Article

Michael Georgiou
Michael Georgiou 20 December 2016

Understanding the Consumer of the Digital Age

The fast evolution of user-friendly tech and instant access to information has made the consumers of today smart and aware. With ever increasing options available at a tap of the touchscreen, consumer behavior and preferences are forever in flux.

How well do you, as a business, understand these tech-driven customers? Are you keeping up with them? Or are you stuck in time relying on stale principles and outdated content? Here are some home truths about the contemporary consumer that should wake you up.

Switching from device to device

We all own at least one mobile device, often multiple such devices. Cloud syncing means that we do not have to be confined to any single device in order to access our data. We can do so anytime, anywhere, and from our phones, tablets and laptops.

This means that your website needs to perform optimally on devices of all kinds and sizes. The rendition of a website is different on the desktop than it is on a smartphone. On a tablet, it looks different still.

Make sure your website is optimized for viewing and ease of use on all devices. If it doesn’t load well on a phone, a consumer might be tempted to ditch it altogether instead of waiting to check it out when he or she gets around a laptop.

Similarly, we would not suggest going app-only either, regardless of the business you are in or the service you offer. Even the globally popular cab service Uber is accessible through a web browser. In order to ensure you are reaching the maximum number of people, building a responsive website is the safest bet.

Sharing

Have you incorporated as many share buttons as relevant into your website? Can your content be shared via WhatsApp as well? Can it be saved to Pocket or Evernote for later reading? Does it allow people to share quotes via tweets? Is the sharing seamlessly integrated with Facebook?

How about Pinterest and Instagram? Can the images on your blog be shared on these platforms, or would visitors have to save the image to their device and then separately upload it to the social networks?

Consumers today love sharing and they cannot have enough of excellent content. This means that if your blog is low on sharing buttons, you could be missing out on exposure.  Don’t stop at the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Go beyond them and also think of Reddit, StumbleUpon, Flipboard, etc. (as long as these platforms are pertinent to your content/services). Sassy social share is an excellent WordPress plugin to help visitors share content across platforms. It gives you around 100 sharing/bookmarking options to choose from.  

If you have done enough and sound research into your demographics, you must know where the vast majority of your target audience is. If you are still in the process of figuring this out, maximize your chances of attracting them by providing six to seven sharing options. You may be surprised where you get the majority of the traffic from.

Attention spans are shorter

Now the point of attention span can be argued both ways. On the one hand, BuzzFeed-style punchy GIF-laden posts are all the rage, and on the other hand, long-form content continues to rule in certain industries. (A study from last year found that humans now have shorter attention spans than the goldfish, thanks to smartphones and constant connectivity!)

The key is to understand and study what suits your niche the best. Certain industries lend themselves well to fun post; others benefit from long-form content every now and then.

However, regardless of the length of the content, it needs to be easy to read and understand. If your content is not up to the mark, if it does not get straight to the point or promise actionable tips, it will very likely be passed over in favor more helpful/enjoyable options.

Whatever you do, don’t bore your reader or take their attention for granted. The more compelling your articles or videos, the higher the chances of them being consumed in their entirety as well as being shared. Check out some of our older posts on how to create content that people would love to share.

Loyalty

It may not be easy to figure out where exactly your content would fit in the lives of your target audience – it is a matter of trial and error to arrive at content that captures the essence of your brand and also solves problems of the audience and/or provides guidance to them. Don’t expect your hard-made posts to be an instant hit. Instead, focus on studying your audience and refining your efforts.

However, once you have struck the right chord and are able to attract a sizeable readership, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. When consumers love a certain type of content, they do everything they can in order to make sure everyone they know has heard about it. There are numerous blogs and YouTube channels started by entrepreneurial individuals that have gone on to amass great audiences as a result of it. These followers are loyal. They are vocal in their praise and look forward to the weekly updates. In so many ways, they do your marketing for you.

It should be noted though that in most cases it is primarily the personality of the blogger that people connect with. Don’t shy away from infusing a personal touch into your content. In fact, it is highly recommended you do so. A quirky personality will help you stand out in a sea of me-too blogs and channels, and improve recall in the minds of the readers. It will also enhance the credibility of your content; after all, who doesn’t love an engrossing first-person narrative?

Content creators today are dealing with a smart audience spoiled with choice. This does make the task of producing popular content a challenge, but the internet is also a level-playing field, where anyone who understands their audience well, creates content that brings value to the lives of the average person, and employs the best content creation and marketing practices, stands a good chance of winning the game.

How well do you understand your target market? How has your experience been with them? Do you think your content hits the mark?

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