Those of us in web design, web marketing, and social media marketing would do well to consider the goal of our efforts. As the ancient writer explained 3000 years ago, “There is nothing new under the sun.” But wait, you say, technology is changing so fast that it takes daily attention just to keep up with the breathless, dizzying pace of change. Granted, but when it comes to human nature, there really is nothing new, is there? We have the same basic emotional and psychological desires and needs that we had 3000 years ago. Although the methods and technologies for pursuing them have evolved, our underlying needs and basic human nature have remained unchanged throughout history. We still want to be confident we’re making the right purchasing decisions; we want to know that the person or company we’re dealing with has our best interest in mind and has the right product or service to meet our needs.
That’s why writing great copy should be the first priority in any web design or web marketing effort. Great copy is the bedrock of communication and persuasion, and the key to delivering a convincing message to an increasingly sophisticated buyer. Therefore, as marketers it is smart to first determine the main goal and core message of each marketing effort, including each page of our web design and each section within each page, in an effort to increase our chances for success.
With the message firmly established we can then design the website, web page, landing page, email content, or other online or printed content around a clear message and goal. The final product is then likely to contain a more cohesive, integrated design that feels right, looks right, and gets results.
Let’s break it down. First, the effort to create compelling, clearly communicated, persuasive copy forces us to think about what we are trying to accomplish. I don’t know about you, but my best results have usually come by following the principle of “beginning at the beginning”, and when we’re charging for our services or time, I think we owe that to our clients, don’t you?
Question: What is the beginning?
Answer: Clearly defining the goal we want to achieve
In designing websites and marketing campaigns for businesses and other organizations, the goal we’re trying to achieve is often to persuade someone to take a specific action, such as:
- buy a product or service
- complete a form to capture contact or other information
- refer us to others
- participate in our blog or other social media activities
- request, access, or download additional information
- click here
Getting clear on our goal or series of goals helps us to properly set our design priorities. Gaining clarity and agreement on those priorities builds trust with the client, and, best of all, helps ensure our efforts will achieve the client’s intended result.
With our goals clearly stated and prioritized we are now ready to create what I refer to as an “informational wireframe”, a general page structure not in terms of physical layout, but in the hierarchy and flow of information, words, and thought. As any good copywriter knows, there is a flow and structure that begins with an attention-getting headline and generally leads to a call to action. Often a given web page will have multiple sub-messages and calls to action, but nevertheless, these should each be developed and articulated before designing the physical layout.
Finally, the website’s graphical design and physical layout are much easier to develop if the designer first has the above elements in hand. This leads to formulating graphics and an overall page structure that is well-integrated with the message, yielding a design that is much more likely to feel right, look right, and get results. And that’s what we’re all after.
Want to achieve a great web design and solid web marketing results? Start with great copywriting.