Monday, September 6, 2010

Does Your Marketing Look Like (Pardon the French) Crap?

Today I received a letter from one of my favorite multi-millionaire sales gurus and one of her mentees inviting me to a teleclass celebrating the end of "info-crap" style marketing and the beginning of a more authentic passionate approach to promotion.

I thought this was right up my alley, so I clicked the link right away.

Do you think I was surprised when I visited the sales page to find it used every "info-crap" design technique in the book to get us to opt in?

Yup, there was the red 24 point Helvetica headline with the cheesy clip art image next to it, brightly colored arrows pointing at the opt in box, no compelling brand image, not even a logo to distinguish this thought leader from the rest. And to be fair to this guru, I've seen a multitude of other really smart and helpful business advisors using these same design techniques on their sales pages.. Why is that?

In fact, I have heard several marketing gurus specifically say that good design doesn't matter, that compelling graphics are more expensive than they're worth.

Yet these same gurus will pay 10s of thousands of dollars to get their sales copy right. Where is the disconnect?

What I have found is that more and more of us regular business owners are just as tired of "info-crap" designs as we are of "info-crap" verbiage and offers. Many of us refuse to opt in to sales pages that use these design tactics based on our intuitive hit that these folks couldn't be a good match for us due to their 'push marketing' visual aids.

I understand that folks on a limited budget have a hard time affording a good designer, but these thought leaders definitely have the resources at hand, but obviously believe design doesn't matter.

So this begs the question: Why does design matter?

It's a difficult question to answer in brief, but I'll give it a try.

When talking about the importance of design, I like to give the analogy of a networking event, because most of us can relate to that. You would never consider wearing really garish clothing to go networking, and stand at the center of the room shouting at people. When we use bold, boxy, red fonts and flashing arrows, that's exactly what we're doing: shouting at our visitors to, "enter your email address here!"

Usually when going out to attract our perfect customers live, we consider our clothing, hair, makeup and accessories. We want to communicate something about ourselves by how we show up. We always do our best to select clothing that we like, that looks good on us, and that reflects our personality. Translating that to our marketing, we want our sales pages to feel like us, to reflect our unique personality and mission, and to compel people to take actions like giving us their email, because the idea feels right to them.

The bottom line is that visuals communicate on an emotional level. The design of a web page is often called the "look and feel," for this reason.

Here are three tips I have developed for creating sales pages with design integrity.

Tip #1) Choose your color palette to reflect your own aesthetic. Don't use red headlines just because all the sales gurus say they're more effective. Use colors that make you feel good and they will likely attract your perfect customers as well.

Tip #2) Use images that communicate your personality and purpose. I like to tap into my message deeply and then go on sites like that offer free or cheap stock photography and search for images that feel good to me in that state. I am looking for images that reflect what's most important to me, that inspire thoughts that are in alignment to my purpose, and that are beautiful. I stay away from anything too cliche or sales-y.

Tip #3) Use minimalism whenever possible. One common complaint about web pages is that they are too busy, too wordy, too ugly, and too confusing. Using white space and keeping elements to a minimum allows the viewer to consume your content without overwhelm, thus retaining a connection to their own intuition. Since your perfect customers are intuitively drawn to you when you are authentic, portraying your personal style in your sales pages will magnetize them to you.

These tips will help you communicate who you are authentically rather than with strategies designed to brainwash, coerce, or even scare viewers into buying. You'll find that using these techniques, those attracted to you will be a much better match for you and your business.

Are you ready for marketing designs that truly reflect your personality and purpose? Julia D. Stege and her Graphic Girlz team offer one-stop marketing shopping, featuring Branding from the Heart, Wildly Attractive Websites, Law of Attraction Marketing and Social Networking Services. Visit for more information, or call Julia at (707) 823-3316 to ask for a complimentary marketing strategy session.

1 comment:

  1. Julia,
    Thanks for your insights here and entering the marketing conversation with a much-needed antidote to the flashing arrows. I, too, have noticed the disconnect between "hard sell" visual graphics and even soft sell or heart-centered biz or content. Things like that just aren't aligned.

    Your example of the networking event, and "dressing" your marketing presentation appropriately, is a great contribution to the dialogue.

    I look forward to connecting in person at the upcoming Wizard retreat in Santa Fe.
    Bobbye Middendorf
    The Write Synergies Guru