We have just launched our new website – a huge undertaking by the team – we would love to know what you think. We thought it would be useful to share the process with you.
Whenever we help clients work out a digital marketing or social media strategy – or even a strategy about how to use social media channels, we will take clients through our strategy cycle which Mary first outlined in the 2012 edition of . It made sense to go through these same steps when updating the Concise Training website.
Many of you may have seen the existing Concise Training website. It was originally created in 2009 and then went through a major rework to add e-commerce functionality in 2012. In 2014 it was reworked to work on a mobile and ever since we have bolted on add-ons and added links to the product pages to add additional functionality.
Even though we still get many positive comments about the website, Mary has known for a while that it wasn’t working as well as it should be:
- It wasn’t appearing high enough in search results for enough of our products
- Buyers weren’t engaging enough with the site – it wasn’t easy to use
- Some of the products, particularly our diplomas, were not easy to sign up to – there wasn’t enough emphasis on benefits and the registration process was not as slick as it should be
- Although the mobile version of the site worked, it wasn’t easy to use on mobile
- It did not visually reflect the way the brand has developed, in particular, there was a disparity with its social media channels.
However, Mary had put off making the changes. She knew it would cost a lot to outsource. She also knew that outsourcing wasn’t the best option as we wanted to be able to make changes to the site going forward ourselves. One of the problems we have had with the current website is that we weren’t able to make all the changes that we wanted to as some of the functionality had been coded into the template. We didn’t want to have this problem for the next 10 years. So, it made sense to create the website ourselves – after all that is one of the services we offer – but it meant that Mary had to stop client work to give the team enough time to start from scratch and get it done which was going to be a big investment in time.
Every year Concise have a face–to–face team meeting during the first week of December. In 2017, after our dinner, one of the team members bought another bottle of wine for her and Mary to share and by the end had got Mary to agree to make the change! The power of the team!
It is important to understand why you are using digital marketing. Our overall aims for the new version of the website were to:
- Keep the same branding but make the website even cleaner and more modern
- Provide a seamless experience on smartphones and tablets
- Clearly offer the full range of training options we have – online, face to face and bespoke, digital and social media marketing and Microsoft office
- Strengthen our search rankings which, in some services, have dropped away over the past few years
- Clearly, state the benefits of what we offer – we have tended to talk about features rather than benefits in the past
- Make it easier to find out information about our diplomas and register/purchase.
We had to remember that we had several different audience personas depending on the product/services that we offer.
- We offer MS Office training to client sites and to be honest, that is quite a nice earner for us. We are not found often these days but when we are found, we offer a bespoke personalised approach that people do like. I didn’t want to lose that training as an option and wanted to make it easier to find. We used to appear well on search results for office training and that needed to be improved again. This audience group would find us through search and also through referrals. The persona looking for this is normally an HR Manager or Office Manager or corresponding assistants in a business.
- Our bespoke social media and digital marketing training are delivered on client site. This is normally by referral or via LinkedIn, but we know people who have been referred do look at our website for more information about the range of services we offer. This service was difficult to find on the old website and didn’t truly represent the benefits of the service we could offer. We find many of the audience are professional services or small businesses. Often the end user – marketing manager or assistant will ask for help but sometimes it will the senior partner or director. The information needs to be easy to understand and easy to find with a clear call to action.
- Our online short training courses were again difficult to find on the old site. These are normally bought by individuals who want to upskill or small business owners who want to use social media to grow their business.
- Our City & Guilds qualifications are bought by individuals who want to set themselves up as a freelance consultants/people who want to make a career change or people who want to grow their business – might be marketing managers or assistants or business owners.
For each audience type or persona, we needed to think about their journey for each of the options. What did they need to know to establish trust and what journey would they go through to purchase or contact us.
In the case of the website rather than channels, we looked at the process and journey audience would take.
Something that was important to us is that we needed to make it easy for visitors to find the training courses we offer so we have implemented this search box on the home page to allow people to search by type of course or qualification. This means that we don’t have to rely on people using the menu but allow people to use the site in a more natural language way.
For each audience personas, we investigated how to ease the journey through the website. Taking the Diploma in Digital marketing qualification as an example, we looked at the process people go through. There are lots of qualifications available at the moment so we want to make it easy for people to compare what we offer, contact us and register.
Initially, we came up with this process, the initial options would be:
- Register for the free information webinar
- Get in touch
- Register for the course
Scrolling down the page gave the option to look at the full brochure or watch a webinar recording.
However, looking at our competitors, we thought it would be better to give somebody an option to download the brochure or look at the webinar more up front, so we came up with these options.
We felt this more clearly represented the journey somebody would go through. Visitors would ask for the brochure, watch a webinar, then register for the course – or they could get in touch to ask questions. We know this course is a big investment and we want to make it easy for people to have trust in what we offer.
We debated whether to ask for an email address in return for a brochure. A leading competitor is doing so and therefore we are going to do the same at the moment. There is a lot of extra information on the page so if somebody wants to find out more they can – and they can watch the webinar without leaving an email address. In general, we know we need to talk to somebody to convert them.
If people look further down the page, we have sections that answer the questions:
- What are the Benefits
- Who is it for?
- What will I learn?
- How much does it cost?
- How long does it take?
Clearly, this has taken a long time to create and has involved all members of the team to design the site, get it to work technically, write the content and then test the site.
We want this site to last for another 10 years though so it is worth putting in the big push now. We are also hoping when it is live it will act as a good showcase for our Concise Digital web development service.
When we launch the site, we need to think about how we are going to tell people. It makes sense to tie it into our 10thbirthday and run a competition to a) get people to visit the site and b) to try to add to our newsletter list(underGDPR compliance). Watch this space for details. We are also telling the story of the development in this blog post and sharing on our social media channels.
We are delighted with the result. We believe the new site has a much more modern up-to-date look which reflects that the business can keep abreast of advances in the ever–changing world of digital marketing and social media.
Of course, the proof of whether this was a good thing to do will be to see how our traffic increases, to get anecdotal comments on the site and to see how sales increase. We also hope to see our work increase as we make clearer links between the sites.
We will be watching the Google Analytics closely over the next few months as well as how we appear in search results and tweaking as necessary.
We would love to know what you think of our new website?