Sunday, May 28, 2017

Popular Design News of the Week: May 22, 2017 – May 28, 2017

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

Websites We Like: May 2017

 

Here are Some Popular Design Trends in 2017

 

8 Graphic Design Trends for 2017

 

Finally, Photoshop is Dead for Web and App Design

 

Refreshing the Atlantic Homepage in 2017

 

How Google Reimagined 2,000+ Emoji

 

Scott Gilbertson: ‘Kill Google AMP Before it Kills the Web’

 

Inspirational UI Design Ideas for your Next Website Project

 

Can a Font Be a Whole Brand? YouTube Thinks So.

 

Mixfont: A Font Generator for Aesthetic Font Pairings

 

The Slash Workers

 

IKEA Online Made More Personal: Redesign Concept

 

User-Centered Design: An Introduction

 

Desktop-First Design Tips for Responsive Websites

 

Helpful Extensions for Front-end Developers and Designers

 

Design ‘No Results Found’ Pages that Get Results

 

Starting Small in Web Design

 

Logopony: Make your own Beautiful Logo with AI

 

Treefort – Organize your Team

 

PayPal Files Lawsuit Against Pandora for Mimicking its ‘Iconic Logo’

 

Ambiance – Color Palettes You will Love to Stare

 

Workspaces for Mac 1.0

 

Google Quick, Draw! — the Data

 

Designing for VR: A Beginners Guide

 

Inside Design: LinkedIn

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Comics of the Week #391

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

No competition

 

Relax, he needs a site

 

Growing pains

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

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Friday, May 26, 2017

How You Can Compete Against DIY Site Builders

How does the little guy compete? How do you win against these giant companies? It’s inevitable right? The big guy always wins. Walmart decimated the Mom & Pops. Home Depot killed the local hardware stores.

And now, it’s your turn. Squarespace, and Wix, and Webydo, and a dozen others are winning and putting you out of business.

At least, if you and I are honest, sometimes late at night, lying in bed, it sure seems that way, right? Well, it sure did for me. I almost gave up.

I know there is a small part of you, maybe a big part, that is concerned with the struggle we have in front of us. Big or small, competition always presents a threat. And DIY sure looks like a big one!

Site Builders Are Taking the Internet by Storm

Their ads are everywhere. They have Jeff Bridges, John Malkovich, Jason Statham and a host of other celebrities selling for them. They have multi-million dollar campaigns spread across TV, YouTube, and even radio.

I don’t think I can get through 5 minutes online without seeing one of their ads.

I know you’re seeing the same thing.

On YouTube alone, it seems like every content creator is being sponsored by Squarespace, or every other video is bumpered with a Wix commercial.

Create your stunning website today. It’s easy and free! ~Wix

FREE!

And worse, it’s not like they’re selling the GeoCities of yesteryear. Their sites are “stunning.”

They do look good. Don’t hate, and don’t be a snob. There are good looking sites on all these platforms.

On top of that, their codebase is no joke. Think I’m wrong? Try running one of their sites through Google PageSpeed Insights or YSlow. They’re pretty hard to beat.

So, How Do You Compete?

Want the simple answer?

You can’t. At least, not directly.

But that’s okay. These DIY solutions are doing you, and your business a favor.

When the Writing is on The Wall, it’s Time to Make a Change

I struggled with this “problem” for quite some time. For years actually. Even before these DIY site builders arrived, I struggled with how to stay competitive against all the web design marketplaces that were popping up.

I had a healthy amount of work at the time, but I could see the writing on the wall.

The industry was changing and my place in it was being threatened.

So, I thought, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So, I started to research theme shops. I could start building themes to sell wholesale too.

But, just as quickly as I came up with that idea, it was beaten out of me. There were far too many agencies, teams of people, dedicated to cranking out professional themes.

I couldn’t compete with that. And, even if I thought I could, it wouldn’t solve anything. I would have the same problem. Bigger swifter shops doing more for less.

So, I struggled with this for years. Hoping that someday I’d figure it out. In the meantime I continued to serve my clients as before. I kept trying to do better and better. All the while, web design was getting cheaper and more accessible.

Then, one day, I hit “the” wall. I delivered a redesign and it flopped…hard.

I launched a redesigned website for a company. It was a significant overhaul from the previous version. We changed everything. It took months, but when finished, the site looked great. I was proud of it. The company was thrilled. Their sales staff were getting compliments on the phone for weeks. I mean everyone loved it!

After a few months, I peeked at the website’s analytics to see how great of a job I had done, and I was shocked.

Nothing had changed.

Bounce rate, page views, average time on site, and even worse, conversions, they were the same as they’d always been. After months of a redesign, the performance of the website had largely been unaffected.

This made no sense!

A better looking website was supposed to do better. But it hadn’t done better. It had done nothing at all.

So, what was happening? I was lost.

So, now, on top of the market threatening my livelihood, I now had an ethical problem on top of it all.

How could I continue to sell my design services when I was no longer confident it was going to make a difference? How could I continue to market against all those “soulless” pre-built themes.

Maybe, Cheaper DIY is Just as Good

I’m sure you’ve been there, or you’re there right now. It’s the problem any honest web designer is bound to face at some point.

If you know what I’m talking about, If you’re feeling lost, like the market has made you obsolete, do not lose hope.

There is a bright future for web designers. We’re not going anywhere, we’re not being run out of business, and we’re more needed now than ever before.

But, as I’ve discovered, to get there, you have to change your perspective on the market we exist in.

To Win, You Must Know Thyself

The marketplace has evolved. Not just for web designers, but for our clients and their customers as well. Meaning, showing up and looking good is no longer good enough.

If you are only selling clients on getting a beautiful website with a modern code base, you are going to lose for two big reasons.

One, Web “Design” has Become Commoditized

Between marketplaces like Envato, hosted e-commerce solutions like Shopify, and now site builders like Squarespace and Wix, you can get good design anywhere. And, you can get it dirt cheap.

Most of it is quality work. Built by teams of talented professionals mastering their product for the masses.

Today, if you want to get online with a good looking website, you can do it for the price of a Happy Meal.

And you can’t dispute that. At least, not honestly.

And besides, your client’s customers, they don’t care about design. Not in the way we’ve conditioned our clients to think they do.

Two, Having a Website is no Longer a Novelty

And here’s the beginning of why being a web designer today can be so profitable.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you probably remember having to sell clients on the importance of being online. Do you remember those times?

If not, try to imagine having to sell your client on the “vision” of why their business needed to go “digital.”

It wasn’t a gimmick, it was the nature of the market. If you were online, you were cutting edge. You were the company that customer’s wanted to do business with.

Then a few years later, BOOM! CSS came onto the stage and erupted into “Web 2.0”

And the market changed again. Everyone was getting online. It was no longer the differentiator, it was expected. Now, you had to LOOK like you knew what you were doing. Your client’s website had to look good if it was going to succeed.

And this idea stuck.

It stuck because it worked. And it has stuck so well, it’s given birth to the enormous DIY market.

It’s the premise behind the business model of these DIY builders. To give everyone cheap and affordable access to good looking websites.

And our clients are flocking to them. It’s our own fault. We’ve spent the last decade selling them that all they need to do is look good online. That, all they needed, was a good looking website.

Except, we were wrong.

The market has changed again and the web design community has missed it…

THIS is How You Can Compete…

The market is no longer impressed into making conversions. They’re far too savvy for it. Today, the web is a tool to get things done. To find a solution to our problems as quickly as possible.

To succeed online we need to focus on more than design and code.

We must focus on the end user.

This isn’t just so you can stay in business. It’s so you can TRULY be valuable to your clients. You can give them a website that will sell.

You know design and code. That means you know more than the average joe trying to save a few bucks by doing it themselves. Teach them it’s more than cramming sales copy into pre-defined blocks of content inside a pretty theme.

Help your clients form a strategy that answers their customers problems. Give your clients a website that focuses on their customers first, not their own business. Ask, “Why is a prospect on their website?”, “How did they get there?”, “What are they hoping to find?”

Take that strategy and craft engaging content that is customer-focused. If you’re not comfortable writing, then try to deepen your skill set. Learn how to write conversion optimized content. Or, partner with a professional copywriter.

Then, design your client’s website for their customer, around your newly crafted strategic content. Combine their messaging with your knowledge of user-behavior patterns. Use design to elicit pre-defined interactions with the content. Guide the customer to their primary goal.

Stop delivering digital brochures as websites. Give your clients a 24/7 salesman that listens and responds to their customer’s needs.

And That’s Your Golden Opportunity Against DIY Site Builders

They require the DIY’er to be a marketer, professional copywriter, UX expert, and more. But a roofer, chef, banker, lawyer, doctor, they’re not web professionals. They’re not familiar with how the web works and the psychology of the end user. You are!

The DIY site builders are targeting those who don’t know better, those who think just being online with a good looking website is good enough. And again: It’s not!

It’s categorically not good enough!

You know this.

Start Doing More! Make More Wins!

If you help your clients understand it’s about their customers first, then you can build their website around the customer’s end goal. You’ll unlock a gold-mine of opportunity that they could never achieve with any DIY solution.

No matter what John Malkovich says.

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How Data Helps Influence Reluctant Buyers

Yes, maybe, or no.

For reluctant buyers, they aren’t quite certain whether your product works for them. The consumer isn’t sure if the product’s features will actually help them.

Tackling this segment of buyers is an issue facing most SaaS companies. The competition and the demand for the new best thing makes consumers apprehensive about purchasing.

“Ever since SaaS products emerged on the scene, they seem like they are constantly being replaced with something shinier and newer. Buyers hesitate to upgrade because they worry the new solution will be obsolete within a few years. Switching solutions is a significant hassle for many companies,” states Krishna Shastry, CEO and co-founder at Lander.

It’s time to give your audience that extra nudge to buy your SaaS product. Check out these five data-driven strategies below.

1. Customize the Product Demo Experience

Show, don’t tell is the underlying principle of engaging potential customers to learn more about your products. It’s not enough to just list your features and benefits on your website.

Purchasing a SaaS product is a big deal for most buyers. If they’re the end user, your product will solve their immediate needs, and if they’re purchasing software for their business, your product is supposed to help their company operate more efficiently.

To ease reluctant buyers worries, you need to give them an inside look of how your product moves them forward in their endeavors. You can start by asking them specific questions before the product demo.

How will they use your product? What do they hope to gain from the software? Who are the stakeholders involved in this purchase?

You also may want to analyze the most used featured by your top customers. That way, you can show reluctant buyers how others derive benefit from your product. It may offer clarity to the buyer’s particular situation.

One gripe amongst reluctant buyers is how they sign up for product demos. It’s important to dedicate a page for people to request demos. In the image below, sales engagement platform Outreach uses persuasive copy, along with a prominent call-to-action button to entice consumers.

Image Source

Before your next product demo, ask buyers questions to customize the experience. A unique presentation will pique their interest and may lead to a new sale.

2. Segment Buyers to Email Exclusive Offers

As a consumer, you’ve probably asked for something extra with a purchase. Maybe it was extra pickles on your burger or an extra discount on a pair of designer jeans.

Well, while your SaaS product may be better than a gourmet sandwich, the same thought process about getting something extra may exist for your customers. Your buyers may expect a bonus to come along with your product no matter what.

However, exclusive offers aren’t created for every single buyer. You only want to deliver VIP treatment to a select group of reluctant buyers.

These individuals have expressed a strong interest in your product and just need one additional reason to say yes. It’s possible to tease these reluctant buyers with exclusive bonuses to get them to the shopping cart sooner.

Email is an effective tool for communicating this type of message. With built-in tracking capabilities, email service providers can tell you who opened your emails, what links they clicked on in a message, and the time they read the message.

And no more sending generic emails to your entire mailing list. Based on your buyer’s behaviors, you can use email segmentation to send tailored messages to different target audiences.

For instance, your data may reveal that reluctant buyers who participate in a product demo and request two content upgrades are more likely to buy with a bonus. Your team then can deliver a customized message with a bonus straight to their inboxes.

Let your consumers’ actions determine your bonus system. Then, you can execute your plan to capture those lingering sales.

3. Simplify the Checkout Experience

SaaS companies get so bogged down with improving their products that they forget to polish their websites. You’ve probably experienced a few buggy sites from your own experiences. If you get confused for longer than a minute, you quickly exit the brand’s website.

On top of that, consumers hate wasting time looking for your prices. And if your prices are too complicated to understand, they won’t continue with the process.

The reluctant buyer already has concerns; therefore, the checkout process shouldn’t scare them away. Below is an example of a pricing page from LiveChat. It’s easy to read and gives pertinent details about each plan to diminish uncertainty.

livechat pricing 2017

By observing your site behavior, you can identify the friction points causing buyers to bounce. Do they leave after viewing your pricing page? Or do they exit when it’s time to enter a credit card?

“Understanding [your customers’] big issues like discomfort with technology or over-reliance on legacy solutions is important, but it’s also important to understand the day-to-day barriers to a sale,” writes Ashley Minogue, marketing strategist at OpenView Venture Partners.

Your buyers are reluctant for a reason. Find out if the issue is your checkout experience.

4. Monitor Online Communities

Community engagement is a key part of selling in today’s economy. Consumers like talking about their experiences—bad and good—with their peers.

Online communities give customers the space to praise how they used a product and to offer advice on how the SaaS company can improve. There are also online groups dedicated to helping people learn the basics of a product.

For the reluctant buyers, these communities offer invaluable content. In their eyes, they get to hear the truth. And for proactive SaaS companies, it’s a chance to persuade potential buyers.

For example, with a Facebook group, your team can track post and comment activity to learn what customers enjoy about a feature or the different uses of how your product helps people. Plus, as the admin for an online community, you can guide the conversation of your consumers.

That social listening data prepares your team for sales objections from reluctant buyers. If someone hates that you offer no phone support, you can point to how current customers get more value from your email support.

You want to give reluctant buyers peace of mind. Show them a thriving online community that supports your product and brand.

5. Select the Best Customer Testimonials

Social proof is an irreplaceable asset for persuading SaaS users to purchase products. Influencers and peers can convince consumers to decide between competing brands.

So it’s natural for reluctant buyers to seek out customer testimonials before they make a purchasing decision. Radha Sarma, marketing director at Luit Infotech, offers her insight:

“Referral programs and customer stories are incredibly effective for selling SaaS software. Reluctant buyers are more likely to go straight to your existing customers and ask for their feedback or refer to testimonials and reviews on your website, because they rely on that a lot.”

To get the most from your customer stories, it’s best to analyze your data to find the testimonials with the highest traffic. You want to learn what makes consumers gravitate to one story more than another. Is it the particular customer? Were the results phenomenal?

From that information, you can produce similar case studies based on the reluctant buyer’s circumstances. You want to purchasers to imagine themselves as the next success story.

And of course, you want to continue to post these testimonials in easy-to-find areas on your site. Datanyze offers a quick format of their case studies for buyers to read.

What do reluctant buyers want to achieve? Aim to gather case studies displaying the many facets of your product solution.

Harnessing Data to Influence

Nurturing reluctant buyers requires strategic effort from your team. SaaS companies can use their data to influence consumers to purchase.

Your team can personalize the product demo experience for your audience. When necessary, simplify the checkout process by eliminating friction. And don’t forget to use customer testimonials that fit the potential consumer’s current situation.

Shake off your buyer’s hesitation. Let data influence your next sale.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

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