Your website is your biggest marketing asset. It’s the first place people go to when they want to find out about your products or services. In fact, a website that’s designed and built effectively can act as your “best salesman” – answering important questions and nurturing leads.
Yet, many B2B brands neglect this critical marketing infrastructure. It’s not unusual for B2B brands to allow years to pass between website redesigns. During which time, the brand’s product offering and value proposition naturally evolve, new competitors emerge, and the brand finds itself gradually losing relevance in a fast-moving market.
Because it takes too much time, effort, and resources to redesign a website all at once. However, there is another way. The most effective B2B marketers use a new approach that produces a fast and agile website that can be continuously improved based on real user data and insights.
This new approach is called Growth-Driven Design (GDD).
In this article, we’ll dive deep into GDD, explore its benefits, and discuss how to design your website using this approach.
Traditional Web Design vs. Growth-Driven Design
If you used the traditional approach for your last website design, you probably spent weeks in planning meetings with a variety of stakeholders mapping out all the pages your new website would need, negotiating over content and functionality, and trying to manage a constantly expanding scope of work. By the time you got to the end of the process, both your budget and timeline had expanded well beyond the original scope of work. And you probably found yourself thinking, “Never again.”
This method is broken. Why? Because it’s built on assumptions and gut feelings about what your customers want–and what your website needs to deliver in order to drive results. This is a massive gamble. And too often yields an expensive, underperforming website that won’t be touched again for years.
That’s why leading B2B marketers have adopted GDD, a smarter and more agile approach that delivers better results through data-backed planning and continuous improvement. This approach is inspired by the lessons learned from the software development industry. Instead of spending months or years trying to build a “perfect” product based on assumptions on what customers want, software developers discovered that it’s better to launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as fast as possible before releasing new features based on actual customer feedback. This enables companies to get to market faster and continuously increase value, both for software products and, now, websites.
There are three pillars to GDD that set it apart from the traditional methods:
- Minimizing risk
Unlike the traditional web design approach, GDD significantly minimizes the risks and time it takes to launch a website, focusing on the real impact and continuously improving.
- Constantly learning and improving
Your GDD team continuously researches, tests, and analyzes the website’s visitors to make ongoing improvements.
- Informing marketing and sales teams
The insights gathered about visitors through GDD are shared with the sales and marketing teams (and vice versa). This can be beneficial to both parties to create better strategies and tactics.
The Benefits of Growth-Driven Design
GDD comes with an array of benefits that makes the overall experience of web design a successful one. Below are some of the reasons why you should choose Growth-Driven Design for your website:
1. Cost effective
With the traditional web design method, you invest all your budget into one single project. Sometimes you may even need to pay more to meet critical deadlines. But it’s quite the opposite with GDD. Your website can go live much earlier as it focuses on several areas that have the highest impact for the launch, before making improvements in the following months. This is a more intelligent method as your budget is spread out over months as there’s no real ‘end date’ for the website to be completed.
2. Saves valuable time
Given its agile nature and accelerated launch process, the GDD methodology allows you to launch your websites fast – an average of 48 days less than traditional web design methods. This allows you to get the ball rolling and see your return on investment (ROI) sooner.
3. Iterative process of constant improvement
The foundation of the GDD methodology is to make continuous improvements to the website after gathering real user data. This means that you have the correct information on where users are getting stuck, allowing you to make design tweaks quickly. This model allows B2B brands to constantly adapt to what users want, resulting in better performance.
4. Provides a framework to stay ahead of the competition
For B2B SaaS companies, your website is your second most important software product. Yet, it’s something that’s often built once and never looked at again. This produces an outdated website that puts your brand behind your competition.
GDD provides a framework that ensures your website keeps up with fast-moving markets and changes in the business, while still offering new value to your target buyers. With the user data collected, you can stay ahead of the curve and make continual changes that are always relevant and up to date.
The Process of Growth-Driven Design
The GDD process can be broken down into three steps: Strategy, Launch Pad, and Continuous Improvement. Each of these steps aims to fulfill different goals that aid in developing a high-performing website.
|Strategy||Launch Pad||Continuous Improvement|
|Develop an empathetic understanding of your users’ world and how the website can solve their pain points.||Quickly launch a website that looks good and performs better than your current website. But this launch pad is not the final product. Rather, it’s the foundation on which to build and optimize from.||Once the launch-pad website is live and collecting user data, you can begin identifying the high-impact actions that you can take to grow and improve your B2B business.|
In this stage, you will develop a solid foundation on which the GDD methodology will be built. This can be done by following these steps:
- Goal setting: Make it a point to answer these fundamental questions – what are the performance goals that we want to achieve with the website? How has the website performed historically? Which areas we would like to improve and how will this impact the overall marketing department’s goal?
- Personas and buying journey: Create different personas that best represent your ideal customer. You can create them based on common characteristics that your personas share like pain points, industry, job title, and more.
- User research: Perform a thorough audit of the website to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what requires major improvements. Take it a step further by incorporating user testing, surveys, and interviews to understand how users interact with your website and how they think it could meet their needs.
- Fundamental assumptions: Start creating some fundamental assumptions about your users to help explain their behavior and motivations.
- Wishlist: Brainstorm impactful and innovative ideas that you would like to add on the website. Include elements that you believe the new website should have and how it should perform.
Next, we move to the creation of the launch pad. The goal here is to build a site that looks and performs better than the current one and get it live fast. Avoid getting stuck in analysis, content, or features while building your launch pad website. It’s important to note that this site won’t be perfect and is not definitive. The idea is to get the website live first and then continually improve it over time using real user data.
But how do you decide what goes on the launch pad site?
Here’s where your wishlist comes into play. Review your list and identify the 20 percent of items that will produce 80 percent of impact and value to your users. Simply put, you should pick items that will make a significant impact with the least effort.
To narrow it down even further, sort items into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” lists. If unsure, for each item, ask yourself if it’s vital to be included in the launch pad site, or if it can be added to the site a few months later.
At this stage, the website has been launched and real users have been interacting with the site, giving you valuable feedback. This valuable data will give you an idea of what users are interested in and what they are not. With that, you can focus on areas that require continuous development in order to reach your business’s goals and provide value for the users.
Continuous development requires a four-step process:
- Plan – Decide which action item can be achieved during a cycle by comparing it with the performance of the current website and the goals you set during the strategy stage.
- Develop – Begin implementing your action items on the site. Ensure you track and measure each of the action items to know its impact on the website’s performance.
- Learn – Once you’ve run each experiment long enough, review and share the data with stakeholders. For instance, you may learn that your audience prefers to engage with content that includes more pictures or like reading articles with fewer than 100 characters in the first paragraph.
- Transfer – Lastly, ensure you transfer any valuable information to your entire sales and marketing teams so everyone is aligned to make collective efforts to improve the business.
Ready to Explore Growth-Driven Website Design?
Many B2B brands are now adopting the GDD approach, moving away from traditional web design methods. These brands are seeing success in the performance of their website and the ability to be flexible once the website has gone live.
If you’re thinking of growing your B2B brand by giving your customers what they really want, a GDD website should be part of your marketing strategy.
At Brighttail, we specialize in leading the discovery process, analyzing data findings, and creating a solid strategy for your new website using the GDD approach. Check out our case study on how we helped Federate Wireless redesign its website as part of its rebranding strategy. If you want to find out more about how we can help you with your website, contact us now!