You’re doing everything right.

You’ve got your email marketing set up, and you’re sending useful information and promotions on a regular basis.

You’re hosting events, both online and in person, and inviting people to them through all the right channels.

You’ve got a website—maybe even a blog—that you’re updating regularly.

And your products (or your services) are awesome. You know it. So why aren’t people showing up to buy them? Why isn’t your business growing like you want it to?

I hate to ask this—I know it’s kind of personal. But could it be…your looks?

Now more than ever, appearances count

We live in a design-driven culture.

Here’s why: the way we consume information has radically shifted in the last ten years.

Rather than getting our news, entertainment and even marketing information “by appointment,” we’re getting it “on demand.”

  • We search for and consume the news whenever we’d like.
  • We fire up television shows to watch when it’s most convenient.
  • And when we want to make a purchase, we search out marketing information that will help us make a decision.

And there’s a lot of information out there.

It’s a foundational marketing technique right now: offer information, tutorials, and support for your product in an on-demand format like blog posts, videos and ebooks, and your customers will seek them out when they’re researching a purchase. They’ll trust that you are the best provider based on the information you offer.

But guess how they decide which information they’re going to spend time with?

That’s right: they judge it by the design. Those first few seconds they spend previewing your information determines whether or not they’ll consume it.

If your website, emails, or other marketing materials look amateurish or difficult to read, you lose the battle before you’ve begun to fight.

How to know if your design is the problem

There are several metrics you can look at that will confirm your suspicion that the design of your marketing materials isn’t helping your business.

  • Check the bounce rate on your website. Is it 80% or above? This means people are hitting your site and leaving almost immediately. They take one look, don’t like what they see, and navigate away.
  • Look at your email open rate. Very low open rates may mean your readers don’t want to deal with your information because it takes too much effort to process it. Low click-through rates and high unsubscribe rates should tell you the same thing.
  • Review your overall response rate. If you’re not developing leads at the pace you need, and you’re not converting those leads to customers, and repeat customers…then design might be a factor.

Turn around your design deficiencies this year

The first step toward change is recognizing you have a problem, right? If you’re pretty sure design deficiencies are holding your business back, here’s what you can do about them, for free.

These techniques will help you build a recognizable visual brand so that your ideal customer will see your materials, trust your information, and want to do business with you. Here’s how to start:

  • Create a limited palette of colors that will become your “brand colors.” Use them consistently in everything you do. They’ll become associated with your business, and will help people recognize it immediately. For more free information on choosing and using colors, sign up for the “Color Clinic” webinar on this page.
  • Select a couple of fonts that you’ll use consistently. Make them unique, readable, and look for font families with lots of weights so you’ve got plenty of options.
  • Format your web pages and emails for the “new rules of readability.” On the web, we read differently than on paper. Make sure that any marketing materials that will be viewed on a screen reflect this reality.
  • Use short paragraphs.
  • Incorporate subheads: these are “sign posts” that help people navigate through your information.
  • Use bulleted lists to spell our your ideas.

Make your marketing materials easier to scan, and people will spend more time with them.

Want more advice on looking great?

For in-depth information that will help build your brand over the next couple of weeks, you can join my no-cost Private Mentoring Group. I’m sharing information with a select group of people to help them build recognizable brands that grow their businesses. Get no-cost Private Mentoring here.

How about you? Are you struggling with design deficiencies that are holding your business back? Let’s talk about what’s got you stuck in the comments: I’d be happy to provide guidance and information.