Web Examples Of Visual Elements In Online Marketing
When it comes to the specific way or ways that human beings visually interact with websites, little research has yet entered the mainstream of marketing ‘best practice’.
Of course, large corporations invest a great deal of financial resources on researching how consumers interact with shelf packaging in terms of colors, scale, fonts, images and positioning (think shelf height), it seems that the same level of detail has not yet been applied to website interaction.
In this piece, I will use a number of specific example websites and consider them in the context of how we human beings might perceive and interact with certain individual websites.
It is necessary to point out though that human beings are highly subjective creatures and massive generalisations are risky.
Before we talk about specific websites, it is important to consider exactly how a new commercial website will actually be made and one of the best platforms on the Web for quickly building a professional-looking business website is WordPress, a blogging platform with a huge user base and community of active software developers. Many outstanding themes and functional software add-ons (called plugins) are available with WordPress and examples of some brilliant business themes for WordPress can be found here: www.btwoweb.com/wordpress-theme-reviews/genesis-theme-framework-review/.
Now my first web example comes from the online shopping niche wherein users can order specified groceries online and avoid the hassles normally associated with a food shopping trip: driving, parking, crowds and queueing for checkouts. In so doing, users of this site, can enter and immediately gain access to this grocery shopping service which allows for better time management and elimination of the above headaches associated with hunting for ‘bargains’ and ‘discounts’.
Moreover, if we take, for example, this particular website on the topic of chiropractic marketing, we can observe certain key factors are apparent.
In a more ‘retail style’ site, the emphasis here is on the video ‘above the fold’ of the screen and videos are proven to be one of the most consistent methods for increasing visitor time on any site.
Moreover, in marketing terms, videos can allow potential customers to ‘connect’ with a specific personality – such as this site on enlightenment - who effectively becomes the figurehead of that company in a way that large corporations cannot.
Another sample site for our consideration is this more pared down, offer driven site about chiropractic marketing.
Here, a specific offer in the form of a question is the first element to visually ‘hook’ the reader, just as a video was used in the previous example website to achieve that goal.
From a visual perspective, it is already becoming obvious that a singular ‘look at me’ thematic element is vital in connecting with the reader’s first impression when they land on a website.
- Even if a site is ‘ugly’ (again a subjective judgement) or visually incongruent, the use of a single ‘hook’ element can overcome any aesthetic concerns.
- If we observe and analyse another website on network marketing in action, we can see the repeated motif of the “Apply Now” image whereby the inducement to act is difficult to avoid, at least on a visual level.
- The fact that the same button image appears for that term several ties above the fold also aids in reinforcing the imperative to take action.
- As we can see from the three sites already analysed, different visual or optical elements have been used in each case to ‘grab’ the visitor to each site and there is a considerable amount to be learned from these particular examples, as will be the case on further site examples below.
Conversely, this specific website on building inspections Melbourne uses a still human image of the blogger to establish a friendly connection with the visitor and as we saw with the earlier video example, that can be an effective means through which to begin the establishment of some rapport.
In fact, even in purely visual and aesthetic terms, rapport – be it real or perceived – is an essential element in most successful marketing.
Hence, we see so much advertising feature the ‘Everyman’ or ‘Everywoman’ character who overcame a particular struggle or issue through the use of a certain product.
Emotional rapport begins with the visuals and it is important to keep that in mind with any website.
In some respects, a simple, straightforward website with a direct message of transformation can also be powerful as evident in this site on relationship help where married couples or singles seeking greater insight into their interactions with other people is apparent. For instance, in the skin care/dermatologist niche where patient trust within the context of a clinical environment is essential, Schweiger Dermatology‘s site entitled Cosmetic Dermatology NYC seeks to personalize their professional Web ‘shop window’.
Even a commercial site in a semi-industrial niche like still requires sound usability fundamentals on their website, something this site clearly achieves. As this forklift site illustrates, it doesn’t matter whether an online business is selling tractors, factory parts, heavy machinery or scientific equipment – user interaction must still be optimized, tested and monitored.
Property websites also constitute another area wherein much can be learned from the practice of webmasters and web developers there.
- Though not specifically designed for online marketing from the beginning, WordPress has gone on to become the standard platform across many business niches and sectors.
- On the other hand, this site example on Manhattan Real Estate Homes works on a more customised basis and therefore has less of a sense of a modified visual template than a conventional WordPress site.
- Another positive approach is to visually connect a commercial website with the best-known attributes of a particular area.
- This Floridian site about Miami Beach Real Estate Condos therefore utilises a predominately blue-based aesthetic approach to parallel the aquatic appeal of Miami and the beachside lifestyle for which the area is famous.
A personality representing the business is also present as discussed above with the other site examples (like this one targeted at online graduate courses for teachers).
If we return to sunny Southern California, this site on San Diego Real Estate & Homes uses many of the visual elements above but also includes a script-based search facility whereby visitors can narrow down to specific listing information based on precisely what types of properties they are looking for, in which areas and within certain price ranges.
Obviously here there is a challenging intersection between purely visual site design and the imperative need for functionality, depending on the market sector.
Suspension Lift Kits
Over in an unrelated niche, that of car modifications for enthusiasts, we can see that this automotive site on lift kits, after-market suspension mods offers an old-school approach that focuses just on direct access to various car manufacturer related kit products e.g. Chevrolet, Toyota, Ford, Dodge and Hummer.
Moreover, within the medical careers sector, this site that deals with pharmacy technician schools is also more geared towards a simple educational model wherein several posts detail different aspects of that type of vocational training for those considering pharmacy occupations. Interesting.
In short, of all of the sites that I have studied in this fascinating process including those about marketing generally, function can never be overlooked for the sake of purely spectacular visual design – albeit with very few business sector exceptions (art galleries and interior designers to name two).
The final property website. I would like to use in this analysis is one that successfully combines virtually all of the ways that I have previously outlined.
This website on Philadelphia Real Estate works at the level of a personality representing the company, its image and values in addition to the functionality of property search, the iconography of Philly itself (and relevant homes and apartments of course) and short, succinct contact points or calls to action.
In another niche, this wartrol site facilitates those suffering from Human papillomavirus and allows for discreet, private purchase online rather than going through the potentially embarrassing situation of buying over a chemist or pharmacy counter. The good news is that wartrol can relieve this condition as HPV can – if untreated – can lead to more serious conditions.
Clearly there are many visual elements that need to be conveyed in a site like this and this example combines those functions (including of course the need for it look professional and well-designed) in a sound fashion.
Moving on to another site, interestingly here we can observe an integrated autoplaying, speaking video of a company spokesperson effectively beginning the process of engagement on the site – in a way, beginning to tell their story but doing so in a way that correctly focuses on the specific benefits that their product can offer to targeted visitors to their site.
Language translation and interpreting sites also require optimization and this site example in the translation services niche also illustrates the power of testimonials, clear layout and calls to action.
Hopefully this has proven to be a beneficial exercise in assessing or even considering different visual elements on various commercial websites and how your business site or sites might be improved to enhance engagement with your daily visitors in a way that considerably boosts your conversion rates.
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