Representative Design – Mirroring Your Market’s Self-Perception

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Jan 11, 2017 | Marketing & Branding

Here at SageAge, we believe pretty strongly that you can’t really overestimate the importance of knowing your audience when it comes to effective, conversion-oriented marketing. Marketing involves many things, including the stories you tell, the words you use, the ways you reach your audience and – the topic of today’s post – the way you look.

“Good design is representative of your target audience and mirrors how that audience sees themselves,” says Dean Kistner, Creative Director at SageAge Strategies. “By designing your website and marketing materials – even your event flyers within your community – using representative design principles, you can create a stronger, more lasting impression on your audience, build better connections and ultimately lead to more sales!”

Before you can apply representative design strategies to your marketing materials and website, you have to know whom you’re speaking to, which is a topic we’ve covered a lot in this blog! Here’s a quick refresher for how to home in on your target audience.

Getting to know you

Becoming familiar with your target audience is an ongoing process, especially because audiences and markets change over time. Market and audience research can be as cursory or as in depth as you want it to be, depending on the amount of time and effort you’d like to put into your research, and can be something you do on your own or hire an entire team to undertake! If you’re just getting started, though, here are some ideas to get things rolling.

  • Have informal conversations with your existing residents to learn more about what prompted them to seek out your community, why they chose to live there and what they’ve heard from their peers about those topics.

  • Conduct a short survey of existing residents to get more insight into the questions described above.

  • Employ some basic desk research techniques to get a better handle on your audience at large, including their education levels, demographics, family sizes, financial situations and more.

  • Mystery shop your competitors to gain insight into how your audiences are similar as well as different.

Reflecting your audience in your design

Once you have a firm grasp on your target audience, and have thrown all your assumptions about them out the window, you can start thinking about how to reflect your target audience in the design of your website and marketing collateral. Here are some simple ways to start doing just that!

  1. Look at brand archetypes for insight into look and feel. You don’t want to copy what others are doing in the space, but it’s smart to look at your competitors and others within your industry to get an idea of what your audience expects to see. Then you can incorporate that information with your own flair.

  2. Choose fonts and colors that resonate. Fonts should be clear, easy to read and sized appropriately, and they should be easy to make larger or smaller on a desktop or mobile device. Colors should offer enough contrast to make your main information stand out, but not so much that it appears garish.

  1. Shape your design around your content, not the other way around. Content is king, and your design should cater to the best way to display the content your audience wants.

  1. Think about what your audience wants to do when they land on your website. Based on what you learned from your market research, you should have a deeper understanding of what problems your audience is trying to solve. Your design should reflect that; consider the items that are of the most importance to your audience when establishing the hierarchy of your website. You should also consider where your audience will be when they access your website (or read your flyer or see your ad) and how much time they have on their hands.

  1. Be willing to test different approaches to see what works best. This can be as simple as testing out whether a certain color of font on a flyer generates more interest, or if a button size or shape results in more clicks on your website. Data doesn’t lie! It provides a wealth of information that may contradict our preconceived notions of what works and what doesn’t. Basing design decisions off data rather than gut feeling often leads to better outcomes.

  1. Speak their language. Based on your research, you should have a good idea of what types of words, phrases and ideas your customers and prospective customers are using to describe their challenges. Even if those don’t line up with the industry standard jargon, you should consider incorporating their own words and phrases to build stronger connections.

Getting to know your residents and providing them with great services and amenities is a must in the senior living industry. Getting to know your prospective customers and providing them with valuable information and a customized experience that reflects their own self-image is equally as critical. By asking yourself a host of questions about your target audience, and then tailoring the design, look and feel of your marketing materials and website to be representative of your audience, you can “click” in a way that will lead to more leads and ultimately a full community!

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that provides multiple strategic growth solutions. For more information, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 /

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