Direct response marketing and design seem to always be at odds. Direct response websites often have big red text, little to high quality images, no navigation bars, etc. A lot of people who look at these sites instantly exclaim: “That’s a terrible looking site.”
And they’re right. A lot of people hesitate to use direct marketing techniques, because they’re concerned about tarnishing their brand.
Disregarding brand in favor of response closes all kinds of doors to your business. It makes it a lot harder to get on radio shows and get PR traffic. Brand aware list owners will be much more hesitant to JV with you. You’ll be invited to fewer speaking engagements. So on and so forth. Having great design makes people feel good about being associated with you.
Is it Possible to Mix Both?
The answer is yes, absolutely. But it’s not easy, nor is it common. Most people either have an eye on design or an eye on response. It’s rare to find a single person who has an eye for both. That’s why it often helps to work with other people in this process.
Instead of being both the response person and the design person, look for a design (or response) person who can take that role for you. This person could be a business partner, an in house designer or an online freelancer you trust.
Look at examples of sites that have this match of design and response, then emulate them. It usually means having some kind of header, a color scheme that carries through the whole site, high quality images throughout your salesletter, a navigation bar and so on.
It’s not abnormal to have a slightly lower conversion rate with a well designed site than with a poorly designed site. But keep in mind that that’s only on the upfront conversion. Having a well designed site will usually mean higher conversions on the back end.
Three Important Design Elements to Address
First, you need to change the first impression. The first impression someone who lands on your site should have is: “Wow, this website looks amazing. ” At the same time, you need to still have an attention catching headline that gets people to start reading.
Next, you need to add variety to your pages. Often time’s all direct response pages have are text, bullets and subheads. Add in pictures, sidebars with different colors, graphical representations of concepts and so on.
Finally, build your site around the overall energy that you want your product to convey. For instance, if you’re creating a product for women on pregnancy health, you’ll probably want a website with a lot of blue and fading colors. If you’re creating a website around weight lifting for men, you might use red and black and more explosive images.
That’s how you combine both great design and direct response. In a response driven company, you really need both in order to succeed.