Drawing on his experience of planning and running stands at two major exhibitions on two different continents over the course of just three weeks, Adam has learned a lot about what makes an exhibit successful. Here is his advice about the benefits of having an effective landing page.
As a relatively new print company, we have begun to expand our marketing efforts. The first step in this process was to launch the brand in the US at an exhibition in Chicago, followed by an appearance at Comic Con in London. This gave us a chance to learn how to manage the physical, logistical, and practical challenges of such events.
One of the elements which contributed to the success of both events was having a landing page specific to each event. Impressing potential partners at the PRINT 18 show in Chicago involved a different approach to appealing to comic book creators at MCM Comic Con, and individual landing pages proved the ideal way to attract and retain both.
Landing pages can fulfil a variety of functions, some of which may be obvious and some which might not be. There are a number of things to consider when designing a landing page, depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.
The first thing you should think about when planning your landing page is who you are hoping will look at it and what they will want to see. Then you can consider what you want them to know and how you hope they will respond.
The landing page we created to launch Mixam at the Chicago trade show was designed to appeal to a B2B audience. We wanted the landing page to tell visitors to the show the things that we considered important, and the information we wanted to convey was:
- Who we are
- What we do
- Where out stand is at the show
- How to find out more
- What makes us stand out from our competitors
- How to get in touch
- Details of the promotions available at the show
We knew that not everyone would attend, so we wanted to make sure that our page would work for those who came and met us in person as well as those who didn’t.
The landing page we created for the MCM Comic Con was designed for subscribers to our email newsletters, our social media followers, and potential clients amongst the comic creators at the conference. We used retweets and shares from our followers to attract new prospects as well as teaming up with a popular comic book illustrator to hold a number of exclusive competitions.
The challenge, in this case, was to design a page which would serve as an introduction to those who have not come across Mixam before but also appeal to those who are already aware of what we do and don’t need a sales pitch to appreciate our work. We wanted to include:
- How to find us at the show
- What Mixam does for comic creators
- Details of our exclusive competition
- Information about the free gift box for exhibitors at the comic village
We included a video aimed at new prospects, showing them how we could help them bring their ideas to life with three examples that we would have at the exhibition. This meant that we weren’t taking over the page with a sales pitch that would be unnecessary for some of our visitors and this was an important factor in increasing the page’s usability.
We wanted to understand who was likely to be visiting the page and provide them with the information they needed rather than overwhelming them with potentially irrelevant promotional pitches.
For the Chicago event, we had printed hundreds of 20 page booklets for those visiting the stand so, instead of replicating that on the landing page, we made the booklet available as a PDF download. This also served as an eye-catching graphic at the top of the page, so those who came to our stand knew they could pick up a hard copy and those who couldn’t make it could still access all the information.
We wanted to encourage people to contact us whether they had visited our stand or not, so the email address we included was the direct one for a named senior member of the team rather than a generic, impersonal one which could go anywhere. This information was placed ‘above the fold’ to make it visible at first glance.
When following up with those prospects who had visited our stand at the show, we directed them to this page to maximise the chances of them finding the information they needed.
The landing page for MCM Comic Con London had a different function as it would only be visited before the event, both by our current customers and new prospects. We wanted it to guide people to our stand, learn about our competition and the freebies available to comic village exhibitors, and details of what we do.
We were aware that some users would just want to be directed towards us at the show, whereas others would be more interested in the competitions and giveaways, so we included an index of jump links at the top of the page to help them navigate to the relevant section. This meant that a single landing page could provide all the information that any user could want, as well as offering additional details that the might find useful.
We knew that visitors would be unlikely to be coming to the landing page to find out more about the nature of our business, so we did not waste valuable above the fold real estate on those details. Instead, we let our branding speak for us with an explanatory video to give some examples of what we do.
When it comes to creating an eye-catching landing page, ‘show, don’t tell’ can be a valuable rule to follow. If you have put a lot of thought into your branding, then you shouldn’t need to write hundreds of words about your business, you should be able to tell visitors what they need to know with a strong image and a short strapline. It makes for a less cluttered page and avoids coming across as an extended sales pitch. Concise statements, relevant images and careful colour choices will be a more effective way of communicating your brand message than any lengthy explanations.
We hosted the landing page for the Chicago trade show on our own website to ensure that it was sleek, professional and consistent with our house style. A strong message was displayed on a blue strip next to the booklet with an information section to the left and a strong call to action highlighted in red. The right-hand side featured a map rendered in our brand colours and with the teardrop marker as used by Google.
Below the fold is more information, but we worked on the assumption that not everyone would scroll down to this section, so we wanted to make the most important elements of the page stand out even if people were not scrutinising it closely.
This meant a black area with our USPs picked out in high contrast and a call to action in bold red.
Users who scrolled down the page would see a long red bar with a yellow call to action to ensure that visitors would have no trouble getting in touch. The page is designed to pull visitors in and direct them straight to the information they need.
Because the landing page for the MCM Comic Con London was being created with a different audience in mind, we could take a slightly more relaxed approach to the design. A graphic at the top of the page used our logo as a central feature, combined with a piece of artwork and a patterned background to really draw the eye.
All the most important information is just below this graphic, including the date and location of the event and a section explaining how to find us which, once again, featured the familiar Google Maps teardrop.
The accompanying text also included some enticements to encourage people to visit our stand. The competition rules and instructions for getting the free gift box were simplified into bullet points with images providing a visual reinforcement. The terms and conditions mentioned were included at the bottom of the page where they would be accessible to the few readers who would check them, but not cluttering the page for the majority who wouldn’t.
To complement the text, we added a full-width video showcasing some of the products we would have on display at the exhibition which were also visible in the screen grab. The video was only 30 seconds, with a commentary and subtitles so prospects could see our products without being bombarded with a lengthy sales pitch.
We included links to our social media and website so that those who wanted to could find out more, but without a specific call to action.
These two examples show how to approach landing page design with the intent, usability and design specifically tailored to suit the target audience.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should always be a consideration when designing web pages. Making your page visible to search engines need not be complicated and although it may not result in high volumes of traffic, it will contribute to the overall quality of your site and improve your chances of lead generation.
For the Chicago Print Show page, we used the keyword ‘PRINT 18’ in the meta title of the page alongside our brand name and a brief description of our services.
This was accompanied by a 156-character meta description featuring the main keywords from our title and describing the page’s purpose.
This tactic proved so effective that we are still receiving visitors who have searched for “Print 18 ecommerce” and related keywords as well as those who have specifically searched for “Print 18 Mixam” to find out more about us since the show. This page wasn’t accessible from our main website and wasn’t included in its navigation.
In retrospect, this would have been the ideal way to host our page for MCM Comic Con London as well, but time pressures and the need for a convenient solution meant that we ended up hosting our page on Mailchimp instead of our own site. Ideally, we would have optimised it in the same way as the Print 18 page to allow us to benefit from traffic from show visitors and we could have reused the page in the future when exhibiting at the same event.
In this case, we did hand out flyers, discount cards, and business cards with a comic book-specific page listed on them, so it is less likely that prospects would be seeking out our landing page after the event.
When planning a physical stand at a trade show or exhibition, consider a specific landing page as well. You can use it as a marketing tool and a means to engage with current and new prospects. Your landing page should be user-friendly, so do your research to learn what people will want from the page. Consider your design carefully as effective use of colour and branding can make a huge difference to its effectiveness. Your landing page should be a conversion tool and work for you both before and after the show.
A well-designed landing page can be used more than once as well, so putting the effort into perfecting it could yield lasting benefits.