Beyond SEO: The Psychology of Your Audience

In the desire to make money online, many entrepreneurs and bloggers obsess with SEO techniques.  Often this is at the expense of an equally crucial factor to success:  understanding the psychology of your visitors.
What Visitor Psychology Is and Why It’s Important
Your audience’s psychology is their mental and emotional state as far as your target niche or market is concerned.  Emotions, practical and economical needs and intellectual interests all have a say on how people visit websites, buy products and click ads.  If you know how your visitors think, you can market more effectively to them.
Search engine optimization or SEO is useless without this understanding of psychology.  You could land on the top position for a given keyword in search engines, yet if your site’s content doesn’t address your visitors’ needs, those visits won’t convert to a profit for you.  They won’t buy anything, click on any ad or even navigate your site long enough to know what’s there.
SEO can bring your target audience to you. An understanding of your market is what converts to sales and ad revenue.
Who Are You Talking to?
The study of consumer behavior is known as psychographics.  It’s important in business so companies know how to get people to spend money on their products.  The study of physical traits of the audience such as age, sex, etc. is known as demographics.  Both these types of analysis are necessary to know how best to talk to your guests.
Here are examples of marketing groups and types of individuals you’ll need to consider:

  • Age groups.  Different age groups have vastly different spending habits. Babies and toddlers have lots of needs, but they have no power to get things for themselves. You’d be marketing to the parents.  Older kids and teens may have a little buying power, but for many parents still have the last say. Young adults think about settling down, buying a house, etc.  Middle-aged and the elderly may have money, but they think about retirement, college for their kids, sickness and death.
  • Computer literacy.  If your website is technology related, you want to know how tech-savvy your target audience is.  If you are aiming at computer geeks, you can use industry jargon all you want. You want to sound authoritative.  But if you publish for average and novice users, you need to adjust your language and voice (tone of content) to their level.
  • Geographical origin. It would be wrong to ignore country and region in your analysis because visitors from specific areas often have specific needs.  For example, if you get lots of visitors from Spanish-speaking countries, and your site is in English, your guests may want to consider mirroring your site in Spanish. If you have an astrology website that is frequented by people from India, you may want to incorporate Vedic (Indian) astrology into your site.
  • Gender.  Even in these days where the roles of the sexes are blurred, there are still marked differences between men and women that determine their spending habits.  The traditional markets like fashion for women and sporting goods for men still work. But think more broadly. Look for niches here such as career advice for women, help for single parents or teen parents, stay-at-home fathers, and female video game players.  When you publish content for your site, think of the unique situation of your visitors in this light.
  • Niche psychology.  Don’t forget the overall mindset in a niche.  People into green living all have one thing in common: they want to be environment-friendly and focus on natural products.  Think of the general mood in your niche.

Finding Your Voice
Once you have a grasp of who you are talking to, what do you do?  You adjust your voice and personality through your website.  If your site is about fashion or entertainment, you’ll talk to your audience in one way.  If you discuss car repair and maintenance, you’ll do it another way.  The key is to address your visitors at a level and in a tone that appeals to them.  Sympathy toward the bereaved or traumatized, respect for those who served your country, humor toward those looking for a fun read — these are examples.
Review your website and ask yourself if it projects the kind of personality that you think your audience would find appealing.  If not, it’s time to make that happen.

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