Success of a company often rests on how well your website generates leads. When your company is preparing to invest in a new website, you should not underestimate the skill set that will be needed to build an effective web presence. Often, companies focus a great deal of attention on design aesthetics, and not nearly enough on the many other aspects that help to turn website visitors into prospects. Whether you will work with an agency or plan to embark on the project with your IT team, you need to develop a winning strategy to build an effective lead generating website.
Step 1 - Discovery
One of the most important elements of building an effective website is defining your target audience, understanding their challenges and problems they are trying to solve. This is THE MOST important phase in your website design project. If you want to build a website that is constructed and developed for ROI, a website that becomes a marketing and sales engine that resonates with your customers and potential customers…than you need to start with a Discovery Phase.
Discovery is the phase that agencies and consultants insist upon but many internal teams tend to skip over or rush. It takes precious time: not just the brand or marketing team’s time, but the time of many people in the company charged with giving input and gathering documents and information.
Taking the time to thoroughly understand your business - where you are today and where you want to go - as well as your customers and market landscape is the only way to develop a winning strategy.
Too many times, teams make decisions based on what they think they know. Discovery work shakes the trees for the good stuff, the information and thinking that aren’t so apparent in the day-to-day of a business.
Different leaders have different perspectives about where their part of the business is going. Often there are discrepancies among executives’ vision for the business that most don’t even know exist.
Departments might not share challenges they face with other teams in the company.
Valuable knowledge about the business and industry is locked inside people’s heads.
Your market changes all the time. What was true a year or two ago probably isn’t true today.
It’s difficult to truly understand your customers and what they want. And companies often forget to stop and think about things from the customers’ prospective.
Spending the time to examine the landscape and dig under the surface of the business helps marketers and brand teams build a strategy based on reality.
Who should you interview?
Usually you’re limited to a certain number of stakeholder interviews because of cost and time restrictions. So, when choosing who to include in your interviews, you have to choose wisely. Consider including at least a couple of representatives from each of the following categories:
Senior leaders of the organization, including the C-suite and division presidents or senior vice presidents, who can speak to the company’s vision and business strategy.
Marketing representatives at different levels: the chief marketing officer or VP of marketing and marketing directors/managers who can talk about brand positioning and marketing strategies.
Members of the sales team, including sales leadership and outside and inside sales representatives, who can discuss the sales process and how customers make decisions.
Product managers who talk about product strategies, customer or user scenarios and personas, and product history and development roadmaps.
Customer support managers or account managers who can share common customer questions, issues and concerns.
HR leaders who can talk about objectives and messages for employee engagement and recruiting.
Should you include customers in your interviews?
Any time you’re able to talk to customers, it adds a whole new dimension to strategy discovery work. Talking to customers can help you validate the perspectives of your internal people, who can sometimes be too close to the business to see it realistically.
If there are several different personas or industries you focus on, then you should get a good sample from each. Although the various personas will navigate and visit the site in different ways, and through various touch points, at some point their individual paths will crisscross. But initially, you want to connect and engage with each persona as they interact with the website, delivering a customized nurturing and engaging experience.
During the discovery process, if this is a website re-deign, it’s important that you find out which pages of your website are most popular by using google analytics reports. Once you have the list of pages that drive most traffic to your website, make sure you migrate them to the new website and improve on the content to generate even more traffic in the future.
Step 2 – User experience and wireframing
Behind a great website is a great wireframe
The wireframing stage is the early opportunity to get everyone involved on the same page, investing in a company’s capacity to become an online powerhouse.
The success of the website is often contingent upon how well the user flows meet the needs of the target audience (personas), as well as the needs of the business. Because wireframes lack visual detail, the user flows are in the heart of the prototype. Unadorned templates offer you a way to focus on key aspects of a website’s pages, creating the smoothest flows for users to accomplish their goals.
Focusing on User Experience
Wireframes make the user’s experience central. They offer an objective look at the way a website will work, and how the visitor will navigate it. They anticipate and guide the evolution of the website visitor — from a prospect into a customer. Wireframes prepare the website to grow along with its userbase.
For the engineer, wireframing will help pinpoint flaws in the site architecture, or highlight how a specific feature should work.
A well-made wireframe will also show how the site will expand over time. A company might offer a dozen choices today, a hundred next year.
Wireframes both ensure and illustrate your site’s structural capacity for growing while respecting the integrity of the information architecture, the website design, and the user’s experience.
Here is an example of a wireframing prototype developed for one of our clients. As you can see, it is possible to navigate it as an actual website and click on various buttons to experience the workflow. https://marvelapp.com/275290i
Desktop, tablet, and smartphone use can all be anticipated through wireframing. So, mapping the user journey also means anticipating the devices used for interacting with the business, and what problems or advantages users might experience with these devices. It means anticipating how you’re going to make them feel — both in the use of the site, and in the service or product.
Share your prototype with internal team, stakeholders and gather their feedback. Also share it with your customers and ask them for feedback as well. Most people are visual at it will be easier for them to navigate the prototype and make recommendations for improvement.
Step 3 – From Wireframe to Website Design Prototype
If you don’t have brand guidelines, this is the best time to focus on it. If your brand been around for a while you might want to revisit and consult a designer in regards to latest design trends in the industry. It will take time, energy, research, and talent to establish your branding. So, the sooner this process begins the better. If you are considering complete rebranding, this article will help and guide through the process.
Setting clear brand guidelines allows you to dictate exactly how your branding should be used and keeps things cohesive, no matter who is working with your brand.
Your brand guidelines should include:
Core Values, Mission Statement, and Slogan – define your company
Color Palettes – all colors translated to CMYK, RGB, and Pantone
Fonts – all acceptable fonts to be used in branding
Styling – how combination of colors and fonts should be used to communicate brand message
Acceptable manipulations – logo can be used with drop shadow
Unacceptable manipulations – logo will not be curved
Userflows translated into website design
“Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.” - John Medina
Persona research and user workflows that were implemented in the wireframes now need to translate into the website design and connect with the audience though visual ques such as imagery, iconography and CTAs.
Imagery and illustrations need to support your brand voice and help move the website visitor from awareness to consideration stage. As a result, taking the user closer to making a purchasing decision. Here you can see the design prototype that represents user journey different personas can take to navigate the site. Example of design prototype link.
Share your design prototype with internal team, stakeholders and gather their feedback. Also share it with your customers and ask them for feedback as well.
Royalty free images
Imagery and visuals are extremely important in todays’ customer driven websites. Here is a list of sites that have royalty free images you can use for commercial or personal needs.
It is important to keep in mind that as your website grows and new content added, the workflows might need to change.
Step 4 - Development
Web development is a step that customers usually are not involved in. However, you as a customer must be involved in selection of the Content Management system that will be powering your website. This is a crucial step and selecting a wrong CMS system can paralyze your organization.
What is Content Management System?
A content management system is a fast, easy way to deploy a complex, content-focused site. Content management systems (CMS) are developed and designed largely on a modular basis, so that you can create a visual template and then "plug" your content in as you go.
Open source vs. commercial solution
Almost all of the major content management systems are open source. Drupal, Joomla, WordPress -- they are all distributed on an open source license. And there's a reason for this. Open source products have more community support; they grow faster and are easier to learn and develop for. And, obviously, they're much cheaper, free.
But that's not to say there isn't a place for commercial content management systems. In general, a commercial CMS is best used when there are security or regulatory concerns, or when there is a very specific type of content that you wish to manage.
During the selection of CMS system you want to look for something that has a lot of community activity and many avenues through which you could acquire help, such as forums and a help desk. When looking through community content, you want to find a solution that has a significant number of add-ons, plug-ins, and other out-of-the-box systems. From open source prospective Drupal and WordPress have the most of the add-ons and plugins and mostly don’t require a lot of technical knowhow to install and configure them. Most of the configuration is done through visual UI interface.
Depending on your website, you may be fine with an out-of-the-box CMS or you may need to customize it a great deal. Any open source solution will be able to be modified and extended, and most commercial content management systems have ways to customize their templates and features. But the ability to which you can easily enact these changes will depend on the content management system.
As an example, while WordPress is user-friendly, its focus is primarily in blogging and that is what its programming is focused on. To extend WordPress into a non-blogging site may be prohibitively difficult compared to more open content management systems. For more extensive e-commerce portals and non-blogging applications, Drupal, Joomla, and ExpressionEngine would all be significantly better choices.
Speed, Appearance and Ease of Use
With all that going on in the background, it can be easy to forget the most important thing of all: customer experience. Some CMS solutions simply create more user-friendly websites out-of-the-box because of their architecture and templates. Other CMS systems may feel clunky or outdated until you update them personally. As a user you may want to find a content management system that offers a wide variety of polished, professional, and responsive design templates.
WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and ExpressionEngine all come with templates -- and most of them today are also responsive. WordPress has more templates, but Drupal and Joomla still have hundreds of professional (and often free) options.
You may want to test out few systems before you make the final decision. Moving forward, the management and maintenance of your website willbe highly dependent on your content management system -- and you may find some modifications more challenging in different CMS platforms than others.
Step 5 - Content Governance and Creation
First, what is Content Governance?
Content Governance is a set of guidelines that determine how an organization creates and publishes content. It defines the roles, responsibilities, ownership and expectations. Content Governance can help you avoid getting sued or embarrassed, or both.
Successful Content Governance begins before a single word has been written. If you’re a small or med-sized company, you probably won’t need the same governance model global corporations use.
Before you embark on content creation you should get few things on the paper. One of the things that's consistently difficult about content governance is the long-term content management and keeping sufficient resources for content creation.
The people who have the subject matter expertise required to create and maintain content are often some of the most overworked employees in any organization. As your team creates content, each person has to answer one question why am I making this? Content creators need not only focus on the current article but see the big picture and company vision.
Success definition will vary from company to company and from channel to channel. Some organizations might be more focused on content repurposing and for them the success can be defined as a possibility to reuse content in different forms such as video, blog post, visual infographic. Others might focus on one of these areas. Content can serve three functions: to inform reader, to entertain reader, or to provide an opportunity for the company. From a company’s view, success is defined by metrics of KPI. Not every blog, video or tweet will directly generate a sale, but each channel provides its own opportunities. Using Facebook for example you should aim at larger number of likes, shares and views.
You put all the work and the content is complete. Now it needs to go through accuracy and brand voice check. Your Content Governance process needs to count for that and set necessary steps and resources in place. Next step of the process is buy-in and management approval.
As you create and publish content on the newly designed website, check metrics against your initial projections and benchmarks. For channels that are not performing well, revisit your strategy and focus on areas where you do see big wins.
Step 6 – Launch
Here we are at the end of this long post on website design. If you are reading this, you have all the tools and tips needed to start your own project. At this point you have done:
Persona research to better connect with the user and communicate the value proposition of the organization.
Created seamless workflows to guide the user from awareness to consideration stage and help them get closer to making a purchasing decision.
Created branding guidelines
Translated user workflows into website design. Included branding, CTAs and tested it with internal team and customers.
Created content governance guidelines.
Selected the right content management system to meet your needs.
I hope that by now you can see that creating a website that constantly performs and helps your business grow is not an easy task, but this what we do in our practice every day helping WDB customers succeed in the marketplace.
Further reading to help you with digital marketing
Anyone in the life sciences vertical will be quick to tell you that marketing isn’t easy in their industry. They encounter a lot of challenges when it comes to marketing products and services. In addition to facing extremely high levels of competition and being subjected to strict regulations and rules, most life science companies also have a hard time reaching out to their audiences.
If you’re searching for more efficient ways of connecting with your target customers so you can offer them your product or service, this article will be of great help.
1. Video content is one of the fastest growing digital marketing trends.
The rate at which online marketing trends change is alarming. Each year we are presented with new delivery methods and channels, new technologies and opportunities. While video certainly isn’t new, the market is evolving and video now dominates the field with billions of people watching over a hundred million hours of video each and every day.
YouTube is already dominating the field, and its vast marketing appeal is mostly thanks to the fact that they reach more 18-49-year-old users than any cable network in the world. If you’re still not convinced that video is the most popular format of content these days, take a look at in-SERP video ads such as these ones:
According to SEMRush, the two search giants, Google and Bing are both incorporating video schema markup into their rich search results to reinforce it for SEO purposes.
With so many eager viewers on board already and the SERPs and social media ramping up viewer opportunities, it’s no wonder video is gaining popularity at such an explosive rate. This is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to boost the results from your marketing efforts in the coming months.
2. Artificial intelligence and advertising are the future.
This is yet another one of the current digital marketing trends that you cannot afford to ignore. Advertising is getting a lot more intelligent, which means that targeting your ideal customers is now easier than ever before. Also, thanks to AI, we now have smarter marketing automation.
Sources at Voy Media state that as modern marketing continues to become more and more data-driven, intelligent systems are necessary to help marketers make sense of all the data accrued in real time as well as to allow them to act on the results immediately.
This is something you should consider implementing into your overall digital marketing strategy as it will make a huge difference to your ad campaign performance tracking.
Now that advertising has grown more intelligent, it’s easier to get really specific in your targeting and keep the costs way down. You can even use prediction targeting to get relevant content in front of the right individuals, such as the person in charge of supply for a specific pharmacy chain, and so on.
This is the perfect time to educate yourself on all the intelligent online advertising trends so you can tap into this incredible opportunity to skyrocket your company’s bottom line.
3. Work with the top influencers in the life sciences.
Now that you know for sure that YouTube celebrities are real, it’s time to explore the many different ways in which you can leverage their star power to get better results from your lead generation efforts. Influencers are simply people who have a significant online presence. They are ‘internet famous’, so to speak.
Most of them have millions of ardent fans, and although the numbers would probably be a lot smaller in life science circles, online influencers still exist in that sector. Influencers with audiences of about 1,000 people or more are called micro-influencers. Their audience is targeted and they have worked to develop trust from their followers and fans over time.
According to Disruptor Daily, there are a lot of micro-influencers in the life sciences industry that you can work with. The advantage of working with these ambitious minds is that while they may have a smaller audience, they have a bigger influence on their individual followers than the more popular household celebrities do on theirs.
So, if you can find the right influencers to work with you, you’ll be able to reap a lot of the benefits of having them endorse your brand.
4. Online and offline worlds are colliding.
There used to be a distinct line separating the online world from the offline, but that is no longer the case. The differences between the two are becoming less and less significant. However, it’s important to note that offline isn’t dead; it’s just a bit overpriced right now.
A lot of life science companies continue to adhere to offline strategies simply because that’s what has been working for them in the past. They hold on to the notion that offline marketing practices are superior and yield better results. Although that may be true in some cases, it’s no longer possible to deny the importance of having a sound online marketing strategy if you want to succeed these days.
The good news is that, as stated by Ethos Marketing, you can still use your traditional marketing methods in conjunction with digital tactics to create a strategy that is even more effective. For instance, you could couple your physical networking methods with a strategic email autoresponder campaign to generate more leads for your business.
5. Social media is becoming more important as the primary means of communication.
For those who’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you’ll know that email is a very effective channel of communicating with your audience. However, times are changing and while email still remains the medium with the highest ROI, as evidenced by studies conducted by Campaign Monitor, social media is now becoming just as important as email when it comes to communicating with prospects and customers online.
The majority of email users these days are signed up to a lot more subscriber lists than they realize. They are so swamped by emails that a lot of important messages get lost. This means that your emails may not be getting the attention they deserve, and that’s why you should be focusing more on connecting with your audience on the different social media platforms as well.
But the unfortunate part is that the attention is spread across various social platforms, and each of your audience members has their own favorite. So in order to be able to communicate with them effectively, you’ll have to make use of ‘social monitoring’ software that helps you monitor your brand’s presence on the different social platforms easily by using a single dashboard.
If you’re guilty of doing so in the past, now is the perfect time to change your ways. Ignoring mobile-first design will cost you massive amounts of money in the long term. The number of smartphone owners who spend the majority of their media time on their phones is growing by the day.
According to Steve Farnsworth of Impress Labs, you can use simple tracking methods to determine the size of your mobile base, and it’s typically larger than most people think – even in the life sciences industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a very small niche; it’s worth taking the time to ensure that your design caters to the ever-increasing numbers of mobile users.
7. Data analytics is the key to marketing success in life sciences.
This is a trend that most companies in this sector will appreciate. When you test, track, and analyze, it makes your marketing a lot more effective. Make sure that your next campaign is data-driven to help you maximize your chances of success.
As stated by Hans Christian Ekne from Towards Data Science, having a dedicated data scientist is now a must for any life sciences marketing department. A data scientist is simply a type of IT person that specializes in the areas of tracking, automation, machine learning, etc.
This is something that is vital to any company’s success particularly if you consider the sheer volume of data available which would be unmanageable using manual analysis.
8. Consumer engagement is becoming a top priority.
It has always been extremely important to create humanized experiences in our digital era. This is particularly true for those in the life sciences industry. It’s all about value-based care, and there’s a massive focus on the improvement of user outcomes.
This means that your organization needs to create a digital marketing strategy that not only achieves the company’s objectives, but that also promotes much deeper engagement with your customers. According to life sciences customer engagement experts at PEGA, there are a lot of benefits to be realized from understanding and complementing your buyer’s journey.
From email campaigns, content marketing, social media and other elements of digital marketing, it’s important to alter your strategies so you can take a stronger stance starting right now. Creating more personalized experiences for your customers will go a long way in deepening the level of engagement.
AeroMexico, Mexican national carrier, unveiled a program called "DNA Discounts," which offers discounts on flights to Americans who can show that they have Mexican heritage by taking DNA test. The discount depands on the procentage of Mexican heritahge they have. This an expert trolling genius marketing campaign that went viral. The premise is that while Mexicans like going to the US, Americans don’t like going to Mexico as much, and the airline wanted to figure out why.
DNA DISCOUNTS advertisement for "AeroMexico" airlines - YouTube
Creating intriguing, relevant, and optimized content requires a lot of work— especially if you are producing it on a large scale.
Just the task of sourcing content ideas can be time-consuming and tedious. Yet, it is completely necessary if you want to publish content that your readers will become invested in.
Then there are all the other aspects of running a successful content marketing operation— writing headlines, uploading content to the web, cross-promoting your content on social media platforms, creating editorial calendars, and balancing budgets, just to name a few.
If you’re responsible for overseeing the content strategy in your workplace, and want to improve how you implement it, then this article is for you.
We’ll be discussing small, actionable steps that you can take to simplify your content marketing operations, and methodically meet more of your overall marketing goals.
Let’s get started.
Here are 5 ways to improve your content operation game plan:
Select top-notch talent
This is probably one of the most rookie content marketing operations mistakes in the book. Too often, content managers opt for entry-level writers they can secure at a budget-friendly price point. But in the long run, hiring writers who have a strong foundational knowledge and proven experience producing high-quality content is the smarter decision, more often than not.
Because experienced content creators are already familiar with the pressures of deadlines, and are more likely to know what it takes to function productively in their role.
By hiring someone who has already proven their ability to handle the responsibilities you are hiring for you can reduce this timeline, resulting in more accelerated productivity.
Untangle your workload with the right tools
It’s inevitable— there are going to be days when assignments are overlooked, or become more complicated than originally planned. But the key to minimizing the impact of these hurdles it to be equipped with the right solutions.
This is where having the right tools can be a lifesaver.
For instance, let’s say one of your content creators is struggling to find the perfect, captivating photo to accompany one of their posts.
By being aware of these free photo editing tools, they can troubleshoot this issue quickly. Perhaps instead of finding a stock image, they could design one of their own to better meet their needs.
Or, maybe one of your writers wants to do something a little more creative on social media, like sharing bite-sized videos or running an online contest. With these industry-leading social media tools in their back pocket, they’d have a selection of methods to choose from.
If your content marketing efforts are going to yield the results you’re looking for, your entire team has to function as one cohesive unit. The more seamlessly you can support one another, the more manageable your workload will become, and the better the quality of your content will be.
One way to dramatically enhance collaboration in your workplace is to use the right content collaboration tools for your business. Leaders in this space include Asana, a comprehensive project management software, or Slack, a more casual communication platform that also functions as a project management tool.
These forms of software are a godsend for keeping tasks organized, ensuring all team members are on the same page, and providing employees with an effortless way to brainstorm and execute strategies together.
It is optimized to perform well in search engine results
It is well-composed, free of spelling and grammatical errors, and is formatted to increase readability
Promote continuing learning
Before embarking on a complete revamp of your content operations, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect content marketing department or strategy.
Your content marketing operations must be adaptable, and your team must be willing to adopt new methods and ways of doing things over time.
By providing your employees with learning opportunities and content marketing resources that they can review and implement, you ensure that your operations never become stagnant. And let’s face it, in today’s world, falling just one step behind in your digital marketing efforts can have a dramatic impact on your overall goals.
Websites like Udemy and Lynda offer budget-friendly courses on a wide range of marketing-related topics, and are an excellent way to ensure your team’s knowledge is fresh and sharp.
Explore your options and find the one that best meets your needs!
Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers.
We all love the convenience that technology delivers. Push of a button, a car arrives to pick you up, buy with one click, monitor your house via Nest security camera. It is all great until we get in trouble.
Andy Gregg from Phoenix Arizona experienced this first hand. Upon returning home he heard an unfamiliar voice in his house. Burglars is the first thing that came to his mind. But after waking around the house he found no evidence of breaking an entry. The voice however was present in his home. Michael followed it and realized that the sound came from the Nest security camera.
On the other side was a white hat hacker who did not reveal his name but said he is with the group unanimous. The hacker was able to break into the device and monitor Michael’s house remotely in same way as Michael could in his app. The hacker told Andy that he couldn’t see any of the video being captured by the camera and couldn’t see his exact location, but warned him that type of information would be easy for a more malicious actor to find if they wanted to by geo locating his IP address.
This was disturbing at the least and Michael freaked out. The hacker suggested to report this incident to Nest. Michael did as well as removed the camera all together.
Nest parent company Google said that it is aware that passwords exposed in other breaches may be used to access its cameras. The company noted the cameras can’t be controlled wirelessly without a username and password created by the device owner. Nest devices do not come with default logins that can easily be manipulated to hijack the cameras.
It seems that the cycle of Facebook troubles continues and now it is our private messages. New York Times investigation revealed that for years Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent and for Netflix and Spotify to read our private messages. Overall Facebook has excepted more than 150 companies to join their partnership program that received various levels of access to user data.
The documents obtained by New York Times provide most complete picture yet of the social network’s data-sharing practices. The exchange of data was intended to benefit all parties involved. Facebook got more users, lifting its advertising revenue and partner companies acquired features to make their products more attractive.
Imagine your conversation with your mom about the music she loves to listen to for the holidays. Most likely you and your mom would see a Spotify ad not long after your private conversation is over. These ads will continue to follow you around the web on all devices you own.
“I don’t believe it is legitimate to enter into data-sharing partnerships where there is not prior informed consent from the user,” said Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook. “No one should trust Facebook until they change their business model.”
Response from users was one we witnessed before a campaign to delete Facebook. It is emotionally satisfying to delete the app but it is not something that is going to solve our Collective problem with Facebook. This can’t be solved by individual action but there needs to be policy approach to this.
We will continue to update our readers about this investigation and provide helpful information as we learn more.
Very few brands have the ability to connect with people on a deeper level. Although most marketing teams appreciate the value of tapping into human emotion, they rarely succeed in doing so in a real way.
As marketers, we can shout very loudly and hope someone hears us over all the background noise. Or, we can capture people’s attention with a creative art work that engages and connects with them on a deeper level.
But wait, what is a great creative?
Great creative starts with a strategy and a planning. We usually begin by analyzing data, looking into customer wants, needs and align solutions with messaging. To be relevant we need to be engaging and our message has to resonate with the customer.
Great example of an effective and impactful campaign is co-marketing campaign between AirBNB and The Art Institute of Chicago. The campaign, which won 14 Lions at last year’s Cannes festival, originally broke in February 2016. Leo Burnett Chicago posted a listing for a real bedroom on Airbnb that looked exactly like Van Gogh’s painting “The Bedroom.” The campaign rolled out just as the real painting was making its way to North America for the first time, landing at The Art Institute of Chicago.
VAN GOGH BNB - LEO Burnett CHICAGO Cannes Lions 2016 - YouTube
Creative must be bold
A wise man once said: “Think different”. Design courage is a key factor in making big changes in the design world, by designers and organizations who dare to experiment and innovate. Let’s look at the example of the sculpture of a “Fearless Girl” staring into the eyes of the Charging Bull that appeared one night in the middle of Wall Street.
The campaign promoting good causes in 2017 was created on a shoestring budget with no paid media. The image of the statue soon went viral online and in first 12 hours had more than 1bn Twitter impressions. Within the first 12 weeks “Fearless Girl” had reached 215,000 Instagram posts. The campaign also won four grand prix awards at Cannes and a total of 18 Cannes Lions.
To deliver results, marketing needs to work hand in hand with design. We need to inspire customers with creative and bold designs to stay relevant. So, be creative and be bold and remember everything is an opportunity to build a connection with people.
By now it is clear to everyone that the word design does not simply fit into the "beautification of objects" any longer. Every experience we have online and offline is perfectly crafted to connect with us and solve a problem or fill the need we have. Design is becoming a problem-solving tool for companies, governments, and society in general. Design is influencing our decisions and drives corporate growth. From Target to Uber, B2B and B2C business managers everywhere are starting to understand that the strategic use of design is making a difference in achieving outsized business results.
A great design has a well-defined brand that is always present, even when you’re not looking at a logo.
For designers working with B2B vs B2C companies creates a set of different design challenges. Both B2B and B2C are focused on the customer but typically B2C has a much simpler buying process than B2B.
B2C customers take a much shorter time to transition from interest to information and comparison, to the decision to buy. They are looking for convenience throughout the buying process and want quick access to the information to evaluate the product and make a purchasing decision. Fonts, colors and visual cues are key elements to guide the customer to the next step in their buying journey.
B2C customers need a smooth check out process. Different studies have shown that most of B2C customers hate when they’re forced to register to make a purchase and would rather buy elsewhere. B2C customers have a variety of options available and design is the key element for making your site stand out.
B2B purchasing on the other hand is multi layered process that requires nurturing the customer every step of the way. The design and visual representation of the product or a service can play a crucial role, especially with complex products and platforms.
Customers need a lot more information to understand the product or a service, ask questions, chat with customer service representative and get comfortable with the purchasing decision. During a Moz conference, founder Rand Fishkin mentioned that on average, customers return to Moz.com prior to purchasing the service about 30 times.
B2C purchases often associated with emotions. Good example is iPhone. It might have same features as Samsung but it is the Apple brand recognition that makes it a trendier phone to own. Branding is a big factor in driving emotions in the B2C world vs B2B sales. Brand has to be presented throughout online and offline experience, so customers could recognize and relate to it. Take a T-Mobile for example. Stores, website, sale posters and ads have a very unique brand and color. By the way T-Mobile magenta color was copyrighted by the company.
For B2B, risk aversion is a major psychological factor, hence there's a greater need to bolster their trust in your product or service. For B2B buyers, you need more detailed information and specifications to convince them at every stage of the sales cycle. Whereas emotions are still important, as they influence all of us, but B2B purchase decision is based on cold, hard calculations and comparisons.
So, what are the implications for website design?
B2C Website Design
Ecommerce retail sites get a lot more traffic then B2B, however conversions often are much lower because of customer’s comparison shopping process. To stay relevant and increase conversions, B2C sites need contingently do A/B testing and optimize pages for conversions. A/B testing usually involves a lot of design elements such as buttons, font size, colors and imagery.
Enhancing the user experience though design is a continuing activity for successful B2C websites.
The overall website design should be clear and the information that the users require should be easy to find, read and act on. B2C e-commerce design usually has short copy, compelling headlines and large images.
B2B Website Design
The website traffic to B2B sites usually much lower but lifetime customer value is much greater. B2B leads need to be nurtured throughout the process so the design should take this factor into account.
In most cases, B2B website is a lot more informative. Every step of buyer’s journey needs to be designed in advance to help customer move closer to making a decision. This would include offers for personal interaction or human contact at various points, so the design should integrate tools for such interactions. Examples could be chat, contact forms, various CTAs.
Another important element of design for B2B should be explainer videos, whitepapers, graphs, numbers and social proof. Visualize the information that your buyers will need at different times and provide it proactively without them having to look for it.
B2B and B2C websites have different audiences, with distinct needs.
When designing a website for a B2B company, you must address a long buying cycle with as much information as possible and keep in mind that nurturing the customer every step of the way is the key. On the other hand, B2C website design should have top tier visual design, UX and usability, short copy, compelling headlines and large images.
As I sit down to write this article, I fall back into memories of what it was like to rent a movie 15 years ago. It was a process: dress up, get in the car, drive, pickup, come back, enjoy and finally don’t forget to return on time. Repeat… Co-founder of Netflex Reed Hastings is often quoted saying that he decided to start Netflix after being fined $40 at a Blockbuster store for being late to return a copy of Apollo 13.
Arrival of movies on demand in your mail box was a breakthrough, and, we could keep them as long as we wanted. But the real change that we all came to embrace and now consider a norm is the content delivery though the web. The keyword is "content" and Netflix is the ultimate content marketer.
Content for companies is a matter of life and death. I know this firsthand. In mid-2000 I worked for Lycos (black lab search engine for these who don’t remember). One of their most promising products was Lycos Cinema. It was an amazing product that allowed users to watch movies over the net. We were the pioneers of this technology but the problem was - content. All Lycos Cinema had to offer was open domain content. Charlie Chaplin silent movies, Min and Bill and Under Roofs of Paris dominated the watchlist and very few were watching. Lycos Cinema was straggling to get steam due to lock of content and as a result the project was closed and we all were let go.
Creating excellent content builds an audience
Netflix early on was a streaming service presenting us with TV shows licensed from other companies but this alone wasn’t enough in order to stand out. They were looking for ways to avoid relying on others’ content to gain success. Its content strategy become very tactical and Netflix started to invest in original content so much that it can almost market itself.
Now their original series such as (House of Cards, Daredevil, Stranger Things) are some of the most anticipated shows in the world. In 2017 Netflix spent over $6 billion on new content creation. This content strategy helped them hit the record 117.6 million subscribers in last quarter of 2017. For comparison, there are about 94 million pay TV subscribers in the U.S.
Netflix is a Big Data company
Like any good marketer, Netflix is using data analytics and research to improve user experience for their customers. In 2006 the company was seeking to substantially improve the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences. The competition was open for three years and developers of winning algorithm awarded $1 million.
Netflix also often conducts surveys of their audience preferences. Their 2013 survey found that 73% of users, like to binge watch television series. This confirmed their content marketing decision to upload all episodes at once, the trend they continued ever since.
Netflix big data analytics also helps to predict the success of original content and content acquisitions. For example, Netflix used viewership data to predict the success of House of Cards, its first foray into original content.
Embedding marketing into content marketing
Netflix is always on the lookout for ways to better reach their audiences where they are, such as mobile. Most impressively Netflix created a number of interactive marketing campaigns for their show releases for Orange is the New Black in New York Times and Narcos in Wall Street Journal.
“We have migrated over the last two to three years to be more content forward in our marketing, more digital in our marketing, we’re getting smarter and more efficient about how we put those dollars to use,” David Wells, CFO Netflix.
Personalized user experience
Everything in Netflix UX is driven by data. Their new recommendation engine uses customers’ viewing, search, scroll, and ratings data as well as time, date, and the device being used to predict what a viewer will be interested in watching. This is layered on top of the content, which has been tagged with metadata to find similarities among pieces of content.
Starting watching a movie on one device automatically continues on another and makes it seamless experience. As a result, approximately 100 million hours of content are viewed on Netflix every day. Collected data allows Netflix to personalize each subscriber’s experience and recommend content we likely to watch and enjoy.
Studies prove that personalized content delivers a 6x higher transaction rate and Netflix is a great example of a success story. Netflix is an innovative company at the top of its game and it has something to teach all content marketers.
Tell us how your company is using personalization and content marketing and what difference it make in your business.
Superman first appeared in 1938, on the cover of Action Comics #1, smashing a car into a mountain in an image that has become permanently engraved in the pop-culture. He is one of the most successful and most popular characters in American fiction. Movies featuring Superman made billions of dollars in box office and beyond. 80 years later this April the story of Superman is still going strong but it all began during the times when people needed super heroes and publishers took advantage of it.
Creators of Superman were two young Jewish boys Jerry Siegel and Joseph Shuster from Cleveland Ohio. They both shared a love of science fiction, adventure fiction, and movies. Together, during their high school years they started working on the character of Superman. This was during the time of a great depression. The stock market crash of October 29, 1929, provided a dramatic end to an era of unprecedented prosperity. The consumer economy ground to a halt, and a recession became the Great Depression, the defining event of the 1930s. The character of Superman was a beacon of hope.
"In the 1930s, the American Dream had become a nightmare, and I think comic books and superheroes in particular provided an escapist form of entertainment that allowed the American public to go into a fantasy world where all the ills of the world were righted by these larger-than-life heroes," Erin Clancy, a curator at the Skirball.
Jerry Siegel and Joseph Shuster hoped to sell Superman stories as a syndicated newspaper comic-strip, but after years of fruitless soliciting to the syndicates, they agreed to publish Superman in a comic book. In March 1938, they sold all rights to Superman to the comic-book publisher Detective Comics, Inc., for $130 ($2,300 when adjusted for inflation). DC took the brand of Superman to heights never seen before and continues to craft stories that connect with readers 80 years later.
How Superman story enjoyed 80 years career as an American Icon?
"Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share -- I'll never stop fighting." - Superman
Superman personality and message are connecting with the audience because he stands for justice, not revenge or violence. He is the most powerful being on planet Earth but feels a deep responsibility to stand up for the powerless. His mantra and altruism laid the groundwork for identification with the audience.
Superman brings smiles to people’s faces, we visualize him with shiny black hair, blue suit and red S on his shirt. His personality is a cultural superstar, the man of steel and champion of justice. He's a son, a reporter, a man who would just love to settle down and hang up that costume. But he doesn’t. He can't let someone go unsaved. He lives as Superman not for himself, but for others.
Good story will find its readers
According to scientist Dr. Paul Zak, telling emotional and character-driven stories boost the levels of oxytocin in the brain. The result is the feeling of empathy…Science!
Stores are powerful because they connect us with strangers and transfer us to other worlds where we learn about their struggles, personality and lives. Emotional connection to a story makes it relevant and compel us to take an action.
“People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel” - Maya Angelou
In marketing, just as with the art of character creation and storytelling, the superhero reigns supreme. Emotions drive our decisions and feelings about a person, brand or a product. How we feel about a brand emotionally, typically determines whether we buy the product or in this case watch a movie or read a book. When marketers tell a story that embodies human challenges, we create an experience that resonates with our customers. By capturing and sharing the stories, you can take your target audience on a journey they yearn to experience.