into why they liked it and what content types they searched for most on such websites. Again, such information was not available. Instead, we located a report by Forbes, which cited a study by Bowen Craggs that indexed the top 30 websites in the globe. Also, we found reports by marketing companies, which listed content types paramount to corporate websites.

Hence, due to the lack of information in the public domain specific to the top content types professionals such as doctors, engineers, or scientists look for on a brand's website, we synthesized information from relevant reports publicly available and provided the same, as a proxy for the needed information. Please, note that we defined top as those content types mentioned in two or more reports and also highlighted on a website in Bowen Craggs's index of the top 30 sites in the world.


Part
05
of five
Part
05

Website Content: Vendors

Business decision-makers are looking for thought leadership content and are highly influenced by video content. Publishing original research is a great way to draw their attention and case studies are effective tools in the latest stage of B2B consumer journeys. Complete details about the top types of content vendors are looking for on a brand's website are presented below.

BLOGS

  • 43% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most important type of content.
  • Blogs are key for B2B companies to increase the domain authority (a score that indicates the likelihood of being ranked in search engines). Successful B2B marketers prioritize the audience’s informational needs over sales, and blog posts/articles are an effective way to increase demand during the awareness phase of the B2B customer’s journey.
  • Long-form content, such as in-depth articles and guides, is a popular content marketing tool and has been noted to perform better in SEO and social shares. Visual aids, like images and infographics, are also known to drive better results.
  • As for the content of these blogs, 36% of people prefer list-based headlines (listicles are the most popular blog post format among business blogs), using statistics increases the blog’s credibility, and titles with 6-13 words attract the highest amount of traffic.
  • Business decision-makers are also looking for experts’ opinions and thought leadership pieces. 55% of decision-makers surveyed in 2018 by LinkedIn and Edelman said they read at least one hour of thought leadership content each week, while 55% said they use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire.
  • Almost half of the decision-makers (45%) said they invited a producer of thought leadership content to bid on a project when they had not previously considered the organization, and 60% of business decision-makers said that thought leadership directly led to their awarding of business to an organization, while 60% of decision-makers said thought leadership convinced them to buy a product or service they were not previously considering.
  • Pharmaceutical companies’ content must be precise and factual considering the industry is subjected to heavy regulation concerning marketing efforts. For that end, it is important to stick to approved guidelines, be careful with absolute statements, keep track of sources used and avoid making changes to a copy that compliance has already approved.

VIDEO

  • Video is a vital part of B2B healthcare marketing, with 68% of B2B healthcare buyers using videos to compare products and 63% using videos to see how a product performs. 63% of buyers will contact a vendor directly after viewing a product video.
  • Decision-makers are influenced by videos, with 8 in 10 returning to a specific product’s website after watching a video. Video content needs to be informative and show the buyer the benefits of the product in an easy way to digest.
  • Cardinal Health, a pharmaceuticals and medical products distribution company, hosts a series of webinars throughout the year, each one focused on attracting a different segment of healthcare buyers. This strategy increased the brand's visibility.

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

  • Credible content must be supported with research and being the original source of the research is a great way to attract visitors since articles will link to the company’s website, and be at the top of the Google search.
  • The most popular type of research is survey-based research, accompanied by analyzing owned data, analyzing data from third-party sources, and one-on-one interviews. Survey-based research is particularly popular among B2B marketers (62% use it).
  • Only 3% of marketers believe publishing research has not met their expectations, as opposed to 10% who said research has exceeded their expectations and 46% who said it met the majority or all of their expectations, as reported by a recent survey.
  • As for how they publish their research, blog posts are the most common tool, followed by infographics, PDF, social sharing assets, static charts, articles on other websites, and gated landing pages.

CASE STUDIES AND WHITE PAPERS

  • B2B marketers report that white papers are the most effective type of content for demand generation during the consideration/intent phase of the buyer’s journey, followed by webinars, interactive content and case studies. Case studies are the most effective tool in the final stage, the purchase phase, with no other digital tool coming close to the reported effectiveness of this type of content at the latest stage.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

The research team’s initial approach was to seek information about the type of content vendors look for the most by trying to locate surveys, market reports, and studies, with a focus on pharmaceutical companies. We scoured through several articles and reports in reputable sources such as AdWeek, Reuters, Inc, and Pharma Intelligence, among others, but the information was either not publicly available or it was too superficial to provide true insights, besides sales pitches. Next, we expanded our research to overall vendors and the type of content they are looking for, but we encountered the same problem.

We then searched for SEO and Adwords information for this group, hoping it would lead us to what they are searching for. Although there is information related to SEO for pharmaceutical companies, most of it is focused on final consumers or industry professionals. However, this approach led us to information about the complexity of content marketing in the pharmaceutical industry.

Considering that transactions between a pharmaceutical company and a retail store are nothing more than a B2B transaction, we directed our research for B2B content marketing, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical companies when the information was available; we also included some insights about the healthcare ecosystem as a whole. We noticed that this type of content is usually not measured by how many people search for the content, per se, but it is more focused on conversion and awareness, which is why our research showcases the type of content that is most effective in attracting/converting B2B clients.
Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "This may appear like an easy decision, however, numerous organizations are intentionally dubious about their area. Some like to do the majority of their business on the web and see no compelling reason to distribute a location or telephone number. Others are locally situated or they stress that giving a road address or main residence will be one way or another block them. "
Quotes
  • "97% of people read reviews for local businesses."
Quotes
  • "Overall, branded video content is the most memorable type of branded content, but there are some striking differences in preference across regions. "
Quotes
  • "Video is the most memorable form of content: 21 percent of consumers overall and 29 percent of Millennials find video more memorable than other forms of content."
Quotes
  • "Seventy-six percent of consumers and 85% of millennials, defined as people age 18-34, say they’ve purchased a product or service after watching a video"
Quotes
  • "Organic traffic improves by up to 157% with added video content."
Quotes
  • "64% of consumers have used Google My Business listings to find a local business’s address or phone number 87% of consumers have looked for a phone number or address online 49% of consumers visit local business websites to find contact details"
Quotes
  • "KoMarketing even found that “51 percent of people think ‘thorough contact information’ is the most important element missing from many company websites.”"
  • "Social proof is a “psychology hack” that’s huge these days. Consumers want validation of a product/service before they spend their hard-earned money on it."