When implementing an online marketing campaign, the first stage is usually composed primarily of banner ads. Used in conjunction with rich media and unique ad units, an effective mix of banners, tiles, and buttons can engage consumers and entice them to participate in your offer. But what happens next?
This is an important question, and it's crucial to creating a positive user experience that will cause the consumer to take action (that is, register, make a purchase, or any other desired action). If the user experience is not taken into account after the click, you've just killed your brand's credibility with the consumer.
The user experience follows a specific path that is designed to lead the consumer step by step from the banner to the key action you're trying to elicit. Think of it as a funnel: The online media is where the consumer enters, and the end of the user path is where your key action is located.
Once you start thinking in these terms, you're no longer trying to communicate all the details of your offer in the banner; you're given the luxury of fleshing out the campaign concept using landing pages and microsites.
Enhance the User Experience With Landing Pages
Landing pages can be categorized into two types: static and dynamic. Static landing pages are easy to implement and are relatively useful when you're communicating a fairly simple offer. Think of your basic web sweepstakes promotion. The content is static with little or no interactivity or back-end site integration.
Dynamic landing pages are slightly more difficult to implement but are much more effective for enhancing the user experience and driving meaningful conversions. Dynamic landing pages, when integrated with user interaction at the banner level, customize the content of the landing page.
Dynamic landing pages can also integrate client site content and tools into the landing pages, allowing consumers to get a taste of the client's products and services before they enter the site. For example, say your client has a unique site tool that allows users to input their respective zip codes and get specific information related to their area. This is a useful function that can be ported over into media to create a dynamic landing page that ties into the client's database and provides customized content to the user. By doing this, you are significantly enhancing a user's overall experience by creating a meaningful interaction.
Additionally, interaction with a dynamic landing page can allow specific content areas of the page to change while the overall page remains constant, thus eliminating tedious steps for the user.
Convert Consumers With Microsites
Microsites are the next level of a robust user experience. This is often the best solution for complex offers and click-and-mortar brands. Many times, microsites are offered by well-branded companies that are less interested in selling products online than they are in enhancing the consumer's experience with their brand.
Microsites generally make an engaging and entertaining user experience a priority and balance it with usability to communicate a client's offer. Quick introductions and rich interaction can convert a consumer sitting on the fence into a loyal customer.
Finesse and craftsmanship distinguish effective microsites from mediocre ones. A stringent quality-assurance process is the key to a consumer's successful interaction with any microsite, dynamic landing page, or rich media execution.
The user experience is what turns consumers into customers. What happens after the click is just as important as consumer interaction at the banner level. By creating meaningful, customizable user interactions to entice consumer participation, your online marketing effort will inevitably produce better results. It's the overall system that creates relationships with consumers, not individual executions.
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Adam Jackson is a freelance Art Director in New York City. He has worked on top brands for several interactive ad agencies and with some of the top Internet marketing minds. He has worked with Sony, Lockheed-Martin, Best Buy, Ameritrade, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, IBM, Valvoline, Monster.com, and a host of blue-chip Canadian brands. With five years of industry experience, and a few awards, Adam's career has grown with the Web.
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