This video covers the first phase of any proper website project - and that is the strategy phase. The strategy phase is the foundation of any successful web project and is 100% necessary to ensure that your website is going to be able to generate leads and grow your business. Over the years (along with lots of trial & error) I have developed a standardized discovery & strategy protocol that allows me to help my clients build a marketing game plan for their new website very efficiently.

In this phase, my company performs research & discovery on our client’s business, industry, and competitors. We then use these insights to present a marketing strategy for the website to ensure that we can help our client achieve their business objectives for starting the project. Taking the time to develop a coherent strategy for your website project will lead to better results every time. By watching this video, you will discover what a successful website strategy looks like and how to go about developing one.

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Enjoyed this video? Stay tuned to my YouTube channel as I will be releasing a series of videos detailing the entire web design process along with marketing strategies and tactics that will help you finally achieve massive ROI from your digital advertising.

Why is the Strategy Phase so Important?

Creating an effective website strategy is important because we must understand what the problem is that we’re trying to solve. The goal here is to get everyone aligned and agreeing on the business/marketing problems we are aiming to solve so that we can refer back, later on, to see if the design is solving the problem. The Strategy Phase has two main parts - The beginning phase is marketing research/discovery about the client’s business, industry, and competitors. Once this background information has been absorbed, next we provide a strategy recommendation based on our findings.

Website Discovery & Research

This part of the strategy phase is where we learn more about our client’s business, industry, and competitors. This gives us the background information to be able to formulate a coherent strategy later on. More importantly, it gives us the insight and knowledge we need to properly understand our client’s business and industry competitors, while also putting ourselves in the shoes of their prospective clients who will be evaluating all of these different businesses. With this information, we can begin to put together a smart strategy that will allow us to achieve our client’s business goals for starting the project in the first place. And, we will be able to produce a website that has a differentiated design and marketing message from the competitors so that our client’s company stands out. Below are the key items covered during this section:

Business Research

History, work/capabilities/services/products, strengths, weaknesses, unique selling points, positioning, etc.

Competitor Research

Local & national competitor research

Design Research

Review of current website design, competitor design review, copy research & analysis, etc.

SEO Research

Keyword research/discovery (for client & competitors), website audit, website speed analysis, etc.

Website Strategy

Once we have done all the research we need to do, we move on to summarizing these findings for our client. We take these learnings and formulate a strategy for the website that will allow us to create SMART goals for the project that will let us track our success. We also provide recommendations to our clients regarding content, design, and overall deliverables to ensure that their website will be able to produce business results. Below are the key items covered during this section:

Website Goals

The reason for setting goals for the project is that all project stakeholders must be aligned on why we’re doing the project and what success looks like. We recommend setting between 2-4 goals as any more will dilute your focus and make it hard to achieve each one. By setting goals, it makes design and content decisions significantly easier down the line as we have a clearly defined objective and can then determine what decisions are needed to achieve those when presented with questions. Example: Generate Leads

Website Objectives

Once goals have been set, we then need to list clear objectives that will state how the goal will be achieved. Example: Increase Form Submissions

Website KPIs

Once the goals and objectives have been set, we then need to list a specific metric for each that will allow us to track and measure our success towards our goal. This way there is a clear answer as to whether our strategy has been successful later on from a marketing standpoint. Example: Increase Form Submissions 50% 3 Months after Launch

Content Discussion

Based on our research, we recommend specific pieces of content our client should include in this new website to be successful. This is based on what content competitor websites feature, what content the client currently has, and what content would be helpful to the customers/clients they serve. We bring a list to the strategy meeting and talk through popular types of website content to see how it may fit into the new website. Once we have aligned on content, we follow up with a website sitemap after the meeting that is a visual diagram showing each page the website will feature at launch and what content each page will have. This makes it very easy for everyone to visualize and makes sure we are on the same page regarding deliverables.

Visual Direction

Once we are done discussing the content, we can then move on to discussing the design of the website. We first review the content, because once we know what content will be featured we can then think through what the layout of the major pages should look like. We bring examples of similar websites to review with our clients to see what they like and don’t like. This way when we deliver designs, later on, we have a strong understanding of their design preferences and can ensure we deliver something they will like. We also ask our clients to come prepared with website examples they like so that we get an even better understanding of their likes and dislikes.

Project Timeline

Coming out of this meeting, we have a clear understanding of all deliverables and create an updated project timeline with key dates and milestones for when items are due on both our end and the clients.

Website Strategy Meeting

We cover all of the information listed here in a keynote presentation that we put together for our clients so they can quickly learn from all this research we have done. We then send it in an email so they can review it later on. If they respond back saying “approved” then we are all set to begin the design phase.

Conclusion

Hope you found this quick overview of the strategy phase of a website project helpful. If you are ready to take the next step in your project, click here to book a consultation with me to discuss your project. I'll listen to your needs and provide you with the best recommendation for moving forward with your project.

Bailey Canning is an advertising professional from New Jersey currently living in Boulder, Colorado. He started Inbound Web Development to work directly with businesses to create conversion focused websites & innovative digital marketing campaigns.

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