Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.
I know it’s a cliche, but cliches are almost always based around truth. And the statement above is inextricably true. I’ve been discussing this topic a lot lately. If you read my previous article, where I talked about what vital design and user experience is, you’ll understand the importance of having a WOW web presence.
It’s easy to run a website, and anyone can set up a few social media channels, but that’s just the beginning. What you really need to think about is how well is your web presence designed, and what is the quality of your user experience? It’s hard to answer these questions, because the definition of a WOW web presence is subjective.
To be completely honest with you, six years ago I considered this to be a good design:
That’s the home page of our first presentation (unfortunately I couldn’t find our first website). Some people might think that this is well done, while others will think it’s ridiculous. To be honest, I agree with the latter. The design is amateur. I’m ashamed that this design was seen by some of our clients and potential clients. To be fair though, when I started the company, I could only afford one developer and my opinion on digital marketing was somewhat different back then. At that point, I was content with making a mediocre website; one with a fancy logo, a home page and all the other frills that come along with a typical website. But when Michael Schizas, our CEO, joined the IQD team (back then it was vivid web marketing group), he pointed out that we should be demanding more and achieving higher.
I can understand that a lot of people in business, like my readers, look at their current web presence and are convinced that it’s good – maybe even excellent. But, what they really need to think about is branding, quality design and user experience. These three elements are vital. As I mentioned in one of my previous articles on branding, anyone who sees a brand advertised forms an initial and often lasting opinion based on a subconscious emotional response.
Here is an example. This is a store that I came across when I was searching for a new bed.
This picture is terrible. It looks like it’s from the 90’s. Take a closer look:
I’m positive that they left plenty of space in their About Us section to list how ‘unique’ they are, how they care about their clients and how concerned they are with quality.
This begs the question: are they serious?
There’s no denying that they may have quality products, but they certainly do not portray that aesthetically on their website. In fact, they emit the exact opposite. For instance, how can I trust that the bed I’m buying from them will be in pristine shape and without error?
Why don’t I buy a bed from these guys?
Or perhaps from Argos:
What’s worse is that when you try to guide the designers of these websites in the right direction, they find it hard to see any error in their original design. Why? Because they’re full of excuses about how their budget isn’t big enough to create a websites like Argos’. My answer to that is simple. It doesn’t cost thousands to produce a creative, unique website or engage in conversations on Twitter. We all know where businesses like these will be in a few years if they don’t take action; and that’s out of business.
You could literally have the best advertising campaign with a staggeringly high number of viewers, but when your clients land on your website, they are unlikely to invest if the design they encounter is poor. You must demand and produce high quality. This means you must focus on creativity. The way to do this is to discover and understand your ‘why?’ factor, and to hire and work with talented and passionate people and agencies.
I was on Facebook the other day, and came across two ads. I clicked on one – not because I was interested in what the ad was selling, but for research. I had a feeling that this ad would be especially poor. Unfortunately, I was right.
This advertisement was abysmal (Marketing Struggles Ad on the right hand side). It’s shocking to think that companies believe that these ‘gurus’ know what they’re doing.
Anyway, I clicked the link. To my great ‘surprise’, the landing page was also atrocious. The first thing that they requested was your email address and name. Moving past the compulsory demand for personal information, this is what the home page looked like.
It’s evidently a template that WordPress gives for free. This is simply unbelievable. How lazy can you be?
Aside from all this pandemonium, there are people in this industry that are highly skilled and very qualified. Amy Porterfield, for instance, is an expert on Facebook Marketing, and she has a huge following. Her content is very good on the social media websites that she writes on. Her personal website is satisfactory. I wouldn’t say that it has a WOW factor, but it’s satisfactory:
The other day, I saw an advert that Amy had on Facebook. I clicked the link to find out what she was advertising. This was her landing page:
I actually had to look twice to believe that this advertisement belonged to Amy. The wording is especially obnoxious: ‘Make More Money’. There aren’t even any logos, brand names or colours. I don’t think that any Fortune 500 CEO will follow this unclear strategy. Sometimes we have to face the reality that in life, nothing is easy and nothing is free. And Amy reaffirms this philosophy by requesting your email (permission marketing by Seth Godin).
If you really want to succeed, you need to do #WhateverItTakes. Research online, so that you can compare and contrast different websites from different companies.
What I have realised is that most people are willing to do their job to a certain standard. They will do just enough to survive and to get their paycheque at the end of the month. Very few are willing to go the extra mile. Few offer a WOW client service through a web site or on social media. You have to make WOW impressions in each and every aspect of your business, because companies who do are dominating the market. Referring to the example above, will I really go and spend my money at a company that doesn’t care about me? A company who doesn’t even bother to update their social media sites?
From whom will you buy? Somebody who has an active social media channel with quality content or somebody with no social media presence and an old fashioned website?
So, if you want to increase your brand awareness here is what you must do: embrace social media, appreciate your clients and show them that you care, help others solve their problems and people will visit your business.
I think that it’s important that I share my opinions and experiences with you. I hope that this article has helped you. If you have any comments, do not hesitate to comment below or tweet them to me or to the @IQDigitalAgency team 🙂