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Why is growth-driven website design so freaking expensive?

Why is growth-driven website design so freaking expensive? Blog Feature

Daniel Escardo

Sr. Front-end Developer, 15+ Years of Web Development on HubSpot and Various CMSs

April 14th, 2021 min read

A website redesign is a hugely daunting task for any company, but especially for mid-sized business on the cusp of reaching that next-level customer engagement and conversion. 

Your typical website redesign project can be very expensive – burning through cash and time (your two most valuable resources) like it’s going out of style.

It’s so difficult to know exactly what you’re getting into at the outset of a year-long project and almost impossible to set a realistic budget and prepare your team for what’s ahead.

The most frustrating thing is, after all that time and money expended, you may not actually end up seeing the results you expect no matter how beautiful the new design is. 

Once you start to dive into the data and see how your customers use and interact with your site, you’ll certainly need further adjustments meaning even more time and money. For all these reasons, a few years ago digital agencies started to move into something called growth-driven design and it’s been a revolution. 

Growth-driven design and development vs. traditional

Growth-driven design, or GDD, is a methodology that is focused on the continuous improvement of your website based on testing, data and changes in your market. GDD is always laser focused on increasing conversions of motivated and educated consumers.

A traditional web design can take anywhere from three months all the way up to a year to build and is typically evaluated, redesigned and redeveloped after another one-and-a-half to two years years. Essentially, that means the second you launch it, your site is stuck until you go through this entire process all over again. 

Wouldn’t you rather be able to pivot if the data you collect in the next couple of months suggests a shift in strategy?

GDD vs Traditional

GDD is exactly that and a concept whereby strategy, design and development is driven by the latest data you have on hand thus, constantly evolving -- forever. As such, a GDD website is a website that starts out as a LaunchPad or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and immediately passes into continuous iteration and improvement.

That said, creating a great launchpad for your website and making sure it’s easily updated, expanded-on and improved is no small task, so you’re probably going to be on the market for an experienced team to get it done right.

The most experienced agencies have had years to pour over data from past projects and customers. They’ve been able to analyze what’s worked and what’s been completely under scope -- all the while adjusting and increasing their fees to ensure their next project is profitable and equitable for all parties involved translating to large numbers when the budget subject comes up.

Do you want a digital billboard or a powerful sales tool?

My point is if you’re in the market for a website that’s going to establish an online presence and do little else, this article probably isn’t for you, because online presence sites do very little to affect your bottom line and even less to empower your sales team.

Now, if you’re in the market for a website that’s going to serve as an extension of your sales team, and will educate your customers, qualify them and get them excited about engaging with your product or service, then we are, in fact, talking about a GDD site and, for a site like that, you can expect to pay roughly $30K to start with a commensurate maintenance retainer starting immediately after launch.

If you’re already thinking, “To start? What do you mean?! So the cost is infinite?” Please take my word for it: You’re looking at this the wrong way. 

First, it’s not a cost. It’s an investment which you should expect to become your best salesperson providing untold amounts of ROI. Second, and more importantly, you’ll want to make sure your best salesperson is always doing what it does best -- sell, educate and qualify in the most efficient way.

You wouldn’t look to hire a salesperson at a fixed cost of $30,000 and fire them after three months, would you? Typically, you’d assign an ongoing budget, design a way to track their contribution to your bottom line, provide a benefits package that’s competitive, etc. 

Well, it’s the same with this kind of website. A website that’s primed to enhance your sales, as well. You’ll want that site benefit to you to remain consistent, up-to-date and running lean and mean so your customers can stay qualified customers armed with all the information your website will afford them. 

This will save your sales team an enormous amount of time and make for a much better sales experience. I’m sure any person working in sales will agree that the best leads are educated and pre-qualified – which is your site’s primary purpose and the first place your prospects are going to turn when they look for information about the very product or service you provide.

This approach gets the best results

At IMPACT, we’ve moved into a GDD, retainer-based methodology because it just makes sense. We’ve stopped approaching projects as a one time investment altogether. It never works and no one has the proverbial crystal ball one would need to truly estimate how much a project will cost, how long it will take and that everyone involved is still going to be part of the project through fruition.

A better approach is to look at taking your overall website redesign budget and using a portion of it to create your brand spanking new launchpad site then appropriate a consistent budget that’s easy for customers to manage over time which will result in a return on investment that’s worth the effort.

It’s such a different experience for everyone involved plus it makes us (the agency) a partner in your ever growing business. 

That’s right! Ever. Growing. 

You didn’t get into business to sell just 100 widgets or service accounts. You want to grow. You want to increase your customer base. You want to succeed and then succeed some more so you can keep providing the best possible experience for your customers.

The best way to do that, especially in today’s remote world is to invest in your website and budget a portion of that growth to ensure you are consistently strategizing, refining, improving and preventing your site from ever getting stale.

So, what services should you expect for your investment?

When embarking on a GDD path, you’ll interview a bunch of experienced professionals that understand what it is you’re after and what you expect your website to do rather than how it will look.

Your brand and site design is super important and that is something a bunch of agencies will be able to get done for you, but it’s harder to find agencies that really embrace the strategy that’s required to make a website truly successful as a tool to empower your sales team to perform at the top of their game.

No team, no matter how much experience can tell the future so it’s important to hire an agency that embraces a fast paced, pivot oriented approach where strategy dictates design and development so usage on your site, changes in your market and analytics drive what direction your site will take rather than gut feelings, previous experience or opinions.

It’s not just art, it's science

Think of this as a science based operation where analytical data and facts are paramount and will ultimately be the deciding factor for which strategic direction your site will take. The design should also be based on facts as well as aesthetics and development will follow suit.

Overall, an ongoing approach is almost always going to be better for your bottom line since it will undoubtedly gain you a partner agency that’s leveraging all of its assets to ensure your success which, ultimately, leads to their own success, as well.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

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