You’re a billion dollar firm putting out a web site to position your company before the entire English-speaking public. Your marketing people are armed with formidable demographic research that, after weeks of culling and analysis, is oriented into a dozen “models” – virtual consumers that will be users of your web site.
Another 25% of your audience is detail driven, motivated by facts, and likely to read every page. If you don’t give them sufficient information to make a decision , they may not even contact you.They’re sketched, named, and pasted like wanted posters on the walls of your project team’s workplace. Joan the single mother of three. Tommy the single welder. Jim the jetsetter… The goal is to understand their expectations and design the site accordingly. Frequently, for example, there are several ways to access the same material, multiple contact methods, and content targeting each audience.
A million dollars later, you’ve got a web site. Well – THEY’ve got a web site.
You and I, statistically speaking, are unlikely to have that kind of scratch to throw around for an internet presence which, frankly, if you’re smart, is only one component in your internet marketing plan. So what do we do, if we want to market to a wide audience, but not shoot so wide we hit nothing? What if selling to people who are like us isn’t enough, and we don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold?
What we do is take stock of the four classic personality types – the four temperaments that have been utilized to discuss diversity in human personalities from the ancient Chinese and Greeks to Jung, Keirsey, the DISC system, and so many other approaches to the same basic data.
Most of us are familiar with them (or have at least come across them as): Melancholic, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Sanguine. Or maybe: Thinker, Feeler, Director, Intuitor.
Usually, presentations of these types are done badly, and end up becoming a touchy-feely exercise in feeling good about oneself and passing some corporate training time. In other venues, they’re given religious significance. And often they’re misunderstood as boxes in which you put people. But really, they describe fundamental directions we personalities tend to take when approaching problems or making decisions.
For our purposes, lacking a high dollar marketing team, we put these directions to use, creating our content and designing our navigation and style for the four broad paths that human personalities tend to take when we market them. If you like, give them names, like John, Paul, George, and Ringo – or Hank, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer. It’s “demographically”-based marketing on a budget. Just a brief set of examples:
About 25% of your audience is bottom line rather than detail oriented, goal-driven rather than information driven. You have to give this type everything they need to make a decision on the first page – the page leads from goal to close in the space of a 2 minute conversation. You have to give them multiple options (like email, call, or fill out a brief form), otherwise they’re not getting to make the decision – you are. And you can’t bog them down with too much data – make it available, but give just enough that an effective choice can be made. Also, if your business model supports it, give them the ability to buy right now, 24/7, right on the front page. Often the key to a sale here is letting them give you the money now.
Another 25% of your audience is detail driven, motivated by facts, and knowledge-focused. They’re likely to read every page on your site before they make a decision and, if you don’t give them sufficient information to make that decision, they may not even contact you, let alone buy. You’ll hear from them if they feel you’ve done your part, and they either need more info that, reasonably, is available through a direct contact, or they’re ready to go forward. Contact methods are important here, too – you need to give them an email address or non-invasive form, as well as a phone number. They may be up late at night looking at information, comparing answers, and may contact you during your off hours. Give them the means: in your content, tell them what the process is, from start to finish. Navigation is everything here: make sure your information is laid out in a logical, orderly fashion, and is easily accessible from anywhere on the site.
About 25% of your audience is bottom line rather than detail oriented, goal-driven rather than information driven. You have to give this type everything they need to make a decision on the first page.The other two personality types (50% of your audience) are driven more by personality and personal contact than by a cognitive approach. They differ between them over how they make decisions (you didn’t expect me to give away everything here, did you?), but to give a simple example: have photos on your site with human beings in them. If you don’t look good, you can get stock photos of models – what they’re wearing and where they’re standing is important, too, mind you, and there’s more than one issue there. But don’t make the mistake of making your site all information and tools, because that’s what YOU are interested in. Without a handshake, without a sense that the lights are on and someone’s home, and that real people run this business, you’re going to lose half your audience half the time.
We should distinguish this, of course, from targeted-marketing (aiming at, for example, luxury property buyers in Ft. Meyers, Florida or new home buyers in Charlotte, North Carolina). That’s certainly an important direction, too. But regardless of whether you’re doing targeted marketing or making a single web home to attract and service all your clients, being certain to cultivate the interest of diverse personality types, and avoiding alienating any of them, is certainly important.
There are many benefits of being conversant in the personality types, for anyone interested in sales, marketing, persuasion, or business in general. But in short, you don’t have to have a fancy (and expensive) team of demographic data gurus to know how you need to market your business and design your marketing tools, like your web site and your newsletter. Draw on the ancient knowledge that corporations all over the world use to understand and accomodate diverse personalities, and you’ll be on the right track.