Need a New Site? Here’s What to Include in Your RFP

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edesigning and relaunching a new website is no easy feat. While it’s stunning, engaging, and attention-grabbing once it goes live, the preparation and work that goes on behind the scenes can take months of hard work between many collaborating teams.

As with many other marketing tactics, achieving success starts with doing your homework upfront: knowing the audience, business objectives, and brand story. And the best way to do that is to ask a lot of questions. (And we mean a lot.)

When a client comes to us for a website design, we help them think through every aspect of their project, so that when we begin the creation process we’re already on the same page. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at some of the questions we ask, so that you can be sure to include the answers in your brief:

Goals and Objectives

Just like any other marketing strategy, your website strategy should start with the end. When we’re clear on your business objectives, it’s easier to stay focused while working back from the desired endpoint. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What are your business goals?
  • Are you currently achieving them? If not, why?
  • What’s working about your business? What’s not working?
  • What are your biggest marketing challenges?
  • Who is your current audience? Is your ideal customer someone different?
  • Who are your top competitors? How are you different?
  • What tactics are currently a part of your marketing strategy?
  • What is your budget?
  • What’s the timeline?

It can also be helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis on your company and see if you can find links between any of the four categories and your current site. (If something is working well because of your site, you’ll want to be sure to carry that aspect over to your new one.)

Website Questions

Now that you’ve refreshed your memory on the main business objectives for your organization in general, it’s time to delve into how your website can help you achieve those. And while your answers may be slightly different here, remember that everything should ladder up to the overarching goals.

To start to outline what you want for your site, begin with functionality:

  • What’s the main objective for your new site? (What is the main action you want someone to take on your new website?)
  • When was the last time you conducted a technical audit?
  • Does your current site have eCommerce? Will your new site?
  • Does your site need to be ADA-compliant?
  • How many pages (approximately) is your current site? Will you plan to add or eliminate pages for your new site?
  • What do you like/dislike about your current site?
  • Provide examples of websites you love, and explain why. The more specific you are about what you like and don’t like about your examples, the better.
  • Is CRM integration required? If yes, how would you like your CRM and your website to interact with each other?
  • What are your technical functionality requirements? (These can include integrations with booking platforms, a blog, event calendar, newsletter signup, social feeds, and more.)
  • Do you currently have/use Google Analytics?
  • Are you able to give your design agency administrator access to your current site?
  • Do you want training and the ability to add content or elements yourself? If not, do you plan to work with an agency for maintenance post-launch?

From there, it’s time to zoom out a bit more:

  • Is your current website a good representation of your business? Why or why not?
  • Is there content that’s missing from your current site? Or content that needs to be removed?
  • How was your current brand positioning developed?
  • Would most people in your company be able to give a concise, consistent elevator pitch for what your company offers and to whom?

And finally, it’s important to have an overall picture of the rest of your marketing strategy:

  • Social media (paid and organic)
  • SEO
  • SEM
  • Email
  • Content Marketing

If you’re thinking that this is a lot of information that’s going to take considerable time to gather, you’re correct. It’s important for a number of reasons, though. First, if you’re planning to search for an agency partner, a generic RFP can lead to proposals that are inaccurate across the board, from resources to budget estimations to timelines. Second, an agency that doesn’t take the time to understand your website to this level may not be your best choice.

At Hawthorn Creative, we guide clients step by step through the entire website redesign process, from helping them understand why a website is an important investment through ongoing analytics services. If you’re ready to develop your ideal website, contact us and let’s get started.


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