Web designers are a passionate lot. I’m willing to bet that, if you’re reading this, you likely love what you do and enjoy sharing it with others. It seems to go hand-in-hand with such a creative profession.
What’s more, that positive energy can be contagious. When you’re excited about a project, you inspire others to be as well – including clients.
But there are instances when the good feelings don’t transfer. This tends to occur after the website is launched and the creative process comes to a close. Suddenly, a client who was so elated pays significantly less attention to what is going on.
This is part of the natural ebb and flow of a project. However, it’s also a key reason why a website may languish as time passes. A lack of attention means less focus on improvements. That, in turn, could result in a mess to clean up down the road.
How can we get clients to care about their website for the long term? The solution is to keep them engaged.
A Website Launch Is a New Beginning
The design and build processes get all of the glory – and for good reason. While they can bring plenty of challenges, they’re often fun as well. Working in tandem with a client to achieve a goal is satisfying for everyone involved.
But in some ways, launching a website is just the beginning. After the launch is when you start to see all of the hard work pay off. It’s time to measure the impact of the design and functionality decisions you’ve made.
Yet not every client will see it that way. For them, a website project may be just another thing on their to-do list. In their eyes, when the site goes online, the work is finished. Some may not realize the complexity of keeping their site secure and running smoothly.
Successful websites evolve. And it’s not just for those with frequently-changing content. Even minor tweaks to improve the user experience (UX) can make a difference.
For web designers, it’s all about communicating what comes after launch.
How to Keep Clients Engaged
By engaging clients, you can keep them interested in how their website is doing. This may sound simple, but it’s not always easy.
For example, you might send monthly or quarterly analytics reports. While they contain plenty of useful data, a busy client may never take the time to dig into the numbers. It’s akin to passing business flyers out to strangers. A few may take a glance, but they’re more likely to toss it into the recycling bin.
Sometimes it’s more about how you present such information. Rather than sending an email with little or no explanation, it’s important to provide some context.
In our analytics example, you might mention a standout item or two from the report. If bounce rates are high or a significant number of visitors are coming from a new referrer, these are worth pointing out. It could be just the thing to pique your client’s interest.
If you notice something negative (like those bounce rates), offering a possible solution is recommended. This will encourage them to take action based on your analysis.
Putting it all together, an email may look something like this:
Attached is your quarterly website analytics report. I reviewed it and found a few items of interest:
- The bounce rate on your home page is up 25% over the last report. We may want to take a look at that new hero area we added. I think there’s some room for improvement.
- Your organic search results from Google are up quite a bit – the SEO stuff we did looks to be working!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, I’d be glad to set up a call.
Your Web Designer
The benefit here is that the letter is short and sweet – but still gives a perspective of what’s happening. Perhaps some clients won’t take you up on the consultation offer. But you’ll likely get more responses overall.
This same strategy can apply to other aspects of the site as well. For instance, new features in the client’s content management system (CMS) or plugins could be noted. Mentioning a change that will need to be made or how a feature can benefit their organization might start a dialogue.
Why This Matters
On the surface, it may seem like shouting into the void. After all, why should we care if a client ignores their website? Why go to all of the trouble?
Perhaps there’s not much to gain in the short term. But over the long haul, making an effort to keep clients interested has several benefits.
First, it will hopefully motivate them to think about their website as an ongoing part of their business – one that requires attention. Allowing it to sit there and collect virtual dust is a missed opportunity to grow.
In addition, you’ll stay in touch with your clients. This helps to build a stronger working relationship. When it’s time for a redesign, you’ll likely have a better chance of retaining them.
There’s also plenty of knowledge to gain. Each client is unique. Thus, engagement could require different approaches. Moving forward, you’ll have a better idea of how to work effectively with a variety of personalities.
The only downside is that a particular client may not show interest. That’s OK, as you can always move on to someone else and try again. Your hard work will pay off in time.