What is it that makes a brand, product and/or website so appealing that you can’t resist the urge to indulge? How can something on my computer screen garner so much of my attention and intrigue me enough to buy into that particular product or service? Most brand marketers understand the needs of the customers they’re marketing to, and work to drive them to purchase. I’m also convinced these customers are fueled to buy into a product by the Laws of Attraction.
The first theoretical Law of Attraction is that of Appeal. It’s no surprise that if you want your brand to be noticed, it has to generate excitement and appeal. This usually starts with the visuals, and that is where we as web designers are tasked with breaking outside the norm and developing strategies that will sell. This may be created through something as simple as an interesting color, shape, or an aesthetically new and different technique. Something startling and unique and outside your expectations have their place in web design. After all, if your brand blends in, especially in a crowded market, it’s devoid of appeal. Websites that leverage a color tastefully that hasn’t been used by their competition have an advantage.
Know Your Audience
Who your audience is will play a big role in how your website should look and function. Demographics that can influence your design include age, gender, profession, and technical competency. For older and less technically savvy audiences, usability should play a big role.
PBS Kids' target audience is evident. The intent is to entertain and involve this young audience, and the design does it by wrapping the content in a fun, colorful interface with a lot of visual and interactive elements.
Carbonica is a website aimed at helping people reduce their carbon emissions. The environmentally friendly image of the website is crafted using a lot of recycled paper images and textures, as well as earthy green and brown tones – a visual language those helping their environments would come to expect.
Kanvas allows you to create art online. The website itself is a post-modern expression geared towards the teens it attracts. The intent is to inspire young people to create an anti-smoking poster in hopes of winning a variety of prizes the site offers, including iPod Shuffles, Apple Tv, and Flash drives.
The second theoretical Law of Attraction to utilize in Web Design is that of attachment. Attachment can be forged through striking an emotional chord with your audience and capturing their imagination. A website that easily communicates its proposition to me in a new and exciting way elicits positive feelings from me, while a website that incorporates your own individual sense of style or tastes can create attachment. This powerful Law of Attraction often puts itself at the top of a consumer’s mind.
How does one cut through the clutter and begin to forge emotional bonds with their viewers? How does one attract the perfect customer and inspire them to take the desired action? I’ve come to realize this is achieved through the following:
In the old paradigm for marketing we would have invented some hype designed to brainwash or scare someone into buying from us. But our perfect customers will never recognize us if we are surrounded by hype and fakery. So share yourself authentically whether you’re creating your website copy or writing an Ebook. Your passion will show through in your writing on a topic you know a lot about. Not only will you share your purpose with the world, but you’ll begin to attract customers who are also aligned with you and ready to take the action you desire.
The Bean Exchange
History comes alive on the website for this old Philadelphia coffee hub, The Bean Exchange. The coffee house communicates its rich history in the look and feel of the website, with every bit of ornateness, palette and structure contributing to the theme.
Use Words That Reflect Your Purpose
Whatever your passion may be, make sure to share it through words that reflect your purpose. What are some words that describe your purpose? Use these words often in your marketing for as they resonate with you, they will also resonate with your customers. Remember: These words may be just what customers use to find you so use them as your own personal keywords. Use them in your titles, in the content of your articles, in the headlines, and in links and see who is attracted to you.
To put it differently, consider the following quote from Jeffrey Zeldman:
"Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration."
Collision Design Studio
Collision Design Studio uses witty headlines that spark interest and relate to the services they’re promoting. In doing so they generate appeal by not relying solely on their work to do the speaking.
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an online magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry that won a 2011 Webby Award for copywriting.
As an experiment, try building your next project by first placing in all the content that should be on the page. Throw in the headlines, the copy, the features, the widgets, the navigation; everything you can think of, but do so without design. The first step is merely to put it all in one place. Once you’ve got it there, then begin to style it. Think about different ways you can arrange it, color it, and bring it to life.
Your website isn’t finished once it’s live – you also must connect with your customers on a daily basis. On a small scale this can be achieved through contact forms and social networking, on a larger scale, such as that of online brick-and-mortar retailers, this can be achieved through intimate and immediate interactions with customers.
American Eagle excels at aggressively integrating multi-channel marketing tactics into both its traditional and digital campaigns. It connects at all the right touchpoints, which goes a long way towards achieving brand loyalty. This year, AE included a mobile filed in its loyalty program, and used mobile as a point of entry into sweepstakes as well as an alerts program. Calls to action were posted on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter in the form of banner ads, status updates and tweets.
Excitement and appeal is created in the website for Theo Thermometer. A service usually portrayed through minimal, staid design is revitalized into a dynamic, comic-book style treatment, complete with mascot, to garner interest in these meat and fridge thermometers. Statistics are presented throughout the site, further explaining the importance of buying into these devices.
This website for a cultural agency presents a bright, bold image to attract visitors to their site and keep them there. We get a glimpse of who they are, what they have done, and what makes them special in a simple, easy to read format.
A Modern Eden sells posters and iPhone applications. Through the use of texture and carefully selected typography, this website achieves appeal. Through the design, we get the sense that the people behind the company are very passionate about their craft. Catchy one-liners also support this feeling of authenticity and passion.
Sky’s Guide Service
Sky’s Guide Service presents original, lifestyle action shots in place of stock photography on their carefully crafted website. Texture is used to give an authentic feel to the website – giving you a sense of being right there with the fisherman.
The Brew Shop is another website that catches your attention. The site establishes personality at first sight with a hilarious photo and beery good humor. It backs the funny with substance, such as a very usable e-commerce system, effective copy and scannable icon-enhanced navigation. Especially nice are the swaths of red as call-outs and the subtly scrambled type.
Park Avenue Coffee
Park Avenue Coffee gives a playful feel with all the vintage charm of its busy patterns, whimsical logos and strong color palettes. The hero of the site is the drinks you’ll be purchasing, which are displayed prominently throughout the site.
Festival Internacional de Chocolate de Obidos
Festival Internacional de Chocolate de Obidos takes advantage of visually-appealing photography of the chocolates being sold on their site. This site of a chocolate festival uses a striking background image as well as a nice chocolate photos on its main page.
Biola University’s Undergrad
An academic website doesn’t have to be staid, as you’ll see in this example for Biola University’s undergrad department. With its target audience in mind, the designers create a striking collage meant to entice prospective students to the school.
Pop Cap Games uses an animated landscape and cartoon characters to appeal to children. Children, whose life experiences are limited, are often drawn to things found in nature since they can relate to them.
The home page of sports drink Gatorade has a dark background, with product photos that cycle from one to the next. The user can control the slider, and, on hover, each product takes on color. Clicking on the products leads to pages with more information.
As you can see, developing appeal in your web design establishes a connection with your visitor, while forging an emotional connection with them through various means such as copywriting and authenticity through your marketing will foster a unique attachment. These Laws of Attraction allow you to delve deeper into customer dynamics and forge brand experiences. Have you any novel perspectives on how to create attachment? Feel free to tell us in the comments below!