This is Part Three of my tell-all series of blog posts about the website redesign project for IMS President Kyle Krull’s law firm. (You can read Part One here: How Good Websites Go Bad and Part Two here: Why Redesign Kyle’s Site When It’s Still Working?)
So, Kyle’s website is tooling along in the cyber-world, doing its job every day: generating leads, showing up on Google’s Page One, staying connected to Kyle’s social media and so on. Your website may be doing the same.
Why does a client, whose website is basically working well, decide to launch a redesign project?
In a perfect world, clients are reviewing their monthly performance reports, watching their Analytics, and tracking leads and revenue. When they spot a “blip,” they call and say something like, “I’ve noticed a blip. Is it a trend? Does it mean we need to make some changes?”
Alas, we don’t live in perfect world. Clients are busy, you know, practicing law. They rarely look at the performance reports we send out monthly, Google Analytics is gibberish to them, and honestly, lead-tracking is becoming increasingly complicated in this new, digital world. Most clients do not go looking for trouble, so as long as things are running relatively smoothly, they don’t rock the boat.
Most clients won’t call us about a website redesign … at all … ever. Usually we are the ones contacting you about a “blip” that should be addressed, a change in Google’s algorithms, or a performance drop that can be corrected.
Why Some Clients Will Request a Redesign
When clients do ask for a website update, many are just like Kyle and the conversation goes something like this, “I saw a really cool website that you did for another client, and I want that on my site, too.”
Yes, it’s the desire to have the newest, the best and the brightest that motivates most clients to update their sites. In Kyle’s case, I know he believes that because he is the president of the company, he should have every new shiny thing that we develop (and I suspect he thinks he should have it first, though to be fair, he has not said that).
Of course, we want you (and by that I mean the collective you, what Southerners call y’all) to have the newest, best and brightest website that will meet your goals and deliver new business to your law firm, in your market. Ahem …. I hope you noticed the second part of that sentence, because it’s important. We want your website to work for you, to deliver results. Honestly, we are much less concerned about how bright and shiny it might or might not be, long as it works.
The Biggest Mistake We Made
So here was the biggest mistake we all made in the Kyle Krull Website Redesign Project (I choose this title because it is much more polite than what many of us here in the office were calling it) that caused his project to mushroom, expand beyond our wildest imaginations, and drag on for months:
We said Yes to every client request.
You don’t know how it pains me to admit this.
We became Yes men. Because Kyle is the president of the company, and he is quite charming and everyone loves him … we gave him everything he asked for until the site became a complete and total wreck. Kyle wanted everything. Every time he saw a new thing, or had a new idea, he wanted that on his site. We started over, we revised, we tacked-on, we threw-in and we threw up our hands. The project dragged on … and on … and on … for months.
Deadlines are Good Things
Then, we ran right up into a deadline: we needed to finish Kyle’s website before going to the WealthCounsel Symposium (which was last week). I made the decision to step in and take over the process. I could do this because of the special relationship between Kyle and me – I knew that if I took control, he would let me. I was the only person on our team who could turn to him and say, “No. That is not working; we are going to go another direction.”
On a Monday, I reviewed the site and decided it had to be pared down. We threw out about half of everything. Our designers hesitated, saying that Kyle had specifically asked for each piece. “Don’t worry,” I said. “He’s going to love this.”
The new site blossomed once it was no longer weighted down with all that “stuff.” It was brighter, lighter and starting to be more focused.
We changed the color palette, which gave the site another lift.
Designing for Strategic Fit
Then we attacked the fundamental site message. We’d made a mistake that I see many clients making these days. The primary visual elements were chosen to represent Kyle’s geographic market, which is Kansas. We had amber waves of grain as a visual theme throughout the site.
Now, I live on a horse farm in Kansas, so really, no one loves amber waves of grain more than me … but they had to go!
Kyle’s business strategy is to work with responsible people who want to plan for the future: people who love their families and want to protect them, and to pass on a rich legacy. We needed the site to appeal to his strategic market, not his geographic market. We booted out the waving grain and replaced it with a keen multi-generational background video that speaks directly to Kyle’s ideal client.
Voila! Once we made that change, the rest of the site fell very easily into place. From a design standpoint, it was perfectly balanced. And the visual message finally fit with Kyle’s strategy.
I called it a win and Kyle loved it.
Take a look at the new site here: www.kylekrull.com, I think you’ll see what I mean.
But of course, the story doesn’t stop here. So far, we’ve only explored what you can easily see online. There’s way more going on behind the scenes. Stay tuned tomorrow to discover what really makes this website a Marketing Rock Star!