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The first question visitors typically ask when they land on a new website is: “Am I in the right place?” If your business has multiple markets, your website design should reflect to all markets that they’re in the right place.
This includes everything from your copy and navigation labels to the images you feature. The fastest way to tell visitors they’re in the right place is to craft your navigation menu with the right labels.
You don’t have much time to capture your visitors’ attention. Seven years ago, in 2011, the Nielsen Norman Group found that users often leave webpages within 10 to 20 seconds. Today, thanks to the multi-tasking that evolved from the heavy use of mobile devices, that number has undeniably fallen.
When visitors scan your page, you have a chance to capture their attention if you can craft navigation labels that speak directly to all of your markets. But first, you need to know who your market is … or are.
Define your market well and incorporate it into your design
Defining your target market can be one of the most challenging facets of launching your business, but that’s not necessarily because it’s difficult. Being able to define your market accurately requires setting aside certain ideas about who you may think your market is.
We often have an instinctual response to define our market based on who we believe will benefit most from our service or product, but what’s logical and instinctual doesn’t always lead to the correct answer.
For example, if you’re selling a 500-watt, battery-powered power bank, your instincts are liable to tell you the people who will benefit from it are those who live off the grid, customers with families, survivalists, and anyone in an area prone to natural disasters or power outages.
This makes a lot of sense, and it might turn out to be true. But if you want to actually sell your power bank, you need to define the market in terms of who’s realistically going to buy it.
To find out who’s going to buy your product, you need to do serious market research.
Create simple navigation that speaks to multiple markets
Your navigation menu can be designed in a way that speaks to multiple markets, if done correctly. First, you determine who your main market is. One market is usually going to be bigger than the rest. This should be your primary focus and you can leave the others as secondary.
This may sound easy when you have only a couple of sub-markets, but what if you’ve got a handful or more, which is often the case with law firms, and your business depends on visitors recognizing immediately that they’ve come to the right spot?
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If you organize your navigation like the Herrman & Herrman law firm, you won’t lose parts of your total market due to confusion. Here’s why.
Herman and Herman, a personal injury law firm, lists 30 case types on its page, which details the full array of cases they handle. Rather than inundate the visitor with all 30 case types in the navigation menu, the firm has listed six main case types with an additional link to “see all cases.”
It also listed car accidents as a main menu item, likely because car accident victims are the firm’s number-one market. This item is duplicated under the “cases we handle” menu.
If you have multiple markets, identify the main one in your navigation menu so the people who fall in that category don’t have to hunt around. If you have only a few markets, you might be able to list all of them as main navigation items. If not, do as the site above did and list several options in a drop-down menu.
Create your niche
Focusing on one market in detail will give you a better shot at success than if you spread yourself thin across a generalized market. Marketing to a particular niche gives you an advantage: You can speak directly to a distinct group of people regarding specific criteria. Your marketing efforts will be more effective.
However, you need to create that niche for your company. Entrepreneur.com makes the case for creating a niche rather than finding one: “Good niches do not just fall into your lap; they must be very carefully crafted.”
Speak directly to your niche
Using the power bank as an example, there are multiple markets for this single product. You can market the power bank generally as a “backup power supply” but that won’t capture much attention.
Speaking to a niche will be more effective. Say you’ve done the proper research so you know that survivalists and moms are your top two target markets.
You’ll be more successful if you choose one market, carve out a more detailed niche within that market, and place all of your promotional efforts there.