Creating visuals for a landing page is kind of like dressing for a job interview.
Job candidates want the interviewers to see them as well prepared and a good fit for the company. You want the visuals on your landing pages to communicate to visitors that you’re delivering what they want in a manner that reflects your overall brand.
Another similarity between dressing for a job interview and finding the best visuals for your landing page? Don’t pick the first option. Try several to figure out which works the best.
Visuals provide subtle and subconscious indicators that help visitors choose to act. They can complement text to make a more convincing case, or they can replace text for a quicker impact.
Here are seven tried-and-true types of visuals, often used for product-focused marketing, to help your content-focused landing page convert.
1. Show an intangible object in something tangible
There’s a satisfaction that comes with being able to unwrap a package and hold an object in your hands. But content offerings usually are digital products. To create a sense of what your visitors will receive, show your digital content inside physical items (like a smartphone or other device).
That strategy aligns with research we conducted at Venngage about Facebook ads that convert. The second-best performing variation featured a physical representation (the best performing variation featured a meme, to our surprise).
Take a look at our joint project with HubSpot’s landing page for an e-book:
This landing page offers an image of the content product displayed in a tablet, allowing visitors to visualize what they’re going to receive.
2. Offer visually interactive demonstrations
One way to earn visitors’ trust is to get them to interact with your site. Take Monotype’s landing page for example:
Its landing page cleverly shows visitors what Monotype is all about. Visitors can change fonts in real time to see what they look like. They get an idea of what they can expect before they are asked to commit to anything.
After all, you’d feel better about buying a shirt if you tried it on first, right?
3. Use icons and illustrations to tell a story
A lot of businesses use custom illustrations instead of stock illustrations. I love this approach because good illustrations can keep visitors engaged with your landing page. They create an opportunity for creative storytelling. And, since stories can help conversions, landing pages are ripe for good storytelling.
Custom illustrations on landing pages are ideal for engaging storytelling, says @sara_mcguire Click To Tweet
Take Intercom’s entertaining landing page:
The illustrations reinforce the idea of fun suggested in the text. But they also tell a story.
In the first illustration, a group of “people” try and fail to communicate effectively, as shown in the confusing, crisscrossing arrows and frustrated facial expressions.
But the second illustration is simpler – a clean line of communication between only two people: you and your customer.
4. Use icons to replace or reinforce text
Icons also are useful because they can communicate an idea in one graphic. The audience quickly understands the meaning conveyed in imagery such as the Twitter logo – no text is necessary. And, in some cases, the icon’s meaning complements or reinforces the text.
Look at how WordStream used an icon for its e-book landing page.
The trophy icon reinforces the idea that this guide will help the visitors win at AdWords. It also entices visitors to read the text to find out what they can win or achieve with this offer.
Use icons on #content landing pages to replace or reinforce text, says @sara_mcguire Click To Tweet
5. Use CTA button colors that pop
You’re going to get conflicting opinions on the optimal colors for driving conversions, particularly about the better-performing colors for CTA buttons. But one view that seems to have some evidence: CTA buttons are more effective if their color contrasts with the other colors on the page.
Unbounce’s landing page offers a good example of this principle: The orange CTA button contrasts with the background color:
When you pick the color for your CTA button, look at a color wheel and pick the one opposite your landing page’s dominant color.
Try a CTA button color that’s the opposite of your landing page’s main color, says @sara_mcguire Click To Tweet
6. Use images that offer directional cues
Point visitors in the right direction – nudge them to act. Visual cues – implicit and explicit – can indicate where visitors should direct their gaze.
An implicit directional cue could be a picture of a person looking in the direction of your CTA button. An explicit directional cue could be an arrow pointing directly at your CTA. Let’s go into each type in more detail.
Use implicit cues
The principle behind visual cues is what Malcolm Gladwell calls “microexpressions” – small facial indications or “fleeting looks” that we recognize in other people that impact how we interpret emotions.
Eye-tracking studies have found that facial features are the first thing people look at when they see someone new. When visitors see a picture of someone looking favorably at a product or form, there’s a better chance they will respond positively.
In visual #content, show a person looking favorably at your product to boost conversion. @sara_mcguire Click To Tweet
Facial cues can be subtle. Look at this landing page on Copy Hackers:
The image is positioned so copywriting expert Joanna Wiebe faces the text and her hands are close to the CTA. Without directly pointing at the button, the image guides visitors’ eyes toward where they need to click.
An effective implicit visual cue will make clicking seem like the natural next step.
Use explicit directional cues
Implicit visual cues are subtle, while explicit cues are not. Arrows and illustrations unabashedly point to the CTA.
Take, for example, Bear CSS’s cute landing page:
The bear points visitors toward the CTA button.
If something quirky wouldn’t work for your brand, a simple arrow is also effective. IMPACT’s e-book landing page is a great example:
The arrow is animated to pop up after the page loads – another visual trigger to attract the visitors’ attention to the call to action.
7. Use real people
Pictures of real people (i.e., not models) perform well on landing pages. MarketingExperiments conducted a study comparing a landing page with a “smiling lady” stock photo with a landing page featuring a photo of the company founder.
Stock photo version:
Company founder version:
The results? Visitors to the landing page with the founder were 35% more likely to fill out the CTA form than those who visited the “smiling lady” page.
Note: Not only was the founder’s image used, text was included to let visitors know it was the founder.
Including real people in your imagery helps instill trust and can help grow your brand recognition.
Make visuals count
A landing page is your one opportunity to make a good impression. Pick visuals with the purpose of captivating visitors and nudging them to take action. Finding the right visuals to do that will probably involve some carefully planned testing.
While it might be tempting to use a visual just because it looks nice and charming, be strategic. Visuals are powerful tools to elicit reactions from people. Take care to use visuals that put your business’s best face forward.
Set your sights on San Diego in April for great visuals and great learning about technology. Register for ContentTECH Summit today. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute