You love your brand. You remember every drop of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into making it what it is today, whether you’re a recent start-up or an established company.
Guess what? We don’t love your brand. That’s right – we don’t. While it’s true that we would probably fall in love with it eventually, right now we are cold. Don’t get me wrong, we’re bloody lovely people, and we put our heart and soul into the work we do with every single client. Our long-term relationships with some of the world’s best known brand names are testament to that. However, with familiarity, comes bias – your brand is your baby, and you won’t see its flaws, or poor design in the way it represents itself online, and the dis-jointed customer journey through the website. We do – or rather, we will.
What is happening time and again are companies re-designing, re-launching or re-platforming their websites, without really implementing a coherent digital strategy. A good example is favouring beauty over design – this is a sure fire sign that a company is starting to pander to the brand, instead of really listening to the user or the audience. Never forget that if you reach the right design (for anything), the beauty will be a by-product. Don’t work backwards – you’ll end up with a website that misses business goals and is more difficult to put right later on.
If you are looking at creating a new website, re-launching an existing one or starting from scratch, it’s crucial you take the opportunity to be smart about it. You’re in a good position to benefit from a Smart Digital Strategy. A Smart Digital Strategy centres on several core steps:
1. Understand your user
Okay this isn’t rocket science, but do you really know your user/audience? Or are you just saying “we’re targeting Millennials!” completely oblivious to the fact the Millennials left your company two years ago and your biggest customers are in fact, their middle-aged parents? If you’ve not done your user research – do it now. Understanding your user can save you time, effort and money in the short and long term, plus you’ll justify any further steps in creating your Smart Digital Strategy. There are plenty of tools available to capture, analyse and make decisions about who your audience really is, and in a world where the customer experience, personalisation and multi-channel marketing are king, there really is no excuse for any surprises.
2. Understand what your user wants from your business
Why do people buy from you? Why do they trust your content? What are you unintentionally hiding from your customers, buried in a long list of website pages? Do most people come to your site and head straight for the ‘Contact’ page? What do you want the user to ultimately do when they use your site? Do they want your site to enrich, educate or entertain them? Is what they’re doing now in line with what they could/should be doing?
Think about the user journey, and how you could be leading them from the home page to where they need to go. Don’t block this with pretty pictures, un-navigable site maps and distractions that add no value for you or your customers.
3. Understand how to sell your product/service/message to that user
Be brutal. Be absolutely ruthless when it comes to your company and brand. In order to succeed, you need to challenge your company, and challenge your brand. Day to day, we have exhaustive conversations with our clients to really strip back the business bit-by-bit and make our clients respond to what we’re asking. We push and push and push, and then usually, we have a lightbulb moment. A Smart Digital Strategy is designed to expose your assets, dredge up value where you thought there was none, and build a path to digital success. We don’t just ask stupid questions for a laugh – it’s critical to the success of your new web strategy. Think of it like a skydive, instead of a rock climb – taking risks, laying your cards on the table and your heart on your sleeve, rather than a series of new, smaller challenges and lots of change of direction when one way doesn’t work out.
Creating a Smart Digital Strategy is not an easy task to do alone. That’s why we don’t love your brand – if we go in absolutely cold to it, we can strip out the issues and focus on the assets, without bias.
Why not drop us a line to have a chat about how we can create a Smart Digital Strategy for your business?
Is your company ready for a Smart Digital Strategy? By Will Morris, Managing Partner at Alchemy Digital