Before you decide to present your next great idea to market or push your company on the Internet, you can probably expect your boss is going to be measuring your plans against some high-level but very critical criteria. If you don’t know in advance what these factors are, the campaign is likely to go in the circular file before your 15 minutes of spotlight time are up. So it’s important to know what is going to make your boss or supervisor respond favourably.
As members of a graphic design and marketing agency, my colleagues and I are constantly fighting for the practice of good design, and I’m consistently surprised at how many we have to educate on our value. The idea that money spent on creative services is largely regarded as a waste of resources is a deeply ingrained issue that overlaps all creative fields.
Website design often comes across as easy in concept. After all, aside from some HTML tags, can’t anyone do it? Numeous online tools make it easy to whip up a website of sorts with no coding ability at all.
And therein lies the complexity many people miss. A good business web design is not just about stuffing a page with words and stock images.
It’s about creating a truly helpful Internet resource, strategically designed to position your brand as a market leader, convert visitors to sales leads – and keep your audience coming back for more.
Topics: web design
There are literally thousands of books about branding (about 298,000 according to a Google Books search). You could devote a career to studying the topic, and many people have.
But some of the best, most relevant lessons are very close at hand. You need to look no farther than others in your field.
I’ve heard a number of entrepreneurs say, “we have no competitors.” Almost always, that's dangerous ego-speak. Unless your prospects have no alternative at all but to use your product or service, you have competition. (And if you’re among the innovators who truly do not, savour the moment. It won’t last.)
My first job out of college was at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in central Edmonton. Part of the job was creating newsletters, brochures, displays and other communication material.
And because the Royal Alex is a teaching hospital, I was always on call to photograph surgical procedures, autopsies, and any specimen the physicians found unusual or bizarre.
To a kid, the morgue and O.R. seemed pretty gruesome. But it was absolutely fascinating.
There are many kinds of professional service businesses. Law firms, accountants, dentists, architects, chiropractors, engineers and consultants of every ilk.
And they’re as unique as snowflakes, each with its defining vision, personality and approach to what they do.
Yet almost every small and medium-sized professional service businesses falls into one of two camps: growth-driven or brand-driven.
Most web design agencies take a fairly similar approach to their work. And considering a business’s website is by far its most valuable sales and marketing asset, that methodology is completely wrong.
Because it’s holding back your business growth.
Let me explain. The web design cycle typically goes something like this:
Your business needs a new website to replace one that’s become outdated. The web design company presents a pleasing UX design, sketches up some wireframes, does a spit-and-polish on your old website’s content, and pulls it all together in a template. Perhaps there is a bit of SEO tweaking to bring the “new” site up to current standards. A little testing (hopefully), and away you go. Everything seems fine, and you get some reassuring compliments. It’s definitely a step up from the old site.
If you’ve been trying to attract more clients to your business, I have some advice you may find counter-intuitive: Narrow your focus.
In an era of big-box retail and A-to-Z shops like Amazon, many businesses feel pressured to be ALL services to ALL people. The truth is, fitting in means failing.
To hear my design team discussing the newly redesigned MasterCard logo, you might have guessed some preventable tragedy had just happened.
A lot of “why, oh why?” and “what were they thinking?”
I try not to (publicly) slam new logo designs when I haven’t been privy to the design brief, but I admit my initial reaction was along the same lines. The credit card giant’s first rebrand in two decades struck me as something a first-year design student might have slammed together under pressure, not the careful work of Pentagram, one of the world’s highest-profile independent studios.
If you’re in sales or marketing, your job is to generate new revenue for your company.
I know how challenging that can be. For years I fought hard to create slow, incremental and often hard-to-substantiate successes for my clients.
Advertising is brutally variable and complicated, making it easy to burn through a lot of money without much to show for it. At my Edmonton web design company, we spent decades refining processes and methodologies for search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing and social media marketing.
Inbound marketing software closed the loop, creating distinct advantages through integration, and provable ROI that builds momentum over time.
Topics: Sales Lead Generation