The Basic Tenets of Growth-Driven Design
March 3, 2016
By Laura Hogan
Growth-driven design is one of those hot topic words we probably all keep hearing about. It has replaced the ‘website redesign’ search for trending topics and will continue to grow in popularity as we enter into 2016. So let’s discuss what growth-driven design really is and why it’s the new bell-bottom-jeans-fashion-trend of inbound marketing.
What Is Growth-Driven Design?
Growth-driven design is centered around the concept of building a website targeted for high performance. Everything is created around analytics, buyer personas, and data. Everything from your website pages to your paid ads is included in this concept. Remember Newton’s first law of motion from science class way back when? Everything in motion stays in motion. Growth-driven design is launched and then constantly tested, changed, and improved. It constantly stays in motion and is improved upon.
I mentioned earlier that a trending design topic used to be website design. It’s because of that trending topic that we now see the need to address growth-driven design. Traditional design agencies are creating websites that take months to build, not basing the design on any real analytics or customer data, then launching it and running away with your final invoice leaving you with a (most likely) poor performing site. It’s an outdated process that’s unfortunately still being used by many design agencies.
If you’re unhappy with results from design completed in the past or are looking to embark on a design project shortly, keep reading to find out how it works in each step of the process and how it benefits your company’s bottom line.
What Makes It Different?
Growth- driven design aims to preserve resources and, time, and eliminate wasteful changes through continuous user-driven improvements. Simply put, it’s more efficient. Let’s look at a comparison of traditional marketing with growth- driven design to understand the cost benefit.
The main differences:
- Minimized risks associated with traditional website design: The shorter process of growth- driven design allows you to focus on real impact and continuous learning.
- Continuous learning and improving: C - constant testing, analyzing and learning about visitors will inform ongoing improvements to reach peak performance
- Closed-loop reporting: Your marketing and sales team will also learn about this visitor behavior and can improve marketing and sales tactics based on the findings.
Traditional website design:
- Large upfront cost.
- Large time and resource commitment: The website usually takes a minimum of three months to complete and requires a large team input.
- Not set in stone: Cost and time can fluctuate.
- No testing: You can test and debug a website for technical issues but can’t test for viewer trial- and- error issues.
- It’s permanent: After the launch, the website might not have any major updates for 1.5-2 years.
Growth- driven website design:
- Cost broken up into manageable monthly fees.
- Shortened launch time.
- Constantly improving and never permanent, thus allowing you to: focus on real impact and continuous learning.
- With continuous improvements comes peak performance.
- Tightly integrated with marketing and sales: what the design team learns, they learn
How It Works
The process is broken into 2 parts: pre-launch and post-launch.
- Goals and Planning: What are you trying to accomplish with this process?
- Personas: You should already have buyer personas created, but if not, check out our resource on how to create them.
- Quantitative Research: Dig into your current website and find what is and isn’t performing based on analytics.
- Qualitative Research: Find users of your site and gather input and insight from them.
- Fundamental Assumptions: Use all the data you’ve collected thus far and make some assumptions about your audience’s behavior like what devices they’re using for example.
- Global and Page Strategy
- Your list should include changes for: user experience, visitor tools, features, functionality, design, and most helpful website sections and pages.
- Sort by priority: Based on analytics, decide what you need to have and what you want to have.
- Complete the normal Website launch process
3. Launch the website
Remember Newton’s Law, the website will stay in motion and continue changing and improving as data is collected on your initial updates. So you can launch your site without perfection. Only choose the top priority changes you decided on an implement those right away.
Create a hypothesis for each change you implemented so you can keep track of it’s performance in relation to the goal you set for it. Example: For Small Business Sam visiting the Printer Paper Product Page, we believe changing the Buy Now button to an Add To Cart button will increase click rate by 12 percent.
Post- Launch Steps
- Performance: Are the changes you made meeting your goals?
- Gather marketing and sales input
- Prioritize: Look at your wish list again, and based on the new data you’ve collected, prioritize or add items to work on in the next round of edits.
Just like before, you will take your prioritized list and develop those changes on the site.
- Have the team implement the list items you choose.
- Test the impact each change has on the website and measure the results.
Growth-driven design allows you to learn from every single change you make. So after you make additional changes, you’ll go back through them and see what you learned from this batch of edits and additions. Take those lessons and apply them to other parts of your marketing.
From the earlier example of Small Business Sam, you might have learned that the ‘Add to Cart’ button actually did perform better and the ‘Buy Now’ button might have dissuaded the small business owner to click on it. Think about why that might be. Small Business Sam has a small budget, he is not an impulsive buyer and needs to think about what he needs and can afford. Asking him to ‘Buy Now’ is too aggressive of wording for him. The ‘Add to Cart’ message gives him the feeling that he has time to consider his budget and options before purchasing. By looking at the data you deduced that information and can now apply that idea to other messaging on your website, paid ads, emails, and so on.
The process is a continuous cycle. Try not to do what my dog does and forget to bring back the ball after she catches it. Launch the changes, grab the analytics, bring it back to your team, throw out more changes and repeat the process. Your website might be performing well, but there is always going to be something you can improve on, so make sure you’re taking the time to repeat the process.
About the author
Laura Hogan was formerly a Senior Associate at SmartBug Media. With an extensive background in marketing, web design and project management she works with clients to build out their inbound marketing strategy and reach their goals. Read more articles by Laura Hogan.