The first step in the journey towards a branded, active, and lucrative website marketing campaign is to DISCOVER who you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Just as a home's foundation is its most important part, this preliminary work will ensure that the website we create for you will be tailored to your individual needs and relevant to your future.

Let's take a walk to the shore.

The picture you see here illustrates Living Water Websites' discover process. Imagine your feet planted in the sand, looking out at a beautiful sailboat on the horizon. During this process, we evaluate where you are standing today— both your overall business and your current website. We will identify your strengths, weaknesses, benefits and mission.

And the sailboat? Well, that's a symbol of your guiding vision. It is full of written-down dreams and aspirations. It is your business. Your future website.

Lastly, there is the journey between your current standing and your vision. This gap is filled with all of the exciting plans and projects that will keep us on course.



Discovering Where You Want To Be

Your Vision

For a moment, try this: use your vision and look out towards an imaginary ocean's horizon. Fill in all of the details you can imagine. Look at that beautiful dark blue water. Envision one bright white cloud set against the clearest of cyan skies. And there is a sailboat, white sails stretching in the wind, safe in the control of a skilled captain. The boat is hand-crafted and strong. Its purpose is no less than to provide joy for weekend sailors.

Just as an exercise like this can be done to create a mental landscape, it can also be done to develop a succinct and inspiring vision statement of what your organization intends to become and achieve.

A vision statement should be graphical, inspiring, guiding, unique, and brief. It should be future-focused on what you want your company to become in a specific time-frame. It should answer the question "What will success look like?" Perhaps most importantly, your vision statement should make you happy when you get there. A few examples:

  • Land a man on the moon and safely return him to earth by the end of this decade.
    —John F. Kennedy's challenge to NASA in 1961. Note the simple, specific task and time-frame.
  • I have a dream that all men will be judged by the merit of their character, not by the color of their skin.
    —Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. No time-frame is given, but it is very visionary and inspiring, painting a vivid picture.
  • In two decades our services will no longer be needed.
    —Illiteracy program.  Short, memorable, challenging.
  • Between 2010 and 2015, Acme Design's nationwide team achieved $_________ in direct and passive income by providing graphic design services, websites, and online marketing programs to growing businesses in the San Antonio region.
    —Note how this vision statement includes time-frame, dollar achievement, characteristics of the business, products and services, description of client, and geographical scope. It is written in a "believe it and receive it" tense.

Both visions and goals are future-based concepts. They are also interdependent. Goals need visions for guidance. Visions never become reality without achieved goals.


Your Goals

Goals must be written down. We tend to live in "tasks", going about our days "putting out fires" and getting stuck in routine. But goals are different. Goals are larger accomplishments that, put end on end, result in the sort of life we dream about! When we write our goals down, our mind is forced to visualize them and to commit to them.

Let's take a first pass at a sample goal. Then, we will "test" that goal with our SMART goal criteria. The most basic "template" for a goal is "what" is going to "happen" by "when." For instance, "I will take a course on Twitter by November 1st."A more elaborate template might also include why it's important for me to do, who is going to be involved, and how I'm going to do it. For instance, "Utilizing XYZ Trainers, I will take a course on Twitter by November 1st because I want to promote my publishing business.

We've taken our first crack at writing your goal. Now—enter the "S.M.A.R.T." goal. This formula has been in consultants' bags of tricks for many years. We will work together to make sure our goals for your online marketing campaign are Specific, Measurable/Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-specific.

S= Specific
  • Is your goal specific and stated clearly? Will you know when you have reached it?
  • Is it stated in a positive way? IE not "I hope to" or "I might" but rather "I will" or even better, "I already have."
  • In vivid detail, can you see yourself having reached your goal? Imagine how awesome it's going to feel after you reach it? See the results happening?
  • A general goal might be to "beef up our website." A specific goal might be to "complete our new custom-designed 20-page ABC Company Website by December 1st.
M= Measurable/Meaningful
  • In regards to quantity, will you know if you have achieved your goal?
  • If you're anything like me, raw numbers and statistics seem shallow. Instead of "achieve 100 hits a day during the month of December", I might add "thus reaching 3000+ people who need my God-given gifts." See that? I'm on a mission!
A= Achievable
  • Is this a goal which can actually be achieved? Goals which stretch us slightly are energizing. However, if a goal is too far out of reach we will most likely give up on it after the excitement wears off. Can you visualize yourself having reached your goal? Are you energized by this vision? If not, your goal might be either too ambitious or not a good fit.
  • Is this goal "from the heart?" As we identify the goals that are most important to us, we figure out ways to make them come true. We can exercise our faith that the necessary gifts, aptitudes, and resources will present themselves. A goal that is from the heart brings about passion and enthusiasm. It fits us. It gives us energy to spread the word. Sounds achievable, doesn't it?
  • Let's try an example of an achievable SMART goal. In this case, our friend is writing a goal about something getting ready to take place, but he is writing it in the past tense:  "After having completed 4 hours of email marketing training with Joe, I sent an well-designed email and reached 300 potential customers for my new sprinkler system business."
R= Relevant
  • Life is short! We can avoid wasted time by making sure that our goal is meaningful and will make a difference if accomplished. Thus, it is important to search inside and ask ourselves why it is important that we achieve this goal. Does it fit our businesses vision?
  • Not interested in the goal? Then it's not relevant to you. Many others might be interested and think it's the best goal in the world. But does it interest you? Are you passionate about it?
  • A relevant SMART goal sample might be: By the end of the year, we will add 5 contributors to our website's blog so that we will attract more visitors which will increase our advertising revenue by 30%.
T= Time Specific
    • By when will you realistically achieve this goal?

      Out on the sea, when steady wind fills a stretching sail it creates tension. That tension propels the sailboat forward. Goals are no different. If we have answered "yes" to our criteria so far, there should be a "positive tension" about our goals that motivates us to accomplish  them. We will help you stick with your realistic "SMART" goals during our EMPOWER phase.


        Discovering Where You Are Now

        To create beautiful websites and effective online marketing programs that empower growing businesses and ministries to reach their fullest potential.

        Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

        As part of our "Discovery" process, we utilize a  simple exercise called the "SWOT" Analysis. One on one, we will guide you and your key team members through this exercise to write down your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats as they relate to your website marketing effort.


        Strengths are attributes of your company's web marketing presence that are helpful in achieving the objective. Ask yourself: Does your website have these positive qualities?:

        • Functionality: Is your site's navigation intuitive? Does it display properly across all popular browsers and computer systems, including mobile phones? Does everything work as it should?
        • Design: Does your site have a compelling visual design that matches the unique graphic look-and-feel of your company? Does it have a clutter-free layout? A professional, up-to-date look?
        • Support: Do you and your staff know your site's mission? Do you have a scheduled routine review process to review your web marketing goals?  Would you call your web designer "one of the team?" Do you and/or a staff member know how to update your site?
        • Message:  Does your site make it clear what services you offer and why you are uniquely qualified to offer them? Is copy well written with value and benefits in mind? Are you repeatedly asking for the sale? Is your contact information easy to find?
        • Visibility: Do you have a high search engine ranking? Are you making use of social media to drive traffic to your site? Do you offer an email newsletter?

        Weaknesses are attributes of a web marketing presence that are harmful to achieving the objective. Remember: these aren't character defects nor is this the time to beat up on yourself! Just honestly appraise the internal factors that have persistently kept you from your dreams. Want a hint at where to start? Look at your Strengths list and ask yourself which items you seem to have the opposite of. Another method of unearthing Weaknesses is asking friends, relatives, and co-workers. Our objective will be to minimize these weaknesses and to maximize your strengths.


        Opportunities are external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective.  For example: Has your competition been weakened? Has there been a loosening of regulations or contract opportunities favorable to your business? Is a market niche developing (international, internet, industry) that you are in a unique position to enter?


        Threats are external conditions that are harmful to achieving the objective. Does your online marketing effort face any of these external threats?: Is there a new competitor in your home market or existing competitor has a new, innovative substitute product or service? Are you attempting to compete in an area or against competition which is outside of your area of strength? Are there new trade barriers, regulations or taxation


        Your Benefits

        Why do people buy from you?
        What is it that you do for clients that is so valuable that people pay you money for it? What benefits do your clients receive from your work? Do you know the answers to these questions?

        It's about the benefits and the results they bring.
        A feature "belongs" to a particular product or service. On the other hand, benefits are what convince us to buy. Benefits show value, solve problems, and convince customers of what they will gain. Benefits are the results of features. 

        The "so what?" test.
        Want to discover your benefits? Try the "so what?" test. If I'm describing what I'm selling and the customer says "so what?", then I am describing features. If I answer the "so what?" question, then I've gotten down to the benefit. Let's try your new website on for example: What if I told you that I can offer you a website with standards-based mark-up, clean code, friendly URLs, 301 redirects, robots.txt, easy Google Analytics integration, meta tag editing, and sitemap tools? After your head spun around a few times you'd say: "so what!?" I would then give you a smile and a wink and tell you that your site will be built so that new, affluent customers can easily find it. You'd say: "let's get started!"

        Have fun with this one. Keep asking: "so what?
        Eventually you'll learn to speak in terms of benefits, not just features. We will communicate benefits throughout your website. We will ensure that your new clients will know all of the fantastic results you will bring to their organizations.


        Your Mission

        The mission of your business is its purpose. It answers the questions: "Why do we exist?" and "Where the rubber meets the road, what are we in business to do?"

        Qualities of a great Mission Statement:

        1. It passes the gut check:  Meaningful missions feel right inside. Phony mission statements feel...phony inside. This normally happens when we are trying to be someone or something we're not.
        2. It is fearless:  Don't let fear get in the way of stating what your real purpose is. Stretch! We're on a mission!
        3. It has a heart for our customer:  It's not about us! Our mission statement should reflect our target audience.
        4. It passes the Mom test:  Fluffy words, run-on sentences, and overcomplexification aren't going to cut it. Momma's gonna shake her head and say "you do what?"
        5. It includes your #1 benefit:  How is our client going to be blessed by our work together? What is the #1 thing we bring to the table?

        Need an example? Here is the Living Water Websites mission statement:

        Create beautiful websites and effective online marketing programs that empower growing businesses to reach their fullest potential.


        Discovering How You're Going to Get There

        Living Water Website's DISCOVERY process isn't easy. Many times, inner searching dredges up fears we didn't know existed. However, when we take an honest inventory of what we're in business to do, we are ready to rise to a new level.

        Our fresh awareness of who we are and where we want to go makes this "How" step pretty straightforward. Plans, projects, and next actions. Ready to build a website?