17 February 2020

Growth Driven Design Websites

As you are reading this, someone is probably googling your business website.

Traditional Web Design is Broken
The headaches, challenges, unreliable and inconsistent results we experience during a website redesign are the product of an outdated and broken playbook.

The New Playbook: Growth-Driven Design
Growth-Driven Design is a smarter approach to web design that eliminates all of the headaches and drives optimal results using data.

Your website is your biggest marketing asset and is the centerpiece of all your marketing activities. Your website is the first place, people go when looking for more information on your products or services. All of our marketing efforts and the first-place prospects come looking for information is the website.

Your best salesperson is your website. Did you know a prospect has already moved through 70% of the sales process before even reaching out to your sales team? How do you think they find the information before talking to someone? – Your website. Unfortunately, the way we approach building and improving our websites is fundamentally broken.

Traditional Web Design is a Large Time & Resource Commitment: The average Small to Medium sized business (SMB) website takes three months to complete and requires a great deal of resources and energy from your team. Not Set in Stone: Large projects can fluctuate in cost and time, which makes accurate quotes difficult. Project delays and increased budgets happen sometimes. No Prototype: The Traditional method launches a website that should succeed in theory. However, this method lacks a “trial and error” run with viewers. Trial and error helps determine what works for viewers and what does not, which is beneficial in the design process.

After launch, a website has no major updates for 1.5 to 2 years. Our #1 marketing asset and best salesperson, our website, now sits unchanged for years, which is not conducive to maximize website performance. Some small updates or improvements may happen, along with adding blogs or landing pages to the site, but the vast majority of the site remains untouched.

The Three Pillars of Growth-Driven Design

01) Minimize 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.

02) Continuously learn and improve. We are constantly researching, testing and learning about our visitors to improve on-going website improvements. Through continuous improvements we can reach peak performance.

03) As you learn, inform marketing and sales (and vice versa). Growth-Driven Design is tightly integrated with marketing & sales. What we learn about visitors helps inform and improve marketing & sales strategies and tactics (and vice versa).




First phase: Strategy.

Similar to 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?
Personas: Next you will develop detailed persona profiles for the different types of groups visiting the site. A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. You can create different groups of personas based on common characteristics your audience shares. This could be a point of pain, industry, job title, etc. As you’ll learn later in the book, Growth- Driven Design centers 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.

The second phase in the Growth-Driven Design process is to create a 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. Go into your brainstorming session with a “clean slate” – don’t get hung up on the existing website. What items do you need on your list to achieve your goals?
Answer this disregarding the issues of money, time, and development skill. Include 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, you and the team should have a list of 50-150+ ideas for the new website. Not all of these items will be implemented right away, but start to think of as many ideas as possible. Your wishlist determines both the initial action items to implement on the new site, and the agile and flexible list that continuously changes. Adding to and subtracting from the agile and flexible list re-prioritizes action items over time.

Third Phase in the Growth Drive Design is Launch Pad Website

Web Process Steps: Once you have identified the most critical action items to include on your Launch Pad site, you can run those items through the standard website implementation process, including: Messaging & Content User Experience (UX) & Site Architecture, Inbound Marketing Strategy, Alignment Wireframes Designs, Development Quality Assurance and Testing Set Up Data Collection. The last step of the Launch Pad website sets up qualitative and quantitative data collection around: Your goals defined in the strategy phase. Each of your fundamental assumptions …AND Each hypothesis statement of your action items implemented in the Launch Pad website. Also, set up data collection. It allows you to start learning about your visitors once your Launch Pad site is live.

In the traditional web design process we launch websites at the finish. In Growth-Driven Design we launch websites right away. In this stage, we build and launch what we call a “Launch Pad website”. All of your other Growth-Driven Design activities and improvements start from this Launch Pad website. Launch the imperfect Launch Pad website quickly. We want to avoid getting stuck on analysis, features or content while building our launch pad website. No one launches a perfect website on the first go. However, your launch improves your current website and gives a starting point on which to continuously improve. The size and complexity of the Launch Pad website varies depending on what you have on your wishlist and what type of website you have. Shorten your list to 20% of the original. This short list makes an impact and launches quickly so you can continue to learn about your users and improve the site.

Fundamental Assumptions of the Growth-Driven Design Process: Using what you’ve learned in all of the 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 looking for. These fundamental assumptions help you explain the behavior and motivations of your users. They influence both the global and page strategy, and also future Growth-Driven Design cycles. Global & Page Strategy: The last step in the strategy phase develops both a global strategy for the website as a whole and a specific page-by-page strategy for each major page on the site. Both the global and individual page strategies should incorporate all of the previous steps. Also, they should lay out a detailed strategy of exactly how to best engage and influence the user to best attain your goals.

The Growth-Driven Design Process Quantitative Research – Website & Analytics Audit: Time to start digging into the data. Analyze the current website’s performance and perform a quantitative audit of the good and the bad. As you do this, identify where the website can improve.
Qualitative Research – User Research: After proactively reaching out to your existing users to learn more about them, use the data to better understanding of who they are and find ways to improve. As you’re collecting new user research, validate the assumptions you put in your original persona profiles.

Continuous Improvement now that you Launch Pad website is live. Time to start your on-going cycles to continuously experiment, learn, and improve on your website. You still have a long wishlist of impactful items that you’d like to implement on the site. This agile list should be updated on a regular basis. This revolves around the Persona. This entire cycle starts with and revolves around the personas who are coming to your website. At each stage of the cycle, continuously ask yourself how this relates and provides value to the personas visiting your website. If at any point it becomes unclear how an action item provides value to, or relates to the persona, take a step back and re-evaluate what you’re working on.