Outdated, confusing or convoluted design can greatly diminish your content’s effectiveness. That’s true whether your content is web-based, or a PowerPoint, newsletter, print ad, or social media.
But a well-constructed, thoroughly planned design can brilliantly lead the eye through content, illuminating key points, and facilitating understanding.
Effective marketers know that design and content are intricately linked together. They are also very good at understanding what drives human behavior. Because (of course), the nature of human behavior affects everything we do. And buy. Which means that to be an effective marketer, you’ve got to be focused on what will persuade your potential buyers to see, appreciate and “get” what your product/s are all about, no matter what format you are using.
Powerful persuasion is the point. And it is both an art and a science.
To get there, you’ve got to use effective design and psychology to engage readers in specific behaviors, leading the eye and the brain toward creating calls to action at the ‘right’ times.
Good design persuades users to engage with your product or content in the way you want, leading to a specific outcome – brand influence, product awareness, understanding, reinforcement, and/or the desire to purchase.
The opposite is also true. If your user confronts five pop-up ads, a long loading time, or a sea of disclaimers before they reach your primary content, chances are good they won’t stay long enough to be persuaded.
So how do you get someone’s attention long enough to present them with information, using good design and good content?
That’s where the true art of persuasion comes into play. You not only have to be good at understanding human nature, but you also have to be a good storyteller – on two very distinctive levels.
That first level of effective storytelling is a very central one. It is message and fact oriented. You reach your audience with information specifically framed to reinforce attitudinal thinking. For instance, “This paint is formulated to cover colors better. Here’s how…” This is sometimes referred to as central route processing.
The second level of good storytelling uses secondary influence such as visual appeal, presentation and enticements like sex or humor to engage users on a more superficial level. For example, “Look how rich, colorful and smooth this paint can look when applied to your (drab and boring) walls.”
The best marketing uses both effectively, since some people are more drawn to having all the facts and want to know the “why” behind what they purchase, and other folks are more interested in having what’s cool and beautiful. Since most of us seek a little of both types of information, the best messaging and design addresses both as seamlessly as possible.
In summary, truly effective marketing understands what will drive all types of end users. The advertising messages need to be relevant to the consumer and easy to access and understand.
They must be written and designed professionally — in a way that takes into consideration psychology, design, and technology — to influence or motivate a desired outcome, a purchase decision. Because if one of those elements is missing, the desired outcome is far less likely to happen.