Want vs Need: Bridging the audience gap

If you’ve ever run a business, you’ll have probably had one of those moments where you look at your website and wonder, why aren’t people buying? I’m giving them what they want! But is your content marketing strategy providing them with what they actually need?

The gap between ‘want’ and ‘need’ can often be an important one. Especially, if your service is complex and multifaceted. Even in plain old ecommerce sites, we find that there can sometimes be a disconnect between what your users think they want, and what they actually end up buying.

Which sectors are impacted by the want / need gap?

Pretty much every sector and business type at one time or another will find they are impacted by a disconnect between what customers say they want and what they actually need to solve their problem.

In service businesses, they might arrive at your site searching for a general service, and end up buying a completely different one. It impacts B2B, B2C and ecommerce businesses equally. But it’s often the ones where the purchase is made online, without human interaction, where it can cause the most issues.

And the main problem is one that Google has tried to make content creators and website owners aware of for some years – relevancy. If the content, product or service page you’re providing is not relevant to their search query, need or even the link they clicked to arrive on that page, you’re going to see people leave your site sharpish.

How to spot the want / need gap

There are a few simple ways to discover if you have a gap between your audience’s wants and what they actually need from you. As a business owner, you might just spot this naturally – looking at your back end and speaking to customers. But if you want a more data-led approach, which is how we tackle things at Edge45®, then here are some tips:

  • Keyword research: Find out what your site is ranking for. This gives a good idea of how people are arriving at your site. If, for example, your Service page for ‘New York historical tours’ is ranking well for terms like ‘New York museum tours’ you might want to consider re-writing the page to target terms related to history.
  • Google Search Console: Using GSC, you can actually get a clearer idea of which terms people are clicking to visit your site. You can also see where you’re getting high Impressions but low clicks. This often suggests a gap in relevancy between the searched for term and the intent of the page.
  • Engagement metrics: GA4 provides us with Engagement Metrics, that look at how much people are engaging with your site. If these scores are low, and you expect them to be high, this could be an issue. Similarly, if time of page is low then people probably aren’t finding what they need.
  • Back end: Use your back end data to see what products are selling and which aren’t. If you’ve got two very similar services or products, and one isn’t selling, then it could be that the page isn’t explaining the offering well or you’ve optimised it for the wrong terms. You can also use emails and chats from customers to spot gaps – if they message you asking for a service or product that you have on your site, then that page isn’t working how it should be.


How to bridge the want / need gap

Once you have the data and know where the problems are, it can become quite easy to bridge the gap between what someone things they want and what they actually need.

  • Optimised pages: If you’ve analysed the keyword data and GSC queries, you’ll have a better idea of what people are searching for and what they want. You can then make sure the correct pages are optimised for the correct terms. This means that when someone searches for your service or product, they are taken to a highly relevant page.
  • Related pages: If you have a complex service offering or a range of similar products, it’s worth having links to related page on your landing pages. It might be for different sizes, technical differences, or more focussed service offerings. You can also do this with your informational content – if someone lands on your page and the content doesn’t quite answer the query, you should have a link to the content that does. And if you don’t have that content, create it. This way, you can better catch people early in the content marketing funnel.
  • Clear CTAs: With service pages, having a clear call to action at the top is vital. People like to speak to people. Even with the best written landing page, it might be that speaking to a sales rep or booking a demo of the product is what’s needed for the user to truly discover what they need.
  • Navigation: A clear website navigation structure is vital for any successful site. And if you’re finding people landing on the wrong page for whatever reason, you need to be able to quickly direct them to the right one. If your website is well organised and easy to navigate, they should find what they need easily. If it’s not, they will just leave.
  • Metadata: If you’re getting Impressions on Google but people aren’t clicking through because they don’t feel you’re proving them with that they want, then it could be your Metadata isn’t making it clear enough that you can provide them with what they need. Yes, Google can change your meta descriptions, but if you create a clear meta title and description, and the on-page content clearly states what the page is about, there should be no disconnect at this stage.

And if all this seems like a lot of work, well, it is. But it’s vital work to make sure that any traffic driven to your site has the best chance of converting. We can help you make sure you’re providing customers with what they need. Call us on 01904 373005 today to speak about your on-page content strategy or send us a message.