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The Website Relaunch Survival Guide: Setting a Strategy with Stakeholders

A website relaunch impacts all sides of your business. Here's how to align stakeholders to support a relaunch and set strategic goals.

When it comes to relaunching your brand website, everyone has an opinion. And for good reason. With 84% of people spending more time engaging on digital channels in 2020 than the previous year, the website is the entryway for many into your total customer experience and can serve as a 24/7 lead and revenue generation engine even while your employees are asleep. A company website is the hub for all other digital marketing activities across your various channels from promoting brand awareness to driving event registrations to converting new customers or supporting current customer success efforts. To ensure your creating connected customer journeys, all teams and departments must be aligned in what their goals are for this site. So how can teams create an effective digital strategy for a website relaunch that brings all stakeholders on board? 

It starts with identifying the right audience for your message and diving into your data and setting clear, measurable goals that will bring about valuable changes without slowing down or complicating the work your business is already doing. Instead of trying to wipe the slate clean, here are the few critical areas to begin when mapping out your site transformation. 

Identifying Stakeholders Who Understand the Customer Experience

While the CMO or head of marketing is typically the lead figure championing a website redesign, it’s crucial that all sides of the business are able to recognize the value of investing in a project of this scope, and that key stakeholders align on the goals that the new site will accomplish. A big mistake that companies make when undertaking a site redesign is that they spend too much time talking to themselves or others in their field. They look to other pretty websites of big name companies or competitors and attempt to duplicate their look and feel. However, your website shouldn’t reflect how you want to appear in the industry. It should cater to the needs of your unique audience. Your site visitors have more digital channels and brands vying to win their attention than ever before. You need to connect with them first before you can begin communicating the value of your products. 

Therefore, it's important to consult departments who have direct interaction with customers like sales reps, customer success and UX teams. These are the people who are having conversations with customers each day, and can point you toward the kinds of content those customers are asking for most often. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure to have buy-in from your CIO from the start to navigate any additional technology features or integrations that need to be included in the relaunch. Finally, for a company like Acquia who works with today’s premiere digital experience leaders, it was essential to get input from those stakeholders that most resembled our ideal customers. We brought the C-suite into the strategy conversations to identify what their own priorities were when searching for solutions and asked how we could design a site journey that best met their needs in a fast, simple way. 

Use Metrics as Your Guiding Light

Data and metrics serve as the guideposts to measure success, and a data-driven culture starts with focusing on the kinds of data and results that are the most important to customer lifetime value. When analyzing the previous Acquia website to determine what we could improve, we looked at things such as the types of pages and entry points that were already driving conversions and traffic and focused on these areas in the relaunch. Our goal was to prioritize what our users and customers were most interested in by looking at their previous site behavior, so that we could redesign a site that reflects the needs of real people. We saw users as researchers and active participants in their own journey, not just as buyers who we were funneling toward a single point of purchase. By looking at how users navigated the site and engaged with different content types, we gained a better sense of the different pathways we needed to create on the new site. 

When setting KPIs and performance benchmarks for the new website, it's easy to focus on content that converts the most MQLs or drives people to connect with a sales rep. However, you shouldn’t overlook the many actions that take place in between discovery and conversion. So much of the customer experience occurs within the research phase, which is why, as Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi explained, “We wanted the site to include a mix of content resources and visuals [to create] a more purpose-driven experience for each of our customer personas.”

According to The Aberdeen Group, businesses that utilize visual engagement tactics see an 83% increase in annual revenue compared to their competitors. Research found that websites that used visual engagement as well as text saw their conversion rates more than double. When determining the KPIs that best represent total customer experience and engagement, organizations should look at different types of conversion factors (content downloads, webinar registrations, demos booked) as well as metrics that demonstrate when customers display sustainable interest in your brand. This behavior data includes things like repeatedly visiting a certain page or spending significant time engaging with a specific article or video. By evaluating different metrics like new vs. returning users, average page time, number of sessions per user and individual conversion rates, we had a more nuanced view of the kinds of leads we were attracting and the content that resonated most with them. Tempering opinions with data is the best way to avoid falling into the trap of copying what other leading businesses are saying worked best for them. Looking to your own data ensures you can respond directly to what your customers are telling you. 

Design a Future-Focused Workflow Without Sacrificing Business Operations 

While it’s easy to view a website relaunch as a clean slate, in reality, businesses can’t start from scratch without bringing their current business operations to a grinding halt. Development teams need a workflow that is both looking toward the future while still living in the present and managing the past. Rather than press pause, our developers created parallel paths to launch new updates. This agile development structure allowed current users from all sides of the business to keep accessing the content they need to do their jobs and stay connected to customers. We batched initiatives like the creation of new content types and product pages into a series of smaller, mini-launches that could then be adjusted and iterated on over time leading up to the official “Big Launch Day.”

Since the Acquia site had such a long history and contained an enormous amount of existing content and functionalities, one of our greatest aims was figuring out how to maintain all of this content and translate it for our new vision without erasing past progress. We spent a lot of time auditing our content and metadata to document a content migration strategy that would allow us to maintain our current SEO rank and domain authority when moving to Drupal 9.

By being so thorough in our planning and strategic vision of the new site from the start, we could prioritize speed and agility above all else. By balancing both the existing needs of the present, supported by the agility and flexibility of Drupal, our team was ready to move to the future and think about what comes next.

In the next blog in our website relaunch series, we’ll dive deeper into how we approached the content modeling process and optimized our content architecture in Drupal 9.

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