Does good graphic design affect website success?

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Imagine you enter a shop, the logo looks like it was designed by a child, there are sheets of paper stuck on the walls with hand written text on them. The tiles are all misaligned on the floor. The walls are painted in bright contrasting colours which almost hurt your eyes. The display units are huge, but the products are tiny. None of the products have clear labels or prices. You look for a shop assistant but can’t find any. After a few minutes you give up and leave.

No business owner would ever want to have a shop like that one, and no client would bother wasting time in that store. However, when it comes to the online store/website it is often forgotten that we are dealing with the same person and the same issues.

Some excellent businesses have terrible websites. Badly designed, disorganised, difficult to navigate and just not user friendly at all. The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 47% of users make buying decisions based upon the site itself. This implies that if the site looks professional and has good graphic design it can heavily influence sales. So much so that nearly half your customers can make a buying decision without having to shop around, or doing off-site research.

This seems extremely obvious in the physical store example explained above, but for some reason it is often disregarded when creating a website. Whilst in a physical store you may have up to a few minutes, on the web you only have 10 seconds to make an impression.

 

10 Seconds

In the first 10 seconds of arriving at your site many users will have already made a decision in their minds. In this time visitors gather a large range of impressions: company quality and size, product range, product offering and price. They either connect and feel they are in the right place or leave.

Website owners need to look at their websites objectively and ask this type of questions:

  • Does my site look attractive and professional?
  • Does my website properly reflect what we do?
  • Would a complete stranger know how we can help them within 10 seconds of visiting our site?
  • What is the overall message my site is sending?
  • Do I have clear calls to action?
  • Is it easy for someone to find what they are looking for?
  • Is my contact information obvious?

In my experience I have seen some incredibly convincing results that good graphic design can positively increase sales. One particular ecommerce site is our best example of this:

The site was consistently selling around 6000USD per month before we took it on.

Without any further advertising or increases in traffic, but just by applying a totally revised look the site sales shot up to 10,000USD per month instantly.

The second redesign of the site, after extensive user testing has again increased sales to 13 – 15,000USD per month.

Don’t forget that your website can say a lot for your business. Make sure your site is saying the right things.

How following up on leads will frustrate your competitors.

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just before Christmas I realised how effective a long term nurture email newsletter can be.

Last year I purchased some really good photo calendars from Apple, using Iphoto. Whilst doing so I looked around at a few websites to compare pricing, I registered for an offer on a site called Photobox.

This began the continuous and automatic process of sending me regular emails with offers and discounts every 2 weeks. Whilst sometimes they were annoying, often they prompted me to take action, but as I had already bought these calendars and they last a whole year I really didn't need to buy anything else.

So Christmas came round again, I had been receiving these emails for almost a year without making a single purchase. What did I do?
I ordered the new set of calendars from Photobox, they were in mind, they had given me offers, they were my friends...

I also recommended them to some close friends, before even seeing how good they were at their job.

There are many photo printing companies out there, and probably a lot of them are better/cheaper than Photobox, but Photobox had built a relationship with me, and their brand now occupied a space in my mind.

They bothered to keep in touch with me even though I had never spent a penny. Photobox have overcome the number one marketing problem facing small businesses – Follow up.

In surveys of many small business owners and entrepreneurs it was evident that following up with warm leads was the biggest frustration.

The natural thing a business owner does is focus on the immediate sales (hot leads), normally putting aside the nurturing process and therefore allowing leads to go somewhere else.

80% of people who are looking to buy something will do so within the next 2 years.

This means that if someone visits your website or calls your business it is very likely that they buy your product/service, only it may take a lot longer than you would like. It is a difficult and time consuming job to continuously contact these warm leads for 2 years, and very few people can afford to do this manually.

That is where email marketing comes in. Photobox and many other companies have learned the secret powers of email marketing. By setting up well planned, useful emails that get sent automatically to these warm leads continuously and indefinitely you turn a complicated process into an incredibly simple and powerful solution.

Now if these automated emails are customized and sent to specific people (eg. Those who have expressed an interest in a specific product) then the power of these emails is multiplied.

I bought a calendar from Photobox and now I receive offers for related products, that are actually quite enticing. Every time I see one of these emails I am reminded of the power of Email marketing, and how frustrated some of Photobox’s competitors must be. They won my business and my recommendation without me even knowing if they were any good!

Now a question for you - is your business keeping contact with people continuously until they absolutely don't want to know anymore?

Do you have automated systems in place to keep contact and send offers to people that you have never actually met?

Is your website working as hard as it should be?

If not, you may be one of the many website owners that lose out to the competitor who is constantly building a relationship and confidence with their warm leads. Remember the prospect is actually a customer in disguise.

Choosing a good business name

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Names are very important, some people believe that you are defined by your name. There are plently of books which explain the meaning of each name and a lot of parents use these books before naming their children ( I know we did). With a business it is very common to use your own name or something to do with Gibraltar. That can be good but can also mean you get lost in a large array of businesses with similar names. Here are some tips to help you select your business name.

1. Keep it simple.If you company name is too hard to spell, or difficult to pronounce or remember you are making things difficult for yourself. At the beginning it is best to have a simple name that people can remember.


2. Describe what you do.Your name or at least part of it should describe what you do, an easy test is to tell someone the name and ask them if they know what the company does. As in all marketing keeping things simple and clear is the best way. 

3. Choose the right tone.Is your company very corporate and serious? Or youthful and fun? The name should help to set the tone of the work that you do, this helps the right people to identify with the company.

4. Don't limit yourself too much. Although describing what you do in your name is good, it can also limit what you offer in the future, try and choose something that is descriptive but quite open for future business expansion.


5. Sleep on it. Once you have decided a name, sleep on it and look at it freshly the next day. This is a great test for any creative ideas. Having a good rest will help you to look at it from a more neutral point of view.

6. Add something memorable. If your business tone allows you to, you should try to add something a little different. In our case we chose Piranha Designs. Piranha is not something common and is quite unusual, people remember it. The Designs part describes what we do without limiting us to one particular area of design. 

7. Be careful about using your own name. It can be very good to use your own name for the business but you need to try and think long term. Maybe you want to sell the business in the future, or things don't go so well and your name is always associated with the company. It is best to be very sure before connecting yourself in such a powerful way.

There are always exceptions to these rules, that still work incredibly well. Google, Yahoo etc are perfect examples of this. These are just some thoughts and suggestions for smaller businesses, that have proven to be useful. If you have any other ideas or things to add to this list, please let me know, or add a comment below.

4 reasons to use Facebook to promote your business

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Facebook is taking over the internet. It is transforming the way people behave and interact online. Even if you don’t like Facebook or the idea of social media, it is fast becoming a necessity. Here are four reasons why you should consider using Facebook to promote your business.

1. Communication

It can be very difficult and expensive to communicate quickly with your clients and prospects. Maybe you need to print something out, or send emails. With Facebook you can spread a message extremely quickly and totally free. The best thing about it is that your Fans/Friends can also share that with their friends.

2. Awareness

Facebook have an effective and very affordable advertising system. You can specify exactly what type of person you wish to target, their location, age etc. Then you only pay per click, so you know every penny is being spent wisely. This can be a great way to build brand awareness.

3. Listen to customers
Listening to customers is something we all know we should do, but very often don’t find the time to. With Facebook it is easier to encourage feedback and listen to what your customers are saying. As Facebook is a more relaxed environment you may find that customers will actually tell you the truth!

4. Increase sales
If your customers are receiving communication from you, you are listening to them and responding this will, in the long run, have a very positive effect on sales.

There are currently 17,280 facebook members who live in Gibraltar. Are you speaking to them? Or are your competitors?

Iphone tips and tricks

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Recently a large number of clients have Iphones and absolutely love them. I use my Iphone 4 everyday and appreciate everything it can do for me. However, I have also noticed that a lot of people don't really know how to get the most out of it.

Even simple things like double clicking the home button opens apps that are in use, allowing you to switch quickly between apps. Here is a useful article outlining 20 great tips and tricks for the Iphone. Read the article >

How relationships can be built without ever having a coffee

Piranha Designs - Friday, February 18, 2011
The normal way to build relationships with prospects and clients is to go out and have a coffee, or if your lucky have lunch. This has always been the method of choice for most small business owners.

The trend is changing.

I want to tell a small story of how this is happening and how it can affect your business.

There are two web based businesses that I work closely with. I have never met any of their staff nor have I ever spoken to them on the phone. They are based in the USA and time differences and long flights mean that this is not really viable. But I have come to realise that it is not necessary either.

I found this company by just searching online for a software tool that I use. I visited their site, watched some videos, read the information and signed up for a newsletter with more tips on how to get the most out of the software. These regular tips included videos from their video blog, with personal guides on improving business methods. All this was free and actually incredibly useful and informative.

Over a period of time I became a customer and then began to receive even more information and more personal advice for free. Then I came across their facebook pages and got to see how they run the business and a little more of their real lives.

The strange thing is this, even though I have never met, spoken to, or even emailed the person in the videos I feel like I know him. I refer to him by his first name, I speak about him with other clients and friends. He has become a reliable reference and I like doing business with him.

There is a new type of coffee table and a new way of having lunch and it is a lot more informative, educational, useful and easier for you to manage. Its having a system do a lot of the work for you, it is the only way this person can 'have a coffee' with his 10,000 clients. It is the power of new media, the web and emails. Right now it is still at an early stage but soon this will become the norm.

Constant communication builds confidence

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Just before Christmas I realised how effective a long term nurture email newsletter can be.

Last year I purchased some really good photo calendars from Apple, using Iphoto. Whilst doing so I looked around at a few websites to compare pricing, I registered for an offer on a site called Photobox.

This began the continuous and automatic process of sending me regular emails with offers and discounts every 2 weeks. Whilst sometimes they were annoying, often they prompted me to take action, but as I had already bought these calendars and they last a whole year I really didn't need to buy anything else.

So Christmas came round again, I had been receiving these emails for almost a year without making a single purchase. What did I do?
I ordered this set of calendars from Photobox, they were in mind, they had given me offers, they were my friends...

I also recommended them to some close friends, before even seeing how good they were at their job.

There are many photo printing companies out there, and probably a lot of them are better/cheaper than Photobox, but Photobox had built a relationship with me, and their brand now occupied a space in my mind.

Now a question to you - is your business keeping contact with people continuously until they absolutely don't want to know anymore?

Do you have automated systems in place to keep contact and send offers to people that you have never actually met?

Is your website working as hard as it should be?

If not, you may be one of the many sites that loses out to the one who is constantly building a relationship and building confidence.

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