This is a post about design. But it could just as easily be a post about copywriting, or pricing and offers, or marketing strategy on the whole. Because the concept is the same no matter what we talk about.

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But to really hone in on the message, let’s use an example. Let’s say that you are responsible for marketing at a company that sells doggie treats. Your boss/CEO/manager puts you in charge of a new campaign to launch the latest line of doggie treats.

“There’s a lot riding on this,” she says. “But I’m confident you can get the job done.”

You are working with your web team and your email team and your social team (or maybe that’s all one person, and maybe it’s you) to put together the initial announcements and offers, and to create the landing page on the site that you will drive interested dog owners to.

Your web designer might ask, “What is the most important element of this page?”

Several things enter your mind, and you start saying them aloud:

  • The name of the product
  • The special introductory offer
  • The “buy” button
  • The main product image
  • Our 5 star rating on Facebook

Notice the look of panic (or disgust) on your web designer’s face. She asked you what the most important element of the page is and you have already listed five different elements of the page.

And that’s the point – when you are creating a web page, or an email, or an ad, or anything else, everything can’t be the most important thing. We have to put the emphasis on one, maybe two things, and let the designers and copywriters do what they do best to highlight those things.

In your mind, you might say, “Well, those are all important.” What you mean is that they are all important to you. Or that you don’t know which ones are more important than the others.

But if everything is important, you end up emphasizing nothing. And then the prospective customer doesn’t know where to look or what to read.

By highlighting what’s important, you guide their thinking and shuttle them through the purchase funnel.

To get into this new mindset, it helps to pay attention to how other companies emphasize certain things. Look at websites, and billboards, and marketing emails and ask yourself, “what is the most important thing here that the designer/marketer wants me to see?” The answer should be clear. It should jump out at you.

Then ask the same question of your own stuff. Do you notice a difference? How well are you guiding consumers toward those points of emphasis?