dark mode light mode Search

Should You Design a Website for the Audience You Have or the One You Want?

Should You Design a Website for the Audience You Have or the One You Want?

fauxels from Pexels|fauxels from Pexels

It’s a problem a lot of businesses can find themselves in: you aim towards one audience, make the product appeal to them, the marketing campaign, engage on social media, only to find that an entirely different audience is buying and engaging more with the product.

For example, there is Dollar Shave Club, which is geared towards men with its superior shaving techniques and simple, dark-colored graphics all delivered in a brown cardboard box rather than the patterned boxes of subscription boxes looking to appeal to women. Reportedly more and more women are buying their kits and using their sensitive products on legs rather than faces and reviewing the products on social media.

It can be a blessing and a curse. Depending on the industry you’re in, having the wrong audience engage with your marketing campaign and buying your products could put your intended audience off your product, or, if you’re lucky, it could just be another crowd to sell your products to. Read our guide to see how you can navigate the two.

Push away?

The audience you are intending to reach might not match who is actually buying your product. If this happens, you have two options: push away or steer into.

If you decide to keep pushing, you might want to rethink your marketing campaign. Maybe it’s time to reinforce your intentions. Where you were vague or open to interpretation, drive your point home. Change your color scheme to reflect your demographic, update your About Us section with a more blunt idea of your values, and send out email newsletters to customers who fit your demographic. Use affiliate marketing to steer towards who you are looking for. For example, Facebook is currently dealing with a severe drop in younger users, so if you were running Facebook you should advertise on blogs that would appeal to Gen Z, like travel and tech blogs.

Should You Design a Website for the Audience You Have or the One You Want?

Steer into?

The same can be said if you decide to steer into this new audience. You can change gears on your marketing campaign and choose to encourage more of your unintended audience to buy your products.

There are plenty of examples of brands with products that merely steered into the storm, embracing the customers that were asking for it for different use. Such as bubble wrap, which was considered the latest fashion in wallpaper once. In examples like these, brands had to abandon their original intended audience and steer into a new one. Suddenly bubble wrap found factories and warehouses. Poker site GGPoker.com aims to attract every type of poker fan, be that players new to the game, amateur players who are looking to develop their skills, pro players, or just watchers who are looking for something thrilling.

However, there are examples where a brand has enveloped a secondary, or even more, demographic into their fold, like WD-40, which was initially designed to lubricate missiles during the Cold War. Nowadays it is as vital to a toolbox as a screwdriver and everyone from mechanics to plumbers has a can nearby. There is usually one found under the sink to help with a squeaky door.


It can be as simple as appealing to everyone without trying to ostracize anyone. This can sometimes be easier said than done. Again, it depends on the product and the brand. For example, WD-40 has the luxury of being an all-rounder without much personality, whereas beauty products, for example, have an extensive history of social norms behind it.

But there are examples of beauty brands appealing to a wider audience. Today, they keep their language gender-neutral and specifically target Drag Queens or any other male at birth customers who are interested in makeup.

There is a balance to be had, and maybe it’s simply a matter of walking this tightrope, appealing to whoever is interested.