Continued from page 1
"This sales message is complex, it will take some space and longer copy. We need to format text so that people will keep reading. We need strong subheads, some indented passages and emphasis at following points."
Once writer has outlined needs of copy, designer can then focus on showcasing key points in message, giving correct emphasis to various headings, subheads, body text and links.
The designer's job here isn't to make page "pretty", it is to deliver message with right emphasis, and with each point in correct sequence.
>> How does a designer know what to do?
In some senses, this is new ground for designers online. Until now, too much emphasis has been places on design for its own sake, instead of using it to support copy on a site's pages.
If a designer wants to know how this works, he or she should go sit next to a direct marketing designer/copywriter team while they work.
See how team communicates. See how designer listens to writer and places a great deal of emphasis on type. Watch how designer spends a lot of time selecting right font, right type size and color. See how a conversion-focused designer pays massive attention to placement and appearance of every element of text.
Why? Because in direct marketing response rates are intimately connected with presentation of copy. It matters where on page each text element is placed. The font and its size and emphasis matters. The final formatting of text matters.
Online? When you are building pages with a view to maximizing conversion rates, you become a direct marketer. That means thinking like a direct marketer, writing like a direct marketer and designing like a direct marketer.
>> Concluding points...
As it stands on web right now, we have a couple of groups of designers.
There are general web designers who create beautiful sites, without regard to how copy should and can work harder.
And there are online direct marketing designers who design single page sales sites that are created to maximize sales.
At some time in future it would be good to see these two groups learn more from each other.
It would be good to see general web designers learn more about increasing conversion rates by learning some of skills of online direct marketing designers.
It would be good to see online direct marketing designers expand their skills beyond scope of single, scrolling sales page.
And it is essential that every online designer pays a great deal more attention to writers and showcasing of every page's message.
Nick Usborne is a freelance copywriter, author and speaker. For more articles and resources on writing for the web, visit his site, http://www.excessvoice.com.
To find out more about designing for high conversion rates, read his review of AWAI's course, Graphic Design Success.