Germans DO like sauerkraut though...

The power of stereotypes for digital marketing and web design.

I’ll start this with a controversial statement: I LOVE stereotypes. Since I’ve moved from Germany to the UK I’ve started to appreciate them, because I’ve come to the sad (but also very entertaining) realisation that many of them are true!

I’m a German and as many Germans I’m blunt, I like sauerkraut, bratwurst and schnitzel, order seems more important to me than to my Italian friends AND I’ve been to Mallorca. About my British friends I’ve observed that they enjoy tea at any time of the day, that politeness to them is about more than just saying please and thank you, that they find nothing sacrilegious about getting rid of the foam on top of a beer (seriously, how dare you!) and that most of them have been to Mallorca, too.

Obviously, I’m exaggerating. Not all stereotypes are true. I for one don’t like beer, which many would argue should disqualify me for German citizenship in and of itself. But it’s fun to notice the strange similarities between large numbers of people. Which is why I’d like to invite you to do a fun little experiment with me.

Have you ever noticed strange similarities between your clients? Like, they're all a certain age, they wear certain clothes, they drive a certain car, they're bad with tech - or always have the latest iPhone, in summer they all go to a similar kind of hotel (potentially in Mallorca) and a suspicious amount of them is called Richard... or Karen. Maybe they're all worried about being GDPR compliant, having an elaborate privacy policy and obeying various other laws. In this case, you're probably working with a German or Austrian client. And if they ask you about your day, your holidays, your children and your dog in emails and on phone calls (without expecting any other answer than "fine thanks and you"), your clients are probably British.

This is a very common technique used in marketing, which you may have heard of. By "this" I mean, coming up with a very elaborate stereotype of your typical client. Instead of “stereotype” it’s called “client persona” but the principle is the same. You want to get to the core of who your typical client is, what they're interested in and what they're worried about. Because the better you know your client, the better you can market your product, your services or yourself to them.

This applies to marketing in general and your website in particular because it is the only space online that is entirely under your control. You can make it whatever you want - or rather whatever you clients would want and enjoy to interact with. The better your site is tailored to their needs, the more likely they are to purchase your services.

So for example, if they're all on the tech-savvy side, think about how you can integrate your website with social media like instagram. This way you can stay connected with your audience on different channels they're likely to use. If they're new to everything being done online, make sure your site is very easy to interact with: larger font, large buttons, clear messaging, clear structure and an clear call to action.

Need help with tailoring your website to your stereotypical client? Drop me a line! And now excuse me while I go off to eat my sauerkraut and sip some tea.

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