Pre-Launch Checklist - How To Make Sure The Big Day Goes Off Without A Hitch
The design process can be overwhelming, in part because the possibilities are only as limited as a designer’s imagination. It's often difficult for the digital marketing professional to get on the same page with a client.
However, when faced with:
- abandoning the project
- having your reputation tarnished
- losing money
- not meeting your client’s expectations
...what are your options?
Begin With Success Criteria
What does the client hope to achieve? We’ve found that clients often begin the process without a clear expectation of how the site should benefit their business. Is your contact confusing more traffic with higher sales volume?
Has the target audience been identified? Are you sure? Our research revealed that a client actually had two very different audiences, but the secondary audience (20% of the target demographic) has tremendous influence over buying decisions.
Sign A Contract
Yes, even if the client is a friend.
Prepare A Content and Asset Inventory
You're probably aware of the need to gather all collateral (digital and hard copy). Make sure you have that trade association logo. You should also make sure that someone on the client's team can access social media profiles (username and password information). Identify and obtain contact info for those authorized to approve website edits (such as calendar updates, price changes, or other new content). Create an editorial calendar and share it with all stakeholders (writers, editors, authorized users on your client's team).
“Subtle, yet … bold.” This was a new client’s preference for the look and feel of his site redesign.
This is in no way meant to bash anyone unfamiliar with the design process. You can nod sagely and leave the meeting with no clear understanding of who or what you're designing for, or you can prepare for all contingencies.
Ideally, you learned about your client’s place in the competitive landscape during the initial interview. It’s important to narrow the range of choices available to the client who is either unwilling or unable to give direction. Survey the client’s peers/competitors and present a range of LAFs.
There’s a very good reason silo is a four-letter word. If a client siloes information by blocking communication between various departments, I guarantee that the project will suffer. Even though the site may logically fall within marketing’s purview, sales and the executive suite need to provide input from planning through launch. Many senior executives delegate such meetings to mid-level personnel, only to discover a critical oversight during the pre-launch period. Explain why getting upper management's input from the start will ensure a better outcome.
A recent Sitegeist post discussed this time- and money-saving strategy for exchanging files and feedback via the browser. Responsive comping's clear-cut visuals provide a great way to get your client and your firm on the same page. As we noted, we no longer need to create physical samples of the website's responsive design as it appears on different mobile devices. Our customers get an accurate view of how the site will appear on any device.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but we've found that these guidelines both save time and improve customer satisfaction. We'll be revisiting this topic, so let us know what works in your shop.