Let’s play a quick game of “Would you Rather?”
Would you rather have an ugly website or a bad website? The two are not synonymous. Would you rather invest in a trendy and good looking creative website or a website that generates leads?
Seems like a rather obvious game of “Would you Rather?”, but all too often I’ve seen marketing managers and business owners prioritize fancy graphics and hand-written code over a lead-generating, do-what-works website.
Every time I see this happen, my mind goes back to political ads.
I know what you’re thinking: political ads? Bear with me a for a moment.
Back in 2014, our agency worked on a few political campaigns. Among our marketing activities, we designed some pretty ugly mailers. The interesting part? The content and the graphics had to be ugly per the client’s request. The political consultant on the campaign reminded us at every opportunity, “I don’t need you to show off your great graphic design skills here. The uglier the graphics, the better.”
Why? Because dark, ugly, fear-inspiring, visually unappealing political mailers work. In 2005, the American Journal of Political Science published a study on it.
Websites that Work For Your Business
Now, I’m not saying that all ugly websites work. The best website for your business is the website that is built for your user. But it is worth noting that there are some ugly sites out there that make millions.
Great websites improve over time. They are online lead generation machines.
In the digital world, you can have it all. A website can be creative and lead generating.
Not All Websites are Built the Same Way
So here is a confession: Bridges is a marketing firm that does web design. We don’t build every website from scratch. Sometimes we start building sites from pre-existing templates.
This confession sometimes scares some prospective clients, but the reason we do it is because it works. At the end of the day, every business owner wants more sales leads, so why not funnel all of your efforts into the marketing activities that generate leads, instead of spending your time and budget creating new layouts and fancy graphics?
Website Design Can Be Creative & Converting
That said, we shouldn’t disregard the graphics altogether. When I train new graphic designers, I explain, “There’s a difference between your art and commercial art. Commercial art is about making it fast and easy to understand, so the client doesn’t have to read the text if they don’t want to.”
Our design is aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not pleasing for its own sake. Rather, aesthetic value serves a greater purpose: to attract and nurture qualified leads.
Steve Jobs is famous for saying:
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Many online lead generation companies spend all of their time on copy and SEO. As a HubSpot Certified inbound marketing agency, we spend time on our content as well, but it’s half the battle. We balance our time among various marketing activities, working towards our top priorities: function and conversion. We focus on marketing activities that optimize your website for lead generation.
So the next time you have to play “Would you Rather?” with website marketing priorities for your business, choose the one that’s most greatly going to impact your bottom line. You don’t have to go on faith either. Ask to see the numbers!
Looking for lead generation ideas? We have those too!
About the Author
Ashley Quintana, M.S., B.A.
Ashley Quintana is the co-founder and managing partner at Bridges Strategies. A graduate of Oklahoma State University's media management master's program, Ashley co-founded Bridges Strategies with a $10,000 investment. Two years later, the bootstrapped company grossed almost one million dollars and grew to a team of eight. In her role, she develops, leads and executes digital marketing strategies for the company's growing client base.