Designing or redesigning a website is an arduous task, can take 3 to 6 months to complete and cost from 10 to 80 thousand dollars. Most of the time a website takes longer than planned and can easily go over budget and scope. Ultimately the new website may not perform as well as was hoped. The reason is because typical website projects do not fully consider what specific and varying actions the ideal customer will take in order to move through their journey to becoming a customer.
Traditional web design is outdated, more performance focused methods are being adopted by top MarTech companies. Traditional web design focuses on building a website based on assumptions derived from "best practices" or "industry standards". "Creating detailed project plans before you build or test anything is counterproductive to results. The entire strategy is based upon assumptions. If one or more assumptions are proven false, the entire project may fail” (leanlabs.com).
From conception and strategy to design and implementation, this resource will help you launch a beautifully-designed, data-driven, and mobile-friendly website.
Your website should be well-formed and data-driven. We recommend using HubSpot’s inbound methodology of converting prospects to customers by executing user based incremental improvements to properly update and manage your website.
Implementing a successful GDD (Growth Driven Design) strategy can dramatically increase revenue and completely transform your website's overall deliverable results. In turn, more growth focused businesses are taking advantage of GDD as a solution to optimize their websites.
What are the exact steps that a customer goes through in order to complete a focus metric driven goal on your website? Where do they click most? How long do they stay on your homepage? You can reconstruct the journey taken by your visitors by listing the steps and actions needed to accomplish a specific goal. These focus metric goals are typically tied to business goals, which are also tied to revenue goals.
The goal of the strategy phase is to gain a detailed understanding of our users. As you might have guessed the strategy phase is crucial in the GDD methodology. In order to ensure that the methodology will not only work but be more easily implemented we have to start with very solid foundation. As most marketing necessitates the strategy phase starts with Goal Setting.
We will start with the high level business goals and widdle our way down to the key or core most important goals.
Then we will discuss what is working now and where we are currently? Where do we want to be? This gives us a good idea of where the business is at, in terms of mapping out goals. Then we can begin to dig deep creating a realistic goals spreadsheet. If done properly, these goals will allow us to map out the next 3 months of work.
The goals spreadsheet includes Engagement vision, Focus areas, Baseline and Stretch goals, Omissions and Engagement success factors.
The next step is to create or fine-tune Buyers Personas, every action we take will have the ideal customer in mind. Once we have a working version of the Buyer Persona, we can come up with some fundamental assumptions, which will be the core elements that we build the website around. Remember that in GDD we typically don’t use a lot of assumptions, therefore; all these assumptions have to be tested in order to partially or fully validate them through user research and testing.
Fundamental assumptions worksheet will assist us in getting the data for each persona that we need to test. What are the core problems for each persona? What are the solutions? Dig deep, these problems and solutions are going to be addressed by our website. Avoid buzzwords, generic answers and jargon.
What are existing solutions that our competitors are offering?
What is our unique positioning statement?
How are we differentiating ourselves?
How are our ideal customers solving their core problems today?
Again, dig deep, we want real data that will create solid solutions. Once we have gotten all of the above completed, we can revisit our goals spreadsheet. We can develop and discuss metrics and how the website will leverage them.
What are the 4 to 5 key reasons our ideal customer needs our website for?
What are the triggers that work? What is the intended journey the user
takes while on our website?
What value does the visitor find on our site?
When a potential customer finds value in your website, this is when the magic begins, when they come back again and again, this is when you become a trusted resource.
User journey mapping is when you track what your visitors do on your website and more importantly, what steps or actions do they need to take in order to become a customer, defining gaps or dead ends throughout.
In the Inbound methodology their are typical 4 main stages in the buyer’s journey. Here we can validate some of our assumptions and start a wishlist.
WISHLIST: A wish list includes all the action items that will make the most impact for improvement based on the focus metric. Brainstorming a wishlist takes place as a collective and on an individual basis, for best results, oh yeah make sure to dig deep! As a group eliminate 75% of the items in order to focus on the most impactful wishlist items. Wishlist items left will be the “must haves” the others will be “nice to haves”.
GOAL: Develop a clear and actionable understanding of how users are behaving before, during and after engaging on your website. Once users begin to visit your website you can begin to conduct some research based on their actions.
EXECUTE USER RESEARCH
We should be able to answer some of these questions at this point in order to address any friction points or challenges that our users are facing while traveling through the buyers journey. We will dig deeper and streamline action items to get an idea of where to focus in order to create a measurable outcome.
Slide Up Surveys
General Web Analytics
Warning: be sure to document thoroughly in this step, because we will be using this data later.
Traditional web design is dictated by the designer who has to make guesses as to what will work and what will not work. The design team will typically use industry best practices, which may not work for your specific audience. GDD is the opposite, the user will dictate what elements are added to the website.
A more simplified process may help the user complete the buying process more consistently. GDD Ensures we are using limited time and money in the best way to make more informed decisions based on user data.
Growth Driven Design Tool Stack
Having the right tool stack is just as important as having the right CRM or ESP, for GDD to work we must be able to track our data consistently and measuring the impact of each element. Tool stacks will open up new opportunities for increased engagement of visitors and the ability for your teams to help people.
Good tools will help your team save time and ultimately save your business money. Increased efficiency and quicker results create higher profits and less scope creep. Hubspot gives my team a great solution for the all in one approach and we find that we rarely need to add costly outside tools, but this will vary obviously across some verticals.
When defining your tools stack, you will want to think of team collaboration and efficiencies, data tracking and reporting, integration and ease of use. Will the tools allow for rapid growth, quick turnarounds and marketing and sales alignment?
Tools stacks should be easily maintained and updated as well as reliable and fast in order to adapt to the environment. Lastly, your tools stack must make it easy to understand user data in order to determine where users hit roadblocks and get stuck.
Building a Launch Pad website
Tailor your approach for the client to come up with the high impact quality site with speedy delivery."Both inbound marketing and GDD work best when you have client participation." (riafox.com) We use the 80/20 rule to list the most crucial elements needed for website, then break it down further into nice to have and must have items. Filtering and prioritizing the most important things, cutting or archiving pages if needed. Most websites have pages with very low views and interaction, we will be looking to remove these pages to streamline your website. We can get a launchpad website up in as little as 30 days.
SITE AUDIT: By using TreeJack, HotJar and even eye movement tracker you can really start to find out how users are interacting with your website. You will find dead ends and no low performing elements. Determine which pages are high, medium and low performing. By doing this you will get an idea of which pages to invest time and energy in order to get the best result.
SEO AUDIT: When redesigning your website its common to see a dip in SEO, because Google has to re-index your site. This is normal and there are a few things you can do to offset this. You can redirect pages and you can run concurrent SEO campaigns to the new pages.
If the website is very outdated and performing poorly, we can determine whether to build a completely new site, or if we can maintain some of the elements. If the website is newer but just isn’t meeting its expectations we can work to improve it instead of redoing the whole thing.
THE FOUNDATION: As you know, having a solid strategy based on business goals is the beginning of every successful marketing campaign. You must break down these goals by quarter in order to stay on track, GDD allows for continuous improvement in order to adjust your tactics if they are not working. You will make decisions based on user data in effort to meet your focus metric.
How does one develop a website strategy?
Developing Personas & Buyers Journeys
Making Fundamental Assumptions
Plotting Out The User Journey Map
Creating A Wish List
As mentioned earlier, in order to maximize and optimize your website's performance you should be looking to improve it based on user data. Continuous improvement is the most important and the foundation of the GDD methodology. The website will evolve based on data and feedback thus unlocking new opportunities by adapting to the way your ideal customer reacts to it. With traditional web design once the website is built it would not be updated or improved for a year or two, but with GDD we will look to continuously improve it.
PLAN: Determine the most impactful action items to implement in order to get us close to our focus metric goal.
AREA OF FOCUS: Task completion, review the previous cycle’s "progress meeting", focus (metric) and discovery. We will be asking questions about our users to attempt to determine and understand what are roadblocks or broken links in our buyers journey. What are the patterns that we notice for those who are successfully completing the journey and what is happening to those who do not?
Heat maps are a great way to monitor where your visitors are clicking in order to attempt to deconstruct this data. Are there any images that visitors are trying to click, but there is no link? Are users having trouble and getting frustrated and giving up? Are users having trouble getting the information they need?
For each cycle in the hierarchy we will choose a specific action item for a specific buyer persona and develop a hypothesis statement. For example "For Sales Manager Steve, (our target persona) we believe that adding a clickable "sales alignment" graphic link to the homepage will increase the task completion rate." Because we noticed that people were trying to click on the image that had no link. This should increase "homepage" to "sales alignment" page task completion by 10%. We believe this to be true because of previous research conducted during the discovery research phase.
Now we have an action item, we can document these on index cards in order to organize and prioritize them. Although all team members are involved with each action item the team leader (Project Manager) will ultimately decide the final sequence that each action item will be completed in.
Host the "Progress" meeting: every cycle, about 45-90 minutes, everyone involved, creative discussion not boring presentation, can include marketing and sales action items.
EXAMPLE AGENDA: PROGRESS MEETING
Idea Generation Workshop
Ideas About How to Increase Focus MetricS
Perform Follow Up Research
Confirm & Write Action Item Cards
*Project Manager must decide on the action items, then the team must agree upon the action items, you can always go back and revisit in the future.
BUILD: A collaborative sprint to implement the high impact action items as quickly as possible. Make sure to balance speed with quality. Deconstruct action items, what, who and when, as well as address any potential roadblocks. All hands on deck to build out and set up experiments as outlined in the action items. Request anything you need from other teams or the client as soon as possible. Everyone will work at the same time, make sure to track time. Pre-schedule all time needed to review the action items.
The Project Manager is in charge of removing roadblocks and potential shortcomings, like client availability or team members being out of the office and ensuring each action item can be completed quickly. Before launching anything we will quality test each action item one last time to increase the efficiency rate of testing. We will use a QA checklist for this.
LEARN: Get a comprehensive understanding of who are users are so we can make smarter decisions and deliver more value. Let our experiments run until you’re confident of the results, ask yourself learning questions. Was our hypothesis correct? What did this teach us about the user? Did different personas behave differently? What behavior was unexpected? Further research, brainstorm next steps, figure out what to do based on experiment results.
Its ok if our hypotheses are deemed incorrect, this is part of the learning process. We will use the information gained in order to ask new questions and dig deeper into helping our personas address their pain points. Our experiments will be successful, unsuccessful or inconclusive. The most important part of the learning phase is to document the results clearly and in an organized manner, in order to use this knowledge for future reference. Easily searchable (wiki) resource.
TRANSFER: Help the other teams improve our efforts by informing them of our user learnings and vice versa. Create a state of the union, high level overview of what has been done, where you are now, and Global progress goals. Previous cycle action items, experimental results and user learnings. Cross team recommendations to present at the next summit meeting. In order to improve the overall performance of the team. You should have some user related questions prepared for the meetings. Put yourself in their shoes. Don’t have to always have recommendations.
REPEAT: GDD and Inbound Marketing are further maximized when you use workflows and segmented email marketing to engage consistently and continue to nurture your leads further through the buyer's journey.