The simple answer is to be able to deliver what our clients really want.
As with all things in life, to reach the most satisfying conclusion for all parties involved, the client needs to get very involved. They will need to answer a host of questions, some they probably won’t know the answers to at the beginning, so there will be considerable research required on their part.
When someone comes to me and says we want a new website, my experience tells me that what they are actually looking for is a new online business strategy. I can never know my clients business as well as they do, or indeed know what they are trying to achieve as well as they do, so it is going to take some serious investment of time on their part to ensure that I can deliver what they require.
The only way to get a holistic view of the client’s goals and desires is to ask a host of questions. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it would be more worrying if you were going to embark on a project with a web designer and there was no structured questionnaire.
I find these questions really useful when designing a website. They work in any marketing situation and it is amazing how much information comes out when I ask these simple questions:
- Who is the marketing aimed at, existing customers or a new demographic?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What do they do?
- Who are your current customers, age, gender, interests etc?
- What do they do?
- How many clients do you have?
- What do you do for them?
- What are your customers trying to achieve through buying your product, why do they buy it, what does it mean to them in terms of benefits?
- What do they expect of you, e.g. fast turnaround, eye for detail, peace of mind?
- What do your existing customers say about you?
This helps me to build a picture of the existing customers, what they like about the product or service and why they buy it. This knowledge can be used to market to new customers. Also knowing the current customer base and the ideal customer base means that the product and the marketing can be tailored to appeal to the right audience.