Answer The Big Questions
There are some basic questions you need to answer any time you start a new project.
- What is the purpose of this project?
- What are it's goals?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What have you envisioned as the final product?
- What key messages do you want to communicate?
- What elements MUST be included?
- How will you measure the success of the project?
The answers to these questions depend a lot on the nature of your product, and the nature of your competition. Do some initial market research before you start any project. How are people going to find your website. How are they finding the competition's website(s)? One successful technique is to find out what the competition is doing and just do it better. Most likely they are finding the competition through a combination of organic search engine traffic and paid marketing. By far the most dominant player in both markets is Google. Google dominates search and adwords dominates the online paid ads. It's fairly easy to determine ROI(Return on Investment) with online ads. You set aside a certain amount for buying marketing ads....determine how many click-throughs become leads or direct sales. Say you spend $100 to generate 1000 click-throughs which results in 10 leads...10 leads result in 1 sale for an average of $50, so in this case the ads are not cost effective ($100 generates $50 in sales). You can attempt to improve the funnel in a number of ways...choose different adwords, improve the ad itself, target a more specific market that matches your customer base, etc. Adwords, and paid for marketing in general can be as simple, or as complicated as you want it to be, but that's the general idea. I encourage you to read up on it more.
The other major way that people will find your website is through organic search. Basically this is just people typing in keywords into a search engine and clicking on one of the results. Ideally your website shows up in these search results and the potential client clicks on it and follows through by making a purchase on your website, or becomes a "lead" (sends an email, phone call, fills out a contact form, signs up for a newsletter, downloads something, etc.) that you have setup as a goal. If you have Google Analytics setup you can literally set this up as a goal in order to more easily measure your success. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art of improving your google standings through improvements in your website (keyword optimization, fresh content, mobile/pad optimization, link building, etc.Z). Most importantly, find a reason for people to come to your site!
Another tool is of course Direct marketing through flyers, business cards, word of mouth, magazine ads, tv ads, newspaper ads, etc. Your branding and marketing strategy says a lot about you, so think through any marketing campaign and try to have measurable results.
Once you've thought some of these things through, I can work with you to finalize your marketing strategy and come up with a plan for the website. After evaluating the scope of the project and coming up with a project plan I will provide an estimate. Our general pay rate is $50/hr for development work, and $25/hr for design work because we are much faster coders then we are designers. Once an estimate, project plan, and target launch date is agreed upon we can sign a contract
After signing the contract the client will provide 30% down payment, either by mail, or through the webmasterninjas.com website. We will then provoide a sitemap and wire-frame for the site. This is a general page plan and thing-through on clicks and layout...we can also provide screencaps of other websites to get some idea of what you might be shooting for. Once that's agreed upon we will provide 3 designs. After a limited number of feedback loops we will agree on a design and build the website. Keep in mind any feature creep after this point can add to the final cost and extend the launch date. After the website is built and gets final client approval we will expect final payment and proceed with the launch of the website upon receipt of final payment.