You’re Right to Think You Need a Different Website

Growth-Driven Design: A Smarter Approach to Website Redesign

Imagine these scenarios:

A sales manager has her team repeat the same tactics month after month, even though her company’s conversion rates never improve.

A marketing executive instructs his company to run the exact same TV commercial for a decade even though it’s getting below average results.

A professional services firm develops a marketing plan that won’t be revisited for five years.

Clearly these scenarios would never occur at a smart company, and if they did, the person responsible likely would not be around for long. Yet, the vast majority of companies have an equally unwise set-and-forget policy when it comes to their websites. Even worse, it’s intentional.

In fact, investing significant resources in a website that will last for several years is what companies have been advised to do for decades.

Decades ago, this advice actually made perfect sense. The cost of websites and the slower development of technology, as well as the limitations of what could be achieved through internet marketing, required companies to spend serious upfront time in development and avoid making frequent modifications as much as possible.

But times have changed, and today, thinking about a website as a one-and-done project is on par with the crazy scenarios described above.

What’s needed is a new mindset and approach, and fortunately, it is here.

Growth-Driven Design

Growth-driven design (also called incremental design) is much like the lean start-up approach that has helped many companies launch, pivot and grow faster. It invites a whole new way of working that puts your website in a mode of constant evolution, allowing you to maximize and improve results continually.

In other words, you look at what your customers are actually doing on your site and make ongoing, metrics-based improvements to help them do more of what you want them to do and less of what you don’t.

Here’s how it works:

  • You make a decision about what your company’s website needs based on your business and marketing goals.
  • You develop that website with the perspective that it is not set in stone (which allows you to shorten the development timeline because you won’t be overthinking).
  • Then, you monitor your goal-based metrics and fine-tune the aspects of your site related to those metrics at regular intervals to improve results.

Because decisions are no longer made only once every few years but continuously and based on actual data, uncertainty and analysis paralysis about how to improve are significantly decreased. Equally, marketing teams that have been stumped by lackluster results after implementing an inbound marketing model (when that model promised them so much!) now can solve the puzzle objectively, thus increasing critical metrics at a faster pace and staying far ahead of the competition.

It’s important to understand that this approach is not about giving in-house teams the ability to manage websites through a content management system or being able to add new sections and landing pages. This approach is an incremental development approach that will require the same traditionally required development skills plus an even stronger knowledge about analyzing data and translating findings into development decisions.

What we’re really talking about is letting go of the mandate to perfect a website before launch (the standard design–launch–maintain–redesign–launch–maintain practice). Instead of making periodic major changes to your site in big chunks, you develop your site through an ongoing series of smaller, continuous changes.

Most importantly, this approach is about decisions that are informed not by the leadership’s desire to see something different or a great idea from the marketing department but by the concrete real-time data and insight gleaned from user interactions – day by day, week by week, month by month.

We haven’t met with a company yet that hasn’t asked us to make its website “do more.” More often than not, though, this plea is inspired by frustration with past results rather than excitement about future possibilities.

The new incremental, evolutionary approach to website development, in which decisions are informed by real-time data and guided by agile marketing strategies, is long overdue. Finally, the era of treating a website as that one thing you never want to touch again is gone!

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At Substance151, we take an evolutionary approach to marketing by helping our clients create a strong brand foundation, develop a dynamic marketing plan and execute in a way that builds on learning and respects capacity. Contacts us at 410-732-8379 or to find out more about how we can help you keep evolving.