When we launch a client’s website, it sometimes feels like we’re walking our child to the bus stop for the first day of school. We’re excited. They’re excited. We’ve done everything we can do to prepare them for what’s next, but we know we have to let go at some point.

If you’re about to launch (or relaunch) a new website, then it’s already time to start promoting it. But, when we say promote, we mean reaching out before, during, and after the launch with specific reasons they would benefit from visiting the site.

Here’s how we recommend you do both.

Remember the reasons you started the business.

You spent thousands of dollars as well as countless hours, emails, and phone calls on your new web design. During that time, what was it that kept you going?

  • What did your customers need from you that you weren’t providing?
  • What was holding your company back from the next level of growth?
  • What new features got you so excited, you couldn’t wait for launch day?

These are the pain points that first brought you to the table. And once the web design process was in full swing, these were the opportunities you discovered that you knew could change your business.

Since website design projects can take months to complete, it can be hard to remember why you got started in the first place. The initial excitement and vision gives way to detailed decision-making and project management checklists. Still, it’s important to reconnect with your original purpose before you begin pre-launch marketing.

Once you have a tentative launch date, it’s time to start leveraging your new website. Here’s how.

Remember who the target audience is.

Be proud of the website you’ve built. After all, it’s your company’s online home. Over time, it may be the initial entry point for future customers.

But, as proud as you are–as beautiful as your site is–you’re not the target audience. Let me obnoxiously restate that for emphasis–YOU. ARE NOT. THE. TARGET. AUDIENCE.

If you can embrace that notion, you’ll be much more effective at driving business opportunities online and off. In doing so, it’s critical to see the difference between these two invitations:

  • Do me a favor and visit our new website.
  • Do yourself a favor and visit our new website.

If you’ve done your homework during the website design strategy phase, you should have a clearly defined target audience by now. But, identifying who you want to reach is only part of the equation. It’s just as important to document your audience’s pain points and opportunities, as well as their buying process and the factors that influence their decision-making.

Give your customers a reason to visit your website.

Back to the why question we asked earlier: Why did you redesign your website–for your customers?

Sure, you love it. Your mom loves it. It’s beautiful. It no longer feels outdated, stale, or old. Unfortunately, your potential customers are naturally self-interested and therefore focused on their own jobs to be done. None of those reasons–part from pure curiosity–are compelling enough to expect them to visit your website.

In other words, why should potential customers care about your new website? More directly: What’s in it for them?

Remind yourself that your customers weren’t involved in the months-long web design process. This means you have an opportunity to provide a bit of behind-the-scenes transparency that tells them they matter–in fact, that they factored into your decision-making without ever knowing it.

Share the experience. Invent the hero.

It’s not just promoting your website. It’s promoting your entire business.

At the end of the day, any website is a destination. By promoting it, you’re inviting people to discover your value proposition and your differentiators, as well as your products and services.

PRO TIP: Don’t send everyone to your home page. The more intentionally you promote reasons to visit each section of your website, the better you’ll be able to analyze your messaging effectiveness and audience interest later. Highlight specific features of your new website or drive visitors directly to your photo gallery. Show off the great work you’ve done by sharing a link to your portfolio or use the opportunity to better introduce your team.

Ex: Have you ever wanted to put a face with our names? Here’s your chance to learn about each of our employees’ background and what makes each of us unique by visiting our “Meet the Team” section.

When your website finally launches, you’ll want it to be ready to track meaningful data from the start. Here are a few of the most commonly tracked questions:

  • How many users visited our website this month?
  • How did we acquire our users? (How did our users find our website?)
  • How much time do visitors usually spend on our website?
  • What percentage of our website visitors are new vs. returning?
  • Where do our website visitors come from?

PRO TIP: Consider using UTM codes to track which campaigns and channels are most effective at driving traffic to your website. Establish baseline data and start measuring right away.

Launching a new website isn’t a one-day event. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if everyone or no one shows up on “launch day.”

A website launch, like a new product launch, gives you a reason to remind people what matters most to your company. (HINT: It shouldn’t be your products or services. It had better be “making our customers’ lives easier.”)

Your chances of reaching and compelling a large number of people to visit your website on the same day are fairly small. It’s like calling a thousand people on the same day and hoping they’re near their phone and/or they aren’t too busy to take your call. Even if you do, each person may not be in a position to make a purchase on that day. So, you’d better have a plan for following up another time.

So, use this newfound appreciation for the hard work that went into building your website to give customers valuable reasons to visit throughout the year. If you do, your website will attract the right visitors at the right time, producing quality leads and sales until it’s time to redesign your site again.

We celebrate every website we launch by banging a gong inside our office. Find some way to celebrate your success–and be sure to include your customers.

Idea's Gong