Users arrive on the homepage with a specific task to complete. The job of the homepage is to allow the user to complete this task as quickly as possible and to persuade them to complete the task now.
For example, a user landing on an insurance company homepage might want to carry out a specific task, such as:
• I want to get a quote
• I want to make a claim
• I want to login to my account
It the job of the homepage to make sure the user can complete these tasks as easily and as quickly as possible. This is achieved by providing clear signposting, meaningful communication and task focused call to actions.
So how can we create homepage banners which provide meaningful communication and persuade customers to click?
Let’s look at some effective and proven persuasive design techniques.
Best practices for effective homepage banners
There are lots of different techniques to help increase conversion rates of homepage banners. I have picked out the 5 techniques, which I think, are the most effective:
1. Offer secondary call to actions
A secondary CTA is a call to action that invites a user to perform an action other than the primary one you would like them to take.
“Think of them like the contingency plan; they offer another path for users who are not yet ready for something as high-commitment as you’re asking. This way, you can motivate users to continue to engage with you until they are ready to convert to the next stage.” Hubspot
MoreThan exhibits this technique on their homepage banner. The primary action they want their users to complete is to get a quote. The primary call to action ‘Start your quote’ supports this action. For customers wanting more information about the company or product before they are willing to get a quote, they provide a secondary action ‘Learn more’.
MoreThan also provide good use of social proof displaying that they have 5* rating on Defaqto.
2. Create urgency
Persuading a user to complete a task immediately will increase the likelihood of them completing the task at all.
Suggestions to perform an action can be an effective way to create a sense of urgency. Using words such as ‘now’, ‘immediately’ and ‘right now’ can convey such urgency.
Lloyds bank exhibits this technique on their homepage banners. The primary action they want users to take is to open up a Cash ISA account. They are persuading perspective customers to carry out this task by adding the word ‘now’ to their primary call to action.
3. Meaningful communication
Last year I attended a persuasive design training course given by Paul Boag. Paul is a user experience consultant and expert in digital transformation. He has a 4 step formula for providing effective and persuasive communication which I think can be applied to homepage banners:
- What I’ve got for you?
- What’s it going to do for you?
- Who are you (Why should I value your opinion)?
- What do you want me to do next?
Invision employs this formula on their homepage banner. The headline ‘DESIGN BETTER. FASTER. TOGETHER’ conveys what the product can do for the user. The strapline ‘The World’s leading prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform’ provides trust and reassurance to help the user value their opinion, and then the CTA helps to persuade them what to do next.
4. Call to action wording
Once you have got the users attention using meaningful communication and imagery a good call to action should anticipate a user’s next step and tell the user what to expect if they click on this button.
The Airbnb homepage banner is targeted towards non customers. Airbnb anticipate this customer base will want to first find out how their product offering works before they commit to signing up to the company, so the ‘How it works’ CTA directly addresses this use case.
5. Use human faces to guide the line of sight
Using human faces on homepage banners can be very powerful. When we see a human face we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathise with that person.
Showing images of people smiling or laughing is a technique used by lots of companies to make people smile themselves. You can even go one step further and use human faces to draw attention to other areas on a webpage:
“Once you have caught your users’ attention. Human faces are a great way to also guide their line of sight. This is because we are curious by nature and if other people are looking at something, we want to know what it is they are looking at. Online is the same thing.” Usabilla.com
Dove exhibits this technique on their homepage. It is no coincidence the woman on the left is looking directly at the content on the right hand side of the page. She is persuading users to look at that content by looking at it herself.
Putting these 5 persuasive techniques into practise
The homepage banner on the AXA Self Investor website is a good example of a banner which demonstrates all 5 of the persuasive techniques listed above.
- The headline lets the user know exactly what the product is and the strapline provides information about what the product can do for the customer. (Part of the 4 step formula)
- They use a human face which is smiling to elicit emotion
- The face is looking directly at the content and CTAs to help guide the users focus of attention.
- It uses both primary and secondary call to actions
- The primary CTA – ‘Get Started’ is a direct action promoting urgency.