How important is good design in marketing?
Seriously, does good design make the cash register ring faster or louder?
Let’s face it, we all want to produce the type of marketing material that we can proudly show our friends and family. But is that thinking costing you time and money?
In my experience, good design falls into 2 categories:
Category #1: Good design is a nice to have that should NOT be prioritised above copy or speed because it’s influence on sales is less than the other 2 factors.
Category #2: Good design / pretty design (the type of design that you can proudly show your friends and family) actually reduces sales over a simple page with a Red Headline and black text on a white background!
That just doesn’t make sense, right?
Good design should build trust and demonstrate that we are credible. Good design should make our customers feel differently about us…
These are all beliefs that I’ve held. These are all ideas that I’ve wanted to test. And… when I’ve made the time to improve the design to the standard that I’m happy with…
… the results have always been worse than the simple and basic no frills version.
Just so there’s no confusion: I’m talking about the performance of a long copy sales page.
What’s a long copy sales page?
It’s a sales man in print. It’s one of those really long pages that tells a story, presents an irresistible offer and asks the reader to take an action.
The reason why I’m talking about design in this instance is that the purpose of a sales page is to make the cash register ring. It is not to create awareness or generate Likes on Facebook. The only measure of good is how long and how loud did the cash register ring.
Now that you know what type of marketing I’m talking about let me tell you some shocking stories…
Believe it or not, I’ve sent people to the most difficult page to read in the history of internet marketing!
This was not intentional!
The decision was driven by the clock… and my inept knowledge of Word Press. That’s why I had a page with Grey text and a Grey background.
As you can imagine, it was not a pretty page to look at and not an easy page to read. So, why send your community to a page with 3,500 words on it when it’s virtually impossible to read? Because of a deadline that was impossible to move.
It actually made 10 sales! How is that even possible? My guess is that those customers that were really committed to changing their life were prepared to put up with the frustrations of the page. Those people that read every word were not put off by the design because the message was more important.
The next day I found a Word Press genius! Someone that could make the background White and the body copy Black. They even went as far as to make the headline Red so they stood out.
So, it’s safe to say that the quality of the design improved from terrible to average or acceptable. Now the page made it easy for people to read.
What happened next?
The page made fewer sales second time round!
You could argue that the first broadcast to the community picked up the low hanging fruit and that it’s not a fair comparison. And I’d be inclined to agree with you. This was not a split test. But this fact remains: the words on the page are more important than the design
You’ve seen what happens when I’m pressed for time and don’t have a Word Press genius on speed dial. But what happens when there’s time to get it right?
Lead Pages makes your life as a web design / internet marketer so much easier. It really is the paint by numbers way to success.
So, I decided to push the boat out. To use one of their elegantly designed pages and just change the copy.
Lower sales than I expected!
Seriously, when I changed to a more basic design, the response improved!
How is that possible? I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist and I’m not pretending to be. I’m simply looking at the results of previous tests to determine what to do next.
You want to make the page as easy as possible for your potential customer to read without any distracting elements.
So, the headlines need to stand out. After all, these are tools to help the reader skim the page.
The body copy needs to be easy to read. So don’t pick a funky font that’s a reflection of your personality. Pick the most boring Serif font you can think of like Times New Roman. Why? Because it’s easy to read.
There’s a reason why this font is used in most novels. There’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel or question why book publishers have used it for decades. Just follow in their footsteps and make life easier for yourself and your customers.
Don’t include images or graphics unless they add social proof to your claims.
When it comes to sales pages that convert, simple and unadorned outperforms pretty and over designed.
I hope you found this useful and that it will help improve the performance of your sales page.
If you found this useful then please leave a comment below. If this can help someone you know then please share it with them.
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Roland Eva is a copywriter and marketing trainer, mentor and consultant.
For the last 5 years, Roland has helped authors, coaches, mentors and trainers in the property and business opportunity markets to fill seminars and sell high-end programs ranging from £1,000 to £6,000. Many campaigns have made over £500,000 in just 9 days. Roland has done this through what he calls value first marketing. Value first marketing builds trust by giving upfront value, before giving your community the opportunity to work with you further.
Roland’s marketing journey began when he lost his first business, a photography and graphic design studio. The pain of watching his business die slowly motivated him to discover a proven system to find your perfect prospect, earn their trust through value first marketing and persuade them to buy, by telling true stories that inspire people to change their life.
Today Roland’s mission is to prevent every business owner from suffering through the same pain as he did. Roland wants to take them on the ecstatic ride that comes with having a proven system to turn leads into customers and expertise into cash.
As a consultant, Roland works on a no win, no fee basis so you don’t risk a penny. As he says this makes the cash register ring or it’s free, simple as that!
To contact Roland please email him on: Roland@RolandEva.co.uk