I’m on the phone to a new client. A loveable Mancunian a tad disillusioned with the whole online sales process:
“Designers just don’t get it!”
“Get what?” I ask, knowing the flustered answer already.
So I empathized, using my own art grad to agency backstory.
You know the one.
It starts out starry eyed and ends with a middle aged crisis where you wonder if your bag of tricks is just that ...
Finally, I said:
“Designers, design so they don’t have to sell.”
To which he replied, lightning fast:
“Well they should at least understand ‘buyer intent’ to meet in the middle.”
To which I nodded wearily:
“It’s happening. The middle ground is holy ground now. I oughta know.”
A long pause.
He was thinking.
So what had I got that could offer him some real value?
What made my middle-ground of a solution the one for him?
I took a deep breath and filled in the blanks.
And I’ll do the same for you in a mo.
But it’s worth pausing ourselves for a sec to get something straight.
Because here’s the thing.
The thing that all creative agencies know deep down but never admit to themselves.
It's the words — the sales patter — that is the star of the show.
Design is stage.
If the ‘design’ fails to deliver that “story ‘selling’ magic”, if the backdrop it affords the words you need people to read then you’re doing your ‘bottom line’ a disservice.
You see, with the design process itself — where design leads someone into a site, engages them in the sales process and carries them all the way to the money shot — a designer not only has to be subtle, they also have to know when to reveal the hand of the salesperson they’re working for.
This moment can’t come out of thin air like a dump truck.
The cleverly designed sales event should only strike when you know a customer has a very real intention and DESIRE to buy within the sales/design process itself.
I call this bit “sweet spot” targeting.
Which is just a way of using learning, segmentation and automation to control the end-to-end user experience.
e.g. The visitor starts from A and feels compelled to end up at B.
The distance between A and B, is:
- What value shall I provide them.
- How do we serve them better.
- How do we advise them about a problem.
If a customer feels they can trust you because you’ve given them something awesome and of real value upfront, they start a real journey with you.
Now, you might be thinking that in some ways getting someone from A to B is achieved with usability and slick web design.
And you’d be right!
I’m not dissing design here — I’m just against design for designs sake.
As I said earlier, great design tells a great story: your brand story.
It takes your customers by the hand and leads them down the primrose path to connect with what you do.