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Inside the Designer’s Mind: Letter to a Client About a Homepage Graphic

Not long ago I was helping a older and successful internet service company create a new website to showcase their work. We were trying to decide on a graphic and wording for the homepage heading area. The client wanted one thing, and I was suggesting another. Initially, I figured we could just do what they wanted, but then I got to thinking about it. Because they were a highly successful company servicing a certain area of internet marketing, I felt a bit unqualified to push my suggestion. However, web design is my thing. Their thing is different. Web conversion optimization is something I take seriously for my clients. So, I got up my gumption and wrote my awesome client a letter.

Here’s what I wrote (slightly edited to be more clear for you):


I’m thinking about the homepage graphic a little more. I’m very conversion oriented, always trying to look at websites from a visitors’ perspective and thinking about what will speak to them creating interest and action.

When someone lands on a webpage, they have .05 seconds to convince someone to look further. So that homepage message is important…words and graphic both.

I don’t want to pick apart what you’re suggesting, as you’ve been in business far longer than I have. However, I’m learning that I need to share from my knowledge bank…. So, I would like to share my thoughts constructively and you can take or leave them as you wish.

1. People don’t connect with businesses, they connect to people. It’s important to connect as much as possible in that regards. The photo I picked isn’t even the ultimate because there isn’t a face connecting with the visitor. But there IS a person in the photo, and that’s important.

2. People don’t care what a business does. They care what the business will do for them ultimately. We don’t want to waste time talking around the issue and hope they catch our drift. Direct, clear benefits are important. People want money, fame, fortune, freedom, success, happiness…and a few other things. So our words need to directly tell them what you will be focused on doing for them. We need to leave no question in their minds.

3.  We want the graphic to not suggest questions. Thinking about my thoughts when I look at the graphics, the ___ graphics you chose actually look like uncompleted, unfinished business. It suggests a lot of questions.

4. The word “___” leaves me wondering if somehow I need to give up a part of my profits to you.

5. The phrase “great brands” leaves me wondering if my brand even is a fit…is my brand really a “great brand”? Humm…not sure. Could leave a lot of business un-generated.

Don’t hesitate to be bold. Tell the visitor exactly what they ultimately are looking for. Be very clear and very concise. You have less than a second to give your biggest sales pitch 🙂

My two cents.

It takes a little courage on my part to send out a letter like this, even though I have built well over 700 websites. My clients are all so understanding though, so I appreciate that and do my best to give them everything I’ve got to make them successful.

Anyway, my client wrote back and said, “Very well said and much welcomed!”.

We worked out some better wording and some other graphic options and we’re both happy now. I’m happy because I know they’re on a better track to get more business, and my client is happy because we were able to strategically work in some of the phrases he was keen on.

See…like I said, my clients are so awesome.

AN insight worth sharing?

Kama Wilson

Kama Wilson

Kama Wilson is a design strategist. Her unexpected 8-year background in internet marketing spills over into her design and strategy work giving her a unique, intuitive edge that her web design clients welcome.

Successful people do what everyone else won't dare to do. Don't wish it were easier; make yourself better.