As designers we all know the importance of visually pleasing websites. But it goes much deeper than that. Good design does more than just look good; it’s a branding and marketing tool that really can help deliver results.
Here, we’ll look at 10 reasons why good design matters in terms of marketing and a few websites and brands that communicate those messages and ideas beautifully.
It starts with the first things a user sees about your website – color, typography and images. What message do these element send? Is the communication clear and organized or more chaotic and irrational? Whatever message a user gleans from this first glance will shape all communication from that point forward.
Your site needs to be designed well so that users find a site they will return to in the future. It needs to have a design that matches the content and information that’s easy to see and digest.
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After that initial glance, users need to have a reason to stick around or think about your website, company or brand in more depth. So give them more. Show users something that is unique to you with the design. (Great visuals are an easy way to do this.)
A great-looking homepage is awesome, but every other page, element and tool on your site must be designed equally well. Think of it this way: It is likely that more than half of your users will land on your site starting with a page other than the homepage.
After you’ve hooked a user for a single visit, you want the design to encourage them to come back and become a loyal user. A great logo, impactful color palette and easy to read type choices are a quick way to get there.
Establish a connection that users don’t want to lose with the design. You can further establish loyalty with words or images that users want to be associated with. They should look at your website and see themselves (or the self they desire to be).
Designing with consistency will help users find you. Almost anyone, anywhere around the world can identify the golden arches that signify the McDonald’s brand. You need a design scheme that does this very thing.
Stick to a distinct style, color palette, type palette, voice and message. Your logo or branding should always be clear and integrated into the design. A great visual presence means nothing if users don’t know who made it or what it represents.
Style and Decision-Making
When it comes to style and decision-making the number one goal should be consistency. Who are you? What do you want to be? Why do users want to establish a connection? If you are thinking about these questions in the design process, you will likely make better choices about the project in general.
Answer those questions with design. And create a unified look and presence across the web. Use the same visuals on your website, mobile app, social media, printed materials and any other marketing products you create. (It would likely benefit you to create a style guide detailing all these rules as well.)
Easy to Use and Connect
Let’s not forget that connections with users need to be easy. This includes a handful of design and development concept – your site should load fast, use modern web and HTML technology and have user controls and function in a common way.
A site that is easy to use will make users relate to you more. Pleasurable experiences help bring people back and encourage them to become more loyal visitors.
Create a Common Story
Part of your design and marketing plan should include a story. The visuals should communicate something to users that they can remember and retell, which can be an effective method for generating more users.
Sometimes finding that story can be tough. Consider things like how you got your start in business, why you create a certain product or thing or ways you work within your community. Try to connect on a human and individual level with each user.
Include plenty of opportunities for users to share. And encourage that behavior. This form of social marketing can take some of the weight off you and help your brand establish a community feel because new users are introduced to your website or business by someone else they know.
Design social share buttons that are easy to use and find. Preload your messaging, text and images into the prompts to manage the message that goes out. (A large percentage of users will share using your text if it exists.)
Establish Trust Before Business
Your design should help establish trust, and then encourage visitors to do business. This can be pretty tricky.
Elements such as color and typography can impact trust. (When in doubt, opt for more traditional choices, especially if you have an ecommerce site.) Add other design elements that encourage trust as well such as links to media coverage, testimonials from clients, showing numbers of social media connections, using your own images and photos and creating a website that is yours and not just a template.
Convert User Actions
Finally, for the best marketing results you need a design that encourages action. All buttons should be designed in such a way that they are easy to find, click (or tap) and get to the next step.
Navigational elements and instructions should be clear and concise. Your design will fail you if users don’t know who to complete the action the site is designed for them to do. Make it easy. Calls to action should be some of the most prominent and easy to find elements across your website.
Many of the concepts you likely already consider going into the design process will impact your design as a marketing tool as well. Techniques from color to type to images create an overall brand message and connection to users.
Remember that everything you do, or say or design is part of the story of your brand or company. Good design visually equates to good company.