You or your company may be about to embark on a new website redesign project. Even if you aren’t, humor me for this example and say you are. You know that Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a buzz word and I’ve actually written more about why it’s important here if you’re interested in an overview. But this is more of a 201 post for those who are semi familiar with the concepts and need to consider some important areas.
Almost every website project will include a creative kickoff meeting. This is the big meeting after all the contracts are signed and you're about to start the project. This is a very crucial point in the project because if expectations aren't set, if a plan is not thought out, or there is misalignment between the teams, it's going to cause a world of hurt down the road. Coming prepared to your kickoff meeting will demonstrate that you expect the same level of commitment from all parties, and it will allow you to stear the direction of the project. Don't rely on your web team to tell you what you want. Yes you heard me right. Even as a director of a web department I say that you shouldn't rely solely on us to run your project for you. Now with that said, you hired your web company for a reason. They are the experts and should provide expertise and advice along the way. But having a defined objective and some sort of plan thought out ahead of time, will ensure you make the most of your time with your creative squad.
Here is a down and dirty checklist to prepare you for your upcoming creative kick off meeting. The more prepared you are from the beginning, the more successful (and pain free) your project will go. Yes I know, it's a pain in the ass that you have to invest time and mental energy into the success of your business. But trust me; you will be much happier in the end.
So what to think about before your meeting?
- GOAL - What is the ultimate goal? Begin with the end in mind and know what success looks like before you even start. You’d be surprised to know how many business owners, managers, marketers, and others have no idea what they’re all striving towards. Defining your goal is how you measure success or failure. It also sets the foundation in place for all your future efforts.
- PERSONAS – Who are you targeting? Spend a little more time than just assuming your customers like everything that you like. Chances are you’re limiting yourself by not placing yourself in your audiences’ shoes. Research, analyze, question, and invest the majority of your time in coming up with your personas before doing anything else.
- CONVERSION – What is a conversion? How will you determine if someone converts? Will they fill out a form? Purchase a product? Request a demo? CRO web design is based around increasing your conversions. Knowing what that is will determine your Focus Metric.
- FOCUS METRIC – Bet you thought I was going to leave you hanging didn’t ya? No way. Now that we’re bro’s I got your back. Focus metric is the single thing you want to move the needle on. Maybe that is increasing the click through rate (CTR) of a particular download. Maybe it’s increasing the clicks -> submission rate on a PPC landing page you’re launching for a new campaign? Knowing what needle you want to move is imperative to making sure the right activity is prescribed and you’re happy with the finished product.
What do you need to get before your meeting?
- COFFEE – These can last a while. Make sure you’re in it for the long haul.
- WEBSITE AUDIT – Take an audit of your website to know how many pages you have. Do you have them broken up between site pages and landing pages?
- How many forms do you have on your site?
- Do you have any workflows in place that need to be maintained?
- What is out of date or no longer relevant?
- What is missing or needs to be added to the new site?
- CREATIVE ASSETS – This is how you can become your designer’s best friend. Take an inventory of all of your creative assets including:
- Logo files
- Imagery ( the higher the resolution the better)
- Product information and photos if you have an eCommerce site
- Brand books or style guides
- Examples of inspiration
- OFFERS – You’re going to need something for users to convert on. This can be anything from a demo, to an eBook, whitepaper, case study, assessment, etc. If you’re just starting out with CRO, then start with a consultation. Then over time build out additional offers that can be leveraged as value props for more conversion points throughout the site. Having something to work with at the beginning is a huge help in getting off the ground.
- ADMIN – All the extra stuff you probably have auto saved and don’t remember. These would be things like your current website hosting login and password, your domain registrar login credentials, any FTP or database logins, etc. It would also be good to pull all your current site metrics like traffic, conversion rate, blog subscribers, screen shots, etc. to help you evaluate the effectiveness of the website redesign.
*Pro Tip: Having all this stuff will also help you write a killer success story or case study about how the new website improved your business. This could help you sell your improved results to your superiors in an even better format.
So that’s about it. See that wasn’t so bad right? A little forethought and organization can make a world of difference in the end. This is YOUR site. The team that helps you achieve that goal is relying on you to know what the hell you’re trying to do. So invest in yourself a little too and plan with the end in mind. Having all these things together will make success easy to identify and attain in a much shorter time.