Article post by Travis Jamison
Did you know that it takes only a fraction of a second — 0.05, to be more precise — for visitors to form an opinion about your website? Moreover, 94% of first impressions are related to design.
So, it’s safe to conclude that design should be among your top priorities if you want to delight and engage your target audience. But before we start discussing the ways you can use great design to boost critical marketing metrics, it’s essential to clarify what our interpretation of design is.
The notion of great design goes beyond the usual kind of purely aesthetic appeal and the “pretty graphics” approach. A better definition would be that it’s a synergy of usability, accessibility, layout, and readability. Aiming for eye-candy qualities is justified to a certain extent, but you do need to add value by making it easier for your prospects to navigate, explore, and engage with your website.
In this article, we’ll discuss the impact of great design on critical marketing metrics and present some great examples you can adjust and implement to your strategy.
Sales Conversion Rate
How many prospects/website visitors do you manage to convert into paying customers?
The sales conversion rate is a vital metric reflecting the ratio between these two numbers, and it illustrates the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts. But, since most conversions take place on your website or a dedicated landing page, design plays an important role in improving this metric.
Although conversion rates differ by region, industry, source, and other parameters, we’ll take the average U.S. ecommerce conversion rate in the Q2 of 2021, which was 2.8%, as a benchmark. Other sources state that a decent sales conversion rate varies between 2% and 5%.
So, check your conversion rates so that you can monitor this metric after implementing changes.
The first and most important step toward nudging your fence-sitting customers to purchase from you is to have an irresistible call-to-action button.
Here are some tips to help you design this conversion-driving element.
1. Use White Space
You don’t want to clutter your page with too much content, so curb your copywriting enthusiasm. The trick is to make your CTA stand out and be highly visible. Using white space will give the page some breathing space and help your prospects spot the button right away.
Miro takes the white space tactic to the next level on the Online Whiteboard service page, with their simple and concise messaging and an attention-grabbing plus absolutely intuitive CTA saying, “Start a whiteboard.”
2. Place It Above the Fold
Visibility is another key factor of a successful CTA, so don’t risk putting it below the fold. While it’s true that many people browse on their mobile devices, which makes it easier for them to scroll, the best tip would be to reinforce your call to action by repeating it several times throughout the entire page. However, to avoid confusing your potential customers as to what you actually want them to do next, it’s worth stressing that each of these CTAs should lead to the same product/service/landing page.
Heyday’s homepage features multiple CTAs positioned in the main navigation, in the hero section, and below the fold. This example works because repeated CTAs can increase conversions by 20%.
3. Experiment with Different Colours
Since every detail matters when it comes to a CTA, giving the colour you will use careful consideration is a must. Although it’s impossible to say whether green works better than red or orange, it’s a useful rule of thumb you can implement.
To make your CTA stand out, pick a colour complementary to the overall colour scheme of the page. This contrast will prevent your CTA from blending in with the background.
The CTA on Huemor’s homepage pops immediately because it’s in contrast with the rest of the page.
4. Come Up with Killer Copy
Creating powerful and persuasive copy will prompt your audience to take action. There’s no universal recipe for a click-worthy CTA, but some best practices include the following:
- Keep it short.
- Start with a powerful verb focused on what your prospect will gain — Join, Get, Enjoy, Explore, Learn, Experience.
- Accentuate value.
If you’re worried that inviting your prospects to grab their credit card and start buying the moment, they land on your web page is too much, you can tone your CTA down a bit with less salesy copy.
Kiehl’s homepage CTA packs quite a punch by managing to check all the boxes. It doesn’t ask potential customers to purchase but invites them to take a quiz and find a perfect gift. This clever twist makes the CTA sound less transactional without sacrificing its conversion potential.
5. A/B Test!
To determine what works and what doesn’t, make sure to test every aspect of your CTAs. This method will show you how the two variations stack up against each other, thus allowing you to pick the one that performs better and maximize your conversions.
Cart Abandonment Rate
The average cart abandonment rate across different industries is almost 70%. In other words, seven out of every ten potential customers who start a transaction in your online store won’t complete it. Needless to say, a high cart abandonment rate can decimate your projected revenue.
Luckily, you can prevent all those business opportunities from slipping through the cracks by simplifying your checkout process. This isn’t just a guess, as this method can increase your conversions by a pretty decent 35.62%.
Here are some checkout tips you can use as inspiration:
- Allow express checkout with digital wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay
- Provide multiple payment options for greater convenience
- Display trust badges to boost credibility
- Show the total cost of the purchase upfront to eliminate unpleasant surprises
- Provide a flexible return policy
- Give access to live chat.
Ever Wallpaper’s cart page is a great example of a user-friendly checkout process. The company is transparent about the total pricing, plus there’s free shipping for orders over £50. There’s also a security badge, and customers are even allowed to change their minds and cancel their order within 24 hours after payment. Finally, the option to continue shopping directly from the cart is another convenient detail.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
The effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts is best shown through this metric. Determine how much you spend on acquiring every customer by the number of paying customers you actually acquired over a given period.
The best way to operationalize this metric is to use it together with customer lifetime value (LTV.) The LTV/CAC ratio you should aim for is 3.0, though this calculation depends on the industry. If the ratio is 1.0 — that is, if LTV and CAC are equal — you’re not creating value.
A great way to reduce the cost of acquiring a customer is to lower the amount of time your sales team spends interacting with them and answering their questions.
In other words, you want to shorten your sales cycle, and you can do this by simplifying product trial interactions.
Making people sign up for a trial is the industry standard for getting them to test out your product.
However, it requires your sales reps’ time, and in some cases, it might be wasted on low-quality prospects or tire kickers. But you can consider designing a UX where they can see what your product can do without any signups or downloads or any friction whatsoever. Building this insight into your product on your site may require an initial investment, but it is likely to improve CAC over time.
Affinda’s invoice data extraction page is an excellent example of this tactic since potential customers can see exactly how the product works without having to sign up or sit through a demo. At the same time, the sales team gets only qualified leads who have test-driven the software and want to learn more.
Scroll depth is a Google Analytics metric used for measuring the performance of your content. This way, you can determine how far visitors scroll down your page before they go back to the SERPs.
If you only rely on how long a prospect stayed on your page, you won’t be sure whether they actually read your content or left the browser tab open. And this information can’t help you optimize your pages for a better conversion rate.
To make the most of this metric and improve it, make sure your content is accessible.
If you have a page with a lot of information and you need your visitors to engage with as much of it as possible, you have to employ design techniques to make the content as accessible and readable as possible.
No matter how well-researched and valuable your content is, if it’s not reader-friendly, it won’t cut it. To prevent poor readability from scaring off your potential customers, audit your content and implement the following best practices.
1. Use Chunking
Break down walls of text into bite-sized chunks of information that are easier to grasp and digest. But chunking is more than that — the point is in organizing every paragraph around a single idea and using descriptive H2 subheadings, which allows for easy skimming.
2. Keep Line Length Between 50-75 characters.
Research studies have shown that people perceive body text lines that are too long as intimidating.
The optimal length should be 50-75 characters, and longer or shorter lines will hurt readability. If the body text on a web page is too wide, readers won’t be able to focus. If it’s too narrow, readers will have to go back and forth too often, thus interrupting the regular reading flow.
3. Include Bullet Points
Bullet points are easy on the eyes, especially when writing about product features, specs, or benefits. They work particularly well for lists and comparisons.
4. Summarize Key Takeaways
Long-form content can be especially challenging for skimmers, so don’t test their patience. To accommodate their way of consuming content, include a short summary of key takeaways before each section.
Such a “TL; DR” will allow them to quickly scan text and find the information they’re looking for without having to read the entire piece.
Each night’s guide on the best mattresses is a long, 13k+ word article. Still, the brand employed excellent readability design techniques to ensure that readers aren’t alienated by an avalanche of text. The content is organized in a narrow column of text and consists of short sentences and paragraphs. There’s a summary before each section and a short pros & cons list after it.
A website’s bounce rate shows whether visitors engage with the content on a web page. It’s the percentage of people who leave a web page without taking action such as subscribing to the newsletter, downloading a resource, clicking on a link, or purchasing something.
Although a high bounce rate doesn’t always mean there’s something wrong with a particular page, to lower this metric make sure to engage your prospects. And one of the best ways to achieve this is by prioritizing visuals.
People respond emotionally to images. According to research, emotional images impact our behaviour more than emotional words. In addition, images are better for illustrating complex and abstract concepts. Another benefit of visuals is that they reinforce the information stated in the text, thus improving readers’ comprehension.
So, to make your content more compelling and engaging, enrich it with images.
That’s exactly what PresetLove did in their article about Lightroom presets. Despite its 6,500-word count, this piece makes for an interesting read thanks to a number of well-curated photos. Readers are instantly drawn into the post because of its captivating and engaging imagery.
Time Spent on Site
Stats say that, on average, time spent on site across different industries varies between 45 seconds and 54 seconds.
While this metric should be observed only within a context, meaning there’s no one-size-fits-all interpretation of results, you still want visitors to stick around and explore your website longer.
To give this metric a boost, embrace video.
89% of marketers who champion this visual format are happy with its ROI, 54% experience an increase in their brand awareness, while 80% claim that video has helped them increase sales. When it comes to engagement, 62% of people watch a business-related video in its entirety if it’s not longer than 60 seconds.
All these stats prove that video is a powerful tool for engaging visitors. It thus helps increase the time they spend on your website and ultimately contributes to conversions.
GoPro does an excellent job demonstrating what their cameras are capable of on the page for surf products. Instead of listing endless technical specs, the brand captures potential customers’ attention with attractive videos shot using their products.
Training Mask leverages explainer videos across its product pages. Paired with a concise features/benefits section, these attractive, fast-paced clips instantly engage visitors and improve user experience.
Source: Training Mask
Goal Completion Rate
The goal completion rate is a metric that measures how many people do something you want them to do, like sign up for a newsletter, download an eBook, or any activity that isn’t a sales conversion. Used with lead to win, GCR gives you insight into the quality of leads your marketing activities generate.
The higher GCR, the better, as this indicates that your marketing campaign is performing well and encouraging your prospects to engage and take action.
1. Simplify User Experience
Some of these goals will often seem like low-commitment or low-stake activities to the user, meaning they will not be deeply invested in these activities. On the other hand, your company sees these goals as crucial steps in the sales process.
To bridge this gap and get your prospects involved, you need to simplify user experience and make it intuitive.
Make sure to implement the following UX best practices that will make it easy for your prospects to complete tasks:
- Make your UI simple and uncluttered to prevent distractions.
- Use only the necessary fields in your forms.
- Create a logical layout that won’t confuse your users.
- Don’t overwhelm your pages with text.
- Set clear interaction and form validation rules so that your users know what to do and how to do it right.
- Include big and highly visible activity buttons for easier navigation through the process.
Transparent Labs’ protein calculator covers all the bases when it comes to providing a user-friendly experience. There are only a couple of fields to fill and a few buttons to click, so the entire process doesn’t take up too much time. Meanwhile, the value prospects get is pretty obvious, as they will learn an important fact about their nutritional requirements.
2. Prioritize the Goal Function
Don’t feel the need to over-explain what needs to happen. Let the user throw themselves at the action you want them to take with little or no explanation. This way, you won’t overload your prospects with too much information, and nobody particularly likes reading instructions.
Uscramblex implemented this tactic on their Words With Friends page, thus compelling prospects to test it out themselves and see how it works.
Monitoring your critical marketing metrics is a must if you want to control how your campaigns are performing. Great design can significantly improve these metrics and, subsequently, your conversions and bottom line. Sometimes, even a minor tweak can yield much better results.