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by Eric Sharp on September 3, 2016

Topics: Clients

behind-scenes-falcons-creative-group

“Woah, they design theme parks!”

This was my first reaction when Robert — Marketing Manager at Falcon’s Creative Group — requested ProtoFuse’s free consultation last October.

My second was: “Eek. That took way too long to find out.”

This was the theme of our early conversations with Falcon’s. We’d be impressed with their talent, unique services, culture, and industry-recognition, but then quickly discouraged because their website didn’t communicate those things well (among others).

However, we’re not fans of website melancholy. We like to fix things. And that’s what Falcon’s hired us to do.

We moved from sympathy to strategy and kickstarted a process to completely transform their website. We not only needed to fix their communication and messaging issues (that I experienced on my first visit), but it needed to generate quality leads and reboot their SEO.

Here’s some behind the scenes of how we tackled Falcon’s unique website problems.

The ProtoFuse team celebrating the website launch at Falcon’s headquarters:

Diagnosing the Issues

The first few weeks of every website rebuild is dedicated to figuring out what really is going wrong.

A few of the core issues we diagnosed:

  1. Division & Products/Services ambiguity – Falcon’s operates with 3 divisions and has unique services and products tied to each division. This was difficult to understand.
  2. No Calls to Action – which was hurting their lead generation
  3. Content – was poorly formatted causing readability issues
  4. Hash sign (#) architecture – (example.com/services.html#info). This structure was limiting the website. Hash sign architecture is a big indicator that a website makeover is needed.
  5. No CMS (Content Management System)
  6. No Content Marketing Plan, Poor SEO (organic search traffic was dropping)
Falcon’s old design forced the user to navigate their 3 divisions by scrolling with the wheel mouse. This functionality spawned usability, SEO, & mobile-friendliness issues that needed fixed.
Falcon’s old design forced the user to navigate their 3 divisions by scrolling with the wheel mouse. This functionality spawned usability, SEO, & mobile-friendliness issues that needed fixed.

Establishing Website Goals

After some hearty discussions with Falcon’s marketing and leadership team, we established 10 strong goals. Here’s a few of them:

  1. Generate (x) number of leads per month via organic search traffic
  2. Re-structure the SEO to provide a logical flow of keywords
  3. Communicate the unique structure/brands (Treehouse, Digital & Licensing)
  4. Convey clearly Falcon’s value proposition

Understanding Falcon’s business and industry (“Themed Entertainment”)

After diagnosing the website’s major issues and forming goals, we moved onto an information gathering phase.

This gives us a platform to ask smart questions and understand Falcon’s:

  • History, Vision, Culture
  • Value Proposition
  • Clients
  • Products & Services
  • Sales Cycle and how they nurture and close leads
  • Industry and its nuances
Lisa works hard to extract critical information out of Robert -- even during an office tour. :)
Lisa works hard to extract critical information out of Robert — even during an office tour. :)

Setting the Strategy

Here are a few deliverables we provided in our strategy.

Note: we never like to disclose the custom strategies we create for our clients. Some of the examples below are blurred to respect the strategy we formed specifically for Falcon’s.

Our in-depth competitor analysis provided Falcon’s with a high-level understanding of what their competition was doing well (and not doing well)
Our in-depth competitor analysis provided Falcon’s with a high-level understanding of what their competition was doing well (and not doing well)
User personas helped our team understand the people visiting Falcon’s website. Learn how we create website user personas.
User personas helped our team understand the people visiting Falcon’s website. Learn how we create website user personas.

Critical Architecture & Navigation Decisions

There were some key decisions made in the information architecture phase that influenced how the website would communicate their 3 divisions and products/services.

Remember, this was one of our website goals. We had to get this right for Falcon’s.

In one strategy session, we explored 2 different navigation ideas:

sketch-divisions-navigation-ideas

Then, we moved these ideas into our site mapping phase and really weighed the pros/cons of each.

falcons-sitemapping-options
Idea #1 would force a user to choose a division, then a service. Idea #2 took a more traditional approach where Services/Products were main elements. We decided #2 was clearer for the user.

Prototyping

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a good prototype is worth a thousand PICTURES”, says Tom Kelly, Founder of world-renowned design firm, IDEO.

Here 3 interesting details we explored in our prototyping phase:

1. We continued to iterate how exactly Falcon’s 3 divisions would be handled in the global header.

falcons-prototype-divisions-drops

2. With such beautiful work in their portfolio, we felt a masonry layout would provide a user with bright visuals and provide a taste of the diversity of work.

falcons-prototype-featured-work

3. Falcon’s is an approachable company, so we thought this little design detail on their major conversion element (“Schedule a Conversation”) would be well received. It was.

falcons-prototype-schedule-conversation
Coffee, Water, Soda, Beer or Wine? You choose. :)

Visual Design Direction

Falcon’s collaboration skills was top notch. Every phase went smooth with no hiccups. They trusted us from the start, but they also forced us to rise to the occasion with our design ideas. Here’s how I described the challenge to a peer:

They put healthy pressure on us to design something great.

With that said, we didn’t panic. We believed in our experience and our creative process. I won’t dive into our visual design process (see this: How to Nail Your Website’s Visual Design), but I will zoom in on a few elements.

1. The site’s structure and content approach required about 15 unique and custom designed templates.

visual-design-mockups-invision

2. Global divisions drop downs – helps communicate each divisions’ sub-branding (color) wherever you’re at on the site. This was a strategic design decision to help promote the synergy of all 3 divisions.

falcons-divisions-drops_giphy-export-3-zoomed-photoshop-optimized

3. Calls to Action customized by division color and type of call to action (Conversation vs Showroom)

visual-design-cta-divisions-specific

SEO challenges

Falcon’s previous site resided under the domain www.falconstreehouse.com (one of their divisions).

With a strategic realignment of their brand shifting to Falcon’s Creative Group, we needed a short and long-term SEO plan to funnel existing authority and rankings from www.falconstreehouse.com to www.falconscreativegroup.com.

falcons-seo-challenges-old-new-domain

Changing domains is a big deal, especially if your old domain has been around for years. But, we’ve helped other clients pull this off without damaging their SEO.

Though I won’t expose the overall SEO plan for Falcon’s, the major SEO challenge was ensuring domain authority and links get passed to their new domain. We handled this with a smart combination of:

  • Clear Architecture
  • Quality content
  • On-page Optimization
  • 301 redirects
  • Due diligence within Google’s Search Console (e.g. Change of Address form)

For those interested in how to properly move domains from an SEO perspective, read How to Properly Move Domains on the Moz blog.

Mobile considerations

Even though Falcon’s mobile audience was less than 10%, we knew this usage would grow. Their primary persona was research oriented (Google states 42% of B2B researches use a mobile device) so as Falcon’s traffic increased, so would their need to be mobile-friendly.

Here are some key mobile design decisions:

falcons-mobile-considerations

  1. Value proposition was clear & obvious on the homepage (learn why your value prop is a critical home page design element)
  2. Microcopy quickly explained a competitive advantage that needed communicated
  3. Major CTA was clear and obvious to improve conversion rate

The Results

real-resultsIn addition to this behind the scenes, check out Falcon’s Client Results. As we collect data, we’ll update our “real results” section with some before/after.

Visit the website and experience it first hand: FalconsCreativeGroup.com.

Is your website generating leads? If not, we can help.

We love working with B2B companies, building conversion-focused websites. We understand your challenges.

Let’s discuss your website today and see if ProtoFuse can generate new business for you.

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Author Info

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Hey there, thanks for reading! My name is Eric Sharp and I’m the Founder of ProtoFuse. Learn more about me, follow me on Twitter or find me on Google+. Oh, and I’ll call you family if you’re a Chicago Bears fan. Daaa Bearsss.