Launching a business is a thrilling time for any company. Launching a brick-and-mortar facility at the same time as an online platform, however, can be particularly precarious. In 2016, we were approached by the London-based training facility, Performance Ground, to build a multipurpose platform in conjunction with the grand opening of their state-of-the-art facility.
It may come as a surprise that a team of developers and data analysts have a background in fitness-based applications and content strategy. But for SOUTH, this undertaking was ideal. One of our founders played an integral role in the launch and growth of Juggernaut Training Systems and carried that expertise with him into our business. Thus, this project would be a distinct opportunity to apply niche expertise to a burgeoning business.
- Product Design
02Planning for Lift-Off
The approach would be as disciplined and calculated as the training programs Performance Ground promotes.
A business launch is a critical period during which timeline and budget management must be at an all-time high. Without revenue coming in, flexibility is low. To maximize conversion potential, we needed to incorporate and coordinate a number of customer acquisition strategies all in one place — which can be a challenging puzzle to solve.
Clearly defined MVP requirements are essential to preventing a draining quest to over-optimize. But how do we define what is MVP when the product isn’t quite ready, while also keeping our options open for future growth and strategic priority pivots?
03At the Corner of Kingsway and KPI
We knew consultation would be heavy at the outset. We weren’t just building a website; we were helping build the foundation for a business both online and on location in downtown London.
Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) helped set our priorities. By identifying which types of conversions would most directly help our client hit quarterly revenue goals, we were able to structure a manageable platform built around the business plan, for both the long- and short-term.
04The “Three Buckets”
At the core of this project was a driven client. Early questionnaire feedback and clear target expectations from the business owner were used to determine that three unique conversions would have the greatest impact on the revenue at launch.
A strict persona definition process yielded the following user conversions:
1) Users in the immediate vicinity of the facility, who are interested in on-site training services.
2) Users seeking online training resources.
3) Users seeking apparel or digital products.
Designing the platform around these three unique conversions helped capture a broad array of site visitors and quickly funnel them into the appropriate analytically backed conversion process. What we eventually (and very creatively) coined the “Three-Bucket” approach also granted us flexibility to cycle new goals into our conversion funnel should KPIs or strategy pivot over time.
The approach focused on quickly identifying and “bucketing” users into areas of the site that would present them with only the most relevant information for their particular needs. General best practices, including primary navigation menus and constant “calls to action” above the fold, further drive home a commitment to educate visitors and drive revenue.
05Funneling Toward Conversions
Once we had our users sorted into the appropriate buckets, we could then dig into best practices for conversion. We tapped Google Analytics to identify the conversion strategies that were successful for past fitness clients and tweaked them to meet the new expectations.
The following list contains a few examples of the conversion strategies detailed in our (actual) initial website presentation.
- Cart icon displays notifications if user has items in their cart.
- The site contains multiple entryways into a conversion funnel, much like a house with a front door, back door, windows, and garage. During design, we assume that not all users will enter through the front door. Navigation is designed site-wide to capture and direct users in a fluid experience regardless of entry-point.
- Optimized to ensure users experience the fewest number of clicks possible before reaching a conversion.
- Primary top navigation allows users to quickly navigate between “buckets” should their area of interest or objective change.
- Application of many industry best practices to optimize the site conversion funnel, where supported by the selected theme and e-commerce platform.
- Large engaging objects and images work in conjunction with brand elements to establish recognition while simultaneously driving an efficient and effective user experience.
06Acquisition Plan to Up Conversion Potential
From our earliest conversations, the client made clear that education should be weighted equally to “selling” the facility, subscriptions or services. The Performance Ground website, leaning again on the three-bucket approach, makes navigation to educational content simple, while maintaining easy access to primary conversion funnels. Users can enjoy educational resources tailored to them, engaging with free custom content in only one click.
Featured posts and products allow Performance Ground staff additional control over which content and products they would like to push at any given time. This granted the flexibility to align the homepage visuals with content being used in external marketing efforts. Bolstering continuity between external efforts and the site experience helps drive brand familiarity for a new company and keeps the experience consistent. It also allows the strategy behind the site to work in conjunction with marketing efforts.
One of the primary marketing efforts driving visitors to the site comes in the form of an email campaign. To capture new subscribers, we wired up a contact form just below the fold on the homepage that would offer access quickly without diluting our primary conversion funnel. Paired with a time-fired Campaign modal, which highlights ongoing opportunities for visitors both on and off site, we were finally ready to flip the switch.
07Goal Alignment Then and Now
While the primary focus of the site was the bucket conversion method, on a larger scale we designed the Performance Ground project around three overarching goals. The appeal of shared success is a valuable component in any project, and identifying these goals at the start helped us engage in the mission of a new company.
1) Establishing a Brand Identity
As a new company and facility, building brand familiarity was a key component in driving conversions. Utilizing provided elements, we aimed for an image more akin to sleek, mature companies like Nike to increase user confidence and drive conversions. Employing white space in conjunction with predominantly grey and black tones allowed the powerful yellow to establish itself as the anchor of the brand, without cluttering navigation.
2) KPIs as Our Guide
We heavily weighed the client-provided KPIs of educating and empowering when selecting images, as well as the tone for our narrative.
3) Infusing Best Practices
Working in conjunction with more benevolent KPIs, we made sure to incorporate analytically backed best practices. This balance assured that while we were empowering and educating, we were also generating the revenue required to sustain the mission.
We’re excited to be pursuing an ongoing data and performance analysis role with Performance Ground, and we’re closely monitoring the analytics and making adjustments in response. We will report back here with the long-term outcomes, so check back soon!
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