How to Create a Winning Website Strategy
If you’re thinking of designing or redesigning your business website, you’re probably thinking a lot about how you want it to look. The colors, the photos, the visual accents.
This is totally normal – but it’s not the best place to start if you’re looking to a build a profitable website that will help you bring in more leads and clients for your business.
There’s a crucial step that needs to happen before the Pinterest inspiration boards and visual design work – and it’s all about strategy.
This step will wildly improve the success of your website design project. It will help you create a marketing tool for your business that not only looks great but also helps you book new clients consistently.
So grab some paper and a pen and let’s dive in!
understand your client’s buyer’s journey
This is a big one: you need to take some time to think through how your website can actually help a prospect move through their “buyer’s journey” and make a decision to work with you.
Before you can build an effective website, you need to know how your audience will use it and how you can best deliver what they need.
Don’t just guess, do your research. Talk with past clients about what information they looked for when they first considered working with you. What were their big questions? What were they most concerned about? What held them back from making a decision, and what gave them the confidence to move forward when they did?
Once you have some real data to work with, it’s time to map it out. Divide your client’s buyer’s journey into 3 blocks: awareness, evaluation, and decision.
Your website needs to satisfy the needs of a prospect in each one of these phases and provide clear paths for them to move on to the next phase. Here are the general guidelines of what’s on your client’s mind in each phase (use your research to fill in the details for your specific clients).
During the awareness phase, your prospect becomes aware of a problem they want to solve or an opportunity they want to take. During this phase, they’re seeking out information to help them put a name to and clarify their problem or opportunity.
During the evaluation phase, your prospect has a clear picture of what their problem or opportunity is, and they’re researching and evaluating different solutions they could use to move forward.
During the decision phase, your prospect knows what type of solution they need and want, and are making a decision about whom, specifically, they will hire.
Your website needs to answer the questions a prospect has at each stage of the buyer’s journey and provide a clear + easy path to move forward toward hiring you.
map out your calls to action
Calls to Action are key to success but are used far too sparingly on most websites.
Don’t be afraid to invite your clients to start or further their relationship with you. You’re not being pushy – you’re making it easier for your clients to get the solution they need if they decide it’s right for them.
Calls to action are a big deal, but they’re so simple. Those “buy now” buttons on ecommerce websites? Those are calls to action. The email opt-in form offering a free e-guide with a “sign me up!” button? That’s a call to action.
Put simply, a call to action is a short, enticing instruction that asks someone to take an important step in your marketing process.
A primary call to action asks people to become a client by “booking now” or “scheduling a call”.
A secondary call to action asks people to become a lead in a low-risk way, like signing up for your email list.
Don’t put all the responsibility on your potential client to figure out how to move forward if they like what you’re offering. Make it easy and clear by placing strong Calls to Action throughout your website.
Time to map it out:
First, decide on your primary Call to Action – the action that someone will take to start the process of becoming a client (usually booking an appointment, scheduling a consultation call, or filling out an application or inquiry form of some sort).
Next, decide on your secondary call to action. This is the action someone can take if they’re not ready to become a client but are still interested in what you’re offering. The secondary Call to Action should provide prospective client’s with a low-risk way to get more information/value from you and will provide you with a way to stay in touch with them over time. Often, the secondary Call to Action will be an email opt-in offering a content upgrade of some sort.
outline your website copy
You’ve got a couple of key pieces in place: you know your client’s buyer’s journey and the information they need at each phase, and you know your primary + secondary calls to action.
Now it’s time to tie it all together with your website copy. If you’re working with a copywriter to create your website’s content, they’ll likely provide a lot of support during this step. But even if someone else is creating your final content, it’s helpful for you to at least think through an outline to share with your copywriter.
No one knows your business better than you do, so this step will ensure that your message covers all the ideas you know need to be conveyed to your potential clients.
Using the notes you have from mapping out your client’s buyer’s journey, create a rough outline for each page on your website. What are the Big Things you want to communicate on your Home page? Your About Page? Your Services page? What details are crucial to your client’s research? What do they need to know in order to prequalify themselves as a good fit for your services?
After you’ve outlined your pages in this way, you’ll have a solid framework for your copy that you can hand off to your copywriter or use to write your own copy.
sketch your layout
Finally, it’s time to get visual! You’re almost ready to dive into the fun design elements of your website, and this final step will have you fully prepared.
If you’re working with a website designer, they’ll take care of this step for you (or collaborate with you on it), but if you’ll be designing your own website or partnering with a designer that doesn’t offer any strategy components during your project, this step is essential.
Before diving into your website builder and placing elements on the screen, use a pen and paper to get a feel for your layout.
How do you want your website to flow? Taking into account your client’s buyer’s journey, your Calls to Action, and your website copy outline, what needs to go where? Where will you place images to draw a visitor’s attention to the right places? Where will your headline and primary Call to Action go so people see it right away?
This outline isn’t set in stone. It can – and likely will – shift during development. But by creating this outline first, you won’t be diving into the design blindly. You’ll have an idea of what elements are most important to position first, and how you’d like your website to flow from page to page.
way to go! you’ve got yourself a profitable website strategy.
You’ve just put yourself way ahead of the crowd by doing the work to plan out how your website will actually serve your potential clients and help you reach your own goals of bringing in more quality leads. The beautiful design you’ll create for your new website will act as the perfect icing on the cake, and you’ll know that beneath the fun visual elements is a solid marketing strategy to help your business grow.
need a brand & website that helps you land more clients?
Our Grand Rapids, MI design studio works with service-based business owners locally and all over the country to create original & profitable brands and websites. We'd love to talk with you about your project - learn more about our packages and inquiry about your project by clicking the button below!