Through the Spyglass


Website Design and Lead Generation: Can the Two Go Together?

Taking a look at the top website design trends of 2015, you might think that a business built on lead generation has no chance of developing a website that is both trendy and effectively drives new business leads.

In an article by 99Designs highlighting the top web design trends of 2015, the top examples are a lead generation nightmare: homepages that are so creative you aren’t immediately sure what they’re communicating.

Now let’s compare these three website home pages with Kissmetrics’ first two examples of top lead generating websites. 

As a marketer who is both interested in design and lead generation, I might initially be discouraged by these seemingly contradictory examples. I can imagine a conversation with a client looking to redo his website and I as present these options to him, he looks at me with a facial expression showing utter confusion.

But the contrast isn’t as dire as you may think. If you want an attractive design that also generates new business, a happy marriage can be found. To assist with matchmaking between these two important mindsets, we’ve come up with some questions you can ask yourself along the way.

1.  Am I telling a story that is compelling?

There are a lot of distractions competing for people’s time, especially online. Website visitors likely have multiple browser tabs open and they are flipping through social media, news, email, and research they’re conducting on this or that. Your website needs to compel them visually to make them pause and take interest. Thinking about the top design trends will help you establish a baseline for creating a beautifully compelling site that is pleasing to the eye. Consider images that communicate your brand messaging. Avoid stock images with people unrelated to your company, at least on the home page. Authentic images or creative images expressing an idea will be more powerful for your audience.

Animation is also eye catching. You might consider subtle animation where a few objects move either on their own or as visitors scroll or move their mouse. Or you can try auto play movies in the background. But whatever you do, make sure the animation is not distracting but instead adds to the overall message. And also be sure your site speed isn’t hindered because of the animation. Slow sites cause higher bounce rates which means less business.

2. Is my value statement immediately clear?

Remember that you can have compelling imagery and even animation on your home page or website as a whole, while still equally focusing on lead generation. Avoid home pages with no text or so little text that no visitor knows what you’re about right away. If you don’t have a clear value statement at first glance visitors may think “Whoa, cool site. But I’m looking for xyz so I’ll do another search query.” And boom. You’ve lost a customer. Be sure to incorporate enough text to communicate who your company is, what you’re about, and why it’s valuable to your visitors. You can utilize other pages to go into the specifics, but if a reader isn’t immediately sure you can possibly help them, they might think they’re in the wrong place. And “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

3. Am I keeping my audience in mind?

You have goals for your business and it can be difficult to think beyond your immediate goals to think about what your audience is looking for. You might think, “I need big and bold calls-to-action all over the place!” But readers may feel overwhelmed with this approach, as if you’re shouting at them. Instead, you want to create a compelling environment that gives them information they are looking for. And then make your information readily accessible.

Also, while blatant and in-your-face CTAs may be good for quick sells, think about long term relationship building with your customers. What will keep them coming back for more? Visually compelling imagery and engaging content will aid with generating repeat visits as well as customer referrals.

4. Can someone easily contact me no matter where they are on my site?

As I mentioned above, you don’t want to shout at your customers, but you do want to make sure your information is available no matter where they are on your site. Your site may be beautiful and win all sorts of design awards, but you won’t break new lead generation records if your contact information isn’t easily accessible. You don’t want readers to spend time looking for your contact information. Have contact information accessible through the main navigation, the footer, and on form fills/CTAs appropriately placed throughout the website.

A Match Made in Heaven

Design and lead generation can work happily together. Here is a website we recently designed for a client. 

Click to expand the image Click to expand the image

The home page has large imagery showing a beautiful vineyard and it has very little text which incorporates two recent design trends. However, this site is still an effective lead generator for the business, My Home Vineyard. Visitors know immediately this website is about working with personal vineyard specialists. If that’s what you were looking for when you found this site, then you’d know you were in the right place.

Once you confirm you are in the right place (and you’re compelled by the beautiful imagery), then you can move to either learn more about the company through the “View Our Work” button or any menu item. Or you can contact them immediately through the “Hire Us” button in the upper right.

This is just a simple example but hopefully you get the idea. Remember that your website can be compelling visually, informative and an effective driver of new business, all at the same time.