Chris is founder and managing director of BeInbound, a marketing training and advisory firm who helps B2B CMOs and their teams with their transformation to an effective, digital, inbound focused team. email@example.com, via LinkedIn or go to www.beinbound.com.au
As the head of marketing, do small beads of perspiration break out on your forehead when you hear the dreaded phrase: “It’s time to redesign our website?”
Those who’ve been through this process know they’re likely to be in for months of late nights, budget blowouts, endless delays and revisions, and worst of all, a final site that’s already out of date.
Websites are the keystone marketing asset as firms wrestle with the shift to digital. Digital transformation is at the top of the agenda for senior executives. Businesses are under increasing pressure to innovate and transform their revenue generation processes, technology and skills. They must match the emerging new world order where the customer is in control of their purchase cycle.
Marketing is sitting at the epicentre of the maelstrom and is increasingly being asked to look after a greater proportion of the customer’s journey. Marketers today are holding the buyer’s hand deep into their decision-making process before handing over to sales. Up to 70 per cent of the buying journey is complete before a buyer will connect with a salesperson. This has fundamental implications for your website design.
In this environment, we need to think about a different approach to website design.
Enter growth-driven design
Growth-driven design is a smarter way to think about website design that positions your website as a core component of an integrated marketing strategy.
Your website should be just one of the assets you use to manage your entire Web presence. Your buyers may find you in a myriad different ways, via a direct URL, a Google search, a LinkedIn post or recommendation, or your monthly newsletter. For the user, this experience must appear and feel seamless and natural.
Beyond being your Web presence, your website should be integrated into your full funnel, and become a central element in attracting and converting visitors into leads and onto becoming prospects for the sales team. In other words, a deliberate part of your revenue generation engine.
For this reason, many firms are planning full integration between their website, marketing automation and CMS technologies.
Websites must be dynamic and evolve based on user data gathered from your site. They need to be regularly optimised, not refreshed every two years. The implications of this approach are clear. The CMS must have top-notch tracking, data gathering and easy to implement reporting. Additionally, few firms have the budget or time for expensive external consultants to edit their site every time something needs to change, so the CMS must be easy and intuitive to use.
3 steps to successful website design
Next time your firm plans to rebuild or refresh their website, consider employing these three key principles of growth-driven design:
1. Take the time to develop a winning strategy
Consider your business’ goals, not just your website goals. How many new customers are you after in the next year? How many qualified leads will marketing need to generate to make that happen? How many site visitors are needed to generate those leads? By understanding your funnel velocity, you’ll understand the role your website plays in the revenue generation equation.
Much has been written about the importance of building strong buyer personas in B2B marketing, but this has rarely been more important in the era of the empowered, self-service buyer. Research your current site visitors and any new target audiences to validate your buyer personas. Understanding your target buyer personas will enable you to design a site structure and messaging that speaks to them about the problems and challenges they face in their world and not so much about how wonderful your offerings may be.
With these steps completed, your global site and specific page strategy will be greatly strengthened. You should be able to demonstrate how each page contributes to moving a visitor through their buyer journey.
2. Launch fast and iterate
Start by brainstorming a long wishlist of features of your website, but then be brutally honest and assess how each of the elements on your wish list will contribute to your goals. The Pareto Principle holds just as true here as elsewhere. Twenty per cent of your wishlist will generate 80 per cent of the outcome. Develop an initial launch pad site by focusing your development on the key 20 per cent.
3. Harness the power of data
Then generate a series of hypotheses for the core 20 per cent of your site and test each hypothesis using real data from your site visitors. Measure your results, analyse what they mean and improve the site based on your findings. Do this frequently – at least monthly. Retest and repeat the process.
This continuous process of measure-analyse-improve-retest is a very powerful concept if applied diligently. It will improve the volume AND quality of your website visitors as well as drive up visitor conversions and pull buyers down your lead generation funnel.
If you are interested in learning more about the principles of growth driven design, please download this short eBook on the topic.