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Raytchle Reiss

Digital Acquisition Strategist

How To Write The Perfect Brief

At Rawnet we believe that a pitch can only be as good as the brief that was written. Too much information restricts creativity and too little information lacks direction.

Every single one of our award winning websites and campaigns have resulted from effective knowledge share between us and the client at the initial planning stage.

The fact is, you are the experts in your industry and we are the experts within digital.

  • You have a vision for your project and we have the expertise to create it for you.
  • You know who your audience are, and we know how to make the experience work for them.
  • You know what keywords you are looking for visibility on and we know how to rank them.
  • You know who your competitors are and we have the ability to analyse them and create a strategy to outrank them.

What we are trying to point out is that without effective collaboration at the start, you restrict yourself to a project that is defined by what the industry is doing or internal knowledge. Why not combine our knowledge, let creativity flow and define a new online standard for your industry.

As an agency we prefer to be involved at the original planning stage. Our Foundry sessions give clients access to many of the agency roles needed to collaborate. Bringing together experts in marketing, producers, UX, design, along with your internal team to define the scope of your project without any knowledge parameters. Essentially owning a slice of a digital agency for a day to really help define what’s needed.

Defining a problem solving brief

There is no one size fits all when it comes to website design and marketing. Requirements vary by industry, audience and business needs. More importantly, there is no recipe to create the perfect brief. However, we have combined the ingredients from some of the best briefs we have received to ensure that when answered, we have the best chance of presenting a solution that is best fit to your objectives.

“Get it right first time”

It’s mutually beneficial to ensure that the brief is as informative as possible. For your team, it means that you get informative pitches and won’t have the problem of comparing apples with oranges. For agencies, it helps us to quote accurately, ensure that the project has the functionality to grow with the business without bloating the information architecture and ensure that any integrations with third party systems are recognised from the start.

Project Details

We may have never interacted with your brand before so it’s essential that we know about your company. You are the experts in your industry so, help us to understand your business by sharing relevant information. Any agency will research your company however, the reliability of content available on Wikipedia etc may be out of date. We need to meet with the right people. We’ve come across briefs that didn’t align with the decision makers vision when we met them so, we redefined the brief and came up with a concept that would.

  • A couple of paragraphs about your company. (Where are you based?)
  • International Presence? Or are you looking to enter new territories?
  • Do you have physical locations or are you solely online?
  • When was the company formed?
  • How do people describe the brand?
  • How do you want people to describe the brand?
  • Who are your competitors? (Online and Offline)
  • What is unique about your product and / or services?
  • What are your business ambitions from doing this project?

Audience

Your audience are your end users. They will have their own expectations of what they expect from your website and you need to ensure your website fulfils their needs in the best way possible. We need to know who they are, where they are and their behavioural traits. If you don't consider their experience or provide content and functionality that meets their expectations, you may find that your conversion rate suffers.

  • Who will your main audience(s) be? Do you have user personas available?
  • How tech savvy is your audience?
  • How will your users be accessing the website? Desktop? Mobile?
  • How large do you expect your visitor base to be?
  • Where is your audience geographically?
  • What type of visitors do you want to get?
  • What are the specific actions you want users to take?

Current Website

Most agencies have tools that allow us to estimate traffic and behaviour on the website. We can take these figures to benchmark against competitors however, they do not give us a definitive answer to the majority of our queries.

  • What’s the current URL? Will you be moving domain names with the new site launch?
  • What CMS?
  • Are there any integrations with other software? CRM?
  • What’s good about the website?
  • What is bad about the website? (design, functionality, user experience.) Is there anything that it doesn’t do for you?
  • When was the website built?
  • Do you have Google Analytics/Third Party tracking? Can we have access?
  • What levels of traffic is your site currently receiving on a monthly basis?
  • What percentage of traffic comes from organic and paid sources?
  • What percentage of your traffic comes from mobile and tablet?
  • What countries are your visitors from?
  • What are the top 5 web browsers and platforms. (Mac/PC/Android/iOS)
  • Do you have conversion tracking on your website?
  • Are there any other frustrations with the current site that haven’t been covered above?

New Website

The reasons for a new website are often highly varied, however providing insight into those factors is absolutely vital at the earliest possible moment.

Knowing the main factors behind your reason enables us to determine so much about what purpose the site will fulfill moving forward and how to make it best work for the target audience that you are looking to attract and convert.

  • Describe using 10 words what you want your users to define your site as.
  • The objectives of the new website (e.g increase traffic, improve conversion rate, offer new functionality or incorporate a new product or service.)
  • Who is the target audience? Has this changed from the old site? Demographics if available?
  • Is the website part of a rebrand or new product launch?
  • Will there be further product/ services added within the lifespan of this site?
  • Is there other advertising taking place that the new website should compliment?
  • What are the USP’s of your brand, product or services?
  • List of who you define as your online competitors. These can be different from those above.
  • What keywords are you looking to rank for?
  • List of integrations needed e.g payment gateways, API’s.

Budget

There are pro’s and cons for publicising your budget. Pro’s include the ability to compare concepts using a like for like budget, it also allows agencies to define a concept that is achievable instead of “selling the dream” and having to manage expectations if the cost is out of budget. Con’s include cost defining the agency choice, preference will automatically be given weight to an agency that is cheaper but can “sell the dream”.

  • What is the budget for the design and development of the site?
  • Has a budget for ongoing support and maintenance been defined?
  • What is the digital marketing budget for the next 6 months?

Aesthetics and Content

It’s sometimes difficult to explain your vision for your website on paper. Answering all the information allows agencies to define what imagery, content etc needs to be sourced and what is available allowing us to quote accurately.

Do not repurpose old content. The way users consume text has evolved, users do not sit and read large columns of text anymore. It is essential to use a range of media to keep users engaged and split your message into bite size chunks for easy consummation.

  • Can you provide brand guidelines? Do you need some created?
  • Can you provide us with examples of sites that you like? What do you like about them?
  • Who is responsible for generating content? Do you need a web copywriter?
  • Do you have a media library? Images, Photography or Videos?
  • Do you have the skills/resource to implement a content audit in house?
  • Who will be responsible for generating content?
  • Is there a need for offline marketing material to be updated? Business cards, brochures and flyers etc.

Technical

A website should always be coded in a way that can be validated in line with webmaster guidelines and the relevant coding validations. However, we do need to know if there is extra functionality needed.

  • Do you control the domain? If not who does?
  • Do you require hosting?
  • Does the site need to cater for audio web browsers or braille readers?
  • Do you have webmaster tools ownership?
  • Is there a need for a SSL certificate (https)
  • Will there be a need to work with external agencies?
  • Are there any other integrations/feeds that the site will need to be integrated with? (Google Maps, xml feeds, payment gateways, multi channel platforms e.g eBay, Amazon)

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is often an afterthought, it’s essential to ensure that the website gives you the functionality to be able to implement campaigns and track engagements. The results of in depth keyword research and competitor analysis should define the information architecture before any design work is started in order to improve organic visibility after go live. Navigations get bloated when extra pages are added to information architectures post launch and disrupt user journeys.

If you are planning to implement these activities post launch it is essential that we understand the intent and what you expect these users to do on the website and if additional landing pages are needed.

  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC), Remarketing and Display Network Advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Banner advertising on related websites
  • Affiliate Marketing

As the majority of users interact a number of times with your brand, through various sources and on multiple devices before making a purchase or enquiry it essential that the multi touch points are consistent across channels and that the brand is easily recognisable.

Some further considerations include:

  • What marketing activities have you tried? Were there any failures?
  • Is there new technology/trends that the company has an interest in?

Offline Promotion

Websites are also supported by offline promotion. It is essential that if the website design is part of a product launch or rebrand that all offline promotional material is in line with the new website branding.

Keep the company informed if you plan to implement these activities:

  • Direct mail
  • Brochures and flyers
  • Media
  • Sponsorship
  • PR activities
  • Vehicle wraps

Timings

Setting the expectations of deadlines from the outset will help agencies to define a timeline that sits within the client's business needs.

  • When the proposal should be returned.
  • When will you let agencies know if they have been invited to pitch.
  • What dates will pitches happen.
  • What is the pitch process (2, or 3 rounds etc?)
  • When will the successful agency be notified.
  • When would you expect the web build/campaign be commenced.
  • When is the deadline for the project to be completed.

We understand it can be difficult gathering all of this data. Predominantly, knowledge is shared across various teams and everyone has their own frustrations and needs from the new website. We offer Foundry sessions that help define the “must” and “nice to” haves by collating information based upon competitor activities, internal industry knowledge and technical needs that fit in line with paid and SEO strategies. What’s more is you get the minds of Rawnet experts in one room to help create a project that will not only outrank competition but offer an award winning experience for your customers. Through cooperative working, we truly understand what is going to make the significant differences to your business, and how to go about undertaking the next steps.

“The Foundry is Rawnet's way of packaging up our expertise and delivering it to you at a fraction of the cost of a full scale project. You'll get a lot of value from just a day or two of investment, but to be honest, it's also designed to make our lives easier when it comes to executing the project down the line. As always, the tighter the brief, the better the outcome.”

If you are looking for an agency that will challenge your vision, highlight possible problems and then solve them whilst potentially raising a few eyebrows then a Foundry session would be perfect for you. Contact us to find out more.