TL/DR - for the impatient 🙂
- Begin with organizational goals.
- Define your audience.
- Consider the user journey stages.
- Map out your website.
- The upside of continuous website improvement.
Traditional website design suffers from a lack of objectivity. Think about it. Your website is one of your greatest assets, maybe second only to the people who make up your organization. It’s certainly your number one salesperson because it’s always available day and night, communicating with your visitors, users, and potential customers. It doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t eat. It never goes on vacation. It has a single purpose – to advocate for your project, and never stop. This is true for blockchain project websites too.
Your website is incredibly valuable. It’s the launchpad for your entire marketing campaign. Your design motif is based on how your website looks. It’s where many people encounter your organization’s persona for the first time, and it’s that same persona that presents through all your digital assets. A website is the foundation for your inbound strategy, and all marketing roads eventually lead back to it. But more than that, it is the summation of your core beliefs, the embodiment of your organizational philosophy, illustrated for the world to see.
So why is it then, that most organizations treat their website like an online business card?
It’s an unfortunate attitude that harkens back to the early online days, when companies believed just having a website would net them millions. This is particularly true in the greater blockchain community, where it seems (right or wrong) development is prioritized much higher than marketing and comms. Project leads approach their code with objectivity, but somehow that doesn’t transfer over to their outreach channels and digital assets.
But it’s not their fault. For the last two decades Website designers have been building websites mostly as a branding showpiece. And unless the website had a clear e-commerce intention, rarely was “purpose” considered before it was launched.
I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way.
Your website has monumental potential, and is essential for marketing your blockchain project for the reasons I listed above. But unless you take the time to decide your website’s purpose before you begin, it will fail to reach that potential. It will cost you a ton of time and money, and only result in a pretty picture on the internet that no one ever visits.
Begin with your blockchain project's organizational goals
Before embarking on a website design, the most important thing to do is figure out exactly what your organizational goals are, given a certain time period – I suggest 6-12 months. What you’re looking for is one or two specific, measurable, achievable goals that your entire team can rally around. The reason why this is so important is you need to know what you’re trying to achieve, before you expect your website to help you achieve it.
If you’re a new blockchain project, perhaps your goal is to build your community while you develop your end product. Or maybe you’re looking to raise a certain amount of funds. If you’re close to a product launch, your goal might be app downloads or total users. Whatever it is, make sure it is objective and quantitative, because you can only manage what you can measure.
Here are two examples:
- “Our goal is to have 100,000 transactions on our platform in the next 12 months.”
- “Our goal is to have 10,000 email list signups in the next six months.”
A word of caution. There are some objective goals that on the surface seem useful, but upon further reflection turn out to be mostly fluff. For example more Twitter followers are always welcome, but may not necessarily add real business value. Social media engagements are much more valuable. I bet you would rather have 1000 active followers engaging every tweet, than 10,000 followers who barely notice you at all
Define your audience
Once your organization’s goals are clear you must define who your audience is. Who exactly are the people you’re looking to attract to fulfill your project’s goals? For example, if your goal is to have 100,000 platform transactions in the next 12 months, who exactly are the people most likely to transact? Define their demographics, of course, but don’t stop there.
Are they generally introverted or extroverted? What type of industry do they work in? What are their character traits and quirks? Do they have goals – both for using your platform, and their life goals? What are they motivated by? Use an image that describes them, and give them a funny name like “Blockchain Beatrix”. The better you can identify with your audience on an empathic level, the more real they are to you, the better you will be at communicating with them.
Then find out where they congregate. What social media platforms do they generally use, and what time of day do they use them? Do they attend international conferences or local meetups? Do they participate in other blockchain projects, or belong to those communities? We developed a comprehensive user persona template that helps us capture all this information in one friendly document. Give us a shout and we’ll send it to you.
Consider the user journey stages
You know your goals, and you know who your audience is. Now it’s time to identify the path they take on their way to becoming your user or customer. This is called “the buyer’s journey”, or “the user’s journey”, it means the same thing. Let’s use the latter since it seems to be more apt for blockchain projects’ goals.
The user’s journey describes the entire path one takes from not knowing they have a want or a need, to culminating in becoming a user of your platform or product. The journey is normally broken down into three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision, and everyone experiences it whenever they are considering purchasing or using something.
The reason why it’s important to understand their journey is you communicate with them differently depending on where they are in it. Communicating is about giving the right people the right information, at the right time. For example, you wouldn’t tell someone how to create an identity in your platform if they don’t even know why your platform might be important or beneficial to them.
Let’s now define each of these stages:
The Awareness Stage is when the user identifies they have a need or want. They realize they have a challenge they want to overcome, or an opportunity they want to pursue. In this phase your user prioritizes this want or need. For them to move to the next stage, they must decide it’s important enough to warrant a bit of effort.
The Consideration Stage is when the user researches the options that would fulfill their want or need. At this point, they have clearly defined exactly what they’re trying to achieve, and are figuring out the best way to achieve it. This stage is about finding acceptable solutions.
The Decision Stage is when the user makes a choice. They understand all their options, and choose the one that best helps them accomplish their goal. They’re looking for what they perceive has the best value.
Your goal is to understand what your users are doing, thinking, and feeling at each one of these stages, so that you can present your project in a helpful manner, no matter where they’re at.
Map out your blockchain project's website
Now you can take what’ve learned from the preceding exercises and use it to map out your website. Determine what action you want your visitor to take on your website in order to achieve your blockchain project’s marketing goals. For example, if you’re building a community and the goal is for users to sign up for your email list, make it extremely clear that’s what you want them to do, and extremely easy for them to do it. Your visitor’s path must culminate in that action.
Make sure you use language that is appropriate for what user journey stage your visitors are in when they arrive at your website. Consider what type of hardware your visitor is most likely to view your website on. Chances are your site will be viewed on a phone, and therefore it is paramount your site looks great at that size. Your whole objective is to make it easy for visitors to complete the task you have set out for them, so the information flow needs to be logical, and the copy simple, specific, and understandable no matter the screen size.
Epilogue: The upside of continuous website improvement
Most often organizations develop their digital assets without having intimate knowledge of their users. The consequences of this have been discussed throughout this post. But what compounds these consequences is, normally once a website has been launched it remains static, left un-updated and unimproved until the whole thing gets a complete redesign a few years later.
Again, this is a waste of resources. Say every three years you spend $10,000 on a new website. You would be much better off using those funds incrementally, steadily improving the efficacy of your site. This is what I mean. When you first launch your site, you really don’t know how your visitors will react with it until you start analyzing their behavior.
As data comes in through Google analytics, or even better Matomo, you start to understand whether or not your website is actually achieving your goals. There are a ton of other tools to help you with this too. With that data, you can start to test and improve your website month by month, getting to your goals exponentially faster than making major improvements once every several years.
PS: It wouldn't be a great blog post without an offer at the end 🙂
At MSquared we have a ton of experience marketing and communicating blockchain projects, (like Swarm City and EthKan) and we’ve developed an objective system for website design/build and inbound marketing using the exercises covered in this post – and much more. We would be thrilled to help you with your project.
In fact, we’d like to start giving you value for free right away. Schedule a 30 minute strategy session with us. Let’s find out together how we can better identify and engage your community. This one’s on the house.