R[E]D – Research : Emotion : Design

A Brand Research and Development Strategy Firm

10 Secrets to a Successful Website

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Here are some suggestions to enhance your new site. We are not going to describe how to use good design practices, balance, or colors. We won’t tell you about using flash, SEO, or load times. Any good communication firm already knows how to use these things. Instead, we want to give you the secrets to reaching your customer on an emotional level. Doing this will sell your purpose and increase revenue. Here are the best secrets for a more successful website:

UTAH.com

UTAH.com website by RED

1.    Know who you are communicating with on your website and what they are buying. Define your exact customer demographic and learn to think like them. Start by getting detailed sales information and other secondary research information. Also, talk to sales staff. Once you define your exact customer, you can create a design that appeals exclusively that particular audience. Other firms might design what THEY like or what they think is cool. If they are not the right demographic or don’t have key information on how your customer thinks, don’t let them design the site.

2.    Elicit an emotional customer response with your product or messaging photography— enhance their taste buds, allow them to envision themselves reaching their dreams, connect with a value that would drive them to purchase your product. Gain insights into their emotions by interviewing your best customers. Ask them why they love your product, what memories they have about your product, or what your product did for them that changed their lives. Use these concepts to ask 250 of your customers what emotions drive them. If you are not selling at an emotional level, YOU ARE NOT SELLING.

3.    Make sure your navigation links, copy, or bullet points answer your customer’s most important questions. What do they want to know and in what order? Know the order of their buying decision and make sure the priority of read for your page and navigation matches their needs.

4.    Understand your customer’s voice or language. Voice and language are the words your customer uses when talking about your product or service. It is the position from which they view your product. There is no profit in having great product benefits if your customer doesn’t understand or—worse yet—if they don’t really care about it. Understanding your customer’s language doesn’t mean dialect. The language of an18-year-old male is much different than that of a 48-year-old female. Who are you writing to? Talk to your customers and have them tell you the whys. Look at the way they talk, write, and speak about your product and use the same language when selling your product.

5.    Don’t be afraid to have a simple site that allows for white space and open area. Once you know what your customer wants, you want to step them through your message as easily as possible. A busy site makes it hard for your readers to go where they want to go. Remember the old KIS principle: Keep It Simple.

6.    Use simple icons or graphic images that help the user navigate your site. Make these icons and images relevant, small, and simple. Don’t just fill the space with a piece of clip art. Allow each element to work for you as if the site were in a different language and these images help you to know where you should go.

7.    Don’t be afraid of a conventional layout or design structure. This doesn’t mean your site can’t be creative and fun, but don’t make your audience have to figure out how to get from step 1 to step 2. They don’t have the time and they don’t want to waste what time they do have.

8.    Test your design concepts with your exact audience to make sure they work for them. Do this early in the process with your top 2-3 concepts. Ask your customer demographic and see what speaks to them best. See where they go to find key information you want them to see. Ask how it relates to them on different levels. What traits does your site present to the customer? How do they perceive your product? Remember that your customer’s perception is the reality, not your perception. If they don’t feel comfortable there, then they won’t come back.

9.    Make sure the first impression of the site answers their vision of what they want from your product. Know what emotion is driving them to buy your product. A picture of a new dress doesn’t have the power to give your customer the time of her life or fulfill her dreams. Create that emotion in your design. What is your customer dreaming about?

10.  When it comes to web copy, discover what your customers want and what order they want it in. Make the copy simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. Don’t make it so creative, funny, or unique that they have to work to get the message. Make it short. Write it in their language. If you know the key things they look for when they search for you, you have the things you need for SEO and proper communications.

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