Inbound Marketing Shined The Light On What Needed To Change
Let me know if this sounds familiar ...
You work on your new website design and development project for what seems like an eternity. What they told you would take three months has taken six, and you’re still not done. What you thought was included you found out is not. What was supposed to cost X has ended up costing X plus 20 percent.
Any of this resonating?
Of course, it does. It’s what we did for years. Almost everyone takes the waterfall approach to website design and development.
Our problem with that approach was primarily the client experience. It was miserable. Even after the site finally launched, the client was exhausted and couldn’t possibly be excited because of all the issues outlined above.
So, we set out to change everything. Here’s how we killed the waterfall website design and development project.
Websites Are Different Today
First, you have to understand that the sites we deliver today are dramatically different than the sites we delivered even 12 months ago. They are highly responsive, they work on every single device, the visitor experience is mapped perfectly page by page, the content and copy are judicially dispatched to tell a specific story, and the visitor action on every page is our primary objective. The question we ask religiously is, “How do we drive conversions?”
Take a look at newer websites. They’re longer, they tell a story, they scroll, and the pages are interlinked based on a strategic buyer journey that we’re working hard to deliver. We want to create a remarkable experience for all of your prospects from their very first visit – and every time they come back.
Today’s sites are filled with educational content, so this content has to be presented in a way that makes sense to the visitor. People in the awareness stage need to see awareness offers. People in the consideration stage need to see consideration offers. People in the decision-making stage need to see bottom-of-the-funnel offers. This is how you turn visitors into leads.
The Website Continuum
Because of this dramatic change in the way people interact with websites, we’ve created what we call the Website Continuum. It’s an approach to our clients’ website projects that involves looking at the site in 30-day increments, thereby creating a website project that builds every 30 days. Now our clients get website improvements every single month, and they will NEVER have to go through an extensive website redesign and launch ever again.
The Lean Approach
To do this, we take a Lean approach to website design, asking our clients to define the minimum requirements necessary to launch a new website. Then, our team translates those into a project to deliver the new site in 30 days. We prioritize the remaining features into 30-day sprints and add to the site every 30 days. Typically, a client’s site has all the bells and whistles after 90 days, but we don’t stop there. We want to keep the site updated, so we continue to work on it every month.
Using The Agile Methodology
To deliver continuous improvements to your website, we apply an Agile approach, which helps us work collaboratively with clients to prioritize those new features, pages or upgrades. We perform this prioritization based on the items that have the most value and expend the least effort, tackling those that contribute to improved lead generation first and then getting to the enhancements that make you “feel” better.
A Focus On Business Results
The most exciting aspect of this shift is the ability to impact business results within 30 days, as opposed to waiting six months for a new website to launch. Now, we start impacting leads generated, the prospect experience and revenue in the first 30 days, making clients happier, proving our methodology works and gaining valuable visitor data to help us make informed decisions over the next 60 days and beyond.
When it comes to your website, it rarely matters what we think or what you think. The most valuable input is what visitors are actually doing on your site. This is the data and insight we need to make revenue-impacting decisions going forward.
What are people clicking on? What are people reading? Where are people spending their time? Which pages are converting, and which ones are not? Which offers are driving the most leads? Which ones are underperforming? The sooner we get actual performance data like this, the faster we can optimize your site and drive even additional performance as well as better business results.
Today, we deliver every single website in this fashion, and the impact it’s had on our clients’ results is game-changing. A word of caution: This is not for everyone. If you’re uncomfortable with the Lean approach or you feel like your site needs to be perfect before it’s launched, you’re not going to be a good fit for this methodology. But, if you want results fast and you want a go-forward strategy based on actual performance data instead of opinions and supposition, this is definitely a direction you should consider for your next website upgrade.
Start Today Tip – Perhaps the best advice we could give you at this point is to evaluate your own tolerance for some of the approaches discussed in this article. If this makes sense, you should be able to take some of the information and direct your own team or website agency accordingly. If you want to work with a partner who has this approach operationalized and built into their DNA, consider looking for agencies with experience delivering in this fashion. Either way, make sure your thinking shifts away from the painfully exhausting waterfall approach and toward the more agile and iterative data-driven approach.
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