How to be successful with new web initiatives
The expensive way to try new web technologies is the "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" approach. One of the traps that many organizations fall into when launching a new web initiative is putting the focus of the project on new technology or new functionality.
Often clients will come to Lyquix and say: "Our website needs video." or "We need to start blogging." or "Let's put together an e-mail campaign." To which our response is: Why?
- Are you trying to generate leads/sales?
- Do you want to provide information for educational purposes?
- Are you promoting an event?
- Do you want to grow your membership/contact list?
- How many people do you need to reach to make the project worth your time and budget?
Regardless of what you are doing with the new technology - building a website, developing a mobile application, creating a social media campaign or doing an e-mail blast - you have to start with the end result. You can't be successful if you don't have a benchmark against which to measure results. Not only do you need to build your communication tool, you need a strategy for getting your content in front of your target audience and for driving action from the user.
- If you post a video about the world's greatest product and no one sees it, how many people will buy?
- What if everyone sees the video, and there are no instructions on how to buy the product?
- What if video quality is poor and it puts a negative impression of your overall brand in the mind of the potential customer?
All of these questions should be answered in the planning process. The outline below takes you through some project phases that you need to include when launching any web campaign.
You outline the goals of the project, the strategy for successfully reaching your target audience, the key messages of the campaign, the channels through which the message will be delivered, the timeline for each channel launch, the call to action and the reporting process.
Technical Structure & Information Architecture
You lay out the technology being used in the campaign, the connections to and from any business systems, the end user experience and the priority of your content.
Another trap to be aware of in web campaign development is designing before planning. You have to complete the information architecture so that you appropriately prioritize your primary content over your secondary and lower level messages. When you do get to the design phase, image and branding are extremely important components. If your audience doesn't get the appropriate impression of your product, service or brand in the split second they glance at your e-mail or page, they won't bother to get into the content detail.
Web design is a very specific skill set. Be sure that you are working with designers that specialize in online media. Do not assume that your print materials will translate seamlessly to a web design project.
Build & Integrate
Not until everything is laid out in function and design should you start programming. This helps to reduce your programming time, cost and testing cycles significantly.
Launch, Report, Refine
Launch is not a finishing point, it is a starting point. This is where you execute the plan, you manage the program and you report on the result. Most of the time launch consists of ongoing adjustments to content and functionality based on the results that you are generating from the campaign.
By following an organized process and making sure you have the right personnel to manage each phase in the process, you will give your organization a much higher chance of success and you will avoid some common mistakes. ...Or, you can keep throwing things against the wall. Just be aware, the things that don't stick may be extremely costly to your organization.