I love the new year. I love winding down and reflecting on the 365 days that just passed. I love making resolutions that I know I probably won’t be able to keep. Most of all, I love champagne and ringing in a new year gives me a great excuse for a toast!
It’s always a good time to be thinking about your landing pages. But the new year is a particularly good time to reflect back on the successes, challenges and opportunities from 2011 and make some great plans for your 2012 landing pages.
To get you started, here are my favorite landing page trends for the new year:
- Interactive. This year, we saw a lot of customers creating what I call “interactive content”. Incorporating in-page enhanced content elements like accordians, tabs, sliders, lightboxes and more. I am sure there is a better name for it, but basically it’s a way of creating a content-enriched experience while staying conversion focused. At ion, we took it up a notch by creating a no-code, no-tech way for marketers to deploy these kinds of elements on their LiveBall pages and I am super excited about how these sorts of interactive content modules improve the user experience while keeping the emphasis on conversion.
- Mobile ready. We had a surge of customers creating mobile landing experiences in 2011 and expect that trend to continue fast & furiously into the new year. Bottom line: mobile users expect mobile experiences. Don’t let them down. In LiveBall, we have two ways marketers can deploy mobile-optimized pages—either by using mobile page templates (super easy!), or by letting LiveBall automatically mobile-optimize any standard-browser page (even easier!). Pretty cool stuff.
- Social. Marketers are learning how to incorporate social elements into their conversion-focused landing pages. Allowing your visitors to like, follow and tweet your stuff is important. Some customers like to do it right on the landing page, others like to wait and introduce social content on the ‘thank you’ page. Either way, it’s a great way to extend the conversation and socialize with your visitors.
- Progressive. Forms continue to increase in complexity and we make sure LiveBall can keep pace. We see more and more ‘multi-step’ forms where a visitors steps through 2-4 short forms to complete the conversion—this format is highly effective and often beats a single-page form in a head-to-head test. We also see customers serving up different forms for different visitors. For instance, if a visitor provides basic contact information on their first visit, on their subsequent visit they are served up a form with profiling questions. Why keep asking the same person for the same information when you can build a profile over time by asking different questions along the way?
- Local. If your marketing is any way, shape or form even a little bit local, you can capitalize on that by serving up localized pages to make the experience highly relevant. Localize your landing pages for browser language, region, country—really, anything that makes sense for your particular marketing.
- Dynamic. Why serve up the same page content for everyone when you can serve up dynamic content that is relevant? Different headlines for different ads. Different images for different audience segments. Mobile-optimized page for mobile traffic. You can create one basic page and then extend it with dynamic content to ensure it is relevant for the audience that lands there. The most popular form of dynamic content we see is dynamic content substitution for keywords where marketers populate the users search query in their landing page content. Cool stuff and often a nice conversion booster!
- Relevant. Well, duh. Relevancy drives conversions. But being relevant means different things to different people. It starts with message match. But a visual and contextual match also matter. Craft your experiences to appeal to the visitor in the moment, taking into consideration what they clicked on and what they expect when they land.
- Integrated. Integrated means many things. Integrated across your company, so that landing pages are no longer a ‘skunk works’ project that gets done in your spare time. Get everyone involved from executive sponsorship to product marketing, it sometimes takes a village to launch an effective high-converting landing page strategy. Integrated also means getting all the parts to talk. Marketers have a burgeoning list of tools they are using to get their job done—from CRM, SFA, marketing automation, analytics, CMS and more—no point in fighting it, just make sure that everything works together seamlessly.
- Optimized. Oh yes, you know you have to test it. Whether you want to fly by the seat of your pants and test without a plan, or you want to follow a methodical landing page testing program, you need to be testing in order to lift conversion rates. Learn what works and what doesn’t with real-time A/B and multivariate testing.
- Disposable. This one might surprise you. It always hurts my heart when I see marketers over-invest time, resources and money into any one single landing page. A landing page should take an hour, or a day, or even a couple of days if you are re-inventing the wheel entirely. But it shouldn’t turn into a multi-week, expensive endeavor. Why? See #9. Because you might test it, and it might not work. And then you will be hesitant to throw it away because you invested so much in it. Find ways to bring your vision to work efficiently without breaking the landing page bank. A landing page platform live LiveBall can be a big help in this regard. And if you do need to make a big investment in a single page, plan in advance how you can slice, dice and re-use it in multiple ways should you need to change course when the testing results start rolling in.
- Data-mined. It still surprises me when an online marketer doesn’t know some basic stats about their landing pages—visitors, bounce rate, conversion rates, etc. This year it’s time to make sure you have a good handle on the basics and then dig deeper for insight into user behavior, traffic source segmentation and more. There’s conversion gold in the data, so work it!
- QR landing pages. Obsessed wtih QR codes? Yes, I am. QR codes rock. They’re great for anything from a boat hull to a conference tote bag. While the 11 things above are about things you can do to your landing pages to make them better, our 12th trend is about marrying offline, mobile and online marketing in a big way. QR pages are the easiest way to connect with your audience on the go, and a landing page is perfectly poised to bridge the gap and help you make a big impact when people scan.
Want more detail on the 12 landing page trends for 2012? Last week we hosted a webinar, “12 landing page tactics for 2012”. You can check out the full, recorded version here (no registration required—just grab a cup of coffee, kick back and hit the play button!).
I’ll be blogging on many of the above topics in the coming weeks, with more examples, screen shots and details. Stay tuned, and send me your questions & feedback when you get a chance.