Your website is the central hub of the digital presence of your company, yet many companies delegate web design to the marketing department, expecting a small, highly specialized group to present the collective capital of the company in a compelling and actionable way.
Without involving other groups, your website will likely be a beautiful interface that doesn’t work for your sales department, fails to deliver the right message or makes it harder for your audience to pass through your sales funnel and offers.
Here’s three reasons why it’s worth the effort of getting all the departments within your company (and even some people on the outside) involved in your web design.
1. Define content your audience needs. One of the main reasons to create a website is to share what your organization is about, who you want to serve and how you’re going to serve them. A clear message and tone in written and visual information related to your organization creates a stronger relationship with our audience and avoids confusion.
Gather information from your stakeholders in sales, the customer service group and those interacting with the users. Understand what users are asking for, their feedback on each offering you release and, most importantly, identify the language customers are accustomed to using when they come to you to solve a specific problem.
There are many buzz words and trends used in marketing but they might not be the best ones to communicate with your audience. These words might be commonly used in your organization’s industry but, often, they will not connect with the audience’s state of awareness, pains and desires.
Listening closely to any communication received by customers will give you a better idea of how to craft messages that will join the conversation that’s already in progress in their minds.
2. Organize and plan the information in a way that makes sense to your audience. A compelling website user experience allows different groups of users to find what they’re looking for without getting lost in a world of endless clicks. Start by identifying the three main groups of users your website will serve, then define one goal they want to achieve on your site and how you’ll take them there.
Interview your audience and gather information from your sales and/or customer service group to identify where your users are clicking and what are they looking for. You can also find out from which sites customers are clicking over.
Once you’ve identified the objectives of these users and how they’re finding you, you’ll be able to organize the information in a way that makes sense to them. Help them find what they’re looking for without endless clicks!
3. Design for your users, and watch their reactions. At this point, you have a better idea of the information your audience is looking for, the different places where they’re finding you (social media, Google search) and what message is compelling and talks directly to them.
Now we need to organize and visually amplify these goals and messaging with design. Visual design will make your brand familiar to visitors, distinguish you from your competition and create an intimate language with your audience.
Different users require different types of information. Different levels of awareness require different wording and visual impact to get your message delivered. Create and test different ways to present information to your audience. Get feedback as soon as possible, then move on to the next stage with the information gathered and test again.
This cycle of iteration will allow you to actively listen and watch your audience, and your team that works along with your audience, to offer them the best experience possible. The great characteristic of the web is we can always test, measure and make decisions based performance with our audience and the feedback our team gets from the users.
image credit: Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr