The email arrived at 2:43 PM, marked high priority. It ended with the following words: "We're going to postpone our web site redesign until our sales pick up." Hmm... could there be an causal association between sales volume and the quality of their website experience? (That was a rhetorical question.)
I was tempted to write back the following one-sentence response: "How can you afford not to?"
Yes, I know that embarking on a holistic redesign of your corporate website isn't about waiting another day to eat the chocolate cherry crinkle cookie sitting expectantly in the larder. Large-scale redesigns are heavy-duty, overwhelming, emotional experiences that rarely ends in everyone sitting around the campfire singing "Kumbaya" and slinging back shots. The hard costs associated with a redesign—the fees we charge over a length of time for services rendered—are just a facet of the time and energy clients withhold in order to find the "right time" to engage. And if there isn't a firm content strategy or IA plan in place for future growth, they're going to outgrow the thing faster than a white hare being chased by a polar bear.
But begging off a redesign on a weak web presence, especially when your customers are sobbing for it, can have dramatic consequences on revenue and web traffic much further down the road. (Read: Catastrophic.) And most clients can't look that far ahead, especially if their business isn't 100% contingent on the Interwebs. Short-term tactical gains are fairly easy to squeeze from limited means—i.e. more aggressive marketing and promotion—but the substandard quality of a lacking user experience will eventually shave down possibilities for long-term growth.
The only way you can articulate this to a client, beyond hand waving and terse pronouncements over a crystal ball, is to take a page from the playbook of all those MBAs. At some point, your clients are going to have to invest not just in the new website you can help deliver, but the long-term plan that said website is only beginning to fulfill.
So do these activities as due diligence, right out of the gate.