We’ve chatted quite a bit about designing strategic websites for your clients, but something we haven’t touched on is a piece that’s vital for being able to show off the results you create.
Knowing what your client’s situation is like before you work together, which we’ll refer to as the “Before Picture”, gives you something to look at once your project is complete. This is the only way to accurately measure the difference you’ve made in someone’s business.
In this week’s episode we’ll dive into what a “Before Picture” includes, why it’s important, and how to create one for your next web design project.
What is a “Before Picture”
A “Before Picture” is a look at your clients’s situation before they work with you. This includes things like their current website and branding, what’s going well in their current business, what they’re struggling with, their attitude towards their website, statistics, and more.
Why it’s important
A Before Picture is something that’s missed by a lot of designers, but it’s important if you’d like to show current and potential clients the real value of the work you do. Consider a potential client seeing on your website that you increased someone’s email opt-ins by 30%, but nothing like that on another designer’s site…they’re probably going to go with you!
When you get past clients good results, you’re also more likely to get strong referrals and powerful testimonials from those people when you may not have otherwise. Testimonials that include real results are much more powerful than testimonials that talk about how fun you were to work with.
All-in-all, being able to show off the results you get will keep the types of people you want to work with coming through the door.
Part 1: The Questionnaire
A questionnaire is the first (and most important) part of creating a before picture. There are 3 pieces you want to include in this questionnaire: expectations, feelings and statistics.
Let’s start with expectations. Knowing what your clients expect in a project help you understand how to create a successful website in your client’s eyes. You might learn things you need to focus on that you would have missed otherwise or ways you could go above-and-beyond. All of these things can work together to help you cut down on revisions and end up with a happier client overall!
A sample question to help you learn about expectations is, “What is the main factor that caused you to want a new website?” This will help you know what they’re struggling with and what they expect you to improve in your work together.
Learning about your client’s feelings is great for comparing your clients thoughts before your project together versus after. With this information, you can remind them of the way they were feeling to amplify the excitement they’re experiencing about their new website, which is great for testimonials.
A great question to include to learn about your clients feelings is, “How is needing help with your website costing you time or money?” Nothing makes people talk about feelings more than lost time and money!
Last come statistics. Getting stats is great for getting real numbers to show off after your project is complete. You then have something to compare improvements to after the project is complete. They can also help you see what you’re doing right versus what you could improve in your next design project.
This is where you’ll have the most questions added to your questionnaire, but you’ll want to ask about things like website traffic, email opt-in rates, and sales. Keep in mind that this section will need to be customized per client to make sure you’re not asking about irrelevant information.
How to send it all
The last thing clients need is yet another questionnaire sent. That’s why it’s a great option to include these questions with another design questionnaire you already send. Keep it short and sweet, including 1-2 questions for each of the pieces we talked about today. Also, if you can jump in and get your client’s statistics for them, offer to do that!
Part 2: Screenshots
Luckily, part two is a whole lot easier. All you have to do is take screenshots of your clients websites before you get started on your work together. Use tools like the Full Page Screen Capture extension for Google Chrome. To make sure you don’t forget, add a step to your process outline!
But what will you use these for? A lot of the time, you aren’t going to want to be talking about how awful your client’s last web design was.
Use these to help you and your client see the difference before and after. For example, if email opt-ins increase for a certain section of the new design, you can look back at the old design to analyze why there’s such a difference.
- Add the questions for your Before Picture questionnaire to another questionnaire you send at the beginning of a project
- Don’t be limited by the example questions I gave, think about the people you usually work with
- Add screenshots to your process outline
- EP002: Get your clients awesome results and show them off
- EP005: What you need to know about designing strategic websites
- Design Your Own Pixel Perfect Production, use code GETBACKTODESIGN for $10 off
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