Anyone who has been through a website redesign in the past decade or so will know it can be stressful and time-consuming, often running over time and budget. The website finally launches but is left for a year or two to gather dust. Unsurprisingly, it fails to deliver leads, so two years later you bite the bullet and do it all over again.
Too often the focus is on design, not substance. However, the design is often not the problem; the problem is what is under the hood – how the website is built and managed is where the issues lie.
Gone are the days when static brochure websites with basic information and a generic "contact us" page can cut it in the crowded online space. Your website now needs to be your best sales person; if it is not working round the clock, you are missing out on leads and potential revenue. Not only are buyers doing more research online, but due to the huge increase in smartphone and similar technologies, they are also quite often researching in their own time – evenings and weekends. If your only contact information is a landline office phone number, or an firstname.lastname@example.org email address which only gets monitored during office hours, you are missing out.
Create a 24/7 marketing funnel
Not every visitor to your site is ready to buy. If Sales wade in too early you run the risk of sending prospects running for the hills.
You need to attract visitors to your site with educational and helpful content which serves to draw in people who have problems related to your business. Write and publish useful resources (like blog posts, guides, tools, and charts) that are purely helpful, and not at all salesy or specific to your business.
According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
Once your blog has attracted visitors to your site, the corresponding conversion tools – landing pages, calls-to-action (CTAs) help convert visitors to leads. Again – a light touch is required here – they have visited your site for the first time and found your article useful. Maybe offer a subscription to your newsletter or an eBook as a next step to nurture them through the marketing funnel. Middle of the funnel, gated content offers give marketing the opportunity to capture more information about the prospects by using forms and other tools to gather lead Intel. Platforms such as HubSpot allow you to go one step further by using personalisation and smart content that tailors your website to customers.
By being able to analyse the information submitted on forms, and map a visitors behaviour on your site, marketing can qualify if leads are a serious prospect – or in inbound terms – a Marketing Qualified Lead. They have reached the decision stage of their process and are ready to start weighing up contenders.
NOW they are ready for Sales.
You wouldn't ignore your marketing for a year and you shouldn't let your website gather dust, either. Instead of annual - or even bi-annual - complete redesigns, inbound website redesigns enable you to invest in smaller, bite-sized monthly iterations. With a platform such as HubSpot, you can measure (amongst many others): site visits, content conversion, page views, click-rates and landing page performance, which give you a powerful insight into your buyer's behaviour and can influence future iterations.
This Growth Driven Design (GDD) approach is a fundamental part of the inbound marketing model. And, as with most inbound processes, it starts with strategy.
The goal of the strategy stage is to develop a deep and empathetic understanding of who your audience is, and how your website can solve their problems along their buying journey. There are a number of different steps to achieve this, such as setting SMART goals, conducting user experience research, defining your buyer personas and developing a roadmap of your typical buyer's journey.
The next stage is developing your wishlist; taking what you have learnt in the strategy stage and brainstorming every impactful, creative and innovative idea that you'd like to include on your website. They will not all happen straight away; the next step is to run 80/20 analysis - identify the twenty percent of items that will produce eighty percent of the impact and value for your website's users. The 20% items go on to form your action plan for the launchpad site, which is the starting point from which all other Growth-Driven Design activities and improvements start from.
Once the launch pad site is live, you enter a phase of continuous improvement, with four stages: plan, develop, learn, transfer; gradually working through your wishlist in priority order. At each stage continually ask how the activity relates and provides value to the personas visiting your website; if it ever becomes unclear take a step back and re-evaluate.
So often with a website redesign, the emphasis is on design. If your website relies on hard code, you are going to need someone on your team with a strong marketing AND coding background who can monitor the site and make the continual changes you require.
Or you could choose a hosting platform such as WordPress, but this too has its limitations.
With an automation platform like HubSpot, however, you can accomplish a lot very simply. For example, you can continually monitor the performance of each page; see conversion rates on your landing pages and calls-to-action and track how each lead interacts with your website. You can set up easy A/B tests for different elements to see what performs better. This information enables you to able to monitor the success of marketing elements on your website, which makes monthly improvements smooth and effective.
Why you need an inbound website design agency
While it is wholly possible to take on a website redesign yourself, using HubSpot or other similar platforms; there are risks. Though the platforms themselves are relatively easy to use, interpreting the performance of your website takes time, resources and expertise. Employing the skills of an inbound agency to redesign your website, as part of an overall inbound marketing strategy, will ensure your website is working at peak performance; continually responding to your buyer's needs, wants, aspirations and fears.