You’ve only got 7 seconds to make a first impression – and that’s in person! I’d imagine it’s even less online.
So how do you stand out in a crowded marketplace, when you’re vying for people’s attention in a multi-tasking world?
One of the first and best ways to make a great first impression online is to understand the importance of great design.
In fact, in my opinion, great design that’s built on a strong foundation can be one of the biggest things that can make or break a brand new business. Here’s why.
1. Good design will give your clients a first taste of how it will feel to work with you
It might sound a little touchy-feely, but how do you want your customers to feel when they work with you? How do you want them to feel in those first 7 seconds?
It’s really important to think about this and it’s something a lot of people miss. Your website design elements should support this feeling, from the layout of your website to the colours and fonts you choose.
I wanted to my website to be feel like a ray of light, to feel outdoorsy but also grounded and I wanted it to be fun. I wanted people to be able to imagine themselves having a life of freedom and sunny days. I wanted people to feel warmly welcomed to a space that is fun but also has great information. This is how I chose my colour scheme.
At a more basic level if you want to be taken seriously, an overly flowery design might not serve you. On the other hand, if you want to come across as soft and friendly, a website done in black and red won’t jive with the message you hope to send. So think about what you are trying to communicate and how to achieve that.
2. Good design will make you and your business feel personal and credible
I knew exactly how my website should feel when I started my business. But like so many other people starting out money was tight. Happily my Business Coach at the time wouldn’t hear any of my excuses and insisted I go pro with my photos. I was recommended Fi Mims Photography and I couldn’t be more happy with the images and the impact they have had on my business.
I gave Fi what she later told me was an extremely clear brief explaining exactly what I wanted to achieve and why. The more your photographer, designer, and anyone else you hire understands your goals, the better they will be able to help you achieve it.
(P.S. To be able to clearly communicate your goals, you have to understand them first! So spend some serious time thinking about them before your hire anybody.)
Since then I’ve actually been told by a photographer in the Australian business community that my website is one that they see again and again as as example of how people want their photos to look and I have seen quite a few similar-feeling shots since. But be a pioneer! How do you want people to feel?
3. Good design will make you money
It’s true! And it’s something I’ve personally experienced. I had people approaching me for joint ventures almost from launching my website and I got clients from month one. I attribute that to me doing very thorough groundwork on what I was offering BEFORE starting and getting pros for the important parts.
But don’t think this has to all be super expensive and no DIY is allowed. I’m not a designer, and I built my website myself, but I knew it was important to hire out certain tasks: my photos, for one, but also designing my headers. I think getting these parts done professionally probably doubled my business is the first few months and it continues to add to my bottom line.
Finding your brand’s story, how you want your customers to feel – laying that groundwork is vital to understanding your business. This is one thing I work on with my clients and a core belief of mine.
Great design builds trust, conveys authenticity, and lets your people feel really clear they are in the right place. As we all know people do business with companies and individuals that they know, like, and trust.
Investing in great photos and professionally designed headers took my website to the next level, and really made me look like a professional in whom people could trust. I am absolutely convinced that looking and acting like a pro – from the very beginning – is what helped my business succeed. In fact, when I was talking about the process I went through to a client recently, she mentally went back through her process of choosing to hire me, and she said my photos and the feel of my website had been a large part of it.
There are many places you can get help for your business at every price point, and of course there’s a lot to pay for when you start, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that design is just fluff. It really does make you money. When you can, it’s definitely something worth investing in.
If you want to dive deeper into this, a great book to read on the subject is A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink; it’s one of my favourites.
What is your design saying about your business?
In order to have great design you have to know what you are conveying.
Understanding the core of your business and what you stand for is the starting point. If you’re not 100 percent sure if the message you’re sending out is aligned with what you want the core of your business to be, I would encourage you to sign up for a strategy session with me, because truly understanding your foundation is the key to future business success.