I’m thrilled to be launching a new-look Collective website, but it’s been a labour of love trust me, and there are some lessons I’ve learned during this process that I’m determined to remember for the next time I’m evolving my brand and marketing materials!
Deciding that a new Collective Comms website was needed was easy. The website should underpin and reflect all other marketing efforts, but the Collective Comms site felt outdated to me.
I’d launched the website within my first month in business, based on what I thought Collective Comms should represent, but now that I’m living and breathing the brand I realised that the website no longer represents the pitch I give to people I meet and work with.
So, having recently taken the time to reassess what my brand stands for, how best I communicate it and how I’ll transform my website into a valuable marketing asset, I thought I’d share some of the tips I picked up along the way.
Check out the competition
A useful task is to gain an understanding of how your business stands up against other businesses that potential customers will also come across. Will you stand out? Will you stand out for the right reasons? Will you compete? What can you offer that they don’t?
Take a look at how your competitors are marketing themselves and consider what you like and don’t like about their approach. This will steer your thinking and give you a tangible brief to give to any suppliers you’re working with to develop your brand.
Go back to the beginning
If you’re the business owner, go back over any brand guidelines or business plans you created when you launched. If you’re an employee, ask to dig out some of these brand documents or maybe even review your employee handbook; anything that outlines the business values, mission and services.
Evolving your brand to meet the needs of your customers and remain competitive is a great thing to do, but make sure you remain true to what your business stands for and the service you set out to deliver.
What is the single most important piece of information?
There’s always a risk of over-complicating and diluting your brand if you try to be too many things to too many people, so have your strap-line/descriptor at the forefront of your mind and find ways to emphasise that message.
This is particularly important on your website. If you’re writing the copy yourself it’s easy to feel you have to create new messages for every page but remember, very few visitors will read every page of your website (unfortunately!), so making sure your key message is super-clear throughout the site is so important.
Ask people for their opinions
Proceed with this task with caution!
When you’re so close to a business it can be hard to gain clarity on how it’s being perceived, so asking others for their opinions during design/copywriting/development phases can be a great way to challenge your strategy.
But (and this is a big but!) make it a productive session. Putting a website in front of people and asking ‘what do you think’ can open up a free-for-all for opinions and the outcome is unlikely to be useful.
Instead, create a focus-group session (this can be with colleagues, suppliers, customers…even friends and family) where you put a number of questions to the room.
- Do you find this website easy to navigate through?
- How does it compare to competitor 1 and competitor 2?
- What three things stood out to you most?
Decide on a deadline
It’s too easy to keep adapting and tweaking and reviewing and making yet more amends…and before you know it you’re six-months down the line and you’re still debating whether it’s ‘quite there yet’.
Don’t rush, you need to be confident with the brand and materials you’re sharing but give yourself a realistic deadline to be sure you don’t fall into the trap of 52 rounds of amends!