Web site design if you focus on more than one target market

Sitepoint reader Lachlan asks how Web designers/developers should create their websites if they focus on more than one target market. Great question!

First, let’s back up a bit. If you only focus on one target market, then you have a few choices:

1. If you focus on a geographic market, then your website can be general in nature. See http://www.gravityfree.com/ for an example of a web company that leads in a particular geographic market. Notice the local awards and portfolio of leading local companies that they present.

2. If you focus heavily on a single industry, then your website should be specific to that industry. See http://www.at-mortgage.com/ for an example.

2a. You might have a section that says, “Not a [insert your target market here, e.g. law firm]? Click here.” Then you can get into your general services for the 20-30% of your clients that might not come from your niche.

3. If you are just testing out a target market, you could do the inverse of #2a: Have a general website, and then a special section for the niche you are testing. This doesn’t always work well, and you can see one example at http://www.biztank.com/ . On left nav bar, see the TDKManager, which is an application for Karate Schools embedded in a site meant for entrepreneurs in general. Judge for yourself; personally, I think it’s best to commit and go all out with a focused site for a focused market.

Now, what if you have two or more focused niches at once?

1. If they are related, you can easily integrate them into a single site. http://www.fcq.com/ is a good example (although not a Web Developer/Designer). In their case, they have 3-4 different verticals within healthcare, all of which fit together elegantly on their site.

2. Otherwise, if your niches are not related, go with separate sites. For instance, you know me as a technology marketing expert, thanks to this blog and http://www.itprosuccess.com/ . But I also have consulting clients in: non-profits, foundations, universities, health care, law firms, real estate firms, publishing, oil & gas, and banking/finance, and professional services in general. With different sites for each (or no sites in some cases), I can pull this off.

Until next time….

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  • James Robert Lay

    Good way to think of this. Also, your links need to the sites need to be fixed.

  • Afro Boy

    I quite like the Microsoft Australia taxonomy (www.microsoft.com/australia/) They have a navigation section titled “Information for…”. Depending on your selection (eg. small business, home user), you get different info relating specifically to that area.

    Even on the front page, they clearly distinguish between their different markets with news items targetted at each.

    Cheers,
    Af.

  • http://www.comart.no jonarve

    You are talking about testing niches. I’m running a webdesign company for half a year now and haven’t found a target marked. Right now we’re talking designing websites for all kinds of industries. Although we’re interesting in finding a niche that suites us. Do you have any advice on how to approach when testing different possibilities?

  • http://www.webflavor.com webflavor

    Guys, this site does a great job at targeting multiple industries. Look at how they dedicate one whole section to their vertical markets. (www.business-edge.com/industries/) What do you think?

  • tcwatts

    What about thinking of a niche not in terms of industry, but a form of web service? We have our own CMS and often sell that as ‘control’ of the website for the client. A short demo with the benefits of our CMS combined with a Mailing List normally seals the deal.

  • http://www.webflavor.com webflavor

    Hmm. Good thought tcwatts. But “control” would be a benefit. The main reason for having a niche by industry is the increased speed in development. Also, CMS and mailing lists are products. Your service is customizing them to fit your client

  • http://www.comart.no jonarve

    Thanks, webflavor. The example you postet is a possible solution, but I want to slogans that hit my target marked. That may be difficult when you have listed a bunch of industries.