Creating audience engagement is one of the cornerstones of successful marketing. The more engagement your content receives, the more visible it becomes. But how do you get your audience to like, comment, and share?
That’s where design comes in.
From blog posts, marketing emails, and social media posts to eBooks or your website, your content can be amazing but it will gather dust if the presentation is lacking.
Good design is good for your brand. Following a few simple guidelines can transform your content from “Meh” to “Wow! These people look like they know what they’re talking about.”
Learn about three fundamental design concepts that will take your content to the next level and help you boost your audience engagement.
1.Design for Your Ideal Customer
It sounds obvious, right? But one of the most frequently overlooked steps in content marketing is simply taking the time to think about your customers. Buyer personas are essential when planning any kind of marketing.
Having even a broad-strokes picture of who your ideal customer is will allow you to more thoroughly connect with your readers or visitors through your content.
A few things to remember:
- Think about what your ideal customers want to find on your site, then make it as easy as possible for them to get there. For social media posts, blog posts, and emails, including clear headlines and calls-to-action are essential.
- Create a map before you begin building your site (or writing your email or post) in order to better plan out the arrangement of your content. You want the user experience to be intuitive, not leaving visitors wondering what or where they should go or do next.
Consider the Emotion You Want to Convey
Humans respond well to emotional cues. Think about the feelings you want to elicit from your customer and design around that. This infographic breaks down the color psychology of branding, illustrating what emotions certain colors provoke and how they can vary between industries.
“Take, for example, the colour red. Used in the restaurant industry, it is an attention-grabbing colour and is even thought to stimulate hunger. The same colour used in the airline industry, however, is used to convey a sense of warmth and caring – something that is deemed an essential quality of any airline.”
A few things to remember:
- Don’t overlook the importance of typography. Different font categories mean different things—for instance, serif fonts convey a sense of tradition and professionalism while sans-serif is seen as more modern.
- Use a consistent voice across your brand, based on the image you want to convey. Serious and professional or light-hearted and fun? I like to stay somewhere in the middle – professional, but also conversational – because Canopy is dedicated to building strong customer relationships. We want to know you, and we want you to know us.
- Have you ever clicked on a bad link and gotten the 404 Not Found error? Using a custom 404 page prevents that experience from being a jarring a departure from your site. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to use humor (if that fits with your brand voice) to defuse your visitors’ frustration when they don’t find what they’re looking for.
- Simple positivity goes a long way. In a list of services, substituting check marks for the more standard bullets can subconsciously reassure your visitor that you can deliver what you promise. If they complete a task that takes them to a thank you page, include positive imagery there, too, even if it’s just emojis. Make them feel like they just did a good thing.
Everyone Likes a Story
Here, we return to a previous point: creating a map. Just as it’s important to make the user experience intuitive, you also want it to tell a story in a way that makes sense. For instance, I always begin my blog writing process by creating an outline of the main points I want to cover, and then I rearrange things as I write if I find the flow to be not quite right.
A few things to remember:
- Choose an average to large font size and don’t go too light on the color. The more legible your text, the better.
- Break up your text. Large blocks of it are exhausting to the eye, and most people are simply skimming your content for highlights. Separating paragraphs, using white space, inserting images and lists are great ways to make the text super readable. And don’t underestimate the power of a subheading – when you break up your text into sections and paragraphs, be sure to label them well so visitors can more easily pick out what they’re looking for.
Another option is including visual or interactive elements. PH3 Agency + Brewery in Orlando, for example, uses an animated logo, as well as a subtle zoom-in effect when visitors mouse over an item in their portfolio.
Many, if not most, WordPress themes now have elements like this built right in, and they’re excellent at grabbing the viewer’s attention.
- Think of your content as you would any good piece of writing and give it a cohesive theme. Use paragraph breaks where it makes sense to create visual appeal and allow for easier reading.
Getting your audience to engage with you can be a frustrating uphill climb, but it’s well worth the effort. John Russell, the President of Harley-Davidson, said it best: “The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”
Use these design tips to draw your readers in and keep creating quality content that makes them want to stay. The stronger your customer relationships, the more insight you can gain from them.
Better design —> more engagement —> greater visibility for your content and your brand.
Where does your business struggle to connect design and engagement?
Catherine Reinehr has a degree in English Literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist at Canopy Digital Media Services, her focus is on web design, SEO, social media, and email marketing.