Why Design Matters to Your Business
When it comes to the online marketplace, your brand may be the most critical part of your business. Basically, humans are wired to carry out business face-to-face. In the online marketplace, however, this isn’t always possible. Fortunately, consumers have come to accept a variety of alternatives in place of an in-person sales experience. But how do you begin a sales conversation with a customer you don’t even know is there yet? You let your brand speak for you.
Your Brand is the Face of Your Business
Your brand is more than a digital storefront. It’s your face in the marketplace, your first opportunity to make an impression on potential customers, even before handshakes and introductions. Like it or not, we all pass judgments based on appearance. And while this can be bad news for humans, it can be potentially useful for an online business. As an individual, you have only so much control over our appearance. But you do have control over the look and feel of your brand.
Place Potential Customers in a Buyer’s Mindset
It’s a well-established fact that people make purchasing decisions based on their emotions. Curating the right brand for your business can help to guide potential customers into the perfect mindset to do business with you. But how do you cultivate the right brand? How do you even know what the right brand looks like? The answer to these questions: research and design.
The first step in preparing your brand is research. You need to know who your customers are, their needs, and how they prefer to do business. Only after you understand your customer can you begin demonstrating your value to them. The amount of market research into a successful brand can constitute a full-time job. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be yours. Part of the research phase is deciding what you can learn on your own and what you need help with. This is where professional consultants and researchers enter the picture. Outsourcing some or all of your market research can free you up to continue your regular business, or focus on the next phase in preparing your brand…
Once you’ve established a solid understanding of your customer, you’re ready to start designing your brand. Good design comes from informed choices based on your research. Remember that your brand acts as your first sales conversation. Research is the part where you listen to the customer. Design is where you do the talking. Design shapes your brand, sharpening it into a force that drives revenue while reducing costs. These are, of course, the dual goals of a healthy business. Thus any facet of your brand that does not achieve these goals is wasted space. Simply put, smart design cuts flab.
The Nuts and Bolts
So what are the tangible nuts and bolts of these design decisions? For starters, every visual element you see on a business web page represents a decision. Color, spacing, type font, button placement, text — if you can see it, then it took the designer time and thought. There are also design decisions you don’t see, such as which web pages to include or exclude, what services or user interfaces are inessential. All of these design choices work to streamline the brand.
Besides the obvious goal of guiding potential customers to engage with your business, an efficient brand has the added benefit of reducing costs. Unnecessary decision-making wastes time and energy that a smaller business can’t afford. Eliminating these inefficiencies can work to save you money you’ve already earned before going on to drive further profits.
Where to Go from Here
Understanding what goes into a successful brand is by no means a guarantee toward building one. Research and design remain daunting tasks, however embracing this fact can go a long way to saving business owners potential grief. The decision to circumvent guesswork by hiring a design consultant can represent a transformative investment. Handing the reins to an experienced professional not only bears the benefits discussed above, but frees up the business owner to carry on doing what they do best.