The growth-driven-design secret (don't tell everyone!)

04-May-2017 16:49:19

"Website redesign” - the dreaded phrase.

I know your company has been putting it off for months, and it hasn't been a priority. However, your sales team is complaining, your competitors are moving forward, and customers are noticing. You're becoming embarrassed to direct people to it.

You're thinking, "How am I going to rebuild the company website?"

Your marketing department is flat out. You can’t face several months of content audits, wireframe reviews, stakeholder workshops, and budget negotiations. You remember going through this process before when you last had the website created.

You just can’t take this time out right now. You don’t have thecapacity and, if you’re honest, you’re not completely confident in your digital strategy.

If only you could do both simultaneously: work on those strategic goals, and create the website at the same time.

shutterstock_96492581

Guess what … you can!

This is where I’ll let you into the growth-driven-design (GDD) secret.

GDD is the modern way of building websites quickly, whilst keeping design decisions aligned with your business growth goals.

It’s a simple 2-phase approach.

  1. Launch phase - define target customer personas and specific measurable goals. Launch a website within 45 days.
  2. Continuous improvement phase - keep enhancing the website for the following 11 months.

You can read more about the modern approach to growth and conversion focused websites here.

Old-fashioned website design agencies who have spent 4-5 months designing a website prior to launch will need to limit the number of wishlist items to go into the website. They have to - I know this from experience. I’ve spent over 10 years trying to steer clients through complicated website projects, whilst keeping the work that we deliver within a fixed budget. Budget has to restrict scope.

You’ll get there in the end. You will have a new website that you’ve worked on for several months and with one big last push you'll get it launched - phew, you're over the finish line!

Traditional web designers love starting new projects but dread change requests from existing clients. [ Tweet This ]

Traditional web designers love starting new projects but dread change requests from existing clients. They will have forgotten how the code is written, how the CSS is created, where the source code repository is, which might not even be up-to-date. It’s a real problem. The developer has to go back into an old, dormant project to make these updates, which is time-consuming, frustrating and inefficient. Believe me: they don’t like doing it!

Why is the GDD approach helpful to you?

Roll forward to a day when you’re working with a growth-driven-design agency.

You have an idea which you are unsure will work, or add any real benefit.

Your marketing department has just created a product spec sheet. You think it might be a good idea to add the spec sheet to the product page for users to download.

You send it over to your account manager who logs it into the wishlist. It sits with lots of other ideas, each of which are scored between 1-10 based on their impact towards a specific target.

Here’s an example of a strategic goal:

"To increase website enquiries for [New Product] from 10 to 20 per month by end of Q3."

This is the goal we are working towards. Let's validate your idea against the goal:

“For [Prospect Pete] visiting the [product page], we believe that replacing the [generic contact us form] with a [request downloadable product sheet in PDF] will [increase qualified enquires for this product by 50%.]

We believe this to be true because [previous user testing proves that visitors click to leave the product page instead of using the contact form]

Your idea clearly fits into the growth plan, so we are going to score that a 8/10 for impact. It’s high on the list and the work for this month will focus on this above any other requests.

A growth-driven-design agency will be able to rapidly implement this additional request for you because they are set up for agile, fast-changing ideas and requests. In fact, they are welcomed.

You can clearly see how your marketing budget allocated to the website moves from a sunk capital outlay, to an ongoing operational value-based cost that is easier to justify. It’s measurable and the ROI is transparent. Read more about website retainers in this blog post.

How does your website fit into your marketing strategy?

GDD is best suited to companies who use their website as part of their digital marketing in order to grow their business.

Following each stage of the GDD methodology brings strategic direction. It’s not possible to skip a stage before moving to the next. Aligning marketing and sales departments around business goals requires strategy.

It’s perfect for marketing and sales teams because:

  1. You can’t build the website without having mapped out your strategy
  2. You will need to develop buyer personas as part of the strategy
  3. Every decision you make after the strategy stage will be wrapped tightly around your personas and your business goals
  4. You will have a clear direction for your marketing
  5. Your job will be easier
  6. You will be able to relate activity and budget to results

What if I already have a good website?

That’s fine. We can move straight to stage 2 after the strategy has been created. We’ll use your current website as the launch pad.

Growth-driven-design is a 2-stage process

Stage 1. Strategy and launch pad website

This is the critical first stage upon which every other decision is based. It’s impossible to build a successful website if this stage is skipped.

Benchmark data to build a solid base for strategic designs. The output of this stage is a wishlist of ideas. All ideas are welcomed. They are laid out on an agile board and scored between 1-10.

We’ll need to look at any existing strategy or buyer personas that you have defined. We’ll help you to identify and understand your target customer. We’ll help distill your digital strategy to bring inline with business goals.

A website and content audit. Which pages are attracting the most traffic, what are users doing when they find your website? How does the bounce rate look, and what can we learn from this?

We’ll be able to identify high, medium and low priority pages or content. We’ll take these over into the next phase. The launch pad website.

Launchpad website

We will launch your new website within 45-60 days. This will be a simple website that includes the top 20% of wishlist items that are deemed to bring 80% impact. As the website is never ‘finished’ we can get you online and operational in a fraction of the time that it would take with a traditional website design and build process. A GDD website typically launches within 1 month as opposed to 5 months (or longer) with a traditional design.

The benefits to you:

  • You’ll launch quickly and we will work with you to make informed decisions about design that move you towards your growth targets.
  • No more guesswork. The traditional web design process is built around the guesswork of a designer who has no way of validating his ideas.
  • Our time remains focused on your growth targets and we don’t waste your money.
  • You will quickly see the value of your investment and how it is impacting on your business.

Harvest period

After your launch pad site goes live, you will move immediately into the harvest period. It’s your first cycle of website improvement, the first of many iterations we are going to make as we drive you towards your goals.

Why is this stage so important?

  • It’s our chance to immediately implement some quick wins.
  • It’s our first look at initial user feedback. We’ll be looking at heat maps, goal tracking, drop-off rates or anything else that gives us insight into user behavior.
  • We’ll go back to the wishlist and look again at any nice-to-have items. Anything that is a valuable that didn’t make the launch pad site will be picked up during the harvest period.
  • We’ll consider industry best practice and trends to see if we can quickly bring value.

Stage 2. Continuous improvement

This is why we love GDD. We can make informed decisions based on real feedback. Every change is focused on the user and driving them towards your goals. The designer can now make updates that he knows will deliver impact and value.

We learn, transfer and repeat the cycle of continuous improvement. It’s an exciting journey and much more inline with modern workflow. Think about going live with a website that took 5 months to create and then leaving it untouched for 12 months. Instead, modern and agile GDD websites will not become stale, outdated or irrelevant. They are always ‘new'.

Takeaways

  1. The process is based on continual improvement and real user data.
  2. Traditional website designers cannot accommodate change requests efficiently (no matter what they say).
  3. You will align marketing and sales because growth targets are set and form the basis of decision making.
  4. You will not be able to cut corners and start a website build without a rock-solid plan. Your digital marketing strategy is defined early in the project.

Ready to start modernising your website using growth-driven-design? 

Topics: Website design

Phill Burrows

Written by Phill Burrows

Phill is a Hubspot certified inbound professional and is passionate about helping people in all aspects of digital marketing. Phill provides advice on SEO, growth driven design and digital strategy.