There's more to a website redesign than what's showing at the surface
Are you wondering what web development services are right for solving the complex sales challenges of your business? If so, you're not alone.
The internet hasn't been around for very long, so it wasn't that long ago when simply having a website gave your business a competitive advantage. However, today, that's simply too low of a bar for such an important member of your sales team.
As your custom website development project looms, keep these concepts in mind as you choose your resources:
It's definitely time
My role is to help business owners and marketing leaders identify growth opportunities using certain digital marketing strategies. So, I talk to a lot of you about your marketing challenges, and one of the most common threads is that y'all hate your websites.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard it.
- "It doesn't have the look and feel I was hoping for, "
- "it doesn't have all of the features I wanted"
- "it cost more and took longer than expected"
- "it doesn't seem to be doing anything for me"
Sound like you?
Before we get started, it's important to understand how your website fits in the rest of your sales and marketing cycles. How do your sales people use it? DO they use it? Does it generate traffic on its own, and does it generate viable leads? Do you have a blogging strategy? Are you active on social media?
Many don't actually know what they want from their website when we first start talking, so we spend a lot of time discussing about how it's supposed to fit into their overall strategy.
If your company is B2B, we typically want a steady, increasing flow of traffic that we can qualify and convert into leads then transition to sales.
The point is that the website can and SHOULD be a functional part of your sales process regardless of the industry. So, if it's NOT, an overhaul by itself is likely not going to solve all of your problems.
There are two types of websites out there:
- Brochures (most common)
- Opportunity generators & deal closers
Brochures are just there. They don't attract qualified traffic (that you know of), and they don't generate viable opportunities or leads.
Opportunity generators actively attract visitors, and help turn visitors into qualified leads. They also serve as partners in the sales process, helping close deals at a faster pace.
Manage your expectations
Finally, before we dive into this, let's make one thing really clear: Your website won't be perfect when it launches. It just won't. That doesn't mean it can't get darn close to it at some point, but straight out of the gate, we don't know enough about user behavior to get it 100% perfectly right the first time.
Anybody who tells you otherwise, is just selling you smoke.
It's just not possible, so don't look for that kind of outcome.
That doesn't mean you can't launch with something that looks and performs better than your existing site, because you cabsolutely can. But your web development strategy is going to be full of hypothesis', and until we put them to test, they are just hypothesis'.
Before you spend a minute on developing your website or even building your strategy, it's time to get your ducks in a row with WHO you are actually targeting. Additionally, it's good to have a plan for leads that come through your website, and all importantly, accountability standards.
A great service to get this going is "alignment," which involves:
- Persona development
- Company profile development
- Success definitions (MQLs and SQLs)
- Lead hand-off procedure
- Sales architecture
- Pipeline architecture
- Accountability standards
Many of these items may seem overkill to you, but you want your website to help you grow your business, right? If so, you'll see how these pieces come together through the other services mentioned below.
Here's the key: We shouldn't actually change everything on your wish-list right away. In fact, most of the things you want on your site can wait, and many of those things won't do what you think they'll do.
When we first launch a website, we focus on the top 20% of our wish-list that will generate 80% of the results.
But that doesn't mean you have to let a website developer decide your fate. No, in fact, NEVER do that! Let's launch with improvements that we know are good ideas based on what our users tell us instead of hunches from you or your developers.
There are a few different ways we research the best launching-off point for any website:
- Quantitative Research - Look at the data... how are people finding you and behaving?
- Observational Research - Setup heatmaps and polls
- Qualitative Research - Interview existing customers - build out high-quality personas, and tie real user sentiment to the data you pulled through your other research (this is done through alignment, so it's important to have thorough interviews that do more than check surface level demographics questions.
You'd be amazed at how much we learn through the qualitative process... Our clients spend YEARS focusing on the wrong things until we go through this with them.
The scroll map in action (one aspect of observational research)
Check out the screen shot below. It's color-coded based on how far people scroll down on the page before exiting. The expectation is to see that number decrease as you scroll down, because people should be clicking after they read something of value.
But if you notice here, there's a SIGNIFICANT drop-off not the gradual effect, and it was happening right before the calls-to-action, which is no bueno. This led us to believe that the copy needed to be re-worked.
So, we reworked it, and the results were positive. What's also important to note is that we used data gathered in our surveys to determine our approach for fixing this issue.
3. Strategy, Strategy, Strategy
Here's the deal. The traditional website design and development model is broken, and the proof is in your sentiment about it. It's a lot of planning for a one-time execution that goes out of scope and over budget every single time.
So, extra care is needed in the planning process, right? Measure twice, cut once?
Well, yes and no. Remember... No website launch will give you everything you want, and we shouldn't be expecting perfection anyway. We accept that, and make our launch about everything it MUST have, not everything we would like it to have.
Your web development marketing strategy is a critical part of your planning, so we can isolate ideas that we know will generate results, as well as contain other exciting discoveries for a later roll-out.
Our strategies take between 2 and 4 weeks... on the longer side if there are NO baseline benchmarks to start with, because we need to understand user behavior before we can make practical suggestions.
At delivery of the strategy, our clients get the following in their slide deck:
- Data metrics summarized
- Site map
- Selected template
- Home page mocked up
- Wishlist (separated by launch and continuous improvement)
- Website goals
- Hard cost
4. Continuous improvements
It's the continuous improvement phase where we work towards perfection.
A good website improves with age, because we're stepping back, looking at the data, and making determinations on how to improve through a series of scientific sprints.
The term we use is "Growth Driven Design." (learn more)
The best website development services for small to medium-sized businesses looking to grow involve a comprehensive approach to targeting and business strategy.
It's not just about making it look pretty. It's about turning your website into a generator of your business business opportunities, and the hub to your company's growth!
To learn more (see case studies, examples of our work, and testimonials), visit our website development services page: