“We could create the most beautiful website or campaign ever seen, but if it doesn’t lead your target audience to the desired actions, then it is a waste of your investment and resources.”
– Aaron McClung, CEO, AM
So what steps can you take up-front to be as sure as possible that we end up with solutions that yield real results for your church or organization?
We call it Strategy.
Strategy is the discovery process we walk many of our clients through to lay the correct foundation for the project before any production work begins. This foundational step removes false thinking on our part and yours. It eliminates bad ideas and elevates accurate ones. It reveals hidden needs and works hard to prioritize and clarify obvious ones. It unites internal teams toward the common goal. It’s the road map that guides the solution to the right end, and prevents distractions and wrong turns from derailing the project.
Many prospective clients are unaware that this type of preliminary step is available. Often, people simply begin by asking us to quote their list of functionality expectations so they can compare our rates with the next agency’s. The problem with that approach is that it’s bound by what you know or have experienced. It skips the question: “Is this the right solution for us?”
We prefer to talk through your initial list of needs, filter it through the desires of your target audience, and use our vast creative and technical expertise to craft a solution that surpasses them both. It’s a truly collaborative process that is making a difference everyday around here for our clients. We both learn a lot from it. The experience helps us discover new ways of solving your church’s unique challenges. It’s only a matter of investing in the time to walk through the process. The cost for our strategy process is a small percentage of the overall project, and the value more than pays for itself in the long run.
The great part of this process is that we aren’t simply sitting around having marketing discussions on your dime and skimming over the data. The information we learn has a specific impact on how we implement your solution. Here is a quick example to show what we mean:
Example: A church was looking for ways to improve member engagement on their website (typically only 28% of members visit their church’s site regularly). During strategy, before design and development, we discovered that they also wanted to find ways for their members to get involved in community outreach efforts. We then defined a specific plan to connect their members to outreach opportunities online through a custom Outreach Module on their website. Members are now using this website tool to find opportunities (increasing member traffic on the site), and the church now has more volunteers serving in the community than ever.
Common components of Strategy include:
- Research and Analysis – We get to know who you really are, including your staff, how you work, your church or organization’s core values and beliefs, your target audience, and everything you expect your project to accomplish
- Market Positioning – This reveals your strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of your target audience and others in your space. What actions contribute to your success? How could you improve? This avenue of strategy allows us to examine which actions to pursue and others to avoid. We identify and expand on the details to better position your project for a realistic plan.
- Plan of Action – We gather all we have learned and propose a well-thought out plan based on the hard facts. For website projects, we’ll have a visual diagram of how we anticipate the content and communication to flow, revealing some of the earliest stages of sitemapping. We logically explain the information and communication structure so that each decision supports our goals.
- Project Detail – We describe each specification that we choose for your project and explain what they mean for your situation. You’ll be able to see each step we’ll take during our project build out phase and understand how each component supports the “big picture” objectives we originally identified during research.
- Project Budget – We line up your needs with your budget. Strategy helps prioritize which items are critical to the success of your project. With that in proper order, it’s easier for your whole team to agree on which pieces should be included in your initial project budget and which have to wait for later phases.
Additional perks of Strategy include:
- Aligning your church or organization’s challenges with practical solutions
- Comprehensive analysis of how all components are integrated
- Assurance that all internal teams are on same page
- Completely documented approach to project planning and execution
- Clarity and substance without excess
- Experience the expertise of our team before you sign the full project contract