As a marketing executive, I have routinely dealt with internal stakeholders who come to me with a specific request like, “I need a website” or “I need a brochure.” My usual response is “Would you like fries with that?” That creates the pause in the conversation I need to explain that, rather than place an order for a specific item, we should first look at what we’re trying to accomplish from a strategic perspective.
I use a classic marketing briefing process to help a business owner better articulate what they need. Since we’re obviously talking about websites here, let’s look at a simple marketing briefing process you can follow so you and your website designer can better define your requirements.
Take time to define your target audience. Don’t make it “everybody who visits my website” or other broad sweeping definition. If you try to speak to everyone, your story will resonate with noone. You can use demographic parameters such as gender, age, income and location to help define your audience. If you’re targeting businesses, you can also use firmographic parameters such as industry, size, location(s) and more.
I often pose this question as “what should they know when they visit your website?” Again, avoid the temptation to be too broad here. There are probably many great things about your business. As you engage your audience, they will learn those things over time. For your website, try to make it one or two key things that you want people to immediately know about you that will encourage them to engage and learn more.
Yeah, we’re going to talk about feelings here. This question can be posed as “what do you want them to feel when they visit your website?” This one is important and is often difficult to answer. It relates to your brand promise, you mission and other core tenets of your business. Express in terms of feeling words like trusting, happy, comforted, entertained.
What do you want your website visitors to do when they visit your site? Again, this is one where you want to be as specific as possible. Do you want them to engage in a wide array of content and stay on your website for a time before contacting you? Do you want them to download a white paper or other piece of content in exchange for their contact information so you can follow-up with them? Do you want them to subscribe to your mailing list so you can add them to an email marketing campaign? All of these are valid calls-to-action. You just need to be really specific here.
With a basic marketing brief including these elements, you can approach your web designer with some more specific ideas on the requirements for your website.
Keywords and SEO optimization can help attract your target audience. Headlines and highly prominent elements in the design can help support the intellectual takeaway. Color palette, design elements, tone of voice in content can help with the emotional takeaway. Popups, blogs, prominent banners and other design elements can support the primary call-to-action.
I understand that great website design is only as good as the strategy which directs that design. With B. McGuire Designs, you’ll get strategy built-in to our design work because we are laser focused on telling your story.