It’s true, there is no real measuring stick that shows the return on investment from design, but it is arguably the most important investment you will put into inbound marketing. One of the most prominent case studies where design really won the arms race is between the Zune and iPod. Many people are aware of how the new Apple Music and Spotify service works (music rental), but what they don’t know is that Microsoft was doing the exact same thing with the Zune years prior. Not only was Microsoft working with the most advanced and easily accessible music access system, but the product was always cheaper, came with a built-in radio, much more durable and scratch-resistant frame, bigger screen, and even more storage space for money you invested. So why did it get discontinued in only six years? The Zune was ugly and it just wasn’t nearly as easy to work as the sleek iPod. Apple was easier on the eyes, the user, and the rest is history.
If you decide to go the Zune route and pump your website with the best content, but do so using Adobe’s 1995 version of Dreamweaver, what makes you think they won’t run back to Google finding a competitor’s site more attractive? Having the best information with poor design means you are selling your best product with the worst salesman.
So how can you create a website that will bring the masses? KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Complexity is the arch-nemesis of design because:
- Content Isn’t Always King. The phrase “content is king” seems to be preached over and over again for inbound marketing. That doesn’t mean you also need to forget the phrase “less is more”. Pages that look like a graduate school dissertation sends off readers faster than a toupee in a hurricane. Can you turn a sentence into a phrase, or turn twenty words into ten? Content is King when it comes to blogging. The fresher the content, the better for SEO.
- Lack of Invitation. The measuring stick used to gauge the success of an inbound marketing campaign is to see how many page visits turn into leads. Long-drawn out articles leave customers unsure of what the next step is. Make sure your campaign leads them somewhere specific.
- Confusion Leads to Disinterest. Complex marketing can easily lose the focus of your customers and encourage them to move onto something else. Be engaging, but clear cut and simple.
What parts of inbound marketing need your design attention? While no strategic campaign is created the same, think about what experience you want the user to have. Apple’s head designer Jonathan Ive stated, “there is beauty when something works and it works intuitively.” In other words, can a kid navigate your website? Keep it fun and give it life, while also making sure it stays professional. Are there any distractions on the page? Is the font boring or unprofessional? Does your article end with a direction back to the website, or just a collection of clickbait advertising? Is there social media information regarding how many likes or shares the page has? There are all sorts of areas that you can focus on, but one of the easiest ways to go about it is to study the page of your competitors or industry professionals. See what you like from their pages and especially what you can do to outperform them.
Written by Nicole Wilson