It's safe to assume that the majority of your target prospects will go to your website well before they have any other interaction with your organization. It's their first impression, and they'll be sizing you up immediately upon walking through the virtual door. The traditional website design process is quickly becoming antiquated because it doesn't address the growing needs of the online buyer.
If a website project is on the horizon (which it should be - it should always be on the agenda), watch this video to learn more about an approach that will ensure your site is a high-value marketing asset that continually drives business growth.
For most organizations, their website is their number one marketing asset and also their number one salesperson. That's why it's so critical to put the time, money, and resources into doing it right. There are two main approaches to website development.
If you’re not sure if investing in your website should be a priority for you, check out these two quick blogs:
- Website Evaluation Checklist for Business Owners
- Investing in Your Online Presence is Critical for Business Growth
Traditional Website Design Approach
The traditional approach happens about every three to five years when an organization all of a sudden says, "Hey, we need to update our website." It's a considerable upfront cost. It's usually built on opinions versus data, and nothing much happens with the website during the off years except for some minor updates and maintenance.
These days waiting for years will put you way behind the ball. Technology and user behavior are changing so fast that it's critical to focus on continually evaluating your site, analyzing what's working, what's not working, and making improvements.
Growth-Driven Website Approach
Growth-driven design spreads the investment over time and ensures the website is always running at peak performance and creating the best user experience possible.
The process for growth-driven website design begins with building a well-planned strategy, and from there, you develop a launchpad website. The launchpad site is just your starting point. It's not perfect, but it's something that you can build from and improve upon. It can be either your current website or a newly launched site.
- Plan: The growth-driven design process is cyclical and ongoing. It begins with the planning phase, where you hypothesize which actions you can take that will most likely have the highest impact on your business goals and objectives.
- Develop: From there, you move into the development phase, where the rubber hits the road, and everyone on your team gets together to start completing each action item that you selected in the planning phase.
- Learn: Next, in the learning phase, you analyze the results and either validate or disprove your hypothesis.
- Transfer: Then, you move into the transfer stage. One of the keys to good growth-driven design is transparency and communication. What you learn from your experiments and research may have implications in other areas of the business. So, here is where you share what you've learned with business leaders from across the organization. It helps them stay informed and leverage your work to make the best decisions for their departments.
Steps for Developing a GDD Website Strategy
Here are the steps for developing your website strategy, which is going to drive the entire project.
1. Goals: It begins by identifying your goals, which are the business objectives that we're trying to achieve. They need to be smart, which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.
2. Persona’s: Next, we develop your buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your ideal profitable customer. Many tools are available to help you build your buyer personas, but the key is to clearly define the target audience you are trying to engage on the website.
3. Fundamental Assumptions: Now that we know who our buyer personas are, we need to start making fundamental assumptions about them and how they will use the website. Let me explain. The assumptions that we make may or may not be true at this point, but they're our best guess about the problems we think our personas are facing and solutions that can solve their pain.
4. Journey Map: From our assumptions, we can start creating value propositions and mapping out the buyer's journey, which is the next step in planning your website strategy. During journey mapping, we look at the three stages that buyers typically go through:
- Awareness - realize they have a problem
- Consideration - start researching their issue and ways to solve it
- Decision stage - choose a solution.
In each stage, the buyer has different questions, concerns, objections, and needs that they have to answer. Fundamental assumptions help us determine what kind of content and information they need at each stage.
5. Quantitative Research: Now that we know who our personas are and have started making some assumptions about what type of information they're looking for and how we'll use the website, we can begin researching to see if we're headed in the right direction. We'll start with quantitative research, which is an audit of your website to see what's working and what's not working. We'll look at user data, campaign data, and analytics to find patterns and common themes.
6. Qualitative Research: We can also start looking at qualitative research: things like direct feedback, interviews, surveys, slide ups, online chat, and secret shoppers.
7. Wish List: All right! Now comes the fun part. We're ready to brainstorm a wish list. At this point, we're not worried about the budget. Instead, we want to make a list of everything we can think of to do with the site - if we lived in a perfect world of unlimited resources. Then, we can narrow the list down to the 20% of items that will have the most significant impact on your business goals and objectives. That list becomes our scope of work.
Growth-Driven Design Hierarchy
There are a million things that you could do with the website, and it can be very overwhelming. The website hierarchy provides a road map that gives focus to the team and sets clear expectations. I'm not going to go through this in detail, but feel free to pause the video to take a closer look at how to use the following website objectives to ensure practitioners know precisely what they should be doing to move specific metrics and track and measure their progress:
- Conversion rate optimization
- Asset creation
Are you ready to engage in growth-driven design for your organization? Here's the mindset you need for success!
- Always focus on the user, question everything
- Think ideal world, unlimited budget
- Get stuff done, avoid analysis paralysis
- Don't seek perfection
- Deconstruct the project into bite-size bits
- Always be learning, dig deeper, measure, and ask more questions!
If you have any questions about how to move forward with your website, we’re here to help.