Growth Driven Website Design
This is a guide for ambitious companies who want to work smarter, to attract clients, boost their growth, with more business added to their books and...
GROWTH DRIVEN DESIGN
The traditional web design
model is totally broken
Whether you’re an agency or a business, it leaves you extremely vulnerable to a number of risks and often does not produce optimal results.
Growth-Driven Design is the new gold standard for delivering results and bringing measurable business value through web design. It is a smarter, agile and data-driven approach that minimises the pitfalls of traditional web design and produces high-performing websites.
This new methodology was created by Luke Summerfield, a HubSpot Partner Agency Manager, who went through the struggles of traditional website design for himself. When working at agencies and businesses in the past doing web design, Luke noticed that the entire process was broken; deliverables were late, budgets ran over and the site was never touched again until the big redesign a few years later.
Luke wanted to change the way designers, developers and marketers approached web design. In this book he breaks down exactly what’s fundamentally wrong with the traditional web design process and sets the stage for a better process to follow, Growth-Driven Design (GDD).
Invest the time in reading this book, take notes and start to think about a smarter way to approach web design. We’re happy to clarify any points for you or to explain how GDD can apply to your new website or redesign (turn to the back page for our contact details).
TRADITIONAL WEB DESIGN
There's a now better way.
YOU ARE WASTING TIME AND RESOURCES ON YOUR WEBSITE
AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT.
For years our people, slept and breathed web design. Working both internally and at agencies, they launched hundreds of websites and just over a year ago it became apparent that everything we thought we knew about the web design process was completely wrong.
What we have come to accept as the standard way we approach building and maintaining a website is riddled with systemic risk and is costing your business time, money and opportunity.
But there is a better way, a new way to approach your website that holds tremendous potential for you and your business. It’s time to take a step back and challenge the assumptions of the traditional web design process.
Our hope in writing this book is to open your eyes to a smarter approach to website design so you can avoid website disasters, produce better results, impress your bosses and grow your business.
YOUR WEBSITE IS YOUR BIGGEST MARKETING ASSET AND SALESPERSON
Your website is your biggest marketing asset and is the centerpiece of all your marketing activities. It is often the first place people go when looking for more information on your products or services. It is the place where we drive all of our marketing efforts and is often the first place prospects come looking for information.
Additionally, your website is also your “best salesperson”. It’s been said that a prospect has already moved through 70% of the sales process before even reaching out to your sales team. Where are they finding the information before talking to someone? – Your website.
As critically important as our websites are, the way we approach building and improving our websites is fundamentally broken.
The Traditional Website Design Process
I love the look people give me when I ask them about their last website redesign project.
Most tilt their head back, roll their eyes and cringe in disgust while remembering what a headache it was.
Think back to your last website redesign project you did with your company and ask yourself:
- How would you describe the overall experience?
- What went right and wrong in the process?
- How much time/energy/resources did it take to finally get live?
- Did it get launched on time or on budget?
- After the launch, how much continuous improvement has happened to it?
- How excited are you to do another website redesign?
If you’ve ever been involved in a website redesign project, it’s likely that you did not fully enjoy the process.
The reason that we’ve come to accept the fact that a website redesign is one giant headache is because of the approach we take to build them. The traditional website redesign process is filled with systemic risk and headaches.
Risks of Traditional Web Design
Large Up-Front Cost: The average small to medium-sized business (SMB) website typically costs anywhere between £5,000 - £50,000, a substantial up-front cost for most businesses. Not only is this cost hard to budget for all at once, but it is also paid before even knowing what impact the website will have on your business.
Large Time & Resource Commitment:
In addition to the up-front expense, the average SMB website typically takes 3-6 months to complete and requires a great deal of resources and energy from your team.
This amount of time to invest – with no business results to show from it until after it launches – is enough to make any boss get a bit uneasy.
Over Budget, Not on Time and
Even if the budget and time is approved, there are so many moving parts, people and steps involved in a large project, it’s extremely idfficult to accurately quote the cost and determine how long a project this large will take.
This makes it extremely common for a website project to be delayed and/or run over budget. This not only stalls out the results from your website, but also reflects poorly on you in the eyes of your boss and other department heads.
Subjective Designs and No Guarantee It Will Improve Performance:
At the end of the day, you are being held accountable by your boss for a measurable increase in results from your website redesign.
So, the question becomes: after all of the time, money and resources you’ve put into your website redesign, how do you (or the agency you’ve hired) know that what you’re finally launching is the best possible performing website?
The answer is you can’t, it’s impossible.
All you can do is look through all your usage data, perform some user research and formulate a hypothesis of what you believe to be a high-performing website. Then this hypothesis is launched and never validated to see whether what we thought was in fact correct.
We’ve all heard of these horror stories of a website being launched and then the website’s performance tanking for one reason or another.
After launch, a website typically sits with no major updates for 1.5 to 2 years.
Whatever the excuse is; “No time”, “Spent all our budget”, “Other focuses”, etc. We let our website, our #1 marketing asset and best salesperson, sit relatively unchanged for years. This is clearly not an ideal way to maximise website performance, yet we continue to do it.
Yes, there may be some small updates or improvements, along with adding blogs or landing pages to the site, but the core and vast majority of the site remains untouched.
TRADITIONAL WEB DESIGN: HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU’RE LAUNCHING THE BEST POSSIBLE PERFORMING WEBSITE?
THE ANSWER IS YOU CAN’T, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE.
THE SHIFT MARKETERS NEED TO MAKE
It’s time we take a step back and look at how we can approach the website redesign process from a different angle.
We need to find a superior process that avoids all the risks we outlined in the traditional web design process and produces a peak performing website; a web design process that is quick, agile and produces better results and ROI.
We call that process:
A smarter way to think about web design
Growth-Driven Design is a completely new approach and way of thinking about building and growing your website.
THE 3 PILLARS OF GROWTH-DRIVEN DESIGN
1. MINIMISE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH TRADITIONAL WEB DESIGN.
We work to avoid the risks of traditional web design by taking a systematic approach to shorten the time to launch, focusing on real impact and continuous learning and improvement.
2. CONTINUOUSLY LEARN AND IMPROVE.
We are constantly researching, testing and learning about our visitors to inform on-going website improvements. Through continuous improvements we can reach peak performance.
3. AS YOU LEARN, INFORM MARKETING AND SALES (AND VICE VERSA).
Growth-Driven Design is tightly integrated with marketing and sales. What we learn about visitors helps inform and improve marketing and sales strategies and tactics (and vice versa).
THE GROWTH-DRIVEN DESIGN PROCESS
THE THREE PHASES
THE GROWTH-DRIVEN DESIGN PROCESS INVOLVES THREE MAJOR PHASES:
Much like the traditional website design process, the first stage of Growth-Driven Design is the strategy stage.
In this stage we’ll develop a rock-solid foundation that we can build our Growth-Driven Design process upon using the following steps:
Goals: What are the performance goals that we are trying to achieve with our website? How have we historically performed, where would we like to improve and how will this impact the overall marketing department’s goal?
For help with setting and tracking goals, download HubSpot’s free S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) marketing goals Excel template.
Personas: Next you will develop detailed persona profiles for the different types of groups visiting the site.
A persona is a representation of your ideal customer. You can create different groups of personas based on common characteristics your audience shares. This could be a pain point, industry, job title, etc.
As you’ll learn later in the book, Growth-Driven Design centres around the user, so it is critically important to fully research and develop your persona profiles in the beginning, as they will set the stage for all future activities.
To learn how to create personas for your business, download Pixel Lab’s free buyer persona template.
DESIGN FOR THE HUMAN ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN, THUS IMPROVING OUR USER EXPERIENCE AND MOVING THE NEEDLE ON KPIs
Quantitative Research – Website & Analytics Audit:
It’s time to start digging into the data. Perform a quantitative audit of how the existing website is performing, reviewing what is, and is not, performing well, where users are dropping off, etc.
As you are completing your website audit, you will start identifying where there is opportunity for improvements for your future web work.
“As marketers and designers, website users are constantly signaling to us what they like and don’t like about our websites through the actions they take.
Quantitative research is when we listen to our users by collecting data for these actions and interpret in aggregate what the data means about our user base, product or service.
Through interpreting our quantitative data, we can make informed design decisions around what we can improve, how we can improve it and relatively how much impact our improvement can have. We can then test our changes with an experiment and use our quantitative data to measure the results.”
Qualitative Research – User Research:
After you have identified some of the areas of opportunity through your audit, the next step is proactively reaching out to your existing users to learn more about them, gain a better understanding of who they are and find ways to improve.
As you’re collecting new user research, it will help you validate the assumptions you put in your original persona profiles and will likely give you additional information to include.
“We observe the user’s goals, motivations, and pain points in action. This helps us to develop an understanding for consumer behaviours online that are tied to the quantitative data points that we’ve collected.
The result is greater empathy with the human on the other side of the screen and an enhanced user experience. In turn, our clients see key performance indicators like conversion and retention rates improve”
Using what you’ve learned in all previous steps, you can now start forming some fundamental assumptions about your users.
Some examples of fundamental assumptions include:
- Value propositions for each product, service and offer
- The various locations and devices users will be accessing your website from
- What information your users are seeking
These fundamental assumptions will help you explain the behavior and motivations of your users and will be influential in both the global and page strategy and future Growth-Driven Design cycles.
Global & Page Strategy:
The last step in the strategy phase is to develop both a global strategy for the website as a whole and a specific strategy for each major page on the site.
Both the global and individual page strategies should incorporate all previous steps and lay out a detailed strategy of exactly how to best engage and influence the user to attain your goals.
GROWTH-DRIVEN WEB DESIGN: THE LAUNCHPAD SITE IS THE POINT FROM WHICH ALL OTHER ACTIVITIES AND IMPROVEMENTS START.
The next stage in the Growth-Driven Design process is developing your wishlist.
Taking what you’ve learned in your strategy planning, gather your team together and brainstorm every impactful, creative and innovative idea that you’d like to include on the site.
The key is to come into your brainstorming session with a “clean slate” and to not get hung up on the existing website.
Think about what items should be on the list to achieve your goals in an ideal world if money, time and development skill were not an issue.
This includes brainstorming ideas such as:
- Key impactful website sections and pages
- Marketing assets, tools and resources
- Specific features, modules and functionality
- Design elements
- Changes in experience based on devices, country, etc.
After a few hours of brainstorming with the team you will have a list of 50-150+ ideas for the new website. Not all of these items will be implemented right away, however.
But it’s important to flesh out as many ideas as possible right off the bat.
Your wishlist will be used both to determine the initial action items to implement on the new site, but is also an agile and flexible list that you will continuously be adding to (and subtracting from) as you are re-prioritising action items over time.
In the traditional web design process we think of the launching of the website as the finish. In Growth-Driven Design it is the complete opposite.
In this stage we will be building and launching what we call a “Launchpad website”. This Launchpad website is the starting point on which all other Growth-Driven Design activities and improvements start from.
The Launchpad website should be launched quickly and will not be perfect. We want to avoid getting stuck on analysis, features or content while building our Launchpad website.
It may not be perfect on launch, but no website is. It will likely be a big improvement to your current website and give a starting point for which you can continuously improve from.
The size and complexity of the Launchpad website will vary depending on what you have on your wishlist and what type of website you have. However, it’s extremely important that you’re able to boil it down to the essential 20% that will make an impact and launch quickly so you can continue to learn about your users and improve the site.
Run an 80/20 Analysis on Your Wishlist
In the wishlist phase we compiled a long list of all the action items we’d ideally want on the site. Now it is time to start sorting and prioritising these wishlist items to determine which action items are the first ones to implement on our Launchpad website.
Review the list with your entire team and identify the 20 percent of items that will produce 80 percent of the impact and value for your website’s users. Once you have identified those core 20 percent of items, pull them to the side and do some additional filtering by asking yourself, is this action item…
- A “must have” or actually a “nice to have”? – If you answer “nice to have” then it will return to the main list.
Then with the remaining items ask:
- “Is this absolutely necessary for the initial Launchpad site, or could we build it into the site in month two or month three?”
The goal of asking these additional questions is to really narrow your focus to just the core, 'Must Have' action items that will provide the most impact. It’s essential to narrow down to these core action items to ensure a quick launch.
Hypothesis Statements for Each Core Action Item
Once we have narrowed down our list of action items for the Launchpad website down to the core 20% most impactful, 'must have' items, you will then create a “hypothesis statement” for each one of the action items.
The hypothesis statement allows us to gain clarity on how each action item relates back to the goals we’re trying to achieve, the persona we’re focusing on and the expected impact this change or update will have.
EXAMPLE HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT
GET STARTED WITH INBOUND MARKETING TOOLS
TOOLS TO ATTRACT STRANGERS TO YOUR SITE:
Blogging – the average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, 434% more indexed pages [source: HubSpot].
Social Media – share valuable content, engage with your prospects, and put a human face to your agency.
Keyword Optimisation – analytically pick keywords, optimise your pages, create content and build links around the terms your ideal clients and candidates are searching for.
Site Pages – Search engines and users like frequently updated websites, so you need to transform your site into a beacon of helpful, fresh, and optimised pages.
TOOLS TO CONVERT VISITORS INTO LEADS INCLUDE:
Calls-to-Action (CTAs) – generate leads with buttons or links that encourage visitors to take action, like ‘Book a Consultation’ or ‘Attend a Webinar’.
Landing Pages – after clicking on a CTA, visitors should be sent to a landing page where the offer is fulfilled and the prospect submits information that your sales team can use to begin a conversation with them.
Forms – for visitors to become leads, they must fill out a form and submit their contact information. Optimise your form to make the conversion process as easy as possible.
Contacts Database – Keep track of the leads you’re converting in a centralised marketing database so you can make sense out of every interaction you’ve had with your contacts – be it through email, a landing page, or social media.
TOOLS TO CLOSE LEADS INTO CLIENTS INCLUDE:
Lead Scoring – using a numerical representation of the sales-readiness of a lead means you know which of your contacts are ready to speak to your sales team.
Email – nurture your contacts with a series of emails focused on useful, relevant content until they’re ready to move to the next stage.
Marketing Automation – if a visitor downloaded a guide from you in the past for example, you might want to send that lead a series of related emails.
Closed-Loop Reporting – know which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads and whether your sales team is focused on the most qualified leads by integrating with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
TOOLS TO DELIGHT YOUR CLIENTS INCLUDE:
Smart Calls-to-Action – create personalised, tailored experiences based on prospects’ needs across all marketing channels, from email to landing pages.
Social Media – keep your existing clients happy, informed and engaged so they go on to be advocates of your agency, feeding the top of your sales funnel.
Email and Marketing Automation – create an ongoing connection to delight all contacts, so there are regular touchpoints, but not at the expense of your own time management.
CONTENT IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
By offering personal, valuable and engaging content delivered across channels your target personas are actively using, you can attract relevant, qualified and genuinely interested leads.
In short, killer content brings leads to you; people who are actively looking for your services, so all your leads are warm from the outset. For this to be effective your content must resonate with your audience and pull in active and passive visitors, browsing the web for inspiration.
Providing value-added content in exchange for more lead details, means you can extract information that could help your sales process. It will also help you to build a reputation as industry specialists to appeal to new clients.
Test what engages your key audiences and do more of what works.
FORMATS TO EXPERIMENT WITH COULD INCLUDE:
• Meet the team – live video feed
• Company blog
• Behind the scenes video series
• Day-in-the-life features
• Guides and tip sheets
• Influencer interviews
SHOW A CLEAR RETURN
Marketing should always link closely with sales, enabling your team to perform more effectively.
By analysing the results of your inbound marketing activities you will have a clearer picture of how clients, leads or potential customers arrived at your site, what they did when they got there, what content they went on to interact with and what actions they took.
Integrating this data into your customer relationship management (CRM) system will allow you to attribute any outcomes, such as winning new business, new leads or requests for proposals to their original marketing source.
Using HubSpot’s CRM for example would provide you with customised reporting to measure the success of each campaign against your wider business objectives.
This is particularly useful for setting marketing budgets that drive growth.
Pixel Lab is a HubSpot Certified Partner Agency; we can help you with all aspects of your inbound marketing from strategy through to delivery and sales enablement to help your business grow.
It all starts with strategy
What does your online presence look like and what’s the competitive landscape? We examine your current business objectives, your precise goals and how your marketing activity connects them. Our team takes time to understand your niche and how you attract and engage with the clients you want.
The next step is to map out your personas – your ideal clients. How are you perceived by them and does this align with your key messages?
Once we determine together what you’re trying to achieve, we can create hyper-targeted content for your personas. As part of this process, we’ll undertake a content audit to see if there are any existing pieces that we can reshape and repurpose to capitalise on quick wins.
We’ll create compelling content to engage with your target market and nurture them through to the point of conversion on your website.
Is your website working hard enough to attract visitors and convert them into leads? We can help you to optimise your web pages for search and develop your call-to actions. If you need to redesign, restructure or refresh your website we can help.
A distribution plan, plotting content across different marketing channels will be drawn up for maximum reach and impact.
Campaigns will be set up with smart automated emails and innovative marketing workflows to take website visitors through to the next stage in the client journey. To do this we utilise HubSpot’s platform to build progressive profiles of the people interacting with your site and automate many parts of an otherwise manual process.
We can build persona-driven journeys in your CRM that use content to identify potential clients and drive them through to conversion. Once you have their attention, you can segment their paths and nurture their engagement towards your sales team.
The really clever part comes once you are alerted to an active lead on your website; you will be armed with real-time information to have timely, qualified calls with your target audience, effectively starting new relationships or strengthening existing ones.