A website redesign is exciting, both for you and your customers, but without the proper preparation you could surprise them (and not in a good way).
It is good etiquette to prepare your customers for a website redesign, so they are not confused when they land on an entirely different website than they were expecting. Even if you are sticking to the same branding as your old website, your new site will most probably look and function differently to your customers (sometimes very differently).
By preparing your customers for the new redesign, you’ll reassure them that you are the same company as before, offering the same brilliant products or services. It is also a chance to make them aware of all the new features and functions of your new website, so you can maximize your conversions during this transition.
Creating hype about a new website design is also an excellent PR opportunity. Not only can it help remind customers of your business, but you’ll make previous potential customers interested in you again, particularly if they did not like the functionality of your old website.
The three stages of preparing your customers for a website redesign
We recommend updating your customers about a new website redesign through an email newsletter, your blog, and social media. It is also polite to send personal emails or letters about your redesign to large or regular clients you have a strong relationship with.
We believe these updates should come in the form of lots of little updates staggered over time in the following stages:
Stage 1 – Announcing there will be a new website:
We suggest advertising to your customers about your decision to redesign your website as soon as you’ve made the decision, and you are at the early stages of the design process.
Take this announcement as the perfect opportunity to ask your customers what they love or what they dislike about your current website, along with any requests they would like featured on the new website. This sort of customer feedback can be invaluable when it comes to redesigning a new website built with customer satisfaction at its core.
We suggest you should cover the following when announcing a new website:
- Why you are going to redesign your website
- Explain how a new website will benefit your customers
- Ask for feedback on what your customers think of your current website (use a survey service such as PollDaddy)
- When approximately they should expect a new website (this can be very vague, such as “in the summer”)
Stage 2 – Announcing the features of your new website:
In this update, your excitement should ooze in every sentence. You should mention all the new key features that your customers should expect that weren’t on your old website, and you can even run over how these might work. Keep an air of mystery about some aspects of your new website, though, such as a new website promotion as you’ll want to give them a few nice surprises!
We suggest you send this update 1-2 weeks before the new website launch, and should include:
- The launch date
- Any key features (including screenshots).
- A short demo video of what to expect if you have an extensive website packed with features.
- An announcement of a new website promotion (but you could keep the details a mystery for now!).
Stage 3 – The launch
On the day of the launch, you should reach out to your customers across email, social media and your blog letting them know your new website is now live. In these updates, you should include:
- Screenshots of the new website
- A live demo on how to use your website to do certain tasks – If your website redesign has tons of new features, we’d suggest a step-by-step video explaining how to use your new website. This can be especially helpful if you want to improve your conversion rate optimization by demonstrating to a visitor how to make a purchase. Depending on how sophisticated your website is, a website tour with popups pointing out various new features and what they do will help improve your website visitor’s user experience and engagement rate.
- A new website promotional code – Offering a “new website launch” promotion to boost sales will give your customers an incentive to visit your new site. You’ll also get the opportunity to reach a wider audience as people share the promotional code with their friends. This will give you valuable data about how your new website’s customer conversion path is doing.
Tips on how to promote your new website:
Approach the advertisement of your new website as you would if you were to reopen a brick and mortar shop.
- Contact local press to let them know about your new website design, and how ordering from your site is easier than ever before!
- Contact bloggers in your field to review your new website.
- Offer a discount code for purchasing from your new website.
If you do have a brick and mortar premise, such as a restaurant or shop where customers regularly visit, we would recommend advertising your new website redesign within it once you’ve launched. Advertising within a property can come in the form of posters as you enter the store or flyers laid across the payment desk. You can also hand out business cards with “shop from our new website!” with your customer receipts.
After the launch, don’t be afraid to refer to your new website as a “new” website, even if it has been a few months old since you launched it. Even though it may no longer be new to you, some of your customers may still only be recently discovering it.