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«Return to Blog List The Importance of Knowing Who the People in Your Market Are and What’s Important to Them

I was asked the other day why I use WordPress as my development platform. Even though WordPress dominates the web with approx. 23% of websites using it, there are other other platforms. Some of them use “cooler” or more cutting-edge code bases or technology; some of them are better for large ecommerce applications; etc, etc, yadda, yadda.

Thankfully, before I found WordPress, I already understood who my market is: small to medium-sized businesses and professional organizations. It took several years for me to understand that, and what I had to offer that they need or want: almost all of the people in that market need websites that are customized front-end and back-end, that communicate effectively with their markets, AND don’t require a lot of “web expertise” to manage. In the hands of a competent web designer/developer, WordPress TOTALLY serves those needs. In the hands of an inexperienced or incompetent designer/developer, WordPress doesn’t shine particularly bright in those areas.

Front-end customization (design, look-and-feel, whatever you want to call it) is obvious, and along with content—words and images—determines how effectively the website owner’s message is delivered, and how effectively his market is “engaged” to follow, contact, buy, etc.

Back-end customization is seen only by the people managing the websites. It can make their lives easier or miserable, depending on the care and skill of the developer. Whether or not custom fields, custom post types, and various plugins are used intelligently will largely determine whether WordPress lives up to its “easy-to-use” reputation. 

I pride myself on paying as much attention to the back-end experience as to the front-end visitor experience, and that’s part of my marketing message that resonates with some people in my market (usually the ones who’ve been disillusioned by a front-end-only approach in the past). Additionally, there’s a huge marketing benefit for me in using WordPress. Everyone has heard good things about it, so I don’t have to sell them on its capabilities. I still have to sell them on my capabilities, of course, and sometimes I fail to do that adequately.

But this post isn’t just about Evo’s marketing issues. All small to medium-sized businesses have a need to understand their markets, and a need to understand how to reach and engage the people in them. Most don’t.

Most small/medium business websites don’t do that well in engaging people in their markets simply because they over-estimate their own expertise in providing messaging that speaks to them. While they certainly know “their business,” they rarely understand what motivates people in their market to choose between them and their competitors, and even more rarely, how to influence that choice.

If I had one wish for most of my clients who engage me to design a new website, it’s that they would hire a professional marketing team (including a writer and strategist, who may or may not be the same person) who can delve into their business and their market, and develop messages for the website that move people to become customers. It may double the cost of the new website. It will almost certainly more than double its effectiveness.

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