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In 20+ years designing graphics and websites in Austin, the hardest part of getting started for many clients is the planning stage. They know they need something, but what?

This conversation guide is for anyone who would rather get back to work than promote it. 

My goal in starting this conversation is not just to solve your digital or messaging problems today, but also to position you better for future plans. Now let’s dig into the 9 planning areas you will think about BEFORE you get started building your website or digital marketing program.

1: Vision

What’s the big picture? How do you want to be useful to your audience, what drove you to commit to your project, and how do you fit into the community? When you succeed, what does success look like?

2: Mission

Write down your goals. What do you want to do, AND what do you want to stay away from? What do you think your audience wants, and how do they want to get it? What features must you include?

3: Content

Put together your content. What do you have now, what do you want to say, who is listening, how does your audience like to listen, and where do you want to be seen?

4: Value

Write down your value proposition. What sets you apart from the crowd? What are your strengths? Why would your audience choose you over a competitor? What drives your main customers?

5: Priorities

List your top 3 priorities. What’s the most important takeaway for each audience? What opportunities do you want to capture, and what threats do you want to avoid?

6: Style

Your style. What’s the look and feel of your brand? How do you speak and carry yourself in public? What are your favorite colors? What websites are you impressed by? W

7: Timeline

Your deadline. Are there any major events coming soon? What approvals does this project need before launch? Is your content in good shape, or do you need to build in extra time to create new copy/graphics for the project?

8: Budgets

Your time and financial budgets. How much of an investment are you prepared to make? Do you need a little bit of support on the cheap, or are you looking for a comprehensive service provider who upgrades, updates, and maintains your digital marketing program?

9: Tools

Depending on how much time you have until your site is launched, the right toolset for the job will vary: if you have a lot of time and aren’t afraid of a little code you may prefer an awesome WordPress theme (I recommend Divi on WordPress for most small-to-medium websites) and DIY support. Or, if you’re already busy with your primary work, you may want a team of professionals who will not only write your copy, design your graphics, and build the site, but also help you host, upgrade and maintain it so you can focus on your main job.

Congratulations, you made it through the list!