Despite an aesthetically pleasing design or streamlined development process, the question of whether or not your website is delivering strategic marketing results depends heavily on the initial strategy, discovery, and definition.
Discovery and definition are the prep phases of your project and should be the backbone of any decision you make along the way – they really are the foundation of any successful website project. In this work, good design is nothing more than “good design”. Your new website may look good subjectively, but there is no guarantee that it will meet marketing KPIs.
The first decision that you need to make when starting a new website project is whether it will be strategic or not.
- There are no marketing goals associated with a non-strategic project.
- A strategic project is aligned with your marketing strategy to produce measurable results.
As a marketer, that decision should be obvious!
In 2020, when the digital market is saturated with content and competition, it will be harder and more important than ever to stand out and connect with customers. A strategic website that really supports marketing and sales can get you to the top of your industry and grow your business.
How exactly will a strategic website drive my business?
Often times, when you’re working with an agency on a strategic website project, doing research will help you understand your users, your industry, and your competitors, and create a strategy that will help your website achieve your strategic business goals.
This is the main objective of the discovery and definition phase: aligning the website project with the business goals. This also ensures that everyone (agency and customer stakeholders) knows what success should look like based on metrics.
The discovery and definition phases draw attention to the user by taking into account the user’s wants and needs. This can be done by examining user personalities and user travel flows. Further considerations in this work phase could be analytics audits, competitor analyzes, SEO research, UX wireframing, customer journey mapping, etc.
All of these things can set up a new website project for marketing results, such as:
This work can ensure that your website is geared towards success from the start!
I want a strategic website! Where do we start?
As an agency, 93digital initiates the discovery and definition phase with a “kickoff session”. These sessions are held to have a common understanding of the project objectives and to outline what the client is trying to achieve and how this will be measured.
The kick-off sessions also include a discussion about the target group. Who would you like us to reach you? Which is the priority group? What are their characteristics? What do they want to get from your website?
It is very important to consider content requirements – a content review, content migration, keywords and SEO.
In this session we will introduce the most important stakeholders, outline approval processes and potential risks, structure a schedule and clarify the budget. If you sort out these logistical points early on, the project management will run smoothly.
Our goal is to build a strong agency-client relationship based on cooperation and mutual trust. Clear communication is key to starting an efficient website project.
The kickoff session sounds great. What’s next?
Once the goals of the project are set, we can look at people and user flows, competitors, sitemaps, content mappings, UX wireframes, and SEO requirements.
While watching PeopleWe create portraits of target users to outline their goals, motivations and obstacles in using your website. This helps us find routes that they may take on your website to ensure the best possible user experience. The user routes are divided into different stages of the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, and purchase.
Competitive analysis is an effective way to get inspiration from other websites in your industry. From here, you can distinguish what you like and dislike about them to identify areas for improvement and ways in which you can stand out.
Sitemaps & IA are a representation of the navigation structure of your website. We construct these during the discovery phase of the project to make adjustments as soon as structural problems are identified.
Content mappings Provide a plan for your content strategy to make sure your content is current, detailed, and offers enough information and value to your audience. Certain elements need to be considered, e.g. B. the migration of content, the hiring of a copywriter and the maintenance of the published content.
UX wire mesh are the visual blueprints for the website showing what the content blocks and features will look like on the pages. They are designed for key users to view layout and content structures before we get to the aesthetic design phase.
SEO research helps determine how well your new website is performing against others in search engines. SEO affects the content structure, sitemap, layout and keywords used on the website and needs to be considered from the start.
Discovery and definition seem to be critical to the website project. But doesn’t that take much longer?
Although discovery and definition research adds more time and therefore additional cost to the project, these early investments make up for a long-term strategy.
Here is an example of a strategy, discovery, and definition phase that 93digital carried out on a recent website redesign project:
This phase of the project lasted approximately 6 weeks before the design and development phase was completed.
This prep work ensured that we delivered a website that was not only good looking, but also user centric, focused on the user journey, optimized for search, and guaranteed a high rate of lead conversions.
Did the strategy, discovery, and definition pay off?
Overnight and within a few days of launch, our strategy, discovery and definition research revealed the following:
- Increase in Google ranking positions by 2209%
- 197% more new keywords that were ranked
- Lead Generation Conversion Increase By 458%
The ROI of this project means it will pay for itself within months of launch.
These are the achievements of a strategic website project aimed at achieving marketing goals. If this client hadn’t invested in strategy, discovery, and definition to get started, their new website definitely wouldn’t have had that big an impact.
93digital is passionate about empowering marketers through innovative projects that generate ROI. Let us know how we can help you achieve your business goals through a strategic website project.