Have you ever reached the end of a project and then realized you aren’t actually quite there? Me too. There are a couple of options when you reach this point: Quit or dig in and figure out how to fix or finish the project. You aren’t a quitter or you wouldn’t be reading this. So what do you say we just throw that option out, okay? That leaves us with figuring how to move the project forward. Let’s dig into that option instead.
The end is just the beginning
On June 1, we relaunched ProofPass.com. While we’ve done a great job achieving the over-arching goal of generating more sales leads for high-end ColorMetrix services, we’ve missed the mark on some of the smaller milestone goals. For example, we haven’t had as many folks sign up for free trials as we expected. We also haven’t seen enough of those free trials convert to full paid subscriptions. You may be thinking “but Jim you are generating the leads you ultimately wanted so who really cares?”
On one level, you’d be right. What concerns me is that we need to understand how the machine works as a whole. If the numbers we are seeing are right, then that is fine. What if we made some poor design decisions early on in the project that are driving the response rates down? Those kind of mistakes can be fixed easily enough. So, as I analyzed the relaunch 15 days later, I wondered how do we proceed to improve our results?
Starting over – sort of
I was reminded of the pivot my friends Joe Sorge and Chris Brogan just accomplished with their Kitchen Table Companies project. They made several changes to the design of their site and began offering more services and organizing/presenting the offering differently to both members and perspective members. One seemingly small change was the addition of “Your Small Business Advisory Board” to the header of the site. I say seemingly small because, from a positioning point of view, this change was huge. No more arriving at the site and wondering what KTC is all about.
So, with the KTC experience as a backdrop, I started thinking about what we could do and here’s what I came up with. Hopefully, these ideas will be useful taking the next step with your projects as well.
- Phone a friend – I called Joe and flat out asked for his advice. As he’d just gone through a similar experience, I couldn’t think of a better place to start. Utilize your network.
- Get an outside perspective – I had Shelby Sapusek, who had never used ProofPass.com, go through the entire experience from a new user perspective. Her two pages of notes have proven enlightening.
- Search out expert advice – Chris Brogan recently shared a video he did with Derek Halpern addressing the KTC redesign. I’ve watched this 10-minute video several times and taken lots of notes.
- Follow the linking advice of one expert to the next – Derek has a web-site Social Triggers with lots of great articles like Does Your Website Fail The “Header Removal Test?”
- Call ’em, email ’em, survey ’em – All those folks that did follow the path you intended can provide insight into what you are doing right. More importantly, the ones who didn’t make it out of your sales funnel, can be asked “why not?”
- Make some well-thought-out changes – I like KTC’s approach of redesigning the whole site at once. Then, they kept tinkering with the content and service offering inside the new framework.
- Pay attention to the details – Our new site taxed the heck out of the server it was running on until we tweaked a bunch of settings. For about a day, this was causing the new site to be worse than the old site. Sometimes it pays to check “if the toaster is plugged in.”
This is the way I’m going about improving ProofPass.com. While your mileage is likely to vary, using these 7 ideas for taking the next step will help your project move forward as well. Hey, and by all means use the comments section below to add your ideas to the list.