Creating relevant experiences is the goal of good web design. From landing pages to online advertising, a company's marketing strategy is just that, strategic. Or at least it aims to be. But how can you ensure that you are optimizing an exceptional online experience for customers that is also producing high return on investment? Being that the web is ever evolving to reflect users' behaviors, there isn't a magic pill.

Yet, you can follow the guidelines put out by Sitewire Marketplace Solution, an interactive marketing leader. They maintain that the secret to creating an exceptional online customer experience includes the fundamentals of usability, such as clean navigation, whitespace and compelling, but not long-winded content.

Learning Opportunities

Their top ten best practices for landing pages encourages companies to make smart marketing choices, which will not only engage the user but be able to show higher ROI.

  1. Unify the Intent – Landing pages perform best when the content is promotion-based. With this type of landing page, the content is concise and focused on one appealing message.
  2. Visually Engage the User – Tell a story or sell a product using impactful imagery rather than simply explaining the purpose with lengthy copy.
  3. Focus User Experience – Feature clean navigation and succinct calls to action. Landing pages should be used as a teaser to easily point the customer to the desired action.
  4. Use a Direct Headline – Making a good first impression is just as important online as it is in the real world. A clear and direct headline should be the first thing the user notices upon viewing the page. Make sure the headline is a direct and simple statement of what the page visitor is trying to accomplish.
  5. Leave Plenty of Whitespace -- Visitors don’t read -- they scan the text to determine if the page is relevant to their goal or not. Clean use of space allows visitors to scan and understand key messages.
  6. Deliver a Clear Value Proposition – Answer any potential “whys?” with value propositions. Keep them limited to three or four bullet points and don’t mince words. This is no time to get cute – if visitors can’t quickly and easily understand the benefits of your product or service, they will leave.
  7. Amplify Buttons – Attracting attention is what the main action buttons are all about. Make users notice where the button is upon landing. Odd button shapes work well. Also, don’t skimp on button size. Location matters, although button placement should be tested on each page.
  8. Convey Trust and Security - Branding, trust/security icons and assurances, as well as testimonials provide credibility and give confidence to the visitor that can have a positive impact on conversion.
  9. Provide a Compelling Message -- Every good salesperson says something to persuade prospects who are on the fence. Think of your landing page as your online salesperson. Make sure you have one compelling message directly above the call to action. “Bandwagon messages,” such as “Join thousands of people that use…” can also improve visitor confidence and increase conversion.
  10. Soften the Call to Action – Direct words like “Buy,” “Add to Cart” or “Subscribe” indicate a commitment that the visitor may not be ready to make and can lower conversion rates. A softer call to action like "Try it Now" can drive users deeper into the funnel and result in higher conversions. The best calls to action are written in plain English with no more than 7-12 words. 

As much as we say it, we can't say it enough: the economic burdens facing all of us demand that we do more with what we have. Optimizing your content is a small step that can reap big rewards.