As we see more and more businesses move their services online, and even more that begin their life on the Web, a greater need arises for websites that are designed and built to sell. A great-looking website may achieve the goal of shaping and delivering a strong brand, but its good looks alone aren’t enough to sell the products or services on offer. For that, you need to introduce the element of marketing.
1. Subliminal Suggestion Link
Research shows that objects and images you see around you can prime you for certain behaviors. For example, a study on children showed that after being shown a Santa Claus cap, they were more likely to share candy with others. The cap embodied the concept of sharing and giving in their minds, and exposure to it primed them for regarding sharing more positively. The same study also exposed kids to a “Toys ‘R’ Us” logo, which had the opposite effect of the Santa Claus cap, making them less likely to share their candy.
When choosing images for your website, think carefully about the message you’re trying to send. Pick images that are meaningful and that embody that message or feeling. Don’t put graphics on your website for their own sake — if they’re not doing a job, they don’t have to be there. Clichéd and overused imagery and stock photos are also dangerous because it may not send the right message in the given context, so select images that get the effect you’re after.
2. Prevent Choice Paralysis Link
There is a phenomenon in marketing known as “choice paralysis.” Choice paralysis happens when the user is given too many options. Choice is great, but when your customers are presented with too many options, they may be confused about where to go. Nobody wants buyer’s remorse (where a person chooses an item and decides later it’s not right for them), so many people spend more time than they should on the selection process: they become paralyzed.
In fact, according to Barry Schwatz, when customers have too many options to consider, they end up avoiding a specific service or the task in general (Paradox of Choice) – and this is exactly what we as designers need to carefully consider in our designs.
To remedy choice paralysis, make it easier for people to find the right product or service for them. Tell them what each option is great for, and then suggest the one they should choose. You can even use visuals to highlight the most popular product and steer potential customers towards it. If the product is not right for them, they’ll pick another, but if they’re confused, a “default” choice helps prevent choice paralysis.
3. Show The Product Link
When you visit a physical store, perhaps a grocery, you can look at, examine and sometimes even taste the products on sale. You make your purchasing decision based on the information you gather there. Are the tomatoes ripe enough? Are those strawberries red enough? What about the look and smell of that freshly baked bread?
When you sell services or Web apps online, you should do exactly the same thing: show the product. It’s surprising how many websites that sell software don’t actually show screenshots of their applications. Sure, these are intangible goods, digital goods that you can’t touch or smell, but they’re still goods you can see.
People make judgments based on what products look like. Why? Because appearance is an indicator, rightly or wrongly, of a product’s usability. This is known as the aesthetic-usability effect.
If people see a complicated and cluttered interface or, in some cases, even just an unattractive interface, they may assume it is not very usable or is hard to learn. On the other hand, if people see an attractive and simple-looking interface, they may start figuring out how it works right then and will want to give it a try. Get people to imagine using your software, and you’ll get closer to closing the sale.
4. AIDA Link
AIDA is a well-known strategy in sales and stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. It is relatively simple and describes the sequence of events you should aim for to get a sale. So, first of all, you must capture the attention of your potential customer. Once you have it, you should win their interest by explaining how your product or service can help them.
Then, once they’re interested, generate a desire in them for your product. For example, a story about how this product has helped someone like your visitor can help them imagine what this product would do for them, and especially what benefits it would bring. Indeed, the benefit part is key here because benefits, not features, sell products.
Finally, you need to get people to act. This means purchasing the product or signing up for the service. If people want your product, all they may need is a button to check out. If they are interested but not yet sure, you could use a few methods to motivate them further; for example, creating a sense of urgency with a limited-time offer or limited supply.
Now, the AIDA approach applies more to copy — the actual marketing text on the website — than design, so what we need to do on the design side is reinforce that copy, make it stand out and ensure visitors read it. This means making sure the first thing a new visitor sees really grabs their attention. The flow of the page should then direct their focus to the items that achieve the other two goals: interest and desire. Finally, at the end of this flow, we need to convert. So, provide calls to action: “Order now,” “Sign up here.”
It’s important to understand that the design alone won’t sell: you need strong copy in place to do most of that work. The design is there to reinforce and support the copy, rather than the other way around.
This means you shouldn’t design a nice website first and then fill up the space with words. Instead, think about the message you want to send out, write the copy and then construct a design that delivers that. If a delivery truck breaks down, then the package does not arrive, but if there was no package in the first place, then the delivery wouldn’t matter at all.
6. Always Provide Next Actions Link
ABC: Always Be Closing. If you’re designing a website to sell something, whether a software application or Web service, you should always be thinking about how you’re closing the deal on each page. This doesn’t mean filling every page with big “Buy now” buttons; it means when the customer is ready to buy, they shouldn’t have to look around for the check-out link.
Always provide next-action links to keep the flow going and to ensure you don’t lose the attention of potential customers. Next-action links can direct the visitor to a page with more information about the product or to the actual page where they can make the purchase or sign up. These links could read something like: “Ready to order? Click here,” “Learn more,” “Take the tour” or “Shop now.”
Don’t leave a dead end on any page: always suggest to your visitors where they should go next.
So stop reading my nonsense and contact me for a free site and content evaluation!