As a website designer, your mission is to build assets for your clients. Whether a website exists as a simple calling card, a static sales letter, or an online shopping experience, that asset needs to meet each client’s ultimate goals. Your ability to meet those goals depends on your ability to ask the right questions before you start the project.
Asking the right questions is what leads to efficient UX and UI design and happy clients.
Questions are your most valuable tool as a designer. You’ve probably worked with clients who thought they had a fully developed business goal but didn’t. This revelation usually surfaces when designers ask questions a client hasn’t thought deeply about, yet the answers are necessary to move forward with the project.
Before you start a project, prompt your clients to go deeper with detailed questions. Make it your goal to know everything about your client and their business before you agree to work with them.
Clients often have other goals they don’t verbalize to designers because they don’t think it’s relevant to the design of their website. As a designer, always assume there’s more to your client’s goals than what they tell you. Knowing your client’s deeper goals will help you engineer a more efficient solution.
For example, Bliss Media created a new CMS solution called govCMS for clients in the Federal, state, and local departments in order to cut costs and streamline user experience across all agencies. They could have built each agency a unique website at a slight discount, but instead, they asked the right questions which led to a more effective solution.
“This represented an exciting opportunity to create efficiencies and save the Government a substantial amount of money. Through the development of a single platform that would meet the needs of a large percentage of these departments, a vast array of savings could be made across the board.”
In this case, unique websites would have derailed user experience and cost too much, even at a discount. Their custom CMS solution was perfect.
When you get a client to think beyond basic answers, you get them to clarify their own intentions, goals, and ideas, which in turn helps you build a better website. For instance, a client might tell you their goal is to generate a steady $1 million in annual revenue, but it isn’t enough to build the sales funnels that power their website.
If you proceed with this limited information, you’ll build a website focused on generating sales. This can include aggressive PPC and email marketing campaigns. You might offer promotions and BOGO deals across social media to bring in new sales or suggest the client introduce new items or packages to keep things fresh.
Launching an aggressive promotional strategy focused on sales is a viable way to meet a client’s revenue goals. However, there’s always more to the story than revenue, and your client’s deeper goals need to be woven into the infrastructure of their “money-making machine.” In other words, their deeper goals – the goals they don’t offer up front – are going to tell you how the client expects to generate their revenue.
When you ask questions that make the client think more deeply, you may discover what’s most important to the client is actually developing long-term relationships with their customers. If you build an asset that depends on constantly generating paid traffic to get once-off sales, you’ll never meet the client’s deepest desire for long-term relationships. They may not even know nurturing leads is an option.
According to research from Forrester, nurturing leads increases sales by 50% and costs 33% less. If your client wants to save money, you may need to explain the benefit of nurturing leads as opposed to continually generating paid traffic for once-off sales.
Your clients need to understand that the very design of their website and marketing infrastructure needs to be congruent with their ultimate goals. For example, a client with long-term relationship goals needs an email marketing campaign that nurtures leads over time. On the contrary, a client who doesn’t want to maintain customer relationships will benefit from an email marketing campaign with hard sells.
If you design a site full of hard sells for a client who really wants to nurture their prospects, they’ll notice the absence of long-term relationships. They’ll either ask you – or another designer – to help them get what they want, not realizing it could have been implemented from the start. Asking the right questions will make your development projects a win-win from the start.
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