Your website is one of, if not the first, ways that potential customers will interact with your business. What does your online presence say about your company’s mission, philosophy and capabilities? It’s not just the words on the screen. Your business won’t take the decision to redesign a website lightly, and to get your project off the ground, you need to convince your leaders and management team that now is the time to act.
You took our advice and put together a thoughtful and comprehensive budget for your website project. Now is the time to engage stakeholders. What’s the best way to do it? Build an airtight business case that clearly describes your project’s problem, goals, risks, opportunities, benefits, approach, and financial requirements. This article, the second in our three-part series, focuses on what your business case should include in order to engage and motivate stakeholders.
Why do i need a business case?
The whole point of writing a well thought out, carefully crafted business case is to give your business a reason why it should support your project. And once your project is in flight, it will help you measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your business.
What MUST include my business case?
Generally speaking, business cases follow a simple formula:
- Context / situation (aka problems)
- Risks and Opportunities
- Approach / Chronology
While this is the first thing your audience will read when they receive your business case, it is the last thing you will write. Your summary is a one-page overview of up to two pages of the elements of your business case. This is where you will synthesize your most compelling arguments and data to force the reader to act. And that’s probably the one thing most of your stakeholders will actually read in its entirety.
What is the current state of your website? Here are some questions you can answer to help you with your assessment:
- Do calls to action consistently encourage connection with your business?
- Is the copy well written? Is it still impactful and effective? More importantly, is this still correct?
- Does the look of your site match your business voice and speaks directly to your target audience?
- Is your site easy to navigate? Is critical information readily available?
- Is the site compatible with mobiles?
- Is it optimized for search engines?
- Are third-party tools and plugins slowing it down?
The goals of your redevelopment / redevelopment project are fairly straightforward and consistent for most businesses:
- Increased traffic and the opportunity to convert visitors into leads and ultimately into customers.
- Improved website visualization and user experience resulting in lower bounce rates.
- Easier website management with a strong content management system that will save you and your team time and create operational efficiencies.
Risks and Opportunities
This is where you’ll summarize all the important things that could go right (or wrong), and how they’ll be handled. Some risks that come to mind are your business culture and its ability to adapt to change. Clearly identify the risks – don’t hide them behind flowery language. Also be clear about the consequences if a risk becomes a reality and your plan to mitigate the problem. Follow the same exercise for opportunities.
You probably have a number of advantages that you can articulate quite easily. To add to your growing list, consider these benefits for your website redesign:
- An updated site will be increase the number of website visitors via organic search. Google and Bing are more likely to rank your business site at the top of search engine results when it is easy to use and contains valuable, high-quality information that search engines can easily crawl.
- Getting started in this project will be an opportunity to develop your site for wider accessibility and reach a wider audience.
- A new site will further strengthen your brand validation. A clean and modern website will showcase your business in the best possible light and by extension make it more credible in the eyes of site visitors.
- It will help you keep your business competitive.
- A site redevelopment will give you the opportunity to better optimize the mobile viewing experience. Recent statistics indicate that over 70% of web traffic happens on mobile devices. Technology, and mobile technology in particular, is constantly evolving. A site developed just five years ago doesn’t perform as efficiently on mobile as its more recent companions.
- A greater opportunity for internal consensus and buy-in. It will be easy for your lawyers and business professionals to promote the firm if they can direct people to a website they are proud of.
- An up-to-date website also creates a scalable framework for growth.
Approach / Chronology
This section is the most narrative part of the business case. You describe how you plan to find service providers and the solutions needed to make your website project a success. We recommend that you have an idea at the start of this phase of your project who the main players are, what their solutions and services may cost, and what you think about working with them. This will help to better inform the narrative related to the timing and delivery of the project.
Finally, the real question you want to focus on is, what is your outdated and unusable site really costing you in lost opportunities?
- The cost of an inconsistently user-friendly website. The subconscious perception of frustration with your website on all devices impacts customer loyalty and, by extension, your bottom line.
- The cost of slow load times. Everything today is bigger, faster, stronger, better. Website visitors expect fast refresh rates and page load times. Keep in mind that 40% of people abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load, and 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site..
- The cost of poor user data and analytics. If you can’t glean actionable data from your website, you’re missing out on valuable information that should guide marketing decisions.
Developing a business case can be a long and arduous process, but the exercise will help ensure success and secure management buy-in and approval for your project.
Check out our next article in the series: How to Create a Request for Proposals for Your Project.