As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
For every startup or small business, building a phenomenal team is a top priority. You’re only as strong as your weakest player, right? And to be successful, every team member must carry their respective weight. However, for a lot of teams, there’s an additional opportunity for an even stronger player in plain sight: your website.
The truth is, your website should be your top salesperson, attracting traffic and converting high-quality leads 24/7. This type of high-converting website is built using a powerful content optimization system, along with a lean COS website design process. With this technology and a lean process, you can create the type of site you need to really grow and scale your marketing and sales efforts.
You can also cut down on unnecessary spend and waste, launching an affordable, high-performing site that attracts traffic and delivers leads like never before.
COS Website Design: What It Is And Why It's Effective
First, let’s define what COS website design is. COS website design is a lean, modular approach to building HubSpot website. You can only conduct COS website design using HubSpot, as HubSpot coined “COS” or content optimization system to describe their one-of-a-kind, fully integrated sales and marketing platform.
Unlike your typical content management system, such as Drupal or WordPress, HubSpot has built-in, advanced marketing and sales capabilities. That’s why a website built on HubSpot, following COS website design best practices, has so much potential.
You can build a site based on the needs of your ideal customer and get the full picture of how it’s performing. There’s a complete overview of all of your marketing and sales efforts. But like anything, there’s a catch.
Common Mistakes Made With COS Website Design
If you’ve been researching the HubSpot COS, you know that HubSpot is expensive. You can’t just hop in and create a website for free like you can with Wix or WordPress. And while HubSpot’s price tag can be intimidating, the high expenses that stem from HubSpot and website design often come from a few common mistakes, rather than the platform itself.
When you know how to effectively implement HubSpot and go through the right COS website design process, you can avoid these mistakes. A ton of our clients has built high-quality, affordable HubSpot websites, following a COS website design process, for under $30k. We use our one-of-a-kind website builder, Sprocket Rocket, to build high-converting sites.
Using Sprocket Rocket, while following these COS website design tips, you can do the same.
1. WAIT TO BUY HUBSPOT
During any website project, there’s a significant amount of time spent on planning, content, and strategy before you even get to the CMS. Since all of these things need to come before you build a single page, it doesn’t make sense to buy HubSpot right away. It will sit there while you're working through strategy and copy, and you'll burn through your budget, paying the monthly fee.
Then, when you are ready to buy HubSpot, you can get more savings by understanding which website pricing tier is the right fit for your brand. If you have under 3,000 monthly views, for example, you can buy Site Starter for $100 per month. The next pricing tier is for sites with over 3,000 visits, priced at $300 per month.
2. USE A LEAN WEBSITE PROCESS
There are a lot of website design processes out there. In my experience, the best ones are those who follow the lean methodology. The lean methodology, as it pertains to websites, is to deploy a minimal launchpad website, then run tests and make optimizations over time.
You can read more about the details of a lean website process here, but overall, the process ensures that you minimize waste and maximize value during your site build.
- Develop Strategy, Buyer Personas, and Buyer Journey
- Build Sitemap and Plan Website Pages
- Outline Page Flows
- Conduct Rapid Prototyping
- Write Messaging and Copy
- Implement Light Design
- Build, QC, and Lean Launch Site
- Optimize Over Time
The result is a smaller site that guides your customers through the buyer journey. With this type of site, you can use a few key pages to promote your offer, engage with your customer, and demonstrate your brand’s value.
As a result, you can launch sooner with a better site and a stronger message, making it more likely you will benefit from HubSpot sooner. From there, you can run tests and study how users are responding to your site and your offer and make optimizations and changes from there.
3. ALLOCATE MORE BUDGET TO STRATEGY AND MESSAGING
In a traditional website design project, the focus tends to be on the design. Brands pour a hefty amount of their budget toward making their site look pretty. While aesthetics matter, nothing matters more than the messaging on your site. That’s why at least 50% of any COS website design budget should go toward your website strategy.
When you invest more in the strategy phase, you can break through assumptions and dig into the real motivations of your customer. You can make sure you’re solving the right problems and speaking to the right individual. Otherwise, it’s possible to build an entire website trying to solve the wrong problem, to the wrong person.
Ideally, 25% -30% of the remaining budget will go to messaging. A gifted copywriter can orchestrate a website page that tells a story and has a clear hook, climax, and next step for the website visitor.
4. BUILD OUT A BUYER JOURNEY
The buyer journey is your customer’s roadmap. It helps you understand the stages of a potential customer’s decision-making process. With the buyer journey template, you can determine the answers, content, and material leads need to continue progressing. If you skip over the buyer journey, you miss out on an opportunity to build out the right website content and the most effective offers.
For instance, during the interest stage, you might realize that a workbook is a great offer for your potential lead. That workbook will need a landing page to gate it, as well as a thank you page for after the visitor converts. You can brainstorm every page necessary to support each stage, which will help you identify the pages you need on your site.
It also helps you put together your site map or a blueprint of which pages will connect. Any homepage will have prompts to visit other site pages. A website page discussing pricing could link to a landing page offering a demo. When you put together your buyer journey, you understand the natural progression of how someone will be persuaded to convert on your primary offering and become a customer.
That’s why the process of developing a strong buyer journey is so critical to the website strategy stage.
5. DON’T PAY FOR FEATURES YOU WON’T USE
Eventually, you will need to pay for the marketing features that HubSpot offers. But until you have a website up and start seeing some results, it doesn't make sense to pay for the premium version of those tools. We recommend avoiding anything more advanced than HubSpot's Basic Marketing Plan before your site is up and running.
With Basic, you can remove HubSpot branding, use forms, access the content strategy tool, and so much more. The only difference between Basic and the next level, Professional, is the ability to conduct marketing automation, use a Salesforce integration, experiment with Smart Content, and run A/B tests.
Those features might seem exciting, but when you're first starting with HubSpot and inbound marketing, it may not make sense right now. It may be worth waiting to gain traction with website traffic.
The full price tag for year one of the Pro plan, with website hosting and training, is $15,000, with another $3,000 if you plan to send your in-house team to The Inbound Conference. If you stick with Basic for the first year, but you can also get the right team and strategies up and going, then make the jump to Pro later.
6. SKIP THE TRAINING FEES
If you sign up for HubSpot with a certified HubSpot partner, (like Lean Labs), training fees are waived. I would recommend selecting a training partner that can help you deploy inbound efforts long-term, and putting the training costs towards the ongoing services. We also work with our clients to get them a commission from HubSpot (you can read more about this in our savings guide.)
The savings you get from the waived training fees are significant. The required on-boarding training for HubSpot is $600 and can be more depending on your subscription level.
7. MAKE A PLAN FOR CONTINUOUS OPTIMIZATION
A lot of brands launch a new site, let traffic run through it, see a boost in performance, and go on with business as usual. They might run a few tests here and there, but there’s no plan for continuous improvement. Imagine if you took that approach with any other kind of skill-building. You can’t take a few Spanish lessons, then quit and expect to get fluent. You can’t plant some seeds in a garden, then do nothing to maintain it and expect anything to grow. It’s the same with websites.
You should consistently work to improve your website. The best way to approach improvement is with a plan, and a way to accurately measure website performance. When you actually understand how visitors are using the site, you can make better, more strategic improvements that make a difference. With HubSpot, you can run tests and access data that make these optimizations a breeze.
Growing With The HubSpot COS
If you're a startup or small company that needs a new website and a better inbound marketing strategy, investing in HubSpot and the COS website design process makes the most sense. From the start, you'll have all of the training, support, and resources necessary to create and deploy marketing that works. After the launch of your site and marketing strategy, you can use an array of optimization and reporting features to improve your efforts even more.
The too long, didn't read version of this article? The longer you wait to adopt a tool like HubSpot and build a site that your customers will engage with, the more you will delay your growth. In a few years, you’ll wish you began with HubSpot, rather than wasting a significant amount of budget and time in trying to use less robust and reliable solutions.
If you're hooked and want to know more about saving on HubSpot, check out how to get 60% off your first year in our handy guide.
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