Move From Projects to Retainers With the Continuous Improvement Model for Websites

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Luke Summerfield
Luke Summerfield




You’ve just spent the last three months building and launching a client website. You wrap up the project and send the final invoice.

Now, it's on to the next project. 

But is that really the best plan?

The vast majority of websites are launched, and aside from some minor updates, they stay relatively unchanged for the next two years until the client is ready to do another website redesign. As an agency, this approach not only delivers less than optimal results for the client but also leaves additional revenue on the table.

To provide better results for your client and provide your agency with the opportunity to move from project-based web work to retainers, consider these four service offerings:

1) User Research and Ongoing Design Improvements

One of the goals for our client’s websites is to make them as user-friendly as possible. We do our best to accomplish this during the initial website redesign, but once visitors begin actually navigating and using the site, we learn a lot more about what works and what doesn't. 

Offering user research and design improvement services on an ongoing basis is a great way to increase the results of the website while also securing a retainer fee from your client. Test the usability of the site, findability of the content, site architecture, checkout process, navigation, copy and messaging, landing pages, and images. 

You can use a mix of qualitative research methods using tools like Qualaroo, Survey Monkey, ClickTale or HotJar and quantitative analytics tools such as KissMetrics, HubSpot Funnel Reporting, CrazyEgg or Mixpanel.

Based on the data and insights you gather through testing, create a list of changes and adjustments that need to be made to the site. Then, prioritize the most user-centric website improvements to implement. The more you can customize the website for the user, the bigger the impact you will see.

2) Conversion Rate Optimization

Probably the most obvious ongoing service offering you can add is conversion rate optimization. While you created a clean, conversion-focused website, there is always room for improvement. What client doesn't want even higher conversions?

Take the knowledge you've accumulated through user testing, and outline the areas of opportunity from a conversion standpoint. 

Use A/B testing or a service such as Optimizely to test and validate assumptions. Then, get to work tweaking landing pages, sign-up forms, product pages, images, headlines, etc. 

Over time, these small changes will lead to a big impact in the overall conversion rate of the site.

3) Dynamic Personalization

Every person who visits your site is different. They have different interests, goals, wants, and needs.

We know that email personalization leads to higher clickthrough rates and conversion rates and results in less frustration on the part of the user. This same concept should be applied to the websites you create for clients. It's about considering how you can create a customized, targeted experience for each and every user. 

By understanding the device the person is using, the country they are located in, where they are in the buyer's journey, and other unique identifiers, you can customize the site to include points of personalization that really make a difference in the user experience. 

4) Marketing Assets

When we think of a business’s assets, we typically think of machines, computers, vehicles, etc. However, your marketing program also has assets, such as your website, your blog, your email lists, etc. 

In this service package, your agency would develop high impact marketing assets to add to the client's website. Examples of this include developing tools, in-depth resources sections, microsites, graphics, etc.

A perfect example of this is Marketing Grader. Another example is Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History, which details the many updates Google makes and provides the company with an ongoing source of traffic, links, and leads. 

What other ongoing services are you offering around website design? Let us know where you’ve found success in the comments below!


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