Smarmy, inspirational business clichés are not my thing, and anything having to do with “bridges” likely falls into this category:
Josh Earl in his excellent email marketing newsletter mentioned “building bridges” to a list of potential dream clients through daily, targeted micro interactions via social media, hand written notes, video, etc., and it struck a different chord in me. As overworked as the “building” bridges concept is, I want to expand upon a unique aspect of this worn out cliché and apply it to effective website strategy.
To need a bridge at all, you must first recognize the size and scope of the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
This identification process isn’t as simple as it seems. Sometimes you can only see the destination in the distance and are unaware of a gap until you begin heading toward the destination. And that movement is critical. You won’t know what you don’t know until you begin the process trying to get where you want to go.
Identifying website optimization gaps usually occurs because something breaks or your visitors give you specific feedback, or you want to do something you can’t currently do on your website. Optimization gaps are handled by a web designer or developer—a page added here, a widget there, new functionality in the back.
However, gaps in your website strategy related to transformation are usually hidden, fuzzy, and on the peripheral of your vision. These transformative gaps include things like brand, positioning, specialization, alignment with business values and voice. And you likely won’t hear directly about these transformative gaps from customers. You’ll get hints though, like falling traffic, less lead generation from your website, a shift in the type of leads (likely more unqualified leads). They require a web strategist to expertly identify and chart a course of action to bridge the gap.
Then you need a targeted, desired location (or relationship) that the bridge will connect you to. That is the why question. The depth which your organization can answer the why question can be determined before you begin, but often the deeper answers to why are uncovered during the journey.
Of course, the “Is there a gap and what type of bridge do I need to build to cross” is just the “what” question. You also need to answer the “why” and “where to” questions before you can begin talking about the “how” to build. We’ll talk about those questions in the next newsletters.
For now, consider framing your website in terms of transform or optimization changes that are needed. You probably already have a list of optimization changes to your organization’s website you want to make, but what signals are you getting that your website strategy needs a transformative change? What movement are you making toward uncovering that transformative gap?
If you need transformative website strategy, let’s set up a consultation.