A new year brings new opportunities. And for web designers, an opportunity and a challenge to employ the latest visual trends and user experience tactics.
But as any web pro knows, web design must do more than look good, and UX is an essential part of the conversion process. Which is why our agency The Deep End wanted to identify which emerging trends could actually make a positive difference for our clients — which is to say, what new trends can be used to help boost conversions?
By providing clients with tools they can use to get more leads, or make more sales in the new year, you’re bringing real value. The kind of value you can charge a premium for.
To that end, here are ten strategies you can use in the new year and beyond to both help clients, as well as gain more new clients through your own site.
1: Age-Responsive Design
Why it converts: Whether you’re trying to reach Gen X, Gen Y (Millennials), Gen Z (the iGeneration), or Baby Boomers, there is power in this tactic. It figures that each generation will respond best to images and aesthetics targeted to them.
And by employing landing page strategy (see #9), you don’t have to devote your entire website to a particular demographic group. Instead, you can use generation-specific images and “feel” in your social media marketing and on landing pages to direct the group or groups of your choice to your offers.
2: Skeleton Screens
Why they convert: Everyone wants speed, and for good reasons. Just a second can make the difference between retaining a web visitor (the first step toward making a conversion) or not.
There are many ways to enhance page loading time, but skeleton screens offer an additional option because impatient users will feel like the page is coming up even faster than a clock might show.
Much of user experience is related to how quickly website pages load, but psychological studies show that subtleties influence people. While the skeleton screen loads, viewers can anticipate content. This reduces impatience, so bounce rates are lower.
3: Engagement Bots
Why they convert: Chatbots aren’t new, but their use has expanded, and they can be incorporated into just about any website to automate response to customer questions and keep the sales process going 24/7.
What can you do with engagement bots? Think of them like a responsive FAQ section. What questions might your customer have before they proceed? Program your bot to be available around the clock to answer those questions, and you’re on track to more conversions.
4: Shopping Cart Marketing
Why it converts: There’s a reason the top online retailers use shopping cart marketing to promote similar products or upsells. Research shows that such promotions can increase e-commerce revenue by 10 to 30 percent.
So if you sell directly, it makes sense to offer bundles of related products — or even unrelated products that might appeal to your shoppers.
5: Animated Call-to-Action Buttons
Why they convert: Prominent CTA buttons are integral to making conversions. Top designers consider size, shape, and placement on the page. But a new trend is to add subtle animation to the CTA button — just enough to attract attention without taking away from the product or other important visuals.
It’s important to keep the animation tasteful and in keeping with the visual look and feel of your site — the movement is just another way to enhance visibility.
6: Cinemagraph Hero Images
Why they convert: Cinemagraphs are captivating. There’s something about the subtle motion in an otherwise still image that attracts attention. And that’s the first step toward getting busy website visitors to stop and take notice.
And a plus for your marketing budget, your investment in cinemagraphs can be used in social media too. The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook ads using cinemagraphs have a click-rate of up to 60 percent higher than static ads.
7: Explainer Persuader Videos
Why they convert: You’re probably familiar with explainer videos — they’re the hallmark of every web startup I can think of. But these videos have evolved to fulfill a higher purpose of all-out persuasion.
Use real people (remember the advantage of age-responsive design from #1) saying good things about your products and services to get those most out of this tactic.
Authentic video combines social proof with an opportunity to highlight features and benefits, helping you overcome objections and move your visitor to conversion.
8: Value Based Exit Overlays
Why they convert: A brick and mortar business has the advantage of reading social cues from customers. A salesperson can respond and up the value of an offer if they feel a customer is about to walk away. Value based exit overlays provide online marketers a similar advantage.
Whether you’re after direct sales or leads, you’re not going to score immediately with every web visitor. But what if, just as they were about to leave your site, you could make a last ditch offer? Perhaps it’s a freebie, a discount, or free shipping. Whatever it is, you need to offer it with no strings attached to increase customer trust (and have another chance at conversion).
9: Death of the Homepage
Why it converts: In 2017 and beyond, the homepage is far less relevant to your marketing than your landing pages because you can hone in on specific groups based upon age demographics, location, or other metrics.
An effective landing page is like a road map for your website visitor. If you’re not already using landing pages, it’s time to up your game with a one-stop-shop strategy that provides everything needed to convert on a single page (or with very limited navigation).
Scrolling Trumps Navigation
Why it converts: Old-school logic will tell you that you need to have your essential web design elements “above the fold” on your site.
Thanks in part to increased use of mobile devices, scrolling has become widely accepted, even expected. This trend allows you to incorporate many of the other tactics described here on a single page. This way you can use a single page to boost conversions by telling a compelling story and overcoming objections.
This is a much more effective way of enticing a conversion, rather than leaving site visitors to wander aimlessly from page to page on their own.