In the past decade or so, there has been a drastic shift in the way society consumes information, mainly due to the boom in smartphones and tablets. Many companies didn’t realize the potential of digital marketing and how it would affect everyday life. In days past, companies created templated and static websites with simplified box layouts and different colored backgrounds.

When companies update those websites, they often are faced with complete overhauls — costly in terms of time, money, and workforce power. In a recent survey of companies taking on website redesigns, 80% admitted that their websites overhauls would probably take more than a year to complete.

As information technology has evolved, the old method of designing and redesigning traditional websites has become inefficient. Thanks to an emphasis on IoT and integrated data, sites must be responsive in more ways than one.

In the current market, your brand’s website needs to be picturesque on any connected device. With new devices releasing every year, screen ratios and specs are continually changing. Your website also needs to be compatible to integrate with many other apps and platforms — when your sales team changes CRM providers, your website’s back end must work with the new system.

The only way to stay relevant and agile in this era of rapid digital flux is to practice growth-driven design.

Growth-driven design means launching a fully functional, scaled-down version of your website to accurately track data and then make incremental pivots and improvements that lead to more effective versions over time. Start lean and make smart, responsive decisions about how to expand based on how consumers act on your site.

Here’s how growth-driven design plays out: A shoe company wants to start selling its designs online, but the brand has no idea what its customers want from a website experience. The company should begin with a lovely but basic version of its site — a 10-page representation of the company and its offerings. The goal is to launch quickly with any necessary information its customers want and need so that the company can track consumer behavior and data.

That data will then inform future decisions about format, design, function, and content.

After the launch pad is live, the company can make monthly edits based on buyer behavior. If the company sees a big trend for women’s running shoes, for example, it can shift the homepage to point users in that direction.

How to Update Your Website Using Growth-Driven Design

Digital content is king — consumers are looking for the newest and most relevant answers to their pain points immediately. Your website has to provide up-to-date, relevant solutions.

Give your website the tools it needs for long-term success by creating a framework that allows for agile pivots, updates, and integrations. Now’s the time to put strategies in place to start practicing growth-driven design. Here’s how:

1. Track data properly.

The “magic” of growth-driven design is rooted in data. You need to add consumer behavior tracking to your daily routine, and that data should inform decisions about your website, content, and other marketing strategies. But you can’t build a responsive website without gathering the insights you’ll respond to.

Begin with basic tracking through platforms such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. These tools allow you to see how people navigate your website, capturing data such as bounce and conversion rates. Add other tracking and optimization tools after you build a solid foundation. HotJar works well for heat-mapping, and HubSpot helps with A/B testing marketing messages.

2. Resist the temptation to change too much, too soon.

If you’re designing a website from scratch or working on a new version, it’s tempting to load up with every bell and whistle in an attempt to impress the passing consumer. But that’s not how to create a successful launchpad in growth-based design.

Avoid making assumptions about what your customers want and instead focus on obtaining as much data as you can. 

That way, you don’t have to guess what users need from your website — their behavior will tell you. Get your launchpad up and running as soon as possible so you can begin gathering data, growing your website from there.

3. Keep your target market top-of-mind.

The decision-makers in your business will often represent a different demographic than your target audience. A disconnect with the decision-makers can lead to design and functionality choices that appeal to the wrong people — certainly not your target market.

By learning everything you can about your targets through research and data collection, you can make confident choices based on what will most resonate with your target audience.

As you grow your website, remember to base each decision on what will connect best with the people who will use your website to find answers and make purchase decisions.

Growth-driven design is your key to dealing with a more agile site design that easily can be tested to deliver the best results at a lower cost. It takes away the looming fear of website redesign and puts you in control of navigating your users’ shifting needs and interests. Once you have a lean launchpad and behavior data at your disposal, you can make responsive, insightful decisions about content, functionality, and design.

Image: AdobeStock-207766247

Kelly Bosetti

CEO and founder of CEA Marketing Group

Kelly Bosetti is the CEO and founder of CEA Marketing Group and a keynote speaker. CEA Marketing Group is a full-service advertising agency that focuses on digital marketing and building inbound marketing strategies.