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#3.11: The “What’s A Home Page For” Issue

1> Number One Priority: Get Their Email
2> Lose The Lame Animations
3> Is The Home Page The Wrong Page?
4> Check It Out: Some Flash Sites Can Be Great

1> Number One Priority: Get Their Email

We believe that the only purpose of a home page is to get a visitor’s email address. Think about how most of us surf: We hear about a page, we visit it once, we might bookmark it — then we never, ever go back. You have a marketing cost associated with getting that visitor to your site. If they never come back, you have to spend that again and again to get the next customer. But if you get an email address, you can reach out and contact that visitor again. If you get them to give permission to send a newsletter (like this one), you can reach out 52 times each year and invite them back to your site. Our web site has FOUR offers for our free newsletters right on the home page. Put a form and links for your email list front and center. It’s the simplest way to turn a casual visitor into a paying customer.

THE LESSON: Getting an email address and permission to use it is the absolute most important thing a home page can do. It’s the only way to get prospects back for a second look.

MORE INFO:
http://www.gaspedal.com

2> Lose The Lame Animations

We’re going to be blunt, because it just has to be said: If you have a flash animation at the entrance to your web site, you are pissing off your customers and wasting their time. Remove it. People go to the web for speed and convenience. What are the odds anyone but your webmaster really wants to see groovy shots of your logo spinning around? That opening animation is a barrier to anyone who came to your site to do business with you. The offline equivalent would be to stop every visitor to a retail store at the front door and make them stand still for 2 minutes while the mascot dances and sings for them. This advice goes double for business-to-business sites. Your customers are too busy and the animation adds no value. Even worse, most animated splash pages guarantee that your site will not be indexed by the search engines.

THE LESSON: While your animated home page is playing, your customers are leaving.

MORE INFO:
http://www.semguide.com/Flash.htm

3> Is The Home Page The Wrong Page?

When advertising your site, your home page is rarely the right page to send visitors to. You want your landing page (that’s the page that people land on after they click on a link) to be directly and immediately relevant to whatever offer is contained in the link. Imagine if you saw an ad on TV, called the number, and you talked to a receptionist who had no idea what you were calling about. The same effect happens if someone clicks on an ad, and they go to your home page instead of seeing a specific offer for the same product. A good landing page is vital to closing a sale. Any ad is only going to get a few percent clicks — but a well-done landing page determines if you are going to close 5% or 50% of those sales. Even better, you can use multiple landing pages to simultaneously test multiple offers and easily track the results.

THE LESSON: Don’t send live prospects to a generic home page. Send them directly to relevant, focused landing pages that can close the sale.

MORE INFO:
http://www.clickz.com/em_mkt/em_mkt/article.php/1004731

4> Check It Out: Some Flash Sites Can Be Great

Take a look at the web sites for Camper shoes and Chipotle restaurants. They are cool, simple, and entirely animated in flash. As much as we hate the boring cartoons that too many sites are using, these guys show us that it can be done right.

CHECK IT OUT:
http://www.camper.com
http://www.chipotle.com

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