Today’s website is like yesterday’s business card. It supplies a first impression of your company and is the biggest deciding factor for prospects who might want to learn more about the goods and services that you have to sell.
Here’s a sobering statistic if you’re still wondering about a website’s ability to push fence sitters off the top in your direction in 2017. Research tells us 70 to 80% of people who buy products online research the company first through their website. While 96% of SMBs use social media as one of their marketing tools, not everyone understands the need to have a website as a solid foundation in place as the starting point for all your other marketing efforts to point back to. In other words, good Internet marketing is about building your house with his many floors as you want, provided you have a solid base with the website so it doesn’t just sink into the sand.
Still, while most of businesses recently surveyed do have a website, sadly there are still around 30% of SMB’s that haven’t taken the leap and they cite cost as one of the major factors.
Wedging a Foot in that Online Door
Point being, today’s website is just as important as those print and radio ads were back in the days when people actually read newspapers and watched television. More importantly, the website’s momentum is looking to pick up speed in 2017. Years ago, a traveling salesman would knock at your grandparent’s front door to try and ply his wares. Today, it’s the responsibility of your website to wedge a foot in that online space so you have a chance to make your pitch once a prospect visits your site.
..and all that starts with the right landing page.
If you think about all the time you spend getting ready for a first date, you’ll start to get a good idea about how important a landing page is to making the right kind of first impression. There’s a lot less fussing and primping with a good landing page because the best of these are simple and direct.
Ever notice how your first impressions of things quite often turn out to be true? Remember when you were putting together your company and sat down to brainstorm ideas about slogans and catchphrases that encapsulated your products and services in just a few sentences?
You need to have that same mindset when you’re designing a landing page. Choose one striking image or maybe even a simple catchphrase or slogan or both. The one thing you don’t want to do is clutter up that online foyer with a lot of confusing tabs and options strewn around like boots and shoes on the ground. Hanging up what could otherwise be a real mess is accomplished by installing a navigation bar across the top or left like a series of neat trays will present the kind of organized and welcoming atmosphere you want.
Less is More to Open the Door
While you want to get your value proposition out there front and center, you don’t want to make it difficult and cumbersome for visitors to get past this online foyer/landing page and into your website/house. Sometimes it’s all about using features that are traditional like wood rather than vinyl because you’ll still need to have an excellent headline and sub headline the capture the value proposition of your products and services.
Overall, you need to be concise, brief and to the point. One supporting image is an excellent idea to give visitors something to look at while they read but you want to stay away from all the flashy glitter of too many choices and information in this first bit of contact. Remember, the landing page is an invitation and most experts say you’ve got only seconds to entice your visitors to come inside.
Stay True to Your Brand
It doesn’t matter whether you’re still selling stuff as a brick and mortar store or have made the jump to the online world completely, there are some things that don’t change about successful businesses. Brand consistency through choosing the right logo, message and graphic design template is still one of the Holy Grail must haves and that won’t change in the New Year for good web design in 2017.
Staying true to your brand is one of the ways to bring what’s best about your goods and services to the online world. Try and change it up because you’re working in cyberspace and you might confuse loyal customers and not attract any new ones.
It’s important to have a landing page that not only reflects your products and services but is also an echo of the marketing efforts that you put into branding your company. Not enough can be said about having a proper logo designed. You need to make sure that it reflects the values of your brand and has a sticky quality so visitors will recognize it long after they’ve clicked away from this important feature.
Landing Page Boxes You Need to Check (and a few you need to uncheck)
Next year is going to be an even bigger 365 days for people who made the jump into the online space. With that said, industry insiders are already predicting one of the biggest trends for next year will be the move to increase customer engagement in real time. Getting closer with the people buying what you’ve got to sell is what next year will be all about and you don’t want your landing page to act like a locked door between you two.
Here are a few boxes you can check off before the ball drops in Times Square.
- Landing pages that use video will be even more popular in 2017. As it stands right now, the latest statistics tell us that videos used on landing pages can increase conversions by a whopping 86%. Keep in mind to follow the Golden Rule of placing the most engaging content above the fold on your landing page. Of course that includes any videos you want prospects to see.
- More landing pages equals more leads. Next year will see another trend whereby people start increasing the number of landing pages they use. A recent study found that companies that increased the number of these to 15 from 10 saw an increase of 55% in leads. If you remember to keep each individual landing page down to one offer, you’ll have a multipronged attack on your target market in 2017.
- Next year’s landing pages to be free of navigation bars? That’s right, and even though that piece of advice might sound a little counterintuitive, the new trend will see an advantage in keeping the customer on the page. It’s important to keep them in place and if you don’t give them the opportunity to click to another page with your navigation bar predominantly displayed, you’ll have a better chance of converting them.
It’s important to remember that websites have been around long enough now there’s always going to be some traditional elements that anchor any New Year-type predictions. Human attention will always be human attention and even though it’s growing shorter by the year, it’s still important to keep feature products above the fold on your landing page to draw customer’s attention to them right away.
Silly Gets Serious Next Year
On the other side of that coin, so many different things have changed in Internet marketing, you’ll need to keep pace or be lost like a boat adrift on the vast Internet ocean. One case in point is quirky design anywhere on your website is great, but place it on the landing page specifically to get yourself noticed.
Having fun with the customers is part of interacting and sharing. Putting some kooky avatars on that important part of your site could be just the thing to attract a target market that wants to enjoy their shopping experience from start to finish.
Get Sold on Simple Signs Ups
Working right alongside a bit of a kooky nature, a simple sign-up procedure that has as little friction as possible for potential customers will get your business where you want to go next year.
One of the great litmus tests to making a sign-up procedure as simple as possible is asking: “Why do they need to know that?” as if you were filling out the sign up for your company. Another angle you should consider is looking at your competitor’s site template if you are involved in a very competitive industry and making yours easier for visitors.
Content from the Electronic Pulpit
Next year will reinforce a number of traditional aspects of a good landing page. If you stop and think about what those things might be, it should be no surprise social media jumps to the forefront.
The chance for visitors to evangelize your content and the special offers you make through your goods and services should be included with the right buttons on your landing page that will enable prospects and customers to do some of your marketing for you.
It’s important to keep in mind here that even though a prospect might not be buying what you’ve got to sell, someone in their network could very well be interested.
Keep away from clutter. The pay off if you do a little research first to find out which social media tools your target market uses most often and then only include those on your landing page, is higher conversion rates.
Now, Here are Few Things You’ll Need to Avoid Next Year
Sometimes, helping people produce a good landing page is about steering them away from what can go wrong.
Broken Leads that Take Everyone Nowhere Fast
If you’re like a lot of other people, you rush at the end of the project because it’s close to completion and you’re excited about what the results will look like. That could be the kiss of death when you’re designing a landing page and you wind up with links that go nowhere because they’re broken.
It would be hard to call due diligence a trend for web design in 2017, since it’s always a good idea to test everything you do on someone else’s computer to make sure it’s good. Here’s another big hint. If you try it out on different browsers, you can be sure that it’s bullet-proof.
Confusing the Call to Action
Everything you do on the landing page is designed to get somebody to do something else that will put money in your pocket. That’s plain and simple but the whole process can get thrown off the rails if they can’t find the Call to Action.
Big Shiny Buttons
People who drop in on your landing page should be able to tell in the first few seconds what it is you want them to do. Mess that up and away they go to the competitor’s site. Remember the last time you were at the airport and saw that You are Here arrow that pointed to exactly the location you were standing at? A big shiny button above the fold is a great way to let your visitors get their bearings so they know where the next step should take them.
Finally, one of the undisputed trends for next year will be a ramping up of the competition. Your competitors and even some people who haven’t thought about getting involved in the online space before are getting smarter about the things they need to do to design a good website and landing page.
Being successful in 2017 means you’ll need to use technology and good old business common sense at the same time. Focus on your value proposition and how you can help customers solve the fundamental problem in their life in a few sentences, and the rest will fall into place.
Everyone is getting better at competing in the online space and custom images as opposed to the stock varieties can increase your conversion rate by up to 35 percent.