There was a time when all you had to do was place an ad in the classifieds or Yellow Pages and opt for a border to stand out from your competitors. Now you (along with everyone else) have a website promoting similar products and services. But is your site working hard enough? Are customers able to find the information they need to make a purchase or to contact you? That’s where goal-driven web design can make a difference.
Before you scrap your current site and redevelop it from scratch, spend some time considering your business objectives. Set goals and define how your website is going to help you accomplish them. And don’t forget to make them measurable – if you can’t attach figures to them, you won’t be able to justify your investment in a redesign.
Examples of goals include:
- Increase product sales
- Sell advertising space
- Generate leads to your call centre
- Increase newsletter sign ups
- Capture data on your visitors through registrations
Next, you need to spend some time thinking about what tasks your visitors are trying to complete when they’re on your site. Your visitor may not be a customer yet, but if you can provide solutions to their needs, they may soon be.
Think about things like:
- What are the delivery charges?
- How do I to talk to a real person to ask a question not listed in the FAQs?
- How do I make an appointment?
- Where is my nearest store?
Your goals are hard and results based, but your customer’s goals are soft and based on efficient solutions. How you engage your customer while they complete their tasks will relate directly to how they perceive your brand. This is where your tone of voice (copy) and visual language (design) come in.
Allow your goals to dictate the site’s functionality and structure. This will enable you to design your site so that it consciously drives the required customer behaviour.
From a design perspective, write a creative brief that details all your project deliverables and requirements. List your objectives and convey what your customers will be trying to achieve. This information will guide the designers on where the call-to-action buttons should be placed and how prominent they’ll need to be. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know what you want. If you’ve ever come across a designer’s desk, you’ll have noticed that everything is ordered, neat and tidy… and that is how they’ll make your website. If they don’t know that the majority of leads coming into your business are via your call centre, they’ll probably pack your phone number away on the Contact Us page. You’ll then be disappointed that it’s not in the navigation and it’ll take a few rounds of revisions before they completely understand your requirements.
By treating your designer as a partner rather than a supplier and involving them at the beginning, when you’re determining your goals, you will get the best execution – a website that is on brand and delivers results.
A cautionary note – be realistic with your goals and pay close attention to performance against those targets. That said, the beauty of digital properties is that they can be tweaked and enhanced to react to your changing business needs and the market’s requirements. We call that optimisation. Goal-setting for your website should also be a process of constant refinement.
Examples of great goal-driven South African websites:
Flight of the Fish Eagle brandy
This article originally appeared on the Destiny Man website.