Internet eons ago (otherwise known as 1997), your business website worked as a brochure. The brochure showed your logo, your name, your phone number, and maybe your email address. Perhaps your website had a low-resolution photo of your team or building and a brief description of your services.
Today, your website should do much more. Your website is a spoke in your marketing strategy and must offer a lot more for visitors not only informing them, but encouraging them to take action: buy, learn, contact. Does your website do that?
Why Design for Marketing
In the Internet’s early days, your customers wouldn’t necessarily go there first to find you. Today, if someone is looking for your business, if you’re not online, you don’t exist. That’s true for both B2B and B2C companies.
According to Hubspot, 63 percent of businesses said getting traffic and leads was their top marketing challenge. Marketing is the process of getting your name out there to generate traffic and leads. Not only must you have a website, but customers expect to find useful information on it.
- Half of online sales are lost when visitors can’t find the content they need or want.
- About 91 percent of customers are affected enough by their online experience that they visited a store because of it.
- About 37 percent of people rely on the Internet to find a store monthly.
- According to Google, 68 percent of consumers who searched on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours. About half of those purchase within a day.
Designing for marketing shouldn’t just be a reaction to some statistics. Your advertising campaigns or social media accounts often point back to your website. If you send direct mail, create a TV ad, or write a piece of content, it all ties with the website. The website serves as the focus around which your other marketing takes place.
How to Design for Marketing
If you’re ready to take your website to the next level, here are some ways to make it function as a marketing tool.
- Make it attractive. Ugly websites send customers bouncing back to the results page. Remember that your website is part of your brand and says something about your company, its standards, its professionalism. What do you want it to say? (Read about minimalist design.)
- Start with your customer in mind. Forget what the design committee wants. What does your customer need and want from a website? Create a persona for him or her, with a name, description, personality traits, income, education, and everything else you know about your average buyer. This persona is a conglomeration of your typical customers and should be the forefront of your content and other marketing efforts. Write for this person. Design for this person.
- Communicate simply. Your website is communicating with customers. Make the communication concise and easy to understand. Remove jargon and anything that may distract the visitor from the goal of buying or contacting you to purchase. Give them what they want. Don’t force your customers to hunt for answers to fundamental questions such as: Where are you located? What is your phone number? What if have a problem? How does your service or product work? This information should be easily accessible.
- Encourage action. Every page of your website should contain a call to action. Your CTA may vary based on your type of business. For example, an e-commerce store will encourage visitors to buy, while a B2B will encourage potential customers to either sign up for the service or contact them. We can discuss the various qualities of pop-ups versus other options, but whatever style you choose, you must have something telling a customer what you want them to do.
- Give away something valuable. Many B2Bs will find it useful to give away information or content in exchange for an email address. That gives your sales team a warm lead for later follow up or for your email drip campaign.
- Think mobile first. More than half of your customers are using mobile devices to find you, and that number is only going up. In some industries, it’s far higher. Make sure your website caters to small screens. (This is also critical for Search Engine Optimization.)
- Stay fresh. A website is never done. Refresh website photos once a year. Your SEO team should keep an eye out for broken links. Add useful content as you can.
Ready to design your website with marketing in mind? Talk to us about building your lead generation tool.