If your emails don’t get opened…

If your website visitors stay for just a few seconds and click away…

If you have a hard time getting customers to pay full price for your products and services…

…it might be the way you’re presenting your business. In a word, it might be your design. Or rather, lack of design.

You see, design is a filter. It’s one of the first filters that people use when judging a company’s quality.

After all, before they can read your words they’re taking in your overall visual presentation. They’re noticing your colors and fonts. They’re making a note about how easy (or difficult) it is to read your materials.

Design matters, and it’s the first thing that matters.

Good design makes good marketing materials better. They look more professional, and they’re easier to read and understand.

With me so far?

If you’re still with me, you might have all sorts of questions swirling around in your head. I mean, design is for companies that have a big budget to hire a designer, right? Good design is expensive, it takes forever, and it’s not really within your reach, is it?

Let’s address these questions one by one. By the end of this article, you’ll know why you should use good design in everything you do, and you’ll know how to get started.

Is good design accessible to small business owners?

In a word, yes. Now more than ever.

The elements of great design—plenty of white space, sophisticated colors and fonts, and well laid out pages—are available to all of us through email templates and website templates.

If you’re starting from scratch, you can find no-cost color palette creators online. You can access online image editors that don’t charge a thing. You can get great-looking (free) fonts. You can even sign up for a no-cost course that walks you through all the basics.

All of these tools—which used to be available only to the professionals—are now at your disposal. But you might be wondering …

Isn’t having a great offer enough?

Why should you bother focusing on design? Isn’t having a fantastic offer enough? Why do you have to pretty it up?

Design sets expectations for the level of quality you deliver.

  • Want to charge higher prices? Make sure all your marketing materials are impeccably designed.
  • Want to get through the door of that potential joint venture partner? Check that your company looks like it belongs in the big leagues.
  • Want to capture the attention of your prospects, establish your authority, create trust, and make sales? Add top-quality design to the mix.

Is good design expensive?

It can be. But it doesn’t have to be.

You’re sitting in front of a device that will help you design beautiful marketing materials. Good design is a matter of making a series of good decisions about how you use this device when creating your marketing materials.

You can make well-designed marketing materials using the simplest of tools when you know how to use them.

So yes, good design can be expensive…but it doesn’t have to be.

Is good design time consuming?

You’re probably already putting together a lot of your own marketing materials. Do you:

  • Create your own email marketing messages?
  • Update your website regularly?
  • Post images on your Facebook Page?

If you do, then you already design your marketing.

When you understand the basics of good design, you simply do the same tasks more proficiently. You’re able to create marketing materials that make your business look good.

In many cases, you’ll be able to put them together faster than before, because you won’t go back and forth trying a million different options. You’ll just know what works.

Start with the basics

If you’re ready to make design a part of your business’s culture, start with the fundamentals.

  • Learn how to choose great colors for your business
  • Discover how to find and combine fonts
  • Read more about white space, visual hierarchy, and grids

Master these basics, and put them into practice. The more you use them, the easier it will be to get the D factor working for your business.

About the Author: Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System helps small businesses owners learn to use strategic marketing and great design to grow their businesses. Get her free Design 101 course that covers the topics she outlines here.