It was just a little more than a year ago that I decided to embrace and test this new concept of website design called “Growth Driven Design” (GDD). The concept made a ton of sense; build a site around your users and their needs and you’ll produce better results. Our launch-pad site went live on August 1, 2015, and since then, I’ve been tracking, tweaking and improving our design and user experience. Over the last year, we have seen steady growth in traffic as well an amazing increase in conversions. So, how did we get here? Let’s go “Back to the Future” and see!
We made a huge transition as in agency in 2015. After doing SEO and web design on the side for years, I took a leap, quit my other job and focused my energy on building this side project into an Inbound Agency. While we were seeing success with our initial campaigns, I wasn’t satisfied with our lead conversion nor the amount of traffic we were generating. After learning about the growth driven web design process, I was inspired to give it a shot.
Marty McFly: Since when can weathermen predict the weather, let alone the future?
Making educated guesses is part of the marketer's job description. To say we know exactly what will happen as a result of our actions is just not true. Like the weatherman, we can only make predictions. Sometimes we are right and other times, well, we come up short. I had spent countless hours building my original site. I added in all the “cool” features I liked and when I was finished, many people complimented me on the design. I was convinced that this site would lead to great conversions and engagement, but my prediction was way off.
The main issue with my site at the time was that I built it for me. I added elements and features that I wanted and created the UX around what I expected a website should be. I had broken a cardinal sin in the UX world. I based my user-experience on MY EXPERIENCE and assumed that my users would match my expectations. Here’s the truth, your website is not for you, it’s for your users.
From March 2015 to July 2015 we saw steady growth in traffic and conversions, but I was looking for more. Over the years of running my business on the side, I greatly neglected my own marketing efforts. So once I began my inbound journey with HubSpot I started over. Now, typically we say it takes three to six months before you really see the needle move, but I didn’t have the luxury of waiting that long for results. I needed to grow yesterday, so the pressure was on. By using growth driven design my goal was to create a site that my users loved to interact with and as a result increase not just traffic, but conversions rates as well.
Dr. Emmett Brown: If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit.
After dialing in my buyer personas, interviewing clients and laying out what I needed for my launch-pad site my GDD site went live in August of 2015. The first month I didn’t see a huge uplift and I started to grow a little impatient. As you can see, I don’t like settling. Over the next few months, I tested out some other traffic channels to see how they responded. In September I chose AdWords. While traffic increased, conversions were, well, let’s just say not great. This pushed me further to see what I needed to do in order to improve conversions.
The answer came by way of personalization. Using tools like Hotjar, HubSpot, and Analytics I was begining to really see what my users wanted and didn’t want. I then was able to personalize my site to meet their needs. But the tool that pushed me over the edge was BrightInfo. After adding BrightInfo to my site I immediately saw a huge spike in conversions. The growth driven design process is about creating a site that meets your real users' expectations and needs. What can better meet your users' needs than a site that personalizes the experience for them?
BrightInfo’s software gets to know your individual users and then delivers the best fit content for them. To make the deal even sweeter, if you sync it with your HubSpot account, BrightInfo will be able to see the lifecycle stage of your visitors and deliver them personalized content based on where they are in the buyer's journey. This improves more than just site conversions, it increases sales because it helps move your visitors more quickly though the buyer's journey. And it does this in a non-pushy, personalized way.
Marty McFly: If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Over the course of the year I have continued to tweak my site more and more to improve our results. We don’t have to do as much now, but there are always things we can do to improve. Growth driven design is an on-going process. It’s about seeing your website as a “living” piece of your marketing efforts. After all, your website is where most of your prospective customers come in contact with you for the first time. Leaving them with a powerful first impression can go a long way in closing the deal. Since December of 2015 I have added new site pages, improved the design of our landing pages, made adjustments to CTAs, changed content and more. As a result, our site is running like a champ.
Traffic has seemed to hover around the 2k mark but compared to 200 a year before I’ll take it. What has been most impressive to see is our visits-to-contacts rate. Not once this year has it dropped below 2% and it's sitting at a very healthy 3.4%. There are still a number of things we want to do to continue this trend upward and I truly believe we can get our average to 5%. We took our average new contacts a month from 10 to 75, which is an increase of 650%. GDD isn’t rocket science, it’s practical marketing and design. It’s taking your users at their word and delivering an experience that matches or beats their expectations.
Marty McFly: I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.
While growth driven design is a fairly new concept, those who are embracing it are also seeing outstanding results. Change is never easy, but in order to grow, it’s necessary. If your site is stuck in low conversion rates and people are bouncing off left and right it’s time for a change. It’s time to put your users' needs ahead of your own and meet them where they are. It’s time for you to build a site that is designed for growth. The numbers speak for themselves, the question is are you going to stay in the past or hit 88 miles per hour and blast into our future?
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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