Vice President, Digital Strategy

Senior Copywriter

How Rise Drove 88% More Traffic in Total Rebrand

At Rise, we love a challenge. So, when Nicklaus Children’s Health System marketing team came to us with a request for a total rebrand and redesign of their hospital website, we were ready for action. Working alongside the client, we reinvisioned the brand to stand out in a sea of sameness and improved conversion paths and SEO rankings. The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital project, at its end, turned out to be one of our most complex projects yet, with the five Rise teams involved facing interesting challenges along the way. Now, after completion, we’re already seeing results like:

  • 88% YoY Increase in Total YTD Traffic
  • 13% YoY Increase in Find a Physician Conversions
  • 60% YoY Increase in Total Traffic Post-Launch
  • 13% increase in 1-10 ranking position
  • 5% increase in overall ranking positions

We recently sat down with some Risers to ask them how they kept this project’s moving parts moving, especially across teams. If you’re part of a team that’s attempting a total site rebrand, or just plain curious about tackling a project of this size: check out these tips, straight from the source.

Get your goals out in the open.

With a project this big, it’s important to make sure everyone—client included—is aligned on goals. Anastasia Guletsky Kelly, Senior Copywriter & Content Strategist, attributes the success of the project to the clear goals established early on. “I felt like I had a sense of purpose all the way through,” she said of her experience working on website copy. Ask the client what results they’re looking for, and be honest about what steps lead to those goals. Then, do the same with your team.

Aligning on what teams will need to work together, and when, helps streamline the process and—when the timeline begins—helps in finding more efficient working patterns. That’s why, after evaluating SEO goals, Lynn Lee, SEO Specialist, looped the copy team in to establish priorities regarding competitive keywords. It was important, Lynn said, to have relevant teams “understand from an implementation standpoint what [SEO] needs” and vice versa. If there was an important keyword to improve organic traffic, or a word that featured heavily in the new brand voice, each team knew about it ahead of time and could act accordingly. Instances of this kind of internal level-setting across teams—dev to design, UX to SEO, and more—came up frequently during our discussion, and was often attributed to the project’s success.

Use the client as a source of expertise.

As with any project, it may be tempting to take the reins from the client and say, “Okay, we’ve got it from here.” But, in doing so, you may be missing out on an important well of information to which only the client has access. And, with a project as large as a site rebrand, information up front is key to maintaining the timeline. In fact, relying on your client as a source of expertise is one of the key themes that popped up during our discussion with Risers on the Nicklaus Children’s project; every interviewee mentioned having a positive benefit to constant communication with the Nicklaus Children’s marketing team.

For example, before the redesign, Rise recommended to Nicklaus Children’s that they conduct a conversion rate optimization (CRO) engagement with us, to apply things like heat maps, session replay, form field analysis, and voice of consumer surveys to collect user experience and conversion data that would inform how we'd approach the redesign. After we ran all these tests and had all this data, our teams used it to shorten the runway on decision making during the redesign project—something that Kelsey Fiegle, Lead UX Designer, cited as a huge help. With that data, she could find out “what people had trouble doing” on their site, which let her get a running start on wireframes, which in turn kept the timeline moving. While, of course, we recognize that every client relationship is different, chances are—if you’re stuck on a question or lack a pivotal point of information—ask your client if they have any insights from their side of the table. After all, as Jon Larson, Front-End Creative Technologist, put it in our discussion, “they’re closer to that angle,” and have a unique perspective on their audience base. You might be surprised at how they respond, and how your process streamlines as a result.

In relying on your client as a valuable collaborator, you also, as Lynn observed, can engender more feelings of trust, which she noted “empowered us to be efficient.”

Break down abstract ideas for better communication.

Ever heard the joke about eating an elephant? You do it one bite at a time. It’s the same thing with a project this big, and one of our favorite things to do at Rise. Whether we were in our own teams, or working with Nicklaus, we were always working toward what Nicklaus first asked for: a total transformation. But what does transformation really look like in the real world? It was our job to figure that out, by asking the right questions and—piece by piece, and bite by bite—shaping that concept into something tangible.

We did that by first looking at Nicklaus’s competitors, to get a feel for the industry. We saw a lot of the same things: same page layout structure, same dated look and feel, same lack of innovative design and UX. In order to break out of this sea of sameness, we took inspiration from related sites—children’s products and family-oriented industries—to get in the headspace of Nicklaus’ families and appeal to them directly. What we landed on was a child-friendly, comforting design, with lots of clean white accented by abstract, colorful shapes, which gave the site a professional and capable feel while maintaining some of that Miami energy.

Nicklaus Children's Health System Homepage Before vs. After

Once we had an idea of the end product, we broke the project into as many small tasks as possible among the relevant teams. And, even more importantly, we scheduled check-ins with the client along every step. While it may initially seem redundant, the more pieces of the final puzzle your client gets to see, the greater picture they’ll have. The greater understanding they have, the more trust you’ll build in the end product. For example, on the dev end, it was a priority to have front-end reviews before implementing the back-end in Kentico. To accomplish this, Yael Roufe, Web Development Manager, and team constructed semi-interactive mockups that gave a better idea of the overall product.

Additionally, a review cycle of individual components helps prevent late-stage revisions that could potentially stall your project. This reasoning influenced our design team’s decision to prototype out all animations ahead of time. “Saying things like, ‘you’ll see it in development’ is opening us up to a lot of work down the line,” said Jon. Leaving certain elements up to interpretation can lead to dissatisfaction upon completion, which could mean that your team has to backtrack on days, weeks, or months of work. So, not only is this helpful for client visualization of the final product, but it provides opportunities for early correction, before certain elements of the site become near-inextricable.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Of course, none of the above would be possible without a strong interconnectivity between our internal Rise teams. Perhaps the most common thread that appeared during this sit-down discussion was an emphasis on inter-team communication and trust. Leaning on team-members for help was a major theme, as seen in Yael’s key takeaway. She recalled getting stumped by a particularly tenacious issue, and “other team members came to the rescue” to solve the problem. A project like this, she advised, “all comes down to teamwork.”

Other Risers mentioned how understanding each team’s role in the larger project contributed to their understanding of their own roles. “Everyone has their own knowledge and strengths,” Kelsey recalled, which made solving problems a matter of finding the right person to help out. She noted how the breadth of the project made it easy to not be too territorial about ideas or concepts. “If people can’t get to the site [organically],” she said, emphasizing SEO’s importance in her own role, “there’s no use having a good navigation.”

Obviously, there’s no one “right” way to promote connection and trust between teams; your unique knowledge of your situation can help guide you to a method that works best for your team. With this project, for example, we made sure to establish key contacts and weekly meetings between team members, so that information and insights could be shared at regular intervals.

We gained countless insights from the challenges that arose on the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital website rebrand, and learned valuable lessons about internal and external teamwork, communication, and time management. We’re proud to have worked on such a pivotal project. If you’d like assistance on a similar project, contact Rise, and let’s get started.

03/02/2020 at 05:03