More transactions online in the last year make this a crucial action.
“Think of your website as a 24/7/365 lead generation engine,” said Lynne Capozzi, CMO of digital experience powerhouse Acquia. “It sells while you sleep. And the cost of producing website content is 62% less than traditional marketing and it generates about three times the leads.”
An internal study conducted by Acquia found that in 2020 over half of transactions with its customers were digital, said Capozzi, speaking at a recent MarTech conference.
If you were thinking of holding off on a website refresh during uncertain times, or because you think customers will find you somewhere else in the digital or mobile realm, keep in mind that for many companies, the website is still central to how your customers experience your brand.
“The website is the heart of your digital experience,” Capozzi said. “The technology to build your site is probably the most important [in your stack].”
If there’s resistance on your marketing team toward tackling this seemingly overwhelming endeavor, don’t stress. The task can be broken down into manageable pieces. You might not have to redesign everything head to toe.
And for those businesses who make the website a priority, Capozzi’s method of approaching a relaunch simplifies the process when you take it up in the future.
Why is the website still top priority?
“Some organizations have tens of thousands of brand sites, some may have one or two sites,” said Capozzi. “Companies like Nestlé and Pfizer have a tremendous amount of brands. Other organizations may have a site that has a one-time activity that just can’t go wrong, like the Grammys or the Emmys.”
And every year, fans expect such a property like the Grammys to show visitors something new. At the very least, brands don’t want to give the impression of being out-of-date.
But internally, the marketing team has other tasks to spread awareness and generate leads. They might think that the website comes at the end of this cycle, as a call to action from another channel.
Marketers, however, are aware that their customers are doing much more research on their own, including engaging with content on the site and other owned channels. Last year, for instance, tech giant Panasonic spent four months refreshing their websites for just this reason.
Identify the purpose for a refresh
When we’re talking about relaunching a website, it doesn’t necessarily mean starting from scratch.
“Relaunching could be a (complete) relaunch, it could be redoing or adding to it, it could be changing content,” Capozzi said. “It doesn’t always have to mean a complete blowup. It can mean just adding to it.”
To give this project some direction and shape, you should, at a bare minimum, identify why you’re taking on the relaunch. And if you have gotten this far and don’t think your organization needs one, take a look at the ten reasons offered by Capozzi:
- A new CMO comes in with a new vision
- Updating messaging
- Undergoing an acquisition or merger
- Rebranding effort
- Freshen up an old look and feel
- Outdated, inaccurate content
- In the midst of a category creation
- Two years (or more) since last relaunch
- Weak search metrics
- Poor traffic or conversions
Getting started on your relaunch
So now, you’ve communicated with your team the reasons why the website is a top priority and what specific purpose the refresh will serve. Let’s say, for instance, it’s been over three years since the last one.
Now it’s time to get started, which will further cement the commitment by the rest of the stakeholders in the org.
Capozzi said, “I think it’s a process of making an audit, and making sure that you’re writing a creative brief around it.”
She added, “Build the investment case so that you do have the ROI, so that you do know how to measure and where the investment comes from.”
Remember, this was also a possible reason for taking on the refresh, to begin with. Issues of traffic, measurement and analytics could speak to a larger audit of the tech stack. But at least the website has open the conversation with the rest of the team.
“Finding the right partner is key,” said Capozzi. “Whatever you decide to do, choosing an internal or external partner, actually is critical to get it done.”
From there, you want to define your internal stakeholders and create goals for the relaunch. You can draw up the goals from the options above, or there’s also the chance that another goal comes up in the conversations you’ve had at some other point in the process.
Maintaining an open line of communication will also contribute to an easier process moving forward, as refreshing a website is an ongoing task for any brand that wants to build a strong digital presence.
“One thing I will say is that it’s never one-and-done,” said Capozzi. “That’s the nice thing in website development, it’s a constantly evolving change, and the tools we have today allow us to do that.”