Week 2 of Webflow World Tour was nothing short of inspiring. We had amazing speakers from London, Copenhagen, and Tel Aviv give us a peek into how they’re solving crucial business problems. I know I, and many of the attendees, walked away with a ton of new insights. Here’s a taste of what happened.
This year, all Word Tour events are virtual, but the talks and community have been nothing short of amazing.
If you want to learn more about Webflow World Tour, and it’s upcoming events, make sure to sign up and tune into the opening keynote (it’s free).
Nonetheless, here are a few highlights from some of last weeks talks:
Delivering business value through design sprints
Wout Helsmoortel, Design Lead at Bothrs, took a step back to show how designers can use rapid prototyping to help clients solve important business problems. As a former architect, Wout was always interested in understanding how design impacts an environment. Unsurprisingly, he translated this interest to how product design impacts businesses.
At Bothrs, an agency that helps startups and companies shape their ideas and experiences, Wout knows that designers are inherently makers. Makers who love to solve problems and build effective solutions. In his talk, he expressed how, at many agencies, it’s easy for teams to often work towards unclear goals. This is because, as project scopes repeatedly change, from client requests, the client and designer relationship suffers.
In an ideal scenario, Wout explains that development cycles between designers and clients should look like this:
But clients and teams can slowly lose enthusiasm in a project when they realize the development cycle looks a little more like this:
Wout reminded us that clients don’t buy outputs, they buy solutions to problems. And the best way to approach client work is through design sprints.
Wout expresses that, as designers, we need to move an idea faster to a prototype so we can get data from users. The idea to feedback-loop needs to be quicker. That’s why the “sprint” is an ideal way of working together with companies big or small.
“In today’s marketplace of uncertainty, whoever learns fastest wins.”
— Eric Ries, The Startup Way
So what is a design sprint? It’s a one week strict process with your clients. Created by Google Ventures, the sprint is a process for answering crucial questions through prototyping interesting ideas with customers. It’s the greatest hits of business strategy, innovation, behavioral science, design, and more, packaged into a step-by-step process that any team can use.
On Monday, you diverge with your team (start with a question or problem). Tuesday, you converge (vote on solutions). Wednesday, you prototype (design and build). Thursday, you test with real users to gather feedback. Friday, you repeat. The outcome is alignment, solution, and validation.
The design sprint is a highly effective and productive way to approach any problem to help clients solve their biggest problems.
How Webflow turned my side passion into a full-time business in just 2 days
Dani Mancini, founder of Scribly.io, gave us her story of going from freelancer to full-time business owner. Like many of those yearning to be self-employed, Dani expressed how her discovery of Webflow changed the way she viewed herself as an entrepreneur.
Her talk explained how Webflow is blowing the playing field wide open for new types of entrepreneurs, and how Webflow enabled her to run a profitable business from day 1.
Before Webflow, Dani received a degree in modern languages and bounced around careers as a UX designer and freelance writer. She wasn’t disappointed in the work she was doing, but was rather unenthused about the career path she was headed for. Deep down, she wanted to start a business of her own. But she didn't believe she was capable of doing it.
Throughout her journey as a freelance writer, Dani realized that clients just wanted a plug-and-play solution to content creation. And in order to scale herself, she needed to make a productized version of her services.
One day, her husband asked “have you heard of Webflow?” She quickly bought a template from the template marketplace and hooked up a payment solution (Stripe). She then used other no code tools like Airtable and Zapier to make sure everything was automated. Then, she went into growth mode. She connected with other business owners on IndieHackers, contacted her past freelance clients, and talked to other founders online. By the end of the week, she had sold over $2K worth of services.
“I’ve met women, non-technical founders, and more who simply didn’t fit the entrepreneurial mould before solutions like Webflow came along. I’ve built the confidence and strength to do things my own way from this community.”
— Dani Mancini, Founder of Scribly
In her talk, Dani expressed the process for turning a business profitable:
- Sell the right thing, create clear products and pricing structures, document all processes (she uses Notion) — if she handed the Notion doc to anyone they would know exactly how to run the business.
- Don’t be cheap and don’t undersell yourself (if you sell products and services short you struggle to get off the ground in a sustainable way).
- Before adding a new tool to your stack ask does it actually add value or confusion, does it fit into the existing workflow, and does the cost justify the output?
- Network and reach out to past clients.
She noted that if there was one thing you took away from her talk it’s that: the simplest idea is always the best.
Put acquisition on steroids with automated personalized landing pages
Pierre Vandekerckhove, co-founder of Bolk.studio, showed us the power of creating automated personalized landing pages.
If you’re a marketer in a B2B company, and you’re tasked with acquiring new qualified leads, Pierre expressed the power of creating multiple landing pages for each marketing campaign you launch. The only problem? Creating landing pages for different personas is hard.
The general flow for attracting new leads to a business, in Pierre’s words, is as follows: have a website, create a landing page with a clear objective (sign up, buy now, etc.), and send people to the LP (landing page) by running ads, doing SEO, or cold outreach via LinkedIn or email.
It’s a simple flow, but making sure visitors convert on an LP is the hard part. While working with a client, deux.io, Pierre realized he could create multiple personalized landing pages to help boost conversions. Because some of Pierre’s clients were really big companies, and each lead was worth a lot for the business, he knew putting in extra time to make things personal was the way to go.
With Webflow, and no coding, Pierre used the CMS to create landing pages at scale — each with personalized content and brand images that reflected the business he was trying to get a lead from.
First, he created a landing page template in Webflow’s CMS. The plan was to duplicate the template for each campaign and easily modify it with relevant content and a logo of the business they were going after. But because each template inherently had a dynamic element to it, he realized that duplicating LPs, and changing each one manually, took up too much time. So, he took it a step further by creating a spreadsheet with each businesses logo, URL, and personalized content. Pierre basically created a spreadsheet with all the dynamic elements that would change for each templated LP. He then exported this spreadsheet as a CSV, uploaded it to Webflow, and just like that he had all the dynamic elements to quickly create personalized landing pages at scale.
Now Pierre, and his team, were able to create multiple landing pages in seconds and anyone on the team could use the designer or editor to create multiple LPs.
Building a local Webflow community
If there’s anyone that understands how to build a healthy community it’s Shir Zalzberg. As a UX designer and founder of Startup Designers, one of the largest communities for product designers in Israel, Shir’s talk dove deep into why communities exist and how to grow one.
Communities are a huge part of our lives. It’s said that people with weak social ties have a 50% likelihood of dying early, compared to those with stronger social ties.
“Humans need others to survive”
— Julianne Holt-Lunstad, BYU
Communities benefit us by helping us feel less alone, validated, and empower us to have a strong sense of identity. We feel accepted by interacting with people that have similar connections to us.
In Shir’s words, there are 3 types of communities:
- Pool: This is when members of a community have the same interest and desires but have little to no interactions with each other. Take for example the Star Wars community. All members love Star Wars, but they don’t really interact with one another.
- Web: This is when the core function of the community is all about interacting with one another. The connection between members is what unifies the community. Take for example a group chat or a family WhatsApp group. It’s packed with lots of communication, but it’s generally pretty small and intimate.
- Hubs: These communities usually have one central figure that unifies all the members. The central figure is the most important thing to the community. Take for example a community for Beyoncé fans. The members talk about the central figure, Beyoncé, but there is little direct connection between the central figure and its members.
Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages. But what’s the best? Shir says, combine them all. By combining them all you have a Pool-Web-Hub community, otherwise known as a PoC (Community of Practice).
“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”
— Etienne Wenger
3 years ago, Shir founded her community, Startup Designers, based on the PoC framework. It took her awhile to reach the 9,000 members that Startup Designers is today, but Shir gives us a great foundation for understanding the pillars of a successful community.
Here’s Shir’s 4 pillars for a healthy community:
A community should always have a clear mission statement, this is its North Star. Without a clear mission, communities are more likely to become unstable and fizzle out. Your mission statement should define a common goal and a reason for existing. It’s there to make members understand the purpose of your community.
Every community should exist to bring high quality information to its users. Content quality in a community is a direct reflection of the quality of the community. Low quality content equals low quality engagement and overall health. For value, focus on content quality and quantity. And make sure there is a constant flow of fresh and engaging content.
Without trust, you can’t create great engagement. Involve your members. Run polls, speak to your members, and listen to their needs. When you get feedback from your members, take it into account and make sure your members see your commitment to them. Another way to build trust is to make sure the culture of your community is safe. Make sure there’s a balance between admin involvement and open debates.
Engagement in a community is the hardest part, but it’s what keeps the community alive. Shir says to be aware of the Lurker Effect — when most members just lurk your community without ever contributing. Jakob Nielsen explains this as the 90-9-1 rule. 1% of members actively contribute, 9% contribute in a meaningful way, and 90% are lurkers. Take this into consideration, and make sure you have a plan to highlight quality contributions from committed members.
Shir explains community engagement as a process that can be split up into 3 types of members: passive, active, and power.
To have high engagement, you need to make sure those who are power members eventually become key members of the community team.
“In order to be a good community leader, you’re making new leaders all the time.”
Identify who contributes the most to your community and ask them to see if they want to join your community team. For example, for Startup Designers, a handful of the community power users are now active members of the team. One member manages webinars and meetups, one member manages a mentorship program, one member manages social media, one member manages a newsletter, and one member is a moderator. All of these team members once started as a lurker that turned into a power member.
In the end, Shir made us realize how much thought and work needs to go into building a strong community. With a proper framework, and mission, we can all create communities that make the world a better place.
Curiosity piqued? Join the World Tour (it’s free).
In addition to some of the great talks highlighted above, we have a ton more events going on for Webflow Word Tour. Word Tour has everything from product deep dives, Q&As with speakers, more talks, a demo theater featuring incredible partners, and network tables.
This year's World Tour has been an incredible experience, and we hope to see you for the rest of it!