Along with the zeal for renewed personal resolutions, the turn of a New Year always brings a ‘breath of fresh air’ at work too. Everyone at the office seems pumped to get things moving in all directions…
But there’s one project (perhaps the most important one) that you’ve been postponing for months now, and even the thought of it makes you cringe and slouch - due to its sheer ‘all encompassing’ nature, which will rob you of your human resources, budget and not to mention ‘excruciatingly long’ time, the process takes to complete.
Yes, I'm talking about Website Designing or Re-designing… Ring any bells?
TRADITIONAL WEB DESIGN
Let’s say you did go ahead and start to build a new website or re-design an existing one. Here’s what you may need with a typical (Traditional) web redesigning project:
- An ensemble of experts.
- An upfront hefty budget - a SMB would cost you between $15,000 - $80,000.
- Time span of 3 months, at the least.
- A thoroughly laid out plan and scheduled timelines for every single activity and project deliverables: content audits, focus group card-sort exercises for site navigation, wireframing, usability testing, client meetings, etc.
We’ve all been through this and yet time and again we seem to repeat this process every 1.5 to 2 years, despite the risks of: using tons of resources, including pulling in all team members time and focus, funneling heavy upfront costs, yet clueless about how the site will perform in the future, and often times delaying the launch, we also run over budgets and most possibly – run out of scope!
Come to think of it: Your Top ‘salesperson’ (your website), that is out there, day-in-day-out, 24/7 … doesn't have the most up-to-date info about your products and is not in sync with, or representative of your brand’s vision and purpose - for the good portion of the last 12 to 18 months. Imagine how detrimental that is to your business.
But worry not, there is an alternative web designing approach to beat the systemic risks associated with the traditional way, and to bring optimum value in your branding and marketing initiatives – It's GROWTH DRIVEN DESIGN.
GROWTH DRIVEN DESIGN
Growth Driven Design takes a radical approach and new way of thinking with regards to building and growing websites.
In contrast to the traditional design, which generally takes websites as a static entity, the Growth Driven Design (GDD) approaches it as a dynamic, living, malleable, scalable and agile element that grows and adapts along with your business.
The core benefits of a GDD Approach are:
- Websites are in a constant state of improvement instead of getting one overhaul every 2 years or so.
- Every design decision is influenced through real data analysis and test results rather than acting on initial subjective decisions as a one-time project.
- Marketing and Sales strategies are constantly revised to bring about steady growth in conversion rates through continuous enhancement of messages, CTAs, Landing Pages and other key elements within the site.
- Websites are launched within 4-6 weeks as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with an adaptive and iterative model, which brings faster benefits and sustains growth.
Luke Summerfield from HubSpot says, “Traditional web-design is broken. Why spend 3+ months building a site whose results aren’t proven. Growth Driven Design solves this.”
And rightly so, with traditional design every desired featured or optimisation is built into the design before the launch with hardly any data to support for it to work. It is simply based on assumptions or what the ‘designer’ thinks is ‘appropriate’.
GDD works as a phased model. You're not constrained by a one scary ‘end all be all’ deadline eating you for months on end, with a singular budget. With GDD your deadlines and budget goals are distributed evenly at various stages, and therefore much easy to attain with the ‘bite size’ pieces, rather than trying to gobble up the ‘entire elephant’ at one go.
The other way to look at it is – Traditional website redesign, ends with the launch but with Growth Driven Design, the launch is only the beginning!
The GDD process comprises of primarily 2 major phases. The Strategy + Launchpad Website phase (which could last just over a month) and the Growth Driven Design Cycle phase, which is an iterative development/ongoing improvement and validation process (could last for the next eleven months).
1. The Strategy + Launchpad Website
This phase is primarily focused in answering two pertinent questions:
Who is your audience? (User Personas)
What do you want them to do? (Your goals/WISHLIST)
Growth Driven Design is essentially built around your targeted audiences or the users. It's important to build as many ‘detailed’ persona profiles or the ‘buyer personas’ for the visitors coming to your site, as this will set the stage for all other future activities.
Building personas is essentially having a better understanding of your visitors. It will help you answer many queries such as: What are their burning questions? What do they like about your site? What content will really put them off?
Your goal is to figure out how your website fits around the lives of your audiences or ‘buyer personas’, so that you can develop the right strategy to help them better.
The next step is to build your ‘wish list’ – what updates and changes you need to implement on your site. This call for listing of every new page, navigation elements, CTAs, extra modules that you would want to see in your renewed site.
The trick is to choose the items that comprise 20% of your list, but that will drive 80% of the results. This is where the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) strategy comes into play. It's essential you don’t fret over whichever items that didn’t make the cut, because that will be addressed in the later phases of the redesign process.
Now with your ‘Wish List’ and User personas, you put in the required ‘meat’ to build your ‘Launchpad website’. Once the Launchpad site is up and running, you can immediately start to test and observe your visitors’ behaviour in response to your site content.
This will help you make smart and calculative decisions which can be substantiated with empirical data, instead of assumptions, which is the case with Traditional Websites. The ‘Testing’ phase is crucial with the GDD approach, because that’s when you decide what works for you and what doesn’t.
2. Growth Driven Design Cycle
The GDD cycle is the next phase in the process which revolves entirely around the user personas who visit your site. It includes monthly ‘sprint cycles’ for the next eleven months or so – where visitors/user personas to your site are the focus of everything you do.
The Planning Stage looks into comparing your site’s current performance against the goals for the site redesign, within the monthly sprint cycles.
Additional data or research, along with constant consultation with the Marketing and Sales team may be required to learn from and make informed decisions and review your strategies. The data can be received from any touch points within the system. For instance, a story in a blogpost may have resonated well with the audience and addressed their pain points. Or a particular topic in social media may have garnered overwhelming retweets.
Such data will help you plan to shift messages to reflect more with the users’ interest, and update your wish list.
In the Developing Stage, you’ll be creating the task and deliverables required for the site based on user feedback and support from other departments – developers, marketers, sales reps, etc.
Here Validation Tracking Codes are setup to measure success metrics and targeted marketing campaigns are developed to drive new traffic to your sites.
The Learning Stage looks into reviewing the data from the experiments, such as split tests, the purpose is to figure out whether the assumptions are to be validated or dropped. The web content is shifted and published accordingly and the learnings are shared with team members to reference and inform actions for future sprint cycles.
Transfer Stage is where you share what you’ve learned with your marketing/sales team. This calls for any impactful information about the users regarding tests or approaches on campaigns or landing pages, that brings value to you.
For instance, if you tested two variations of landing pages and the one where you used ‘social proof’ as an independent variable tested to be more influential for conversions than the ‘authority’ variable.
Now that’s a valuable finding based on real data, which can be used to inform team members to – include ‘social proof’ in other touch points such as emails, sales scripts, social media, etc., to boost conversion rates.
To Sum it up…
Growth Driven Design is an improved, optimised and scalable process which ties web designing directly with your Marketing and Sales strategies, minimizing assumptions and risks associated with traditional web designing process.
If you'd like more assistance with your Growth Driven Design or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Website is element7digital.com.au