How does your website look on a mobile phone or a tablet?

Can people read it without having to zoom in? Is it easy to navigate on such a small device?

These are important questions to ask yourself because you might be missing out on sales if your website is not mobile-friendly. Over 73% of the population first access a website on their mobile phone and they are making purchasing decisions while on the go. If they visit your website and it is too difficult to use, they could become frustrated and move on to someone else’s.

When I refer to a “mobile-friendly website”, what I am really talking about is a “responsive website”. A responsive website is one that automatically changes the way it looks according to the device in use. This means that the website looks a little different when viewed on your desktop computer compared to how it looks on a tablet or a mobile phone.

Today, with Adobe’s new and powerful web design programs like Dreamweaver, or other popular web design programs such as WordPress, responsive websites are much more readily available. These are exciting times for both designers and their clients!

If you already have a website, it probably isn’t responsive. It might look spectacular on a desktop or laptop computer, but taking a look at that wonderful website on your phone isn’t nearly as impressive. In fact, it is teeny-tiny making it difficult to use.

And that’s a problem, because you don’t want to drive ‘would-be’ customers away from your website when they need it most.

I should address a couple of concerns that might have wormed their way into your mind while reading this article. You may have already invested a lot of time, effort, and money into your website and now I’m telling you that it isn’t effective for the millions of mobile phone users who are making purchasing decisions.

Concern 1
Why are you only finding out about this now rather than before you had your website designed and launched?

In the last 2 years there has been an explosive increase in users of mobile devices. Prior to this, most of us weren’t really aware of a need to make responsive websites. Oh sure, some designers created websites that showed in the upper, left area of your desktop monitor in an attempt to make things look better on phones and tablets, but there just wasn’t the knowledge or the need – until a very short while ago – to target web design for mobile use.

The truth is, we are collectively, and quickly, becoming very mobile device savvy. Statistics indicate that society is relying on them more and more for information about everything. You want your website to cater to these people. According to CBC news, on September 23, 2013, Apple sold 9 million new iPhone 5S and 5C handsets in 3 days. That’s THREE DAYS! And, it is predicted that by the end of 2017, according to CCS Insight’s, over 6.6 billion mobile phones will be in use world wide. Is your website ready?

Concern 2
If you already have a website, can it be changed into a responsive website?

Yes. If you have a website, and it isn’t responsive, the solution is to have it optimized for mobile devices. Often this involves design alterations so that the site automatically responds to the device in use. However, the overall ‘look’ – that is, your brand – can be maintained during the optimization process. If your website is ‘old’ and looking dated, it is probably time for a complete design change anyway and now is the perfect time to take advantage of having it created as a responsive site.

In conclusion, it is important for businesses to gear much of their selling power to users of mobile devices. Your customers should be able to find out about your products and services easily when they access your website regardless of which device they are using. For those of you who do not have a website, but plan to invest in one, make sure that you ask your designer for a responsive website and that they have experience in creating this type of site.

Why Professional Design Generates More Sales

Part of BEING successful is LOOKING successful. I know that we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but we do it anyway, all the time, and because we are bombarded with so much information everyday we are forced to judge quickly. When someone visits your website or sees your brochure they might only take a split second to rate it as attractive, interesting, and easy to understand. If it doesn’t rate, they move on to another provider and your competition has a new client.

This is why it is so important to represent your business through the use of professional design. Having promotional materials that are professionally designed indicates that your company is successful, which gives your credibility and your sales a boost.

Here’s why:

Professional design is visually appealing and adds value to your business.
Do people notice any difference between good and bad design? Sure they do. Even if they aren’t aware of it consciously, they gravitate toward the best looking advertisement, pick up the glossy brochure, and spend more time on an attractive website. Good design has visual impact that attracts your ideal customers. It also adds value to your company by improving consumer perception of what you are offering, making us more likely to make a purchase.

Professional design is essential in building strong brands.
People buy brands, not products. Most of us purchase a brand that is familiar. We want our favourite brand of makeup, appliances or vehicles because we recognize the brand and we have had positive experiences with them. This is why making your brand identifiable in some distinctive way is so important. A well designed brand establishes top-of-mind customer recognition of your product or service and differentiates your business from all others. Once your brand becomes familiar to your market, they are more likely to come to you when they need the products or services that you offer.

Professional design is functional.
It effectively delivers key messages to your market so that they understand what you are going to provide, how it will help them, and how to purchase from you. When information is organized clearly and concisely it helps prospects decide either to make a purchase or to request a quote because they are ready to buy.

Professional design triggers positive emotions.
Emotions such as trust and loyalty must be earned using professionally designed marketing materials. A great design has the power to affect people on an emotional level. If they see that you have invested in high quality design they are more likely to believe that what you are offering is of high quality too, and you gain their trust. It also indicates that you are not a ‘fly-by-night’ outfit and that you’ll be around when they need your products or services, which enhances customer loyalty. Satisfied, trusting clients will return again and again to do business with your company.

Choosing professional design rather than amateur design for your marketing materials makes good business sense. The four examples listed above clearly indicate why high quality design works in your favour when it comes to making more sales.

You may also be interested in my article, “Four design tips that will save you money and promote your business”.

4 design tips that will save you money and promote your business

Saving money on marketing materials might seem impossible, especially if you want to maintain a professional look or brand. However, with these 4 tricks of the design trade you’ll not only cut costs, your marketing materials will add value to your business.

Digital Printing
With the introduction of digital printers, full colour, printed materials became an affordable option for small and micro-sized businesses. There are digital printing presses, but I am not referring to them. I’m talking about digital printing that is done on a high quality colour ‘copier-like’ printer capable of fine reproductions. Since there is no press involved, print suppliers don’t mind doing small print runs. It is the most economical way to buy full colour printed products as long as your quantities are between 1 and 1000. After 1000 copies of a project it becomes more cost efficient to use a traditional or digital press.

Business Stationery
This tip saves you a great deal of money without compromising your professionalism (assuming that you already have a logo that was professionally designed). You can use a full colour version of your logo too!

Having letterhead and envelopes, especially full colour, printed by the 1000‘s can be quite expensive. Instead, you can create your own computer files, one for letters and the other for return envelope labels. Purchase matching paper and envelopes at a business supply store. They usually have lots of selection. Ask your designer to email a colour jpeg of your logo so that you can position it into your letter document and your return address label file.

For labels, I use the sheets of 30 labels where each label measures 6.66 cm wide by 2.54 cm high. You’ll need to download the layout template for placement of your logo. Add your address on each label and print a sheet of 30 labels as you need them.

The important thing is to be consistent. Once you have chosen your matching letter and envelope, stick to it so that it becomes part of your company’s identity. Make sure that your logo is in the same position on the page or label every time. Your clients will come to recognize your company’s brand at a glance when they receive mail from you, even before they read a word.

Find A Freelance Designer
If you are providing a high quality product or a great service it is in your best interests to hire a professional designer to create your marketing materials. There is no better way to convince your market that what you are offering to them, has value and that you are serious about your business. Prices at the larger design agencies tend to be high, but there are freelance design professionals who charge lower rates and still provide quality work. In addition, you’ll enjoy having direct contact with the designer who will be creating your design projects

Professionally Designed Header for Your Blog & Other Social Media
More and more small businesses are blogging and have active social networking accounts as a way of reaching their potential customers. It is important that you maintain your unique company identity online, just as you do with your website and print materials. This can be done economically by having a freelance designer create one graphic header for use in your blog, Facebook page and other social media. By repeating elements such as your logo, corporate colours, and typestyles, your brand becomes stronger and readers will recognize your company instantly.

I have many more cost saving ways to promote your products and services while maintaining a strong identity for your business. Call me at 519-644-2786 or email your inquiries and we can discuss the possibilities for your business.