How to Design a Website to Grow Your Business

What if your website could be always evolving, every day, with data and inputs from users and customers? Have you ever thought about approaching a website as a live organism, instead of an online brochure? Wouldn’t it be smarter and more cost effective? It is just smarter when we can design, test, learn, adapt, and change. Not for the sake of changing, but to constantly improve user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX). Let’s talk about GDD, which stands for Growth-Driven Design. What’s is that exactly?

Think iPhone Upgrade Program for Websites.

That is the way we approach website design: Growth-Driven Design (GDD). Instead of spending a big chunk every 18 or 24 months, and a few months later looking at an outdated website, why not build it smaller and faster, and upgrade your website every month, every week, every day?

Let’s dig a little deeper into this:

The Traditional Design

Have you ever stopped to think that if we want to stay updated in terms of technology, we have to spend a considerable amount of money? And it has to happen every single year, if not less. Think of iPhone, for instance. Apple launches a new upgrade every year or so. If you have now an iPhone 5S (which you have paid around $799 a year ago) and you want to upgrade your phone to the recently launched iPhone 6S, you have to put another big chunk of money down once again (around $899). Even if you convince yourself you don’t need to upgrade your phone, or you don’t want to spend money with it right now, your current phone sadly starts to become an outdated piece of crap: the latest version of iOS won’t fit into the few gigabyte still remaining, the coolest and most useful apps can’t be downloaded because of the iOS version your phone runs right now does not support them, the camera which was wonderful until some time ago, suddenly sounds like it is not that cool anymore (because the new camera on the new phone is almost 2 times more powerful), and so on.

Your top #1 salesperson

All right. Now think of your website with the same approach. You have to redesign your website or design your first website. You just set up your business, which is a huge challenge. When the bureaucratic deals are done and you get your license to operate, you have to think about how to market your business, how to tell your potential customers you are open for business, so they can choose your establishment to spend their money. You have to do it very well because the competition is ferocious out there.

When this time comes, you have to think about your top #1 salesperson: your website. Especially in a digital world, where people are consistently connected online, and where people use mobile devices 4 times more than desktop computers or laptops, your website gains even more importance. Key importance, we could say. That is the arena where the majority of people these days make their purchasing decisions: online and mobile. When they reach out to you, they are actually 80% or more decided to buy your product or service.

That means our old mental model of web behavior is outdated. People no longer go online for long sessions of research and browsing. Instead, they go online in short bursts of activity (and do it more often). They find information in small, bite-sized chunks along a larger customer journey, and they make decisions faster than ever before.

Think about your own life: When you want to learn, find, do, or buy something, you reach for the nearest device to you — it’s like a digital reflex. This is what we mean by “micro-moments.” In these intent-rich moments, we’re actively reaching out for information to help us make better decisions.

Google call it Micro-Moments.

The Implications of Micro-Moments

UX designers really need to pay attention to micro-moments because, like Google’s Director of Performance Marketing Matt Lawson said, in these moments we’re “open to having our preferences shaped, and open to helping with decisions we need to make along a journey to accomplish something.” The brands that are there to help us in these moments are the ones who are going to win our hearts, minds, and ultimately our dollars.

There were three insights from Google’s ethnographic research that really stood out: the importance of designing for immediacy, relevancy, and loyalty to needs. Let me explain:

  • The immediacy of Action — Because smartphones allow us to act on any impulse at any time, we do. We reach for our devices any time we want to learn, find, do, or buy something. And as a result, our expectations for immediate gratification have risen to a new high.
  • Demand for Relevancy — When we grab our phones and act on our impulse, we have high expectations and our patience tends to be low. Since we don’t have much time to browse and research, we immediately abandon anything that’s not relevant to us and move on to something else.
  • Loyalty to Personal Needs — When you combine the heightened expectation for instant gratification and relevancy, people tend to be more loyal to their own personal needs and desires than they are to the brands they know and love.

If you want to leverage these moments, you need to understand the larger context that your users operate within. The full customer experience doesn’t start when people land on your site or start using your tool. It starts when they’re sitting on their couch, riding on the train, walking down the street, and they have an idea.

We know it is a lot do digest. Then, you start wondering what would be the best option to have your website. When you start fishing, you realize there is an insane amount of information and different options. In a few days or weeks, you feel overwhelmed with the huge amount of available offers.

But if you stop and think for a moment, you start realizing that the majority of design companies and agencies approach to web design the same way Apple used to approach iPhones until September 2015: you used to get a brand new iPhone, you had to put a big chunk of money down, and in 1 to 1,5 years your phone was totally outdated, almost obsolete.

Okay. You hire a design company to get your website done. You are very excited. You want the best result your money can get. You sign a contract and the job starts out. You put a lot of information together, you answer a creative briefing, send it back to the company you have hired. Just to imagine a timeline of events, let’s say you start to invest in your website right now, October 2015. Two or three months later you get the website ready to go.

Fast Forward to January 2016

Brand new website is launched. Emails are sent out to your contacts, friends, family, and prospects. Your social media profiles are updated. It’s an exciting day for the company. You spent a considerable amount of money already. There was a lot of back and forth between you and your team, and the design company. A lot of stress was involved. And the truth is: all people involved won’t be 100% sure if the final result is the best tool to really launch your business, start to attracting visitors, turning them into leads, and into real customers, translated into sales and revenue for your business. Because your users and clients will start to having contact with your new website only in January 2016.

On top of that, there will probably be delays and issues. Within about two weeks after launching, a few bugs could start to emerge, and you are not sure anymore about some aspects on the website. For instance, the content you sent the design company three or four months ago when the project kicked off has changed.

Long story short — it’s not a great scenario. Maybe all people involved will be upset. But what caused this? What could have prevented this? The reason for these issues revolves around one thing: lack of planning and lack of understanding that your website is not about your company or just about cool, trendy design from the design company. Your website is about the clients you work with and the problems your business solves for them.

Good design makes things less complicated.

Bad design makes things more complicated.

At the end of the day, both your business’ and the design company’s job is to make your clients happy. Period.

Apple has launched iPhone Upgrade Program, this past September 9th. Now if you sign up for this program, you pay smaller monthly amounts — instead of a big chunk at once — and you can upgrade your iPhone every year. Wonderful, huh?

So, what if you could have something similar for your website? Now you can.

Think iPhone Upgrade Program for you website. This is Growth-Driven Design

With Growth-Driven Design, we can follow measurable metrics, and see how visitors use your site and design around it, with daily data analysis. We focus on building a site specifically for the users who will be interacting with you. We start small, with only the core products or services visible at launch — which should be no longer than 4–5 weeks from the time we sign a contract. What is essential for a conversion path that still tells the story of your brand? What your company is promising to deliver? What kind of problems do they have when they plan to go to travel or to buy something for their pets or getting a new hair dryer? How do you solve those problems? How do you make their buying experience easier?

Growth-Driven Design ( GDD ) aims to focus on those questions from the start, building a website with core products/services only, and adding new ones daily, weekly. Building a smaller website from the start — and adding more products, and always measuring performance, learning from it, and improving — allows you to focus ONLY on what matters most.

This also allows us to daily / weekly monitor how visitors are interacting with your website, and how they are engaging with the content we have made available to them. Using this information, we are able to develop a very intelligent conversion path and growth strategy, making the buyers’ journey the easiest possible way to…. buy.

The traditional design focuses on building a site over a long period of time and “crossing fingers” it gets the results. The truth is that most websites look like static brochures online. Check out the amazing infographic at the end of this piece, designed by Josh Ames. Growth-Driven Design sees a website as a live organism, focuses on building something that learns all the time, and rocks in the effectiveness of website productivity, constantly evolving as your prospects evolve proves ROI and sets you up for tremendous long-term growth with a lead generation machine.

Design Can Create Both Scale and Agility. Pairing GDD & Inbound Marketing Also Creates Powerful Desirability.

It makes a lot of sense for us, and for our clients. After all, your website is the top #1 salesperson on your company. The combination of GDD with Inbound Marketing is powerful. It is the future of marketing. Because it is user-centered design, the design that evolves along with the agility your user / consumer wants.

Inbound Marketing + Growth-Driven Design is what has created happy clients for our clients. Because they know they are getting what they do need.

It is all about the invisible driving the visible.

The human body is a perfect proof of good design that makes things less complicated. We possess 3,000,000,000,000 (three trillion) nerve cells all coordinated by the brain. We have thirty billion working sections in our brain. Our heart beats 100,000 times and pumps 2,000 gallons of blood every day. We breathe 438 cubic feet of air each day.

Every cell on the human body has 1,000,000,000,000 bits of data in it.

Our body has 639 muscles that must work together. And our joints must move 25,000,000 times in our lifetime without wearing out. There are 30,000,000,000,000 cells in our body with 10,000 functions.

Perfect design, huh? Well, yes. Indeed. Incredibly perfect design. Think of your website made for a real person in front of it, browsing it, navigating it, experiencing it.

Happily, for now, we can create websites with good design that works and evolves every day, learning from human functions. This is a great achievement. Soon, maybe we will have an upgrade program for our bodies as well. Who knows? That would be amazing, right?

Anyway, good design is user-centered design. Bad design only implies that designers need to improve their work. By deceiving or creating unrealistic expectations, the user depends on the designer’s intent — or in some cases in their supervisor’s intent or their clients’ intent. Usually, when users are getting what they are promised everything is fine. But when there is a misalignment between needs and service communication (promises) or interaction design things start going wrong. Humanized computer interactions are familiar to users and can save them time, all while deepening the concept of brand marketing.

This is beautiful because now we can have the website that learn from humans, not online brochures that give users a hard time. Web sites are live organisms.

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