Website redesigns are exciting. Before we started working on the actual design and coding of our own website redesign at SparkReaction, we tackled one very important task: revisiting our buyer personas. All too often, companies refresh their website without this crucial step, which is a bad idea.
If you’re tempted to do the same — that is, dive into redesign without developing personas for your ideal customers — let me convince you otherwise.
Ask the Right Questions
Before moving full speed ahead into design and coding, map out your website. Create pages for each of your buyer personas and for each phase of their journey. Then keep these important questions in mind:
Which buyer persona(s) do we want to look at this page?
Which stage of the buyer’s journey should this page focus on?
What is the visitor looking for on the page?
Does the page provide what the buyer persona wants and needs?
Do the offers and CTAs move the buyer persona further down the funnel?
There’s no right answer to these questions, but taking the time to answer them will make sure your site is actually serving your ideal prospects and turning them in to actual customers!
Attracting Qualified Visitors
When getting started with an inbound marketing strategy, identifying and addressing buyer personas should be the first step. When done correctly, inbound marketing activities will bring customers in, rather than you having to go out to get their attention.
Creating realistic buyer personas in the beginning will help you make sure you’re attracting the right customers. Buyer personas give each page of your company website a clear purpose and guide every redesign decision you make. Ignoring buyer personas will work against inbound methodology.
You may wonder, “Can I create buyer personas after the website redesign is complete?” The answer is: absolutely not. If you jump ahead to redesign your site and create your buyer personas afterwards, you’ll most likely see one of two results:
You develop great buyer personas that truly reflect your potential customers, but your freshly designed site doesn’t really work for them. When viewers visit your site, they won’t convert to leads because they won’t find it helpful.
You fall in love with your new site so much that you base your buyer personas off of the site itself. Even if the personas appreciate your site, they might not actually become customers because they’re not your target audience.
In either case, you won’t be attracting the right visitors, which means you won’t generate leads or customers. That means your redesign was a waste.
If you skip the most important part of a website redesign, your new site will do nothing for your business. Take a step back and write thorough stories for your buyer personas to inform your redesign decisions. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.
While identifying buyer personas is definitely the first step in the website redesign process, you can’t just cross them off your list after launching your site. After the redesign launches, test its effectiveness with your target audience.
We use Hotjar and CrazyEgg to create heat maps and see how visitors are actually using our website. Data can help with this, but asking current customers or potential leads for their thoughts can provide even more valuable feedback and further improve your site.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Josh Ames spends his time managing the day-to-day operations of SparkReaction, an inbound marketing agency that’s driven by creative solutions and real analytics. Between creating strategies, fine tuning tactics and diving deep into analytics, he also spends time building websites on the HubSpot COS platform. A version of this article originally appeared on the author’s company’s blog. Connect with @josh_ames on Twitter.