Would you vote for your own website in an election?
Internet marketing, email list building and social media have become critical to the modern-day election process.
Regardless of where you stand on political issues, a lot can be learned right now from Washington when it comes to online marketing.
After opening it up to check it out for myself, I must admit I was really impressed.
I wanted to share my key takeaways. I think you will find many of them valuable as your own website evolves.
7 Things You Can Learn From BarackObama.com
1. Super-clean header
Completely eliminating standard tabs like About Me, Contact Me, etc., in the header might seem risky. Not having any navigation categories above the fold is certainly a new approach to designing a home page. I happen to like it a lot. It forces your eyes, and more importantly your mouse, to go exactly where they want you to.
They give you three total options. Play the video, give us your email or continue to the full site. I am particularly intrigued by the “Continue to website” option, which I will discuss more below.
Take a moment and visit your website’s home page right now. How many clickable options are there? My guess is way too many.
2. One huge image
Images evoke emotion. Having one image displayed at a time that is really well done keeps the design clean and can instantly portray what your brand is all about. At the same time, it is also putting a greater emphasis on the email opt-in form.
Sites like Groupon and Living Social have recently used this approach to much success. Your website should have thousands of pictures of homes and local attractions — maybe there are just too many currently on your home page.
Here is a great example of a real estate website that has already implemented the “mega photo” approach. It looks great.
3. Clearly state what your brand stands for
Does your brand stand for something? If so, is that clearly stated on your home page for the world to see?
This area of a real estate website is often used for things like “Search for Homes” or “How’s the Market?”
Everyone offers that, so offer something else. I think it makes a lot of sense to make your core values as a company very clear on your homepage.
Krisstina Wise of The Good Life Team has done this brilliantly with the brokerage’s new site.
4. A professionally produced video
Video has become arguably the powerful medium for communicating messages online. Does your home page have a video right now? I am betting it will soon.
A team of agents in Miami recently partnered with a video production company to produce this really great team bio video. This is a trend I see gaining traction quickly.
Additionally, the placement holder for a video on the home page allows for “redoing” that element without redesigning the entire site.
Here is a great example of a Mother’s Day-centric video that an agent produced for the recent holiday. It would have been a great seasonal choice for their home page.
5. A call to action that makes you feel something
“Click Here” and “Learn More” don’t exactly elicit an emotion. “Stand Up With the President” does.
The copy that you write is really important on your home page. When it sits above your email newsletter form it becomes even more paramount.
Consider taking a look at the current “Calls to Action” on your home page and freshening them up. “Search for Homes” is certainly a step up from “Search the MLS” — both, however, lack feeling.
6. Only ask for critical information on your opt-in form
Far too many Web lead forms ask for ungodly amounts of information. Name, email, phone number and physical address is too much. The less you ask for, the more leads you will get.
I would suggest choosing the two things you need the most to convert the lead. In Obama’s case, it is email and ZIP code. For you, it might be phone number and email. Take a look at your current lead generation forms on your home page and see how many of the fields you can eliminate — then eliminate them.
7. The home page as a landing page
In reality, the home page for BarackObama.com is what many people would refer to as a landing page, not a home page.
Many sites use pop-ups, landing pages and sidebar widgets to get people to give up their email address. Few have designed their home page with an email conversion focus.
The majority of the traffic that your site gets from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook will be come in by visitors clicking on a specific article, not a link to the home page. Additionally, people browsing Google for information often times find a sub page of your site or a specific blog post, not the home page.
After reading what initially drew them in, it is common Web browsing behavior for a visitor to then click the home button to see what else the site has to offer. When they do, is your site asking for their email?
BarackObama.com, in essence, provides the benefit of a “pop up” after the second click, without the annoying “pop up” itself.
Did you learn a lesson or two from our commander in chief’s website?
I know I did!
A special thanks to Darin Persinger for inspiring this article.
I am sure there will be some traditionalists who are opposed to designing the home page of a website with such a focus on conversion.
I welcome their thoughts and yours below.