Do you have a website that doesn't represent your real vision? Was your logo created by an intern in 15 minutes? Is there no trendy video background on your landing page? Does your site look like it was made back in 2009?
Whatever cracks your internet billboard may show, we get it. You're way out there working hard to make your customers happy. You're building your team and elevating your company above competition. And your website is way out here on the internet, aging faster than a slice of Swiss cheese on a hot plate.
A beautiful website design will not get you more business
Before you go off spending on a new web design, ask yourself what your company really needs at this point. Dig deep. Why is it that you think that a beautiful website is going to help you meet those needs?
Just because today you've updated your logo, added a video to your landing page and replaced underscores with hyphens in your URLs does not mean that throngs of eager prospects and customers will tear the doors off your business tomorrow.
Don't let this discourage you. Competing for customers has never been more interesting and rewarding. You have a so many opportunities to engage and learn how to serve their needs better. That's part of the challenge. Figuring out which opportunities to focus on first, for most impact. That's what this blog post is about.
A few things to focus on first
Personas - which common characteristics, demographics, goals and challenges do your ideal customers have in common? You sales and marketing team needs to write, improve and own these detailed, fictional ideal customer representations and your analytics needs to attribute everything back to these personas.
Journeys - which common stages do personas go through before, during and after interacting with your company? Which symptoms do they exhibit before they even know that they have a problem which your company solves? You need to track specific marketing funnel stages in your CRM to know where each specific visitor, lead, prospect and customer is. This will let you adjust the messages on (and off) your website for best impact. You don't want to be offering information on how you are different from competitors to a prospect who doesn't yet know he needs your services.
Keywords - which words and phrases do your buyer personas typically use when they are in each part of the journey? Your marketing and sales team needs to be keeping a list of keywords current and relevant to each persona and journey stage.
Be Helpful - Whad kind of helpful content are you creating and optimizing for your personas to find on each stage of their journey through these keywords? Are you creating blog posts, ebooks, checklists and ultimate guides? Are they optimized, relevant and helpful to specific personas on specific stages of their journey? Your content offers need to be valuable enough to motivate your personas to share marketing information you collect in your forms. The amount of information you ask in your marketing forms should be proportionate with the value of the content offer hidden behind that form. Don't spam your audience. Send them helpful emails and ask very little (if anything) in return.
The list of marketing tactics could go on to include other areas such as:
- social media
- email marketing
- calls to action
- conversion optimization
- integrated analytics
If you're not already spending most of your marketing efforts in above areas, it could be that a better web design is not quite what you really need right now. Sure, it's great to have a fresh looking site. You just need to make sure that the dollars you invest will produce objective results for your business. Beautiful, simple and clean interfaces are all subjective matters until proven by real user behavior that generates real value for your organization.
Objective results are better than subjective good looks
For many growing organizations, a world-class website design is a set of symptoms of performing some combination of these deeper marketing strategies correctly. For them web design is just one of the means to a greater end. It is far easier to justify investing hundreds or even thousands of hours into polishing the look and feel of your website if you first show that you can drive real business value with the raw functionality, content and value you are offering.
It is not a huge problem if your site doesn't look like a glossy, polished magazine cover. It is a far bigger problem when your site doesn't reflect what your team has to say or doesn't say what your ideal customers need to hear. You want a website that allows your team to experiment, to disprove flawed assumptions, to react quickly to change and to monitor your prospects' every online interaction with your company quickly and efficiently.
Your website could (and should) be your best salesperson, your best brand advocate, your biggest source of new business leads, prospects and customers. If it is not, then you may need to rethink the role your website is currently playing in helping your team reach your high-level sales and marketing goals.
The problem with traditional web design
Marketing issues aside, there are a few big problems with traditional web design approach.
The most obvious issue is in the tremendous investment of time, effort and money that's usually required every 2-3 years for a new traditional redesign. The end product ages quickly and usually doesn't scale with your business.
It just makes sense to update your site more often. Most businesses make their website their primary sales and marketing hub.
Growth Driven Design unlocks your ability to never lose your edge against your competition and to never fall out of sync with your latest business priorities. You're able to make frequent changes to your site based on how your visitors actually interact with your site.
Ready to align your website with your business? Grab our FREE Growth-Driven Design ebook!