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.
During a website redesign, many brands prioritize aesthetics. The look of the site is the focus and the website budget reflects that. You allocate a majority of your funds toward the design process, and have little left for much else. If you want to attract more website traffic and higher quality leads, you need to approach your site design from a different angle.
A website that converts and moves customers through the funnel is strategic and thoughtful. It serves your customers' needs and speaks to their problems. To accomplish this, you must prioritize content over design, creating the best possible messaging and exceptional offers. In our experience, the best way to create this type of website is with a persona website content strategy.
With the right persona website content strategy, you can develop content to attract, engage, and convert your ideal customer.
Creating A Persona Website Content Strategy
When we build a website, our first step is the strategy phase. Our typical strategy phase accounts for 50% of any website budget, where we spend a considerable amount of time on customer research, brand positioning, competitive analysis, and more.
It may seem like a lot, but every step is critical. We use these discoveries to craft the perfect persona website content strategy. These exercises will determine the messaging, flow, and narrative of your entire site.
If you invest in a robust CMS like HubSpot, you can craft even better website content. After you launch your site, you can leverage the various A/B testing, smart content, and content strategy features within HubSpot to experiment and test. You can track how well pages, CTAs, and blog content are performing. From there, you can make the optimizations necessary to develop the strongest possible messaging for your site.
Additionally, we have even more exercises and tools to create and execute our website content strategies within Sprocket Rocket, our one-of-a-kind page builder and website resource.
Here are how all of the parts of our typical persona website content strategy break down.
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
Your website exists in service of your customer, so it makes sense to get to know that ideal customer as well as you can. With a buyer persona template, you can document your customer’s characteristics, quirks, preferences, objections, and priorities. You can use this template to build out the buyer journey and inform all of your future marketing initiatives.
The buyer persona template we use looks like this:
This one-page document captures the persona insights, action drivers, goals, decision-making process, and barriers, which are all incredibly useful in understanding your customer’s motivations. For the best results, consult members of your team who have interactions with your customer when going through this exercise.
Another critical tool we use to gain a better understanding of the customer is the business model canvas (adapted from the Lean Canvas by Ash Maurya.) This document digs further into the challenges and frustrations that your customer is experiencing. To get the most from this document, hold customer interviews to collect the most accurate insights.
ANALYZING YOUR COMPETITION
It’s very likely that your future customers are current customers of your competition. That means to win over your competition, every customer you earn will need to stop the methods they’re using now and use your solution instead.
The first step is knowing who you’re up against. When you conduct a proper competitor analysis, you can tune into their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis can provide critical insights about what it will take to get customers to switch to your brand.
We use a competitor map to compare providers side-by-side. Using this template, we determine the emotional, physical, and social jobs they fulfill, who the company tends to be the best fit for, how customers struggle with them, and what would incentivize the customer to switch.
Customer Journey Maps
With a customer journey map, you're following the path of the customer during their problem-solving. Starting with a common problem that your customer has, you do the same research, visit the same websites, read the same articles, and go through your current buyer journey. From there, you start to see things from their perspective and find potential gaps and opportunities to improve your process.
When you follow our process and template, this first customer journey map will look like this:
The goal is to identify any parts of your process that don’t work, or feels obstructive. Using those insights, you streamline the customer experience and provide more value at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
After that, you'll create a customer journey map as if the lead had an optimal experience. You'll fill in every step to reflect the type of experience your customer would love to have. You'll use the same template for this, but it might look like this.
When these templates are complete, you'll have everything you need to build a website that prioritizes the customer.
Your website exists in service of your customer, so you want to build on what works for them. With a buyer persona, you can organize the characteristics, quirks, and relevant aspects of your ideal customer onto one sheet, making it easy to identify their preferences, expectations, and more. A buyer persona will provide a clear customer summary at a glance, and you can use this to build out the buyer journey and inform all of your future marketing initiatives.
The buyer persona template we use looks like this:
When this is documented and accurate, your entire team can operate from the same information. You’ll get a better website, more effective marketing collateral, and can easily adjust or tweak the personas as customer behavior shifts over time.
How They Influence Our Website Strategy
Historically, a lot of companies built large websites with a lot of pages. Nowadays, these types of larger sites don’t necessarily perform better. Often, they make the process of becoming a customer more complicated for your lead. A more extensive website can put up barriers to conversion, making it tedious and confusing for the customer to move forward.
That’s where these strategy documents come into play. With only the most critical insights, we reduce waste and cut through any fluff. By focusing just on what the customer needs to hear, at the right step of their journey, we create pages and a flow that’s intuitive and simple for the customer to use. The result is a site that’s leaner, and much easier to navigate.
The minimal, yet direct language helps the customer feel understood, comfortable and inspired to move forward. The site can follow the buyer journey without any disruptions or distractions, putting forth the most potent message and calls-to-action at the most opportune times.
Want A Customer-Centric Site? Start Here.
If you’re thinking about new website design, I’d recommend starting with these strategy documents before anything else. You don’t need to hire an agency or select a website platform right away. You can use these documents to align yourself and your team about who your customer is, their current experience looking for a solution in your industry, and how you can be the best possible partner.
To benefit from this approach, you need accurate insights about your personas, data that reinforces or backs up your points, and an open mind about your current content assets, processes, and outreach methods. When you put yourself into your customer’s shoes, you can adapt your site, support, and service to meet and exceed their expectations.
Alternatively, you can follow the same traditional website build, and put together a site that’s too big, has too many points to conversion, and makes it unnecessarily difficult for leads to connect with you. It’s your call. If you want even more resources to create a great website, check out our Sprocket Rocket Strategy Kit. You'll get access to our customer journey maps and buyer personas, as well as other critical website documents.
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