C: "I just want a website."
C: "I just want a quote."
C: "Can't you give me a price."
How many websites fail to answer these three questions?, Y: "What is it?", Y: "Who is it for?", Y: "What do I get?"
Most web designers don't have this basic understanding of their client's business..., Y: "What business are you in?", Y: "Where does your business find customers?", Y: "What is your business's sales funnel?", Y: "Where does your website fit in that system?"
How can you demonstrate results without doing Discovery?
C: "Why are you asking me all of these questions about my business? I just want a website.", Y: "I feel you. You might be uncertain as to why I need to know about your business in order to build a website for you...or even just build a quote.", Y: "A lot of the clients I've worked with before felt the same way. I even used to just hand out quotes without understanding my client's business. I used to just sell websites.", Y: "What I found was that it wasn't in the best interest of my clients business to do that. Many times we built needless features or websites that didn't move the needle for a business.", Y: "I prefer to do deep discovery now. I want to learn about a business and all of the moving parts. I build websites that act more like an extension of the business I'm working with. Let me show you some examples of this in action..."
Y: "Do you agree that a website is a critical part of your business?", C: "No.", Y: "Why not?", C: "Yes, I do.", Y: "If you end up hiring me, I'm going to be working with you for the next few years to support your business. In my opinion we should spend a few hours up front figuring out the best solution before working together. Does that sound good?"
Use "why" as a tool, How deep does the rabbit hole go?
C: "I need a new website.", Y: "Why?", C: "Because we aren't ranking on Google.", Y: "Why?", C: "We can't blog.", Y: "Why?", C: "Because we don't have a blog system.", Y: "Why do you think blogging will help you on Google?", Answers lead you to an educational opportunity., Here is why I think blogging is important...., Here is why I think ranking in search is important..., OR, keep digging until you find the core ISSUE/PROBLEM/PAIN, C: "Because I read about it in Inc magazine.", C: "That's what all the books say.", etc., C: "We don't have anyone that can write on a regular basis.", Y: "If I can help you solve that problem, would that be of value to you?", C: "Yes.", Y: "Great. I think blogging can be an incredible way to get more customers for businesses. I'd love an opportunity to show you how we've helped another client leverage their blog to [accomplish something here]. Do you mind if I show you?", Learning moment., Get back to discovery..., Y: "I've made note of that, what else are you having issues with?", C: "No.", Y: "Have you thought about why having a writer help you with your blog might help you get more customers?", Get client to see how this tool could help them., Keep doing discovery., C: "We're not sure how...", Y: "If I could help you with that, would that be of value to you?", C: "Yes.", Y: "Great. I'd love to show you how we blog to get more clients. I find that it's important to have a clear strategy when looking at a marketing tactic like blogging. It's important to make sure if you are going to invest time and energy into that type of activity that it's actually going to provide a return for your business. Here is an example of a client that we worked with where we helped them use their blog to get on page 1 of Google. It took a lot of work, but it doubled the amount of traffic they were getting to their website which in turn increased the amount of emails on their list by a factor of 6.", C: "We can't update our website.", Y: "Why is updating your website important to you?", C: "Because we want to make sure our website has the right content about our products and services.", Y: "Have you thought much about why content on your website is important?", C: "Not really, we just figured we need up to date content...", Learning opportunity., Y: "Content is the most important part of your website. If your site is not grabbing attention and connecting with your target market, your visitor is going to bounce. It's not enough to just have up to date content, your content needs to be carefully crafted to speak to your customers deep problems and issues. Once we've connected with a customer, we want to make sure that there is a clear opportunity to opt-in or become a lead or sale for your business.", C: "So you're saying that it's not enough to just update our website?", Y: "Exactly. We could very easily put your website onto WordPress so you could update your website...that's easy., Y: "But we find that when we *just* do that, our clients tend to flounder. You aren't a content expert. You probably aren't a writer. While you might really understand your business, when we've helped clients carefully craft their website content and use that to drive a visitor through a specific workflow, websites all of a sudden have big impacts on our clients businesses.", Dive deeper into discovery..., Y: "Before we talk too much about content, I think it's important to understand your various customer segments. Who do you sell to?", And continue..., C: "Our first web designer didn't build the site correctly.", Y: "Why do you think he was unable to build the site correctly?", C: "Because he never finished the project. We asked him to do X, Y, and Z and he just dropped off the map., Y: "Why did you hire him in the first place?", C: "Because he was a friend of mine's son...", Y: "Yeah, hiring a *hobbyist* as I like to call them can be dangerous. I want to let you know that building online businesses for people is my primary business. This is what puts food on the table for my family. I don't mess around with not delivering what I say I'm going to deliver. I'm happy to introduce you to some of my current clients so you can get an idea of the type of work I do and how I keep my word.", Y: "Let's take a look at some specifics that you think are still wrong with your website. I'd be happy to help fix any glaring issue that might be wrong with your current site so you aren't embarrassed about [X] anymore.", Continue diving into issues/problems and dive deeper into Discovery, C: "I don't know...", Y: "Why is ranking in Google important to you?", C: "Our competitors are #1 and we aren't even ranking on page 1.", Y: "Why is ranking #1 important to you?", C: "Because we want more traffic to our business.", Y: "Why is getting more traffic more important to you?", C: "Because we aren't getting enough leads from our website.", Y: "Why is getting leads from your website important?", C: "Because we want to grow our business dammit!", Y: "BINGO!!! I just want to make sure you brought me in to help you solve that problem and not just a website problem. If all I do is help you build a new website, I might be missing the ultimate point of what you'd like to accomplish with your site.", Y: "Now that I know that you are trying to grow and get more customers, we can start to dive deeper into who your customers are, what problems you help them solve, and how you think you might be able to attract more customers.", Dive deeper into discovery..., C: "We need to get more traffic from our website.", Repeat above., C: "I hear that it can help our business grow.", They might get right to their main pain. This isn't the end, you need to use this as a platform to keep doing discovery., C: "Because our site is outdated.", Y: "Why?", C: "It was created five years ago.", Y: "Why haven't you been able to update it over the last five years?", C: "It wasn't built on a Content Management System.", or, C: "We just haven't had the time...", Y: "Why didn't your last web designer help you update the site?", C: "He disappeared right after our first project.", Y: "Yeah...that happens with fly by not operators. That's not how I operate., Y: "Is it important to you that we are available to support you after we launch your site?", C: "Yes, very important. We are happy to pay for ongoing support, but no one will help us.", Y: "Later I will make sure to tell you exactly how our support plans work., Make note about post-launch support being a pain point, make sure to cover in solution presentation., C: "Because we don't like the design.", Y: "Why?", C: "The colors and branding don't match our current logo.", Y: "Why is that important to you...?", C: "Isn't it important to make sure everything looks good?", Educational moment..., Y: "I think design is incredibly important. Design tends to be that thing that helps to build credibility in the first three seconds someone is on your website. The other thing it can affect is whether or not your visitors are able to find the content they're looking for quickly. Design can affect a lot of factors on the website.", Y: "Is there anyone in your market that you think has a site that looks great?", Use as tool to do deeper discovery into what they want...
An "I don't know" moment., You can dig a little deeper and help the customer uncover something about their business/website they weren't aware of., Ask why "[x topic]" is important to them..., Y: "Why is blogging important to you?", Y: "Why is ranking in Google important to you?", Y: "Why is social media important to you?"
An "educational" moment.", Y: "I'd love to tell you a bit about how blogging works...", Y: "Blogging is important because search engines consume content to help understand what your business is about.", Y: "But more important than that, blogging provides you a communication channel to have a public conversation and demonstrate your expertise to existing and potential customers. ", Y: "A great blog can help you develop an audience of followers that look to you for your expertise. And as Google sees that you are consistently sharing high value content, they are going to make those pages (and your website) relevant for keywords associated to the topics that you are sharing information about. ", Y: "I'd love to tell you a bit about why traffic is important...", Y: "We can spend all of the money in the world building you the best website out there, but if no one is visiting it, then it doesn't really matter.", Y: "Analogy to "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?" - same thing as, "if we build you a beautiful website and now one goes to it, does it help your business?"", Y: "I find that most people want to use their website as a tool to get more customers.", Y: "There are about 2.5 billion people on the internet.", Y: "That means there is a good possibility that you have potential customers looking for goods and services on the web. There might be some big opportunities using your website and internet marketing to drive more business to you.", Y: "There are a lot of different "buckets," if you will, of types of traffic we could drive to your business...", Y: "We could help you rank higher in Google for well searched terms.", Y: "We could help you connect with your audience through social media.", Y: "We could pay for traffic to your site.", Y: "I'd love to tell you a bit about why conversion is important...", Y: "When someone comes to your website and "does something" - we consider that a conversion.", Y: "This could be filling out your buying a product, filling out your contact form, or signing up for your email list.", Y: "It doesn't matter how much traffic we drive to your website...if your site is not setup correctly to convert that traffic to something of value to your business, we are creating waste.", Y: "Chances are, if you already have a website and have paid for traffic, you are wasting money by not thinking about how your website acts as a sales funnel to drive conversions.", Y: "A perfect example of this is when websites have "join our newsletter" boxes. This is one of the weakest form of "opt-ins" that are in your marketing toolbox. An "opt-in" is when someone provides their email address to you and gives you permission to send them future marketing messages.", Y: "I'd love to tell you why traffic and conversion are such a powerful strategy.", Y: "Imagine that you have a bucket and you are pouring water into it from a hose...", Y: "The water is the traffic. It's people that are coming to your website...", Y: "The bucket is your website.", Y: "Now, there are a lot of factors at play here...", Y: "Like, how hard is the water pouring into the bucket? Is it a lot of water at high pressure or a little water with no pressure? Is the water even aimed at the bucket?", Y: "Same goes for the bucket...how big is the bucket? Is it positioned to catch the most amount of water? Are there a bunch of holes in the bucket that are allowing water to escape? Is the water just building up in the bucket and overflowing or are you able to use the water for something useful like watering your garden (ie. business)?", Y: "Hopefully this water/bucket analogy creates a visual for you to understand why your website and how it interacts with the internet is so vitally important. There are a variety of problems that can exist for you with your business online - your website might have holes in it and isn't capturing the value that's important to you; you might not have very much traffic coming into your website to begin with - nobody is coming to your site.", Y: "I'd love to tell you why your email list is such an important asset for your business...", Y: "If you aren't currently building or leveraging email as a marketing channel, you might be missing out on a huge opportunity to get more customers or more business with your existing customers.", Y: "Email is still the most widely used communication platform in the world.", Y: "Email is personal and private.", Y: "The way email boxes work these days, you can essentially send an entire web page or landing page to someone in their inbox. Or you can communicate a very specific message that has a high chance of being read. ", Y: "Unlike other marketing channels like facebook or twitter, you own your email list. It can't be take away from you and the rules for email don't really change very often because of the universal framework.", Y: "A lot of times when people visit your website, they are browsing - not yet ready to buy or reach out for a next step. But if we can convince that person to give us their email address right now in exchange for some valuable information that will solve a problem they have today...then we can build a series of communications that keeps you top of mind with that person so when they are ready to buy or take that next step - you are the first person they reach out to."
An identification of a ROOT PAIN, There is a difference between a root cause of a problem and merely the symptom., You want to peel back the layers of the onion until you get to that "Ah hah!" moment with the client. These moments are where you both learned something that was unknown prior to discovery., Learning what is really important to them, not just "in the moment."
Business overview, Y: "What business are you in?", Y: "Where do you find customers?", Y: "Walk me through your sales funnel?", Y: "What are the core functions of your business?", Y: "Who are the key stakeholders in your business? What are their names and positions?"
Stated needs, Y: "Do you already have a requirements list?", Y: "What are the big problems you are trying to solve?", Y: "Have you determined what success would look like yet?"
Existing website, No, Y: "Is there a website that best represents what you want?", Yes, Y: "What do you love about your existing site?", Y: "What do you hate about your existing site?", Y: "Who built your current site?", Y: "Why aren't you looking to hire them?", Y: "Do you have Google Analytics installed?, C: "No...", Y: "Do you mind if I install it for you before we get any further into discovery?"
Buying process, Y: "Do you have a process already defined for how you plan to hire a web professional to help you with this project?", If Yes..., Y: "What is that process?", Y: "Who are the key stakeholders involved in making the decision to who you hire?", If they are not in the meeting with you..., Y: "It might make sense to involve them at certain parts in the process, is that ok?"
Research, Existing site, Traffic, Where are they currently getting traffic?, Where do they currently rank in Google?, Who are their competitors on Google?, How many inlinks do they have?, Are they paying for traffic?, Conversion, If they don't have an intentional "traffic funnel" on their existing site, what is the unintentional funnel...ie, what are visitors doing when they get to the website., What are the existing calls to action?, Is there an email signup?, Is it a value-add opt-in or just a newsletter subscription?, Is there an autoresponder?, What is their email frequency?, Assess the website copy..., Are headlines customer-focused?, Customer focused means that they speak directly to the customers pain/problem/worldview and does not lead with the businesses "about me" messaging., Is the copy written for the web?, Are they using short sentences with punchy copy?, Are they using bold, italics, bulleted lists, numbered lists, quote highlights to grab attention?, Is there an "arch" to the content?, Frey 12 step, Get attention, Identify problem, Provide solution / tell story, Present credentials, Show benefits, Give social proof/testimonial, Make offer, Lead, Product, Opt-in, Inject scarcity, Guarantee, Call to action, Give warning, Close with reminder, Storytelling, Hero/Villian, Genesis story, Nightmare story, Overcoming adversity, Reluctant hero, Assess SEO friendliness, Are there meta titles?, Are they relevant keywords that are getting traffic?, Is there a single 3-4 word keyword phrase targeted per page?, Are there worthless pagename type words in the titles autofilled from a CMS like "Home" or "Products" etc?, Are there correctly formatted H1, H2, etc, Are there inlinks to other pages with relevant anchor text?, Does the website have any inbound links from relevant high pagerank sites?, Do they have a correctly formatted Robots.txt file?, Do they have a sitemap.xml file?, Is it correctly registered with Google Webmaster tools?, Example site, If they don't have an existing site, do the same analysis as listed above on their "favorite" or "example" site that they told you about from your discovery meeting.
Different customer segments, Who are their customers?, Do different customers buy different products?, Are different customers in different funnels/workflows with the business?
Create avatar, For each customer segment..., What pains/problems do they have?, What is the solution that you provide?, What market do you consider this customer in?, What is their annual income/revenue?, How old are they?, What other products and services do they use?, What are their spending habits?, Are there any personality traits that uniquely identify them?
Research, Ask your potential client if it would be ok if you reached out to 2 or 3 of their existing customers to get to know them and the way they use your products/services better., Customer questions, Validate that they have the #1 problem that the business solves., Y: "What do [xxxx] product/services help you solve?", Y: "Why did you start working with [xxxx] to begin with?", Y: "What has been your experience so far?", Y: "Where did you first hear about [xxxx]?", Y: "What other products/services do you use within this market?", Y: "Are there problems that you have today that are not being solved?", Y: "Can you walk me through your workflow/worldview of how you use [xxxx]?"
Market, Y: "What is the market size?", Y: "Are you focused on...", Local, Regional, National, International, Y: "Who are the industry associations or groups?", Y: "Are you members of any of them?", Y: "Why or why not?", Y: "Who are the industry publications?", Y: "Are there any trustworthy websites, magazines, or other outlets that regularly publish information within this market?", Y: "Are there publications that are more 'customer-centric' than competitor-specific?", Y: "What would you consider the biggest opportunity is in the market?"
Competition, Y: "Who are your key competitors?", Y: "In the physical world?", Y: "In the online world?", Y: "Are they different? Why or why not?", Y: "What do you think they do better than you?", Y: "What do you do better than them?", Y: "Do you have any type of relationship with them?", ie. Friendly, competitive, arch-nemesis..., Y: "What do you think your biggest opportunity is to beat your competition?"
Research, Market, Run report using site like Hoovers.com, Research each association, Are there content marketing opportunities?, Are there opportunities for links?, Research each publication, Are there content marketing opportunities?, Are there opportunities for links?, Competition, Do the "existing site" research from above on each of the competitors that were mentioned by client., Do the "existing site" research on each competitor you find that ranks well for competitive/trafficked keyword terms.
Current strategy, Y: "What is your current growth strategy?", Do an informal SWOT analysis..., Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
Strategy Options, Use a traffic + conversion strategy to..., Get more leads/sales/donations, Grow an email list, [Everything below also supports a T + C master strategy], Use email to increase the amount of interactions your client has with their existing and potential customers., Newsletters, Promos, Autoresponder/nurture series, Use social media to publicly engage with your existing/potential customers., Fish bowl, Syndicate out content marketing..., Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Yelp, Foursquare, Youtube, Vine, Use content marketing to illustrate expertise, establish credibility, drive traffic, and increase search net., Articles, White papers, Blog, Guest posts, Webinars, Seminars
Research, Find examples, Don't reinvent the wheel., Find examples in the industry, related industries, or related business models where there is someone executing on your recommended strategy well., The best example would be an existing client / past success story., Create a "Swipe File", Homepage screenshots, Search traffic screenshots, Email autoresponder samples, Workflow mindmaps
Once you clearly understand your client's..., Business, Pains, Opportunities, Market, Competition
You should be able to identify the biggest pains that are worth solving and the biggest opportunities worth pursuing.
Your solution/proposal should line up directly with this recommendation.