Design That Performs: 3 Ways to Make Your Marketing Stand Out

In an era of information overload, having a visually captivating and user-centric design is key to catching your audience’s eye. According to a study by Forrester Research, a well-designed user interface could raise a website’s conversion rate by up to 200 percent.

This is easier said than done. Businesses have to embrace performance design strategies that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but value-centric and perfectly in tune with their brand. Don’t worry—we’re here to help. Here are three ways to give your onsite and email experiences the edge they need to delight, inspire, and convert. 

How To Optimize Marketing Design For Performance 

1. Make the value clear 

The cardinal rule of creative performance: Copy first. Design second. 

While onsite modals and emails require strong visuals to capture user attention, they should be used in support of the text accompanying them. Images, graphics, colors, and shapes should all be strategically chosen and placed to highlight the message and emphasize the call to action (CTA), such as to sign-up. 

The offer and CTA should always be the focal point of the design. For example, in the image below, this onsite modal is clean and easy to digest while drawing your eyes to the 10% first-time off offer. Even from a quick glance, you get the gist. The 10% off is in a much larger font size compared to the adjacent text, in addition to repeating the offer in the CTA.

When there’s too much information or too many visuals at play, the viewer may get overwhelmed and not bother engaging with the experience. Simplicity and a clear text hierarchy keep your viewer focused. 

2. Put the user first 

It can be tempting to approach marketing with a brand-first mindset. After all, your goal is to make money. But really, your marketing (and your designs) should work in service of the user. Approach every design with the mindset of: How can I make this the most enjoyable experience for the viewer while simultaneously leading them to conversion?

First, make sure your design is legible, scannable, and readable. If you shove too much information into one modal, the user may get overwhelmed and keep scrolling. 

Additionally, your design should be mobile-friendly. According to Campaign Monitor, 81% of people read emails on their phones. This means you need to use a responsive design that will adapt to the screen size it’s being viewed on, leverage large buttons and clickable features, and optimize for web speed.

Plus—don’t forget web accessibility. Ensure a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, only use font sizes above 10px, and use a font size of at least 16px for any interactive elements such as buttons or input fields. This not only benefits individuals with short and long-term disabilities, but provides a better user experience for all users. Other tips for accessible design include:

  • Don’t use color alone to convey information. Use labels, icons, and shapes to indicate differences and show relationships.
  • Provide clear and consistent navigation options.
  • Always use alt text for screen readers.

3. Remain true to your brand 

Brand image is paramount to building trust and loyalty. According to Wunderkind data, the most poignant driver of brand perception is your brand website (46%), followed by brand-owned channels (27%), such as email and social media.

Make sure your style guide (such as your brand’s voice and tone) works in harmony with your brand guidelines (such as the logo, color, and typeface guide). If you have a serious voice, your designs should not be whimsical and fun. Understand who your target audience is (their demographics, behaviors, and preferences) to ensure your designs resonate. When they purchase from your brand, you become a part of their identity, so your branding needs to not only reflect you but also represent them.

Quick Hits: Email Design Best Practices

Design plays a huge role in email. According to HubSpot, 33% of marketers send weekly emails, and 26% send emails multiple times per month. You’re competing with countless other brands to get your customers’ attention—what’s going to make them read yours? Here are some tips:

1. Include a CTA above the fold. 80% of email engagement happens above the fold, so it’s vital to ensure this area is easily accessible, user-focused, and has minimal distractions from the offer and products.

2. Consider where the user is in their buyer’s journey. Have they viewed a specific category of products? Did they view a specific product? Have they added a product to their cart? Are they a returning customer?

Use the answers to these questions to curate the content for each type of email. For example, if a user has already added a product to their cart, does it make sense to include a top categories section in your email? Likely not, as the user has already chosen a category and product. This would drive them back up the funnel. Segment and provide tailored designs to different cohorts of shoppers.

3. Consider including elements in your email design that drive users only to your website. For example, is it worth including your social media icons if those aren’t contributing to your bottom line?

4. When in doubt, A/B test it out! If you’re between two design decisions, there’s no better way to justify which is better than through performance data. Monitor KPIs such as bounce rate, conversion rate lift, and submit rate, or for emails, click rate and conversion rate.

Given how saturated the online marketplace is, customers can very easily take their dollar conversions elsewhere if they aren’t enjoying the user experience and design experience. Positive performance indicates a positive user experience. If a user is having a poor experience on the site or in their inbox, they simply won’t convert or engage.

Wunderkind’s Design Studio team seamlessly integrates brands with Wunderkind’s performance-driving design best practices to maximize user experience. Are you interested in seeing what creative opportunities Wunderkind can unlock for your brand? Get started with Wunderkind now.


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Caroline Rudd

Caroline is Manager of Design, CX at Wunderkind, where she leads and develops a talented team of five senior and visual designers. Caroline is passionate about streamlining design systems for teams, especially in Figma and Studio. She also thrives on a fulfilling two-way teaching dynamic, relishing in both empowering her team to level up and, in turn, growing as a better teacher herself as she witnesses their continuous development.

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