With the arrival of a new year, many website owners are starting to reevaluate their Internet marketing strategies, especially with respect to the design and implementation of their landing pages. Landing pages, which are simply the pages that Web surfers see when they click on one of your advertisements, need to be well-designed if they are to convert new visitors to your site into leads and increase sales.
Sadly, though many designers will devote hours to the creation of an advertisement, the landing page often times receives scant attention. Since a landing page is essentially just an extension of the advertisement, used to give interested visitors more information about your site, the failure to develop an effective landing page can result in a lot of wasted money as many people who were initially interested in what you had to say become turned off when they give you a larger platform on which to sell your product or service.
If you have found your traditional landing pages to be inadequate to the task of boosting your site’s traffic and conversion rates, it may be time to consider a redesign. Although this may seem like an arduous task, the benefits can be immense for those who put in the effort to create landing pages that implement sound layout principles and clearly communicate the advertiser’s message.
Of course, redesigning a landing page is easier said than done for many website owners who may not have any ideas about proper page design. If that describes you, you may wish to consider some of the most popular trends that many top companies have adopted for their own landing pages. These companies devote vast amounts of resources to market research in the attempt to entice curious visitors to visit their website, join an email list or purchase a product/service; you could do a lot worse than simply adopting some of their strategies as your own.
If there has been one design trend that has really been embraced by internet marketers in recent years, it has been the idea of simplicity. In earlier times, website owners would attempt to cram as much information as possible on their landing pages, afraid of the possibility that they would leave out a critical piece of information. Even worse, many website designers would become enchanted with all of the latest Internet technologies and use them indiscriminately on landing pages regardless of whether those technologies actually served a purpose for the website in question.
The resulting mess would be a landing page that lacked a clear, consistent message. Even if they could decode your rambling advertising copy, that message was likely hidden by the needless Flash animations, pointless graphics and distracting color schemes. All of the elements of a landing page need to work together in order to focus the user’s attention on your overriding message, the one thing you must get across to visitors when they visit your landing page.
The beauty of simplicity is that it eliminates all extraneous elements of a website so that your message can stand out all the more in relief. Without all the distractions, visitors will immediately understand your message and be able to act on it. As such, you must carefully consider everything on a landing page, such as the navigation scheme, the graphics and the typography. You must ask yourself if each of these elements contribute to the overall layout of the landing page. If it doesn’t, then you must either redesign it or eliminate it. The result of all this work is a more elegant landing page that can convert more website visitors.
It was hard enough to design landing pages when desktop computers dominated the technology landscape. Among other things, a Web designer had to worry about varying monitor sizes, differing screen resolutions and numerous Web browsers that all seemed to implement the same standard piece of code in widely divergent ways. As much as you would want to ignore such issues, you know you couldn’t unless you were willing to alienate a large portion of your audience.
Today the rise of smartphones and table devices make the web designers’ job even more complicated. In addition to desktop and laptop computers, they now have to create landing pages for mobile devices, which only multiplies the number of platforms for which a website designer must optimize. As if things were not complicated enough already, now designers have to make additional choices between designing native apps for specific devices or HTML5 Web apps that presumably are compatible across devices.
However, given the importance of mobile devices in modern Web surfing, landing pages must be optimized for mobile devices if you are to target the widest audience possible. Although this may seem like additional work, it does come with the auxiliary benefit of forcing webpage designers to focus on simplicity; with such a small screen size, you can only incorporate a few key elements into a design without overwhelming your users.
The Social Web
There is no denying the fact that the Web 2.0 era has fully arrived. Facebook now has over 800 million users, and Twitter has well over 100 million users of its own. With the seemingly exponential growth of these social media sites, there is no place on the Internet that hasn’t been touched by these networks. If you have failed to use these platforms as a central component of your marketing strategy, you are missing out on the most powerful way to communicate with your audience and spread your message to others.
You should attempt to connect with your audience as soon as possible by incorporating social media icons right on your landing pages. This will give new visitors an easy way to follow your website through Facebook updates and your Twitter feed, which helps to solidify a strong relationship with your audience. In addition, those new followers will automatically give you free publicity to all of their friends and followers, giving your website a chance to permeate through the entire social network in a way that simply isn’t possible with traditional advertising.
Static webpages were fine back in the 1980s when the only people on the Internet were scientists sharing academic papers, but this is 2012. People expect a lot more out of the Internet today, and if you do not provide the user an engaging experience, they will go elsewhere to find it. Given the many technologies that exist today to make a website interactive, including tools like Ajax, Flash, and now HTML5, there is really no excuse for failing to provide your users with an entertaining way to interact with your website.
This commitment to interactivity should extend all the way to your landing pages since most users will only give you one chance to impress them; if you fail to do so on the landing page, you may never get the chance to do it on the actual website. Of course, there are many possible ways to add interactive elements to your landing page: it could be as simple as a navigation system to help new visitors understand the website or as advanced as a full-featured game to promote a product or service. As with all design elements on a landing page, the key is to make sure that your interactive elements add to the message you wish to promote; otherwise, they are just a self-defeating distraction.
Everyone wants to feel unique, but many websites treat all their users as if they were the same. A one-size-fits-all approach may have worked in the past, but the Internet has become far too personalized to treat people homogeneously. Thanks to the trends in social media, the Internet has now become a place where people feel comfortable sharing information about many details of their lives, something that was unimaginable just a few short years ago.
Detailed analytical information can be obtained from cookies stored on the users’ computers and from stat-tracking software on your own servers. As such, there is more information available to advertisers than ever before, and this information can be used profitably by websites who know how to access it and use it on their landing pages. This information can be used to customize those landing pages for individual users based on their search queries, past browsing history or location. This will give people more relevant information that may make them more likely to purchase a product or service and become a regular visitor of your website.
Every day, additional websites are created and compete for the scarce time of visitors; in such a competitive environment, it is more important than ever to design a proper landing page that encourages users to stay on your page and not wander elsewhere. Otherwise, you risk sabotaging your own Internet marketing strategy. Fortunately, by following some of the design tips above, you can create more interesting landing pages that increase your website’s conversion rates.