Team Curagami (http://www.Curagami.com ) has, over the course of our combined careers, helped thousands of clients build websites and about 99% have cart before the proverbial horse. "What is our design going to look like," they ask.
Most think "web design" is creating the look and feel of a site. Actually the look and feel, while important, is at least #6 on the "do these things to create a great web presence" list. Here are the first 5 things on that list:
1. Elevator Pitch - Who Are You?
If we were riding in an elevator could you explain your business before we reached your floor? If NO is your answer you are not alone and you need to go back to the drawing board and practice until you have your "elevator pitch" down. All things flow from that defining snippet.
Tags can help define your elevator pitch. Curagami.com Cool Tools For Ecommerce Merchants explains what we do in 5 words. Note that I don't have the the site yet so do as we are saying not as we do (always :).
2. Pain Point - Whose Your Tribe?
We create stuff to DO SOMETHING. Your product or service must help some tribe. Curagami helps ecommerce merchants understand content marketing because finding the balance beam between content that works and content that hurts is a CSF (Critical Success Factor) for ecommerce merchants. So our tribe begins with ecom merchants and we address the PAIN of understanding content marketing. We don't LIMIT ourselves. We don't say, "Go away" to B2B SaaS clients but they are cream on the top of our core tribe and mission.
3. UCA - What Are Your Customers' Aspirations
Unique Customer Aspirations is a metrics we developed as Marketing Director for Atlantic BT. UCA speaks to the transformation your content, product and service creates. Yes Curagami helps merchants make more money, but we also relieve the STRESS of not knowing what to do and why. We help merchants have confidence in their content. No one can build sustainable online community (everyone's master goal whether they know it or not) without being confident in their ability to create, share and curate content. Content is king online and the implications of that statement go far and wide. It's not enough to know your tribes shape you must know their CHARACTER too. Our tribe is STRESSED OVERWHELMED and WORRIED. Anything we do to relieve any of that makes our content sticky and sure to be shared.
4. Know Difference Between Content CREATION and CURATION
Being able to create content is important. We suggest our clients create about 10% of content from unique brand based strings. 90% of the content we want clients to share, discuss and riff off of comes from gurus, customers and THE OTHER. The other is anyone other than you and keeping tabs on your category information, knowing what matters most to your readers and why and understanding the need to tuck ego in back pocket and share competitive information is one of the hardest skills we teach. Web marketing is MOSTLY about THEM not YOU so knowing when you need to blog vs. when you need to comment is key.
5. Know Social Marketing Basics
I'm staying at The Blackwell Inn in Ohio while being treated at Ohio State's James Cancer Center. I've tweeted several positive comments @theBlackwell. Noneof those comments have been ReTweeted and they don't follow me.
My social following dwarfs theirs so breaking the FOLLOW BACK rule hurts 'em. By not picking up my @tweets they discourage such shares and lose the value of that communication (that they actually LISTEN and CARE). I think they do listen and care, but they don't have the skills to do so ONLINE. Before you create a website you need to know what's up in social media.
The Blackwell's lackof knowledge isn't fatal since they are located on Ohio State's campus and are the ONLY such hotel so located. They can SUCK at social media (for a bit) without pain. Doubtful your website, especially if it brand spanking new can afford such a deficit.
Since the master goal of your site is the creation of sustainable online community NOT understanding the implied contracts and un-stated ways social media works can be DEADLY.
Know those 5 things and we can begin to discuss wireframes, look and feel and visual marketing :). Marty
One More Thing - reason this stuff is so important, as my friend Frank Pollock would explain, is the web is a lie detecting amplifier. If you lie it will be shared with the world and known instantly or before, so don't lie. If you are CONFUSED, as many SMBs are, get STRAIGHT before you put crayon to paper and design a site or risk having your confusion being your main message.
Via Martin (Marty) Smith