I'm experienced (old!) enough to have worked in marketing when target audiences were largely defined by social standings and income. "Sell product X to an ABC1 target audience" was a very common brief. Digital has added an interesting extra layer of detail to these basic categories, with the power it gives us to analyse how people behave on different days of the week and at different times of day. It's no longer only about which class they belong to and how much they earn.

Understanding Customers

How does people's online activity at the weekend compare with Monday to Friday? What are they doing at breakfast, compared with lunchtime, compared with the evening? By looking at analytics, we can build a detailed picture of how behaviour changes and design our sites to accommodate this. We may find for example, that mobile usage is high in the morning (during the commute) when people are more inclined to browse. Lunchtimes, we may see a spike in desktop traffic, whilst people browse at work. Evenings could be more tablet led and if it's an ecommerce site, be our peak time for sales. Our visitors might be browsing at breakfast and during the day, and purchasing when they're at home in the evening. What messaging/promos could we use in the evening to tip them over the edge into purchasing?

Mindsets go deeper than this though, they're not just about times of day. Categorising your customers by their different mindsets is a really useful exercise that can throw up some great ideas for your website. Ask yourself, "What different mindsets do my customers have when they visit?" Depending on your business, examples could include:

• "I've been let down by one of your competitors, so I'm checking you guys out" – in which case, you should be showing how trustworthy you are, with reviews, case studies etc • "I'm paying too much elsewhere" – so you need to communicate deals, discounts and how you compare to the competition • "I'm new to this" – this person needs encouragement and a little education • "I'm an expert at this" – how can you help this knowledgeable person get what they want more quickly; remember them from last time with cookies, customer login etc, store their regular previous orders? • "I hate dealing with these type of companies" – don't be offended, you need to communicate what makes you different to your competitors and provide reassurance that you're the best in the market

It's only by really getting into the head of your customers and not trying to crowbar them into vague, indistinct groups of social class and income that you can get your site working really hard. Be honest with yourself about people's diverse moods and mindsets, then set about finding solutions to answer their needs.