In the early days of the web, online marketing was essentially nonexistent, and websites were basically brochures—at best, with simple contact forms.
The past two decades have dramatically changed the face of marketing and web design. In today's market, creating a successful website requires you to think like a marketer.
Combining Marketing and Web Design
At VIEO, we combine strategic inbound marketing techniques with engaging website designs to help our Knoxville and national clients bring their websites and marketing to the next level. It sounds complicated, but it really comes down to changing how you think about website design.
Your website is the primary marketing tool for your business. Before you implement that cool new design and start showcasing your products or services, you need to come up with a strategic plan of action for how your website is going to work for you - and more importantly, for your potential customers.
Start with the essentials:
- Define your target market and create buyer personas
- Define the objectives of your website
- Consider the design elements you can use to achieve those goals
- Research your competitors' websites
- Consider what features and content your website must include
- Plan calls-to-action, visual attracts, and pages that address your customers' pain points
Once you've worked out these essentials, you can start on your new design. When combining marketing and web design, it's essential to prioritize the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) in the design. These terms refer to how your visitors feel when they're on your website and how easy it is for them to navigate through the site.
When designing your new website, take all of the above into account to choose the style of your new website. It's not a good idea to pick a certain style just because it's trendy, or because you think it looks cool - instead, pick a design that will achieve your marketing goals and communicate effectively with your visitors.
For example, you could choose an interactive parallax website to visually engage your users, highlight your services and products simply, and guide website visitors through your key marketing points. Paired with great design, Parallax can incorporate stunning visuals, attracts, and calls-to-action that wow your customers and guide their path through the key parts of your site. Parallax sites can also be responsive to create a smooth experience for mobile users.
Another great option is a responsive web design that works for you on all levels. Consider the flow and layout of the site, and how the content you create will be laid out, not only on a desktop, but also on all mobile devices. By placing your key visual attracts and calls-to-actions in a layout that flows across all devices, you create an ease of use for your visitor that will keep them on your site and guide them deeper into the sales funnel.
In addition to the layout of your site, concentrate on the colors, textures, images, and typography that will be the most engaging and create an easy, pleasant user experience.
Once you've decided on the design of your site, you'll need to work on your content. Content is king! Without buyer-persona-driven content (including site pages, blog posts, and premium content offers) designed to meet your customers' needs, they'll lose interest quickly.
When designing your site and creating content, consider these things:
Balance Appearance and Performance
Make sure your site is not only visually appealing, but is helping you reach your marketing goals - otherwise, what's the point? Once the new design has been implemented, you can use your analytics to see what's working and what isn't, and adjust accordingly.
However, having great visual content is one of the best ways to draw your visitors in; if the appearance of your site is not up to par, it can prevent you from reaching your marketing goals. The easiest way to strike this balance right out of the gate is to choose a design partner with extensive marketing experience in what works and what doesn't.
Communication Is Essential to Success
Does your site communicate effectively with the visitor? If your website doesn't make clear who you are and what you offer, then you're missing out on customers (we'd guess your bounce rate is pretty high).
Also, make it easy for your visitors to communicate with you not only through a contact form, but also by commenting on your blog and sharing your content through social media sharing plugins. Your website has to be a two-way street - the exact opposite of the "sales brochure" websites of the early web.
Give Away Valuable Information
Everyone loves getting something for free, so why not give away some of your knowledge? Share your expertise through premium content offers that instill trust and gain followers, who can turn in to customers and advocates for your business.
One of the primary ways that design can improve marketing results is with calls to action, or CTAs, incorporated throughout your website. Strategically placing well-designed CTAs asking visitors to download ebooks, subscribe to your blog, or get in touch via a contact form is an effective way to convert visitors into leads and keep them engaging with your content on a regular basis.
Create Optimized Landing Pages
To collect contact information from visitors who want to download your premium content, you'll need to create landing pages. There are lots of ways to optimize the design of your landing pages and increase their conversion rates, from removing the main navigation bar to including compelling copy, images, and buttons that increase click rates.
These are just a few of the ways that design and marketing work together. If you partner with a company like VIEO that specializes in both design and marketing, you can weave your design and marketing goals together into an appealing website that effectively draws in website traffic, converts leads into customers, and makes it easy for users to find what they're looking for and communicate with your company.