Want big business? Design like a big business


Good design is at the forefront of big companies, they know this is the secret to increasing their profits.

Does this sound familiar? That banner image on your homepage, not been updated in 3 years, the same offer still there from 6 months ago, temporary product images still in place, well you’re not alone! Many businesses get a nice shiny new website and think this will solve all their problems and instantly increase profits, then that is them done for another 5 years. This couldn’t be further from the truth and if we look at big businesses and the sites you view on a daily basis, what is the thing they have in common? That they regularly update the content on their websites, whether it’s a new banner image, newsletter sign-up offers, promotions, email pop-ups, they are constantly changing the content to engage and target their customers. That banner you’ve had up since 2015 isn’t looking so appealing now is it.

What should I be doing?

Let’s take a look at some big businesses and see what they’re doing right and why design should be at the forefront of your business.

Let’s take (the online furniture retailer) as a starting point. As soon as you visit the homepage you’re greeted with up to date seasonal offers, further down the page they have areas to promote new sales and end of line offers, additional tabs have been added to the menu to highlight the seasonal sales. All these elements have been carefully considered to attract users to the new deals and products, new imagery has been used, each banner has been designed whilst remaining consistent with Wayfair’s brand style. And the one thing we can guarantee is that the site will change again in the next couple of weeks, we can see Wayfair are constantly evolving with the times and the seasons, do you think if they still had the same banner up from the beginning of the year, they would of been as profitable? I don’t think so.

Wayfair are investing money in great design and marketing because it is proven that design-led companies are more profitable than those that aren’t.


“Design increases turnover: For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenues”


Set Realistic Budgets

So if you’re sitting there wondering why your website isn’t getting you the business you expected, ask yourself an honest question, what have you done to properly market it and have you spent money that is in line with your business. If your company has a turnover of 1 million and you’ve only spent a £1000 on a couple of google ads, a campaign back in January and a few business cards, you can’t expect a good return.

The rule of thumb is 10% set aside for design and marketing if you want to keep growing your business. Imagine the type of campaigns you could run throughout the year with that budget, targeted onsite seasonal campaigns, regular email newsletters, landing pages, targeted keywords and adverts for search engines, professionally taken photography and videos, social media campaigns, all professionally designed to target your audience. Now imagine trying to take on that all yourself, something a lot of businesses try and do to save money, but this can do more damage than good. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a campaign is just a cheesy stock photo on your homepage with a 5% off promo you added last minute. There’s a reason why companies like Wayfair take time to carefully consider well-designed campaigns – because it works.


“Only 5% of businesses with a turnover of under £250,000 rank design first, in contrast to 23% of businesses with a turnover of over £2million”


Now I appreciate Wayfair are a multi million pound business, but they spend a large percentage of their turnover on design and marketing to be at the top. You should be doing the same, just at the scale that’s right for your business. Planning your marketing for the year ahead with an actual budget is the best thing you can do and this can be presented to your design company, so they have realistic financial goals to work with and can plan campaigns throughout the year that are relevant you business. Having a plan for your marketing is the best thing you can do, as it allows your business to be consistently targeting your customers across the year, rather than sporadic campaigns and offers every now and again in a vain attempt to drum up business. 

Picture this, you run a campaign for the January sales, then again in the summer to drum up some mid year business and one final promo for Christmas, that’s about 100 days between campaigns, plenty of time for your customers to forget about you and make that purchase elsewhere. Instead, you could be running promos 10 times throughout the year, increasing the number of interactions your customers have with your brand, looks pretty obvious which method is going to yield better results. Your campaigns also don’t always have to include an offer, new product launches and ranges are perfect promotions, promote seasonal changes and styles on your website, even a campaign around that one on trend item can work incredibly well with great design and considered marketing.


“Design is linked to profit: For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £4 increase in net operating profit”



Why your business should care about design

Profit!, is the simple answer.

Even if your company isn’t in a design-led field, it’s proven that companies who put design at the fore of their business are more profitable. There have been many reports to highlight the benefits of design on company revenues, such as the McKinsey – business value of design report and reports from the Design Council. 

This is also emphasised in our everyday lives, if we take a moment to think of all the brands we encounter on a daily basis there is a reason why we use them, great design, we wouldn’t be using them otherwise. From the trainline app you use to book that train for your morning meeting, the Uber app to get you to the front door of that meeting, to the iPad you use to show off that impressive sales pitch, all 3 of them have great design. The apps are effortless and enjoyable to use, the software on the iPad just works, you don’t settle for second best yet all too often you are doing this to your business and your customers if you are ranking design low on your businesses priorities. So why not change this, if you have a well thought out, properly budgeted plan you will be surprised by the difference it will make to your business.


Almost half (47%) of the UK’s rapidly growing businesses see design as crucial to business success. (UK average 15%)


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