5 Crucial Website Kickoff Questions

Planit Agency
March 13, 2014

5crucial-blogpost Web kickoffs bring together critical stakeholders, and it’s critical not to waste precious time when so many valuable perspectives are all in one room. Questions must be well researched, focused, and they must incite rich discussions. These are 5 questions that historically pack the biggest punch in a Planit web kickoff.

1. What is the most important thing you want a site visitor to understand about your company?

With many stakeholders in the room, you’re going to capture many “most important things.” Each person typically has vested interests in the company and wants to be heard. That’s a good thing. Write these different perspectives down. Start by creating a checklist of what each person values, then collaboratively prioritize this list. The answers to this question also help address what Simon Sinek refers to as the Golden Circle. Try to steer the answers away from granular discussions about product features, widgets, or service options. Instead, get the stakeholders thinking about the big picture. Why do you believe in your company? In a world full of options, why does your company need to exist?

2. Who are you designing the site for?

Planit recently transformed the corporate website of the world’s largest flavor company, McCormick, from an admittedly traditional corporate site into a sleek online destination of compelling anecdotes, employee stories, and a streamlined articulation of its world-class/worldwide business units. With so much information to convey to so many visitors, this question was especially hard to answer. Our client kickoff brought together a range of employees specialized in disparate yet critical areas of this massive organization. We challenged ourselves to think beyond internal McCormick structure and consider the intent of the site’s primary users. Instead of an evenly rationed display of all of their services and brands, we turned to the data for the answers. This helped structure the narrative around inspiring career seekers and prospective investors through enlightening storytelling and lighthearted copy. Instead of defining every business unit, we chose to celebrate the company’s groundbreaking innovations, conquests, and beloved consumer brands—focusing on information that resonates with both career seekers and investors, yet doesn’t marginalize other important audiences visiting the site.mccormick_blog

3. Why should visitors come to your site?

Planit used the site redesign for Royal Building Products, one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of home building products in North America, as an opportunity to help shift public perception of Royal from a company focused on just professionals to an inspiring resource where homeowners can become more educated during exterior renovation projects. By answering this question, we identified an opportunity to effectively change the conversation of an often-commoditized industry. Based on an insight that the client’s site should “sell through me, not to me,” relating to pros needing to understand how to sell these products to homeowners, we changed the experience from just supplying the expected spec sheets, technical installation information, company information, warranties—all still important—to a more memorable and unique resource. Visitors, both pro and homeowner, can now view inspiration galleries, understand color theory, create Houzz ideabooks, play with remodeling tools, and read tongue-in-cheek product descriptions. This fresh content gives visitors more reasons to visit the site and make this brand a vital part of their home renovation projects. royal-blog

4. What would surprise site visitors about your company?

This question always surprises our clients. The value is that it forces stakeholders to get out of their own heads. They know everything about their company. But what would a site visitor like to know that isn’t typically highlighted in current communications? It could be about what drives the company culture, a unique approach to customer service, organizational values, etc. These anecdotes can be leveraged in articulating the unique selling proposition of your company.

5. What does success look like?

Why do this project without having goals? Is it part of a larger branding initiative where awareness and greater market relevance need to be achieved? Is increased revenue or leads through the site a measure of success? Is it all of the above? By defining top-level goals, Planit can create key performance indicators to measure our efforts. This goes a long way in helping our teams optimize the content in the redesign and improve the performance of the site in future iterations. Plus, it holds everyone accountable for future decisions that stray from defined goals.

To wrap up…

These are just 5 high-level goodies plucked from a long list of other business, creative, and technical questions we typically ask our clients. Even if we don’t ask these specific questions, their themes will always weave organically in and out of our conversations. They help us define the communication goals, understand the company’s audiences and their needs, develop future content strategies, and truly define measurable business goals.