Nick Disabato is the founder of Draft, a design consultancy in Chicago. He is best known for A/B testing through two productized services, Draft Revise and Revise Express. He is the author of three books including The A/B Testing Manual. Nick is a frequency speaker at conferences including South by Southwest and Web 2.0.
The Business of Design
What is the most important thing you can share about pricing?
You set the pricing. You control the conversation by asking the right questions, setting proper expectations, and solving the right expensive problem. You have to overcome “imposter syndrome” and charge for the value you are providing.
How do you determine the value of something intangible?
Cite case studies for the same service, either your own or from another business. There are 50 years of data and articles that prove design creates value. Read the blogs of designers who understand design serves commerce. Communicate how design solves real business problems.
What is your advice to a designer, fresh out of school?
Realize design is art in the service of client work so you can sell things. Read books about having a business in the design field. Then decide if you really want to be a business owner.
How can you leverage case studies from other designers?
Cite them. Link to them. If someone stands behind it, use it as evidence of the value of design. The likelihood your customer will hire the other company is less than you think. Nick cites the $300M Button Case Study by Jared Spool in his marketing.
Determine the ROI of Design
How do you translate a design into an ROI (return-on-investment)?
During the project, measure as much as possible, for example, revenue tracking in Google Analytics. After the project, ask the customer what they got out of it. Then, ask the customer to for a case study. Follow up with the customer three, six and twelve months afterward.
How do you approach the value conversation during the sale process?
Start with the Alan Weiss trifecta: Why me? Why now? Why in this manner?
Other questions: How much are you making right now? Where are the leaks you think exist in your business? What is your website traffic? What is your conversion rate? In summary, start a conversation by asking questions.
Listen to the customer and then probe further. Demonstrate your desire to serve by helping the customer understand the business problem deeper. It shows the customer you have a sincere interest in his success.
Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights is helpful for learning the inquisitive style of conversation.
How do you approach an After Action Review when the project is complete?
Send an open-ended email to ask, “How is it going?” Schedule the email as part of your marketing process. Send the customer a card to say “Thank you” or “Happy Birthday!” The customer will appreciate knowing you are thinking of him.
What is a value-based design process?
It is design focused on solving expensive business problems. Every design decision has a corresponding business ramification. Ask the question, what design decision will generate the highest amount of value? Frame your decisions in terms of business results.
What is one of your best stories about creating value for a customer?
Nick conducted an A/B test for a customer that generated $45,000 of additional monthly revenue. It only took three hours to conceive and execute the test.