I have never dabbled in marketing.
To be honest I have probably spent my life avoiding thinking about the whole realm of buying and selling and making more or making less. To whatever reasonable extent there might be.
I imagine that artful and effective marketing is that which reaches people like me – the uninformed customer. I also imagine that this is one of the few art forms in which the uninformed viewer and the master might fully agree on what makes a beautiful advertisement.
As I’ve been working on our new website, I’ve had the chance to explore a lot of different web pages that I liked or didn’t like, and I thought it would be interesting to talk about these websites and break them down a bit.
So as I had to ask myself – what makes a good website?
Here are the three clearest thoughts that came to me through my endeavors on our own new website.
• Know your product, know your customer.
• Integrate trends – not for being hip, but for familiarity.
• Be clear, be concise.
Knowledge Before Action
I don’t want to type a lot here.
You don’t need to know what you’re doing before acting.
Just know about the thing you’re doing.
You don’t have to know the best way to market your product, because well, if you did, you would have done it.
Just make sure you know exactly what your product is. Understand it, don’t just be able to recite what it does.
This goes for everything in life really.
Trends, and why they matter.
I have always had a thing for counter culture. My infatuation with it has been pleasantly warped and questioned as I’ve dived into art and career and any efforts to fuse the two.
For better or worse, I spent most of my life preferring the unknown to known, and the different to the same. In countless ways that has shaped me for the better. And in general for growth as an individual, I believe exploring of your own accord is better than accepting what you’re being fed.
But as in all things, drawing a distinction is creating limits; and as soon as possible, (once one has developed their own taste and preferences), they should do away with any attachment to labels. In the end, things are just things, and all things in this world are completely unique while each has its own unlimited meaning, should we look for it. This is one of the most positive and heartwarming things I’ve discovered in the world.
The idea here is that while of course you should not blindly mimic trends, you might be even worse off for ignoring them completely. This notion gives me a sense of personal discomfort, but then I remember this: an un-shippable movie will never reach the theaters. We live in a society. Or whatever.
Like that one year of the 8 Harry Potter movies where pop culture was stuck on long hair.
Everything is a compromise, and that’s okay. Once we accept that, we can start pushing the compromise in the way we each see as best.
This might feel a little abstract. Maybe it is. For me at least a greater awareness of the notions of things helps me with the practicalities.
What I take from all that is: Trends exist because people liked it, and trends continue because people are familiar with them. Know the trends, be able to reproduce them, then bend them in the way that will show your product in its best light.
Now the good stuff: examples.
- Minimal (they know IoT and Yoga people will be the ones coming)
Simple – clear – concise. You understand immediately, and there’s no noise.
Video is not a popular choice for a reason – it doesn’t reach everyone. It scares some people off and for those who don’t want to stream the videos or have automatic play turned off, the site looks like this:
Not quite as charming. It might be more reasonable because it’s much more of a niche product, so it is fair to expect newcomers to the site to be a bit more interested than the average clothing-shopper to a clothing website. But having your site just not work for some of your customer base is a risky choice.
- There is nothing about payment anywhere. Which to me is fine on the front page, but it gives me a feeling that this is either a) a product still in development b) stupidly expensive, or c) something I cannot actually buy (for companies or institutes or research only).
The rest of the site is just on point in my opinion.
- This site looks good. Simple 3-color scheme.
The first thing I notice, which is a trend, which I hate, are the pop ups windows. Notifications, cookies, etc. Whatever it is. There has to be a better way than finding the close button on 2-3 windows every time I go to a cool, new page.
Pictures, and more importantly, GIFs, are fantastic. Completely capture the feeling of the product and convey it in a way that will capture their audience without them needing to read a word (of the already clean and concise text).
I don’t like the shop page. The bar at the top with discounts is, as I found out from my friend, a popular trend and such is probably better not avoided. But I do feel like I’m being quickly ushered on to purchasing. When you click to buy something, it opens up a side tab for a quick purchase, which to me just feels uncomfortable and somehow… untrustworthy? If this was not such a big, well-known company I would definitely be turned off.
- The design of the house at the bottom of the front page is a great addition (though if a little hard to see due to the scale of the effect). Attractive, quick visuals (even better, it’s interactive) that help the customer really see the product as if they owned it.
How It Works page is perfect.
We’ll stop that here, but I want to make this a running series. Analyzing website designs, advertisements, marketing – not just for their effect, but for their artistic value. Perhaps it’s the same really.
As always, thanks for reading. We at Stak truly appreciate you.