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6 Months with Growth Driven Design and This is All That Happened

Jan 14, 2016
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A Growth Driven Design Year End Review:

Growth_Driven_Design_-_Year_End_Review.jpgIn a world of smart phones, smart TVs and smart appliances, why do we settle for websites that are static and generic? Isn’t time that we apply smart technology to the way we think about website design? Thankfully there is a solution. Growth Driven Design is a way to make your website smarter. It gives your site the flexibility to adapt to your users and deliver a more personalized experience.

We live in a customizable world. A world where the user experience is just as important as the products and services themselves. If we are going to be able to connect with our audience through our websites, we must understand what they need and how they want to interact with us. The end result is a place our users can go, to not only get what they need, but have an experience that creates a connection with our business.

A Brief Recap of My Journey

My journey with Growth Driven Design started about 6 months ago. I was a few months into embracing Inbound Marketing for my agency, but when looking at the conversion rates of my site, I was frustrated. I felt that my marketing efforts were going well. I had passed all of the Hubspot certification tests, all of my landing pages, emails and forms were designed for personas and met best practices. But for one reason or another the conversions just were not happening. I stumbled upon Growth Driven Design when my CAM at Hubspot sent me info on Luke Summerfeild’s upcoming webinar. Within 5 minutes, I was convinced. Growth Driven Design was the answer to my problems.

What Is Growth Driven Design? 

Instead of building a site based on assumptions and hunches, Growth Driven Design is all about the data. The real difference is that your site is “living.” What I mean by that is that it’s always being tested and tweaked to maximize results. Below is a brief overview of how Growth Driven Design works.  

By taking a systematic approach to shorten the time to launch and by focusing on real impact, Growth Driven Design helps to avoid the risks of traditional web design. Once the site is up, the process continues.

By constantly researching, testing and learning about a website's visitors and how they use the site, we can make more informed ongoing website improvements. Through continuous improvements we can reach peak performance. 

Growth Driven Design does more than just help create a better website. All of the actions taken are tightly integrated with marketing & sales. What we learn about visitors helps inform and improve marketing and sales strategies & tactics.

Here’s How Growth Driven Design Impacted My Marketing

So after 6 months of Growth Driven Design, it’s time to review the results. As I stated above and in a few other posts I’ve done on this topic (Growth Driven Design Posts), converting traffic was my number one issue.  I wasn’t generating a ton of traffic when I launched my new site, but I should have been converting better.

conversions_pre_GDD.png

I officially started my inbound marketing in March of 2015. As you can see my traffic was growing each month and I was converting some of my visitors into contacts. My first leads were not great and many of them were current clients and others I knew were interested in what I was doing. In July my traffic grew, but as you could see, my visits-to-conversion rate dropped drastically.

Conversions_post_GDD.jpg

In the first month of my GDD site, my visits-to-conversions were still below 1%. I continued to tweak and work on growing traffic. One of my hypothesis was that more traffic would equal more conversions. While I was able to “buy” more traffic through PPC, the percent of conversions went down. What was worse, the quality of the few leads I was getting were terrible.

I pulled my paid search back in October and simplified my landing pages. November was the month everything really started coming together. I added a resource center, about us page and tweaked the landing pages a little more. I also teamed up with BrightInfo and integrated more smart content on my site, as well as using their paid search platform. (Check out my case study on BrightInfo Here) The results were amazing. My visits-to-contact rate went through the roof. Even more incredible was the types of contacts I was getting. Finally, the leads I was pursuing were not just visiting my site, but connecting with me.

When I dug deeper into my metrics I was blown away by my landing page conversion rates. Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher, according to an article by Search Engine Land. As a Hubspot partner, we strive to meet the 20% conversion rate. Before the launch of my GDD site here were the top preforming landing pages.

lp_before_gdd.png

My best preforming page was just over 15.5%. Here is what the happened in the first 3 months after the launch of my Growth Driven Designs site.

3_month_LP_GDD.png

I got close to the magic number of 20% on one page, but others still were not quite there. You can see they were getting more traffic from page search, they just weren’t converting. This lead me to question my paid search strategy. Why would I pay for people to come to my site who didn’t want to be there? 

Here was my hypothesis after these 3 months. Paid was driving traffic, but not the type of traffic I needed. Since they didn’t fit my persona, my site didn’t work nor would it work in converting them.  So after pulling the plug on AdWords and focusing more on the people who did need what my site had to offer, here is what happened.

GDD_LP_november_and_decemmber_.png

There we go! That’s what I’m talking about. By taking a step back and looking at my strategy as a whole, I was able to make an informed decision about my content, my marketing strategy and how to create a website that invites my visitors to connect. All of my conversions went up and the trend has continued into January.

I see Growth Driven Design as just a piece of my entire marketing efforts, but an extremely important piece. Just changing your site month-to-month won’t produce results on its own. But when you merge GDD with a Full-Funnel Inbound Campaign and sprinkle in personalized content, you get results.

Just for fun here is one more graph that shows how it builds along the way.

traffic_growth_all_year.png

The biggest lesson I have learned is to be consistent in your process and open to the possibility that you are wrong. I was dead wrong about AdWords and will never waste money there again. But paid search with BrightInfo did work. I had a 38% conversion rate with them in the first month.

By using all of the avenues available to drive traffic to my site, then adapting and building my site around my persona and their needs, I have set my agency up for continued growth. I now can back my intuition and feelings with data. This leads to better decisions and a much higher ROI.

Inbound Marketing Campaign Launch Guide  

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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