Let’s start with the basics…. In formation on most of the following should be accessible from the landing page:
- Product detail and information about the solution
- Customer lists and success stories
- Customer resources and support
- Vendor partners
- Company background
- Current news and events
- Company contact information (postal, phone and email)
Design the home (or a landing page) for maximum impact and minimal confusion. Always provide the user with multiple pathways to the desired action, whether it’s subscribing, posting, playing or buying.
For western world markets keep the site crisper with fewer design elements. I may add on that note, that the flowing information will be for the western audience. Why I say this is because in other parts of the world, inc China, users expect more design elements.
- Keep it clean and simple, without too many distractions from the call to action.
- Pick one promotional message and drive it the hardest at the expense of others. Make it more prominent, supported by other things on the page, and compelling, along the lines of “free trail download” or “special introductory pricing this month”
- Leave plenty of white space… crowed pages are clearly a turn off. An overbearing number of graphic elements (art, text, buttons, etc.) will frustrate and distract users.
- Use visuals. Whether using graphics, videos, demos, or diagrams, don’t rely on text itself to maintain user interest. Web visitors have extremely short attention spans. Keep the diagrams, charts and graphics simple. Use animation carefully to add interest.
- Use interactivity. The web allows customer interaction with the brand, something no other medium allows (if these kinds of tools aren’t on the site, you’re not using the web to its fullest potential.)
- Use big buttons. “Download” or “buy now” or “sign up” should be graphically interesting, sizable and easy to spot.
Navigation is really about two things: the logical organisation or information and the shortest routes to task completion.
“Friendly” navigation provides users several “routes” to call to action.
Routes might take a user to a demo, to customer testimonials, to a white paper, or to a list od product features. Since nobody can predict what a customer wants to do next, each pathway should easily lead to “buy now” or another call to action.
Don’t make navigation confusing offering too many options a user might choose. The more you add usually results in higher abandon rates.
- Use tools to invite customer engagement. Video, animation, demos, configuratiors and other devices should provide customers multiple ways to engage with the product itself, any way they’d like. “play now”, “take a tour of our product” and “forecast your quote” are typical engagement invitations, and each is far more powerful than others like “read more” or “learn about”.
- Use demo to engage users with the product and show off its features and ease of use. Make the demo more compelling than a PowerPoint (and under one minute long). When possible, draw users into an actual, functioning component of the product. The demo should end at the call action.
- Offer free trails. Not to be confused with freemium pricing strategy, a free trail offer can be restricted by limiting the free versions functionality or duration….as in “try now, free one month trail”. Follow up with a series of emails that introduce features, offer tips, and provide reasons to buy.
- Particularly for commerce and paid subscription sites, offer several ways for prospects to contact the company. This can be as simple as a clickable link that spawns to an email to the sales department or a form for requesting more information or a call from sales. Many commerce sites use real-time live voice and chat to engage quickly with prospects and enhance the chances of activation.
- Use animation. Interactive configurators, calculators, calculators, animated demos, microsites, and many other utilities can bring the product to life and engage the customer. These can be developed inexpensively by outside sources found online. Some websites launch brief welcome videos or quiet, animated demos that load automatically when a user gets to the site, but only play on demand.
- Incorporate source-driven pages: create multiple landing pages and match each one o a source of the click that brought users to the page. If you welcome guests for all areas such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook etc you can increase click troughs, and adding special offer via email such as “special discount for Facebook fans” … which oddly enough is the same special offer as your Twitter landing page or your Yahoo one.
Tools such as these are used industry wide, new tools are developed all the time, some get pitched and are made standard, some fade. The best thing to do is have a quick look at the best sites you’ve found, think what engaged with you the most, kept you active longest and also take a note of what put you off a certain site too. Small-agencies are another way, but you really can research yourself just may take a little time.