Good design is like a refrigerator – when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.
– IRENE AU
Your website is so much more than the outward appearance of your brand online. It’s deeper – MUCH deeper. It is what engages and informs your visitors. It is often a prospects first impression of you as they research your firm and services. Studies have shown that visual appeal can be assessed within 50 milliseconds. That’s not a lot of time to make a great first impression.
So what does your website say about you? Whether we like it or not, good design says something to your customers and prospects. Good design does more than make your services look pretty. Good design takes complex information and organizes it in a way that’s easy to digest and creates an engaging experience for your visitors.
When designing marketing materials for your firm, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
Strong design builds trust
Studies show that badly designed websites aren’t read, trusted or visited for any substantial length of time. This means that even if you have great content, it’s unlikely that anyone is actually reading it or engaging with it. Great website design is more than just the look and feel of the website. Great design also focuses on the usability of the website (the experience of the user). Be sure your website is well organized, your content is nested appropriately and easy to navigate, and you establish clear call-to-actions for your viewers. Doing this is crucial to ensure your users stay engaged and value your content.
Get to know your audience
It’s impossible to design something successfully unless you know your target audience like the back of your hand. If you’ve been following our blog you know by now that developing a niche market in the financial services industry especially is 🔑
The bottom line is that the way your marketing materials are designed says something to your current clients and prospects. From your business cards, to your logo and your website — they all speak to your brand and unique value proposition. After all, good design helps leave a good impression. Have you ever been in a conversation and said “I can’t remember the name right now but I can picture it?” These important visual cues leave a lasting impression.
The design fit your services
Think of the packaging of a Hershey’s chocolate bar. What do you see? The way a package looks sets certain standards and expectations. The goal with good design is to ensure that your customer knows exactly what they’re getting.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
Keep your brand design consistent
Consistency is the golden rule to any successful brand or company. Without consistency your business risks a lot. Without design consistencies you could risk your logo being used incorrectly, or your brand colors being off. Sure, these may seem like small things in the short-term but the snowball effect rings true here and all of these inconsistencies makes your brand easily forgettable.
Consistency in your design isn’t just online. Take a look at your printed materials too — brochures, business cards, even t-shirts.
Are you working with a good designer?
If you Google “graphic designer” you’ll quickly find thousands upon thousands of freelancers and even companies near and far claiming to be designers. Proceed with caution. But let’s face it – in this industry it’s rare to have a designer on staff. I’m not saying go out and hire a full-time designer for your firm or even spend $50,000 for a website design. What I am saying though is to understand that design matters and there’s a whole lot more to a good designer than just being proficient in photoshop or a proficient developer.
Additionally, we have the challenge of working in a highly regulated industry. Is your designer familiar with compliance, review processes, as well as archiving?
If not, it’s time for a change.