Businesses have no excuse not to have a fully functional, mobile-optimized website today. Content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, come equipped with highly customizable “plug-and-play” templates that can be outfitted with a number of drag-and-drop features to suit a business’ needs, including all the functionality needed to get started with eCommerce. As an added bonus, many of these templates are free. Quick, easy, and convenient.
Whether a business is on a shoestring budget or they’re building a site from the ground up with a team of professional web developers, their conversion rate takes priority over all else. All the slick design mockups and branding in the world won’t matter if the website isn’t driving high-quality leads that are converting into sales.
The truth is, designers who don’t talk like designers get hired. When designing a website for a company, at the core designers are solving a business problem, not a design problem. Designers are solving a business problem with design and (hopefully) data.
The Importance of Data-Driven Web Design
There are more than a few web designers in the world who talk about web design from the perspective of a designer. The problem with this approach is that they’re not talking to another designer: they’re talking to a business owner. Business owners are concerned primarily with three things when it comes to web design:
- Return on Investment (ROI)
Yes, they would like it to be “aesthetically pleasing,” but this requirement comes after the project has been scoped for their budget and meets their requirements for traffic and lead generation. Being able to demonstrate to these business-minded clients that you can deliver and execute designs that support these necessities will increase your likelihood of being hired.
Pitching From a Value Perspective
All business decisions revolve around value. Before you have even been contacted by a client to pitch for a website redesign, you should understand that the decision to redesign the website alone has taken months of careful consideration. The ROI of design is difficult to quantify. Not everything can be connected to, or immediately translated to, a known revenue.
For a business to understand the value of design, they need to see the potential value of each option. What is the value of “clean,” or “minimal,” or “unexpected”? Before submitting a pitch laden with these overused open-ended terms, consider what you’re asking of the client: you expect them to determine the value of these words. You’re asking them to do the work.
Design decisions made by business owner are made in favor of the designer whose value is obvious. Replace these “fluff” terms with more concrete terms they understand:
- Value proposition
Pitching a clean design is wonderful, but pitch it from the perspective of the business owner. Instead of:
“This minimalistic design, is clean, simple, and classic — perfect for your brand.”
Try this instead:
“Minimal designs such as these increase retention among visitors, allowing them to focus on the CTA, ultimately driving engagement and increasing conversion rates. Here is an example of before-and-after conversion rates for a client of mine with a similar audience…”
This brings us to our next point: proof. Take the time to put together a few client case studies and testimonials that focus on the above talking points. Show them the numbers. Show them the potential. Don’t make them guess.
Polish Your Pitch: Focus on User Experience
A great way to talk like a designer without talking like a designer is to focus on User Experience. Demonstrate to the client that your designs are based on function, not intuition. User Experience impacts a website’s retention, conversion rates, and ultimately its Google ranking. Mentioning these pain points will snap any business owner to attention.
“Usability and user experience are second order influences on search engine ranking success,” according to this guide published by SEO authority, Moz.com. “Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience helps ensure that visitors to your site perceive it positively, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits, and inbound links — all signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings.”
To focus your pitch to focus on User Experience, explain to the client why each of your design decisions are:
- Useful. The site needs to be useful. The business will create content to attract visitors. Ensure that the right content is prominently displayed where it should be displayed.
- Usable. Usability is the buzzword for User Experience. Focus on how your proposed changes will make the site easier to use, therefore increasing retention and engagement.
- Valuable. Pitch everything from the perspective of “For $100 you’re potentially solving a $10,000 problem.”
- Desireable. After demonstrating the first three items on this list, explain why your design is current, relevant to their audience, and desirable to their audience, encouraging users to share what they find and return to the site.
Showing the client that you’re not only adept at design, but also proficient in strategies for User Experience will increase your value in their eyes.
A Step Further: A/B Testing
Learn to speak the language of business owners and show them the data to back it up. Statistics and industry best practices are a great place to start, but learning new skills and offering services like basic A/B split testing will take you far.
“With renewed interest in the consumer’s online habits, naturally marketers and business owners are embracing A/B split tests with increased enthusiasm,” says SEO expert Tom Woodley of A/B split testing. “This method allows you to focus on what works and avoid what doesn’t.”
Having the ability to demonstrate to your client that you can not only design a functional user-friendly website, but have the ability to enhance and improve upon those initial ideas and concepts as part of your services will no doubt set you apart from the competition and allow you to deliver the best results for your client’s business. ‘Results’ is a language your clients speak.