The Pathway to Maximize the Impact of Your Website Refresh: 3 Steps
What is a website refresh? A website refresh involves the updating or modifying of a few sections or elements, rather than redesigning everything from scratch. Website refreshes come in many forms and aren't always simply about changing the colors, font, or imagery. The priorities your team tackles as part of the process will usually align to a set of core business values surrounding your organization’s mission.
The website should reflect your brand identity, personality, and voice - that’s a given. But, what are the drivers for a website refresh if the branding is super effective already? If the look & aesthetic of the site is appealing to your target audience, that part should remain intact.
So, here are the other important factors that could attribute to the reason for a website refresh (beyond just updating its look):
- a fundamental shift in the core value proposition of the company - although this would probably warrant a full website redesign
- there are evolving technological needs & buying patterns of your target audience
- here are buyer personas or industry verticals underrepresented on the current site in terms of content and information
- the website is not optimally structured for conversions, so opportunities are being missed
Sometimes it’s a gut feeling that leads you and your team to decide on a website refresh. Other times - and it’s always better to make data-driven decisions - you have the lackluster user data to support the initiative.
Regardless of how the bricks were laid to build the road you took to come to the decision on a refresh, here you are. How do you know where to start? Better yet, how do you know that the changes you’ll make are informed enough to actually make a difference? There are three fundamental principles to keep front-and-center when embarking on a website refresh - they’ll keep you focused on making the right types of changes to achieve your original goals.
1. Tailored User Pathways Should Make Sense and be Easy to Find
Have you ever visited the website for a company you love, been pumped when you hit the homepage, and then had to click through the menu options for several minutes before finding the content relevant to you? It’s frustrating to have to dig for what you're looking for.
Your website should be your company’s digital first impression, yes. But, if your visitors can’t navigate to the offerings relevant to them based on their buyer persona characteristics (demographic, psychographic, firmographic, etc.), the experience can quickly turn negative. The filtered photography and awesome hover effects fade to the back of their minds and they bounce off your site annoyed that they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Pathways for each buyer type need to be crystallized, thoughtful, and compelling.
Start with identifying the segments of your target audience that have the most purchase power and purchase intent. Those segments are the ones that warrant dedicated pathways. Once you decide on those segments as your focus for a new site navigation structure, it becomes clear where to plug-and-play with content, photography, and lead capture forms.
2. Lead Capture Opportunities Should be Thoughtfully Placed for Conversions
The effectiveness of your company’s website should be measured in conversions. Although there are numerous other metrics you can track to get a sense for how your website is performing (time spent on site, average # of page views, bounce rates), it’s best to focus on measurements that align most to top line growth. A website refresh is an opportunity to better position your website as a channel for lead generation.
Lead generation is so critical to an overall marketing strategy that in fact 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal. (Source)
Healthy conversion rates on your website indicate content effectiveness, relevance, and placement.
In a website refresh, it’s important to remember what makes your buyers’ tick and what types of offers, content, or social proof you can offer in exchange for their name & email address.
In the past, items like the following have been effective “carrots” to present:
- Ebook / itinerary downloads
- Event or webinar registrations
- Tutorial or seminar videos
- Quizzes / Surveys
- Customer Case Studies
- Request a Demo (most common in B2B)
- Request a Consultation
With the infusion of some creativity, these tactics can still work for converting website traffic. The content behind the lead capture form just needs to be hyper-relevant to the person - i.e. purposefully placed within their digital user pathway - and presented in the right place at the right time.
3. A Website Refresh is Not Complete Without a Look at Your Other Digital Channels
I’m a huge believer in message reinforcement and campaign cohesion across all of your digital distribution channels. Blog content should always double as social media content. Landing page content should always mirror itself in your email marketing campaign. So on and so forth. With a website refresh, more often than not, the content on the site will shift or evolve. The actual text used to describe your company’s value prop or the language chosen to explain how it works will change. Those changes need to also be made through out your brand’s digital footprint.
I’ve found that keeping an omni-channel mindset in a website refresh also allows for heightened creativity and avenues of thought that may have remained untapped had you just been focusing on the site alone. Your audience interacts with your company slightly differently depending on whether they find you on Facebook, Google, Email, or type your direct URL in their browser.
Design a plan to refresh your website but don’t forget to extend those thoughts to your brand’s entire digital presence.
Insider Tip: As part of a website refresh, take the opportunity to also ensure your site is completely mobile responsive, or take a mobile-first approach! 48% of customers start searching for the products they buy on mobile first. (Source)
A website refresh is an exciting journey. It’s an opportunity to try something new and perhaps realize results you didn’t know were possible. Zeroing in on the basic goals your team has for the project and aligning the three tenets outlined above to those goals will help narrow the scope and keep you on track.
Designing visible user pathways, infusing meaningful CTAs (call-to-action) for lead generation within those pathways, and then spreading that love across all of your distribution channels are the key actions for a winning website refresh.
For more on this or to talk with me about how to do this at your organization, fill out this brief form and we’ll connect!
P.S. If you need web design expertise, start here.