People like new. New products. New ways to visualise themselves using those products.
New collections that change with the seasons.
Even new ideas.
Human beings are innately curious and we are drawn to the new because we love to be new ourselves:
We want people to know we are up-to-date, on trend, ahead of the curve.
But to get there, you have to get three things spot on:
First, it’s a shop worn truism that people are more likely to buy something that they can touch.
They are also more likely to pay more.
Design is all about recreating — as much as is possible — the “physical sensory-filled” online customer experience that no other company is able to fulfill.
Even if you’re a startup making organic candles, if your website doesn’t help me smell those candles twinkling in the hearth this Christmas, it's not just failing, you’re not growing.
Take the Apple Watch.
Big glossy close up pictures.
Videos showing people like you wearing the different versions.
The aim is simple ..
To picture yourself wearing it.
To approximate as close as possible the physical and emotional experience of trying on the watch in an Apple store.
Ok, you’re not Apple.
But bringing products and services to life is not something only the world’s richest brand can afford to do.
Your brand might have a long proud history but you know full well the value of keeping fresh.
- What unique problem do they have that your product or service can solve?
The extent to which you solve problems in the mind of your prospect will determine the value you are creating.
- How does that problem make them feel?
- Which new feelings do you want to inspire with your problem—solving design, layout and content?
You see, your design and your content have to work together to address not just the informational and motivational needs of your target audience – it has to be empathetic and take account of their feelings too.
Whether you’re a startup crafting organic candles, a consultancy selling services or a blue chip selling jet engines, the same principles of great design apply.
Second, if politics is all about the economy, the web is all about engagement.
We measure performance for two reasons: to cut back on the areas that are underperforming and save money; and to identify and improve the performance of the areas that are over performing.
Customer or user engagement measured by things like time spent on the site; user journeys; numbers of clicks; information shared like comments or newsletter subscriptions; repeat visits; and of course, sales.
But engagement isn’t confined to your site.
Further afield, brand engagement overspills to your customer’s own blogs.
How they evangelise about your brand and send new customers flocking to you is also a measure of the success of your design to create deep and lasting user engagement.
See, design that creates engaging user experiences that last beyond the confines of your site effect the right balance between the aesthetic and the practical.
They give — information, ideas, freebies, rewards — as much as they take in cold hard sales.
They build a two-way relationship whose goal is in many ways to erase the top-down distinction and distance between brand and customer.
The end goal is for the customer to feel part of the brand, even as though they are serving themselves with products and services that they had a hand in shaping.
Conversion is not your end goal: Improving user conversion is.
In essence, it’s the start of conversion rate optimization (C.R.O):
C.R.O focuses on validation in bite-sized, affordable cycles, using:
- Success criteria.
- Watching mouse-tracking videos — to see how customers move through your site and experience it.
- Analyzing heatmaps — to discover where they’re dropping off.
- Even analyzing click maps ..
The end goal is to:
- Remove barriers.
- Razor away unforeseen friction points.
- And let the customer and the brand meet in secret.
Converting more new customers — without spending more money.
Remember that your business goal (making money) is intimately tied to how well your brand can empathise with both the financial and emotional needs and motivations of your customers.
Using your empathetic understanding of your target audience, imagine that you have the same problem (and with it the same emotional distress that that problem causes them).
- Do I get what I’m looking at in an instant?
- Do I know where I need to go or what to do next?
- Is the final solution delivered in a way that truly makes me happy?
Use best practice analytics to help you measure everything: which are your most lucrative keywords or landing pages, which are your most engaged social media posts or opened email campaigns — as well as which are lame ducks.
Your job is measuring this at every step and refining it, improving it and innovating it faster and better than your competitors.
Third, you need to be in control.
Which means you need an administration panel that has been designed as much for you in mind (to edit and publish) as the front end is for your customers (to search and purchase).
You need a CMS system that has proven itself as a robust and scaleable solution.
For this reason, I use Wordpress.
Usain Bolt uses WordPress.
And Justin Timberlake.
Even Marks and Spencer.
For their websites, blogs, even apps.
To spread information, sell stuff and analyse data.
In fact, in the twelve years it’s been around, WordPress has become the CMS of choice.
Global domination often explained by the fact that:
It’s FREE and comes in innumerable mobile-responsive shapes and sizes. It’s much more scalable and secure than you think. It’s laughably easy-to-use and seamlessly integrates with your social media.
But for me,
The reason why it’s a world beater is that it’s constantly been improved, refined and finessed by millions of tireless WP die-hards.
Unlike your static website — which I’m sure rocks — WordPress doesn’t sit still and doesn’t sleep.
Matt Mullenweg of WordPress, said:
Technology is best when it brings people together.
Can’t argue with that.