Hiring a designer is a huge step for your business – and one that is sure to catapult you into a season of growth. Often, you’ll find designers that are also strategists – which means they’ll consult you on the strategy of your branding and your business, not just pick out your pretty color palette.
Before reaching out to a designer, though, you should know these few things about your business – because after all, no matter how good of a strategist they are, YOU know your business more than anyone. Your designer/strategist is here to HELP, but they need some info to work with!
What is it about your business that makes you different from your competitors? Or as Jenna Kutcher calls it, what’s your “Secret Sauce?” (P.S. Take her quiz, it’s handy! It’s primarily geared towards photographers – but her email newsletter is VALUABLE.)
Your designer can help you COMMUNICATE your Secret Sauce, but YOU should know what it is that you bring to the table.
Find what makes you different, and share that with your designer, that way it can be baked into your brand design and effectively communicated on your website.
For service providers, some difficulties in your business could include:
If you’re a product based business, some difficulties may include:
Difficulties in your business are often deeper than just “I’m not making enough money”. Thinking about YOUR difficulties will lead you right into thinking about your CUSTOMERS difficulties…
We like to refer to this as friction: anything that is adding hesitation/difficulty to your customer’s experience. (BTW – we’re all about reducing friction, here. It’s very much a core value of ours)
Put yourself in the mind of your clients (and yes, we mean literally. Do some market research. TALK to them. Offer them a cup of coffee for their time/insight, and dig deep into why they did/did not purchase from you!) and walk through their purchasing journey.
When we think about the customer journey, we’re focusing on overall ease and enthusiasm:
Knowing your customer’s pain points is essential when hiring a designer – because we can take these pain points and directly impact them.
During lockdown, Laney’s retail management team did a lot of personal/professional development exercises, and one that stuck with her was talking about (and effectively communicating) what “Done” looks like.
In the retail application, it was referring to tasks around the store that the management was outsourcing to associates (like when I say “Shut down Cash Wrap”, what I really mean is X, Y, and Z is completed and A is restocked.”) The whole idea was to be incredibly specific about your expectations – because it benefits both parties.
When it comes to your design project, think about what “Done” looks like for you. How will you measure the success of your project?
When it comes to brand design – the majority of the transformation designers offer is qualitative – things FEEL better, they LOOK better, they FLOW better. You aren’t always going to get a direct 200% increase in sales the week you launch your new logo. But what you ARE going to get is increased trust, loyalty, and status in your industry.
For websites though, it IS helpful to have a more specific goal in mind – are you tracking inquiries, sales, conversion, clicks, page views, or downloads? Is your focus on creating an engaging, interactive website, or are you focused on a simple, clean user experience with high conversion tactics?
Whatever the end-goal is for your design project, come to your designer with intention, and communicate your goals and dreams. Together, you’ll create the game plan to make them happen.
Many brand and web designers have a LOT of tricks up their sleeve, outside of design. Many can help guide you and consult you on copywriting, on your brand photos, how to blog, how to best show up on social media, etc., but it’s important to remember what you’ve hired them for, and that it’s not their job to teach you how to run your business online (there’s coaches for that, if it’s something you need!)
When you hire a designer, discuss deliverables and the scope of your project together – make sure that the action items are agreed upon, and stick to them. Recognize your own scope creep (trust, it happens to the best of us!) and utilize your designer for what they do best – design.
That being said – Brightlane Studio has a team of specifically talented ladies who can help you with more than just your design project. We have a social media strategist who focuses on organic instagram growth, a stellar brand photographer, and an ever-talented copywriter in addition to our brand and web designer, who are all here to help you succeed (and take a few things off your plate).