Hackernoon logoYour audience matters the most by@owenfar

Your audience matters the most

Owen Far Hacker Noon profile picture

@owenfarOwen Far

Full Stack Engineer

Don’t fish out for email addresses, we’re humans you know.

Your audience matters

Last night I went to watch a live performance, but unfortunately after just a few minutes into the show I felt trapped, bored, and wanted to leave. It’s most likely that I won’t attend the same show again, but it also made me realize how important it is to communicate and to tie a genuine connection with your audience. Not only that, I also believe that one has to be sincere and loyal. You can’t just think about yourself whether you’re on stage or not. We should always try our best to be neutral and emphatic towards our audience!

To focus more on the subject at hand, I want to dive straightaway into another example:

Let’s say I am browsing the Internet, and like a billion others online, I’m looking through a list of websites which all seem to offer me what I’m looking for. Judging by the description of a particular website I choose to click on one of the links. Immediately after I am presented with the first page, I see that two advertising banners have just finished loading up — fine. As I’m about to scroll further down the page, a bottom banner “smoothly” slides up, letting me know about a free course, and asking me for my personal email address. As I get ready to close the page a bit later, another full-screen “splash” popup appears right after my mouse left the active viewport section …😤

On some websites I could count-up to five different methods pointing to the same action. Are they serious? Are they trying to manipulate us into some kind of a purchase? Can their content even be called qualitative?

I find this kind of ignorance a bit ridiculous. So, you heard about emails being important right? You probably also thought that by using these techniques, you’ll be able to fetch those email addresses easily right? Is this how you treat your own audience?

Take a moment and ask the following questions to yourself:

  • Are you doing this only for your own convenience, or is it also valuable to your audience?
  • Will your buyers really benefit from what you’re trying to sell?
  • Do you think they would also buy your next product or update?
  • How genuine is your group of audience?

Regretfully, every week I come across more and more of these “trap” websites, which promise useful information but end up giving unemphatic, selfish, and manipulative content. I don’t even read what is on the landing, I just ‘cmd+w’ quit the active tab. After all, I have 1,324,182 more websites to choose from (you know how Google works). Never underestimate the intelligence of your viewers. If you want to do good things on the Web, make sure to be as loyal and sincere towards your audience as possible. Although the Internet has it’s own darker sides, it is helping in opening new possibilities for the less privileged, but this doesn’t mean that because they’re new to the platform we should trick them into using our services.

Like you, there are millions more who are trying to have a presence on the Internet. Whichever reason that might be, you should understand that the Internet is an open-source community and we should all respect each other, especially our own audience.

Most of us have the liberty to stroll around the city, visit a shop, make a purchase, and leave — typically with very few distractions or burdens. I was the one who decided to go out and explore. I was the one who decided to enter a shop. And I made a choice to buy something, either because I needed it, or because I was interested — no one else forced me to do it.

Think about your website or web service as if it was a physical shop or a building in a city. You would try to make the best effort to have a broad appearance, and entice customers to visit your shop (or website). Maybe you submitted an advert or an online campaign, or put up a billboard. Whichever kind of marketing techniques you used, when a customer enters your shop, you would generally and kindly ask if they require any assistance, otherwise you let them explore around. If they didn’t like anything, they have the liberty to simply walk out of your shop. You could thank them, say good-bye, and continue on with the rest of your day. That’s it!

Looking back at our previous example, imagine each time you enter a shop, a sales person would follow you around continuously asking if you want to buy something. If you went in with the intention to buy, then the asking might be fine. But if you just went in to browse around the store (which is more likely on the Internet), the constant probing of the sales person would be more likely to drive you out!

There is nothing much different on the Internet, it’s just a digital platform instead. It offered me and you the ability to communicate, browse, and make purchases at a global-scale. The experience should be kept the same, whichever website is being visited. We need to think differently, and try to support ourselves in various other ways (I will go into more detail about this in a future article).

How can we do better?

Be honest and give a clear description of what you’re trying to sell. Make it as simple and straightforward as you possibly can. Once your visitors grasp the concept or the idea behind your product or service, they will be happy to browse around themselves. If they’re not interested, there’s no point in trying for the third, fourth, or fifth consecutive times — shutting down your website or service can be as simple as one click — be careful how you treat your customers.

Try to leave a good impression on your visitors and don’t make them feel trapped or uncomfortable. Those who really want to stick around will be happy to do so on their own behalf. You should focus on the best possible outcome for your audience (or your customers), and not for yourself. After all, if you do leave a good impression, there’s a better chance that they would visit your website again. As you may know, some of us humans take our time to decide, and what you might have thought was for nothing could come back to you the next week, next month, or even in the coming years.

You don’t get to fish out ten different meals from one rod. You have to be patient and grow your audience slowly. Everything takes time to scale and mature, and by that time also comes new knowledge, strength, and confidence. What matters the most for you is to continue growing steadily together with the rest of your skills.

Closing thoughts

One important lesson that I learned from writing this book is that quality content takes time — whether it’s coding a website, writing an article or a book. When you initially thought about your idea in your head, everything seemed to be so perfect and exciting, but to reach exactly what you have envisioned will take both time and effort. You’ll not be able to understand what I really mean until you try it for yourself. Only with experience will you be able to identify the difference between qualitative content and the rest.

Rather than focusing on how to lure your visitors onto making a purchase, you should focus on creating a unique user experience for your product. This will make it much easier to attract a bigger audience and convert them willingly into customers. Keep an eye on the quality of your content. Ask your family or friends to read or use your product, feedback is one of the biggest keys to continue improving your skills, and to learn from your own mistakes. You can always judge your own content, but no one thinks exactly like you do.

Some people might recognize themselves in your thoughts and experience, but still, everyone will have their own different opinions. You write from your own standpoints, but you hope that it’s extensible enough for others to understand.

Focus primarily on making your product or service great, and as long as you offer a way in (be it through an email service, subscription model, account signup, etc.) your visitors will know how to find their way alone, and potentially become part of your followers and your genuine group of audience.

Thank you for reading!

Stay tuned as I talk about how we should treat our audience and customers in an upcoming article.

You can also have a look at my eBook — Mastering Web Development

Until next time,

Owen Far

P.S. Follow me here or join my newsletter if you want to keep learning the crucial secrets of web development.

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