“I want a new website.” There is a certainty in his eyes and voice that pushes back my objections. “That’s what we need. Here is what we want it to do. How much will it be?” This desire and clarity of purpose is supported by the belief that a new website will make things all better, like a mommy’s kiss.
It probably will make things better. Who doesn’t want a new website? I want a new website!
We actually designed a new one, a really beautiful one. We spent a LOT of time on it. Did I say it was beautiful? We almost launched it. Then we sat down and decided it was time to take our own advice. Why is it so hard to take your own advice?
We applied our process to ourselves, and then looked at the resulting marketing and brand strategy. And then looked at the website again. Yikes! Even though we are in this business, and even though we do this work for our clients pretty much EVERY DAY, we could not take a shortcut. We thought we just needed a new website, and that our expertise would carry us through on the rest.
The whole thing had to be tossed out. It will never see the light of day.
“I still want a new website!”
It is entirely possible that your situation is TOTALLY different, and you really do just need a website.
To help you sort this out, let me ask you the following 5 relatively simple questions. (There are lots of other important questions I could ask, but let’s just keep it to these.)
Here we go.
If you can honestly answer each of the following questions with a strong “Yes,” then it’s true, you don’t need anything else–just having a new website will do.
Can you honestly answer each of the following questions with a strong ‘Yes’?
1. Is your brand in order?
A) We are understood in our marketplace. Our audience knows why we exist and why we’re important to them.
B) Everyone in the organization also knows these things and can articulate them consistently in a sentence or two.
C) We already have and are happy with all our brand assets: logo, photography, keynote messaging, etc.
2. Do you know who you are talking to, and what they need from you? Do you know why they care about you?
A) We have done extensive research and we know our customers like family. We understand our competitive advantage from the perspective of their minds. We know exactly why they love us and why they are happy to pay full price.
B) We have created and use customer personas to test all our products, programs, and activities from the client’s/consumer’s perspective.
C) We know where our customers are, and how our brand interfaces and adds value to their lives.
3. Are you part of your customers’ conversations?
A) We communicate effectively with our audience across various platforms including social media.
B) We are followed by and respected for our thoughts and opinions as measured by newsletter subscriptions, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and other measures.
C) Our target audience comes across our name regularly in various online contexts including social media and searches.
4. Have you reached your target number of constituents, clients, visitors, or donors?
A) We are satisfied with the number and type of customers we now have.
B) We are happy to stay where we are in their minds and in the marketplace.
C) Our status in the marketplace is stable and not really changing, and neither is the marketplace itself.
5. Is your long-term vision or your goals attainable with the systems in place right now?
A) We have worked out all the systems that will enable us to achieve our vision.
B) Our current staff is on board, fully understands, and is capable of realizing our long-term vision.
C) The only thing missing for us to achieve our vision is time … and a new website.
So … If you answered “Yes” to all or almost all of these questions, as I noted above, you should go ahead and get that new website pronto!
But … If you answered “No.”—be honest. If you honestly said no, then you really do need more than a website.
Probably much more.
In order to understand exactly what you do need, we have designed a relatively painless diagnostic workshop: Brand Strategy Workshop. This is how we can help you learn from our mistake. (It’s the least we can do.)
I got a very nice email from a client last week after they had sat for a month and digested the findings from the shortest of our workshops: “Your intervention was a game changer.”