In web design and online marketing, our first mission is to ENTICE the customer... to attract and lure the customer to just come in the front door. That's the crucial first step that opens the door for Engagement, and then ultimately Conversion.
Enticement starts with the eye. Seeing is believing.
Web Design Tips to Entice Visitors
1. Awesome Hero Photography
Enticement is emotional, and I'm sorry but no brilliant headline is going to match good photography when it comes to evoking emotion. If you look at any "award winning site", I can guarantee you that it presents stunning photography first, and allows it the space it needs to set that emotional hook. You must have great photography however. Do not go cheap here, and I say this knowing that dollars put toward photography, won't go into our pockets, but I also know that we (you or us) cannot be successful without it.
2. Vine-esque Hero Video
I'm a big fan of using video to capture entice and introduce the brand... or to just set the mood. I like taking a Vine approach with short 1-4 sec clips that add up to no more than 20 seconds. You tell - I mean show a lot of story in 20 seconds. Its just a great opportunity to grab the eyeballs and present a montage of the brand in a way that is impossible to turn away from. We call these hero videos promos or background videos. Here are a few samples airbnb, Y.CO, Squat.
We have a pretty cool hero video player that integrates with Youtube. We just built it last year and so far have only one client using it, though not all the time. All of our resort projects in production have it. More to come...
3. Instagram Galleries
If you offer "an experience" to your customers that is visual, they will line up in front of it and take selfies until the cows come home. Resorts do especially well here. If you want photography that is authentic and captures the experience then who better to deliver it than your customers. You could hire a dozen photographers and nobody will really get that smiling face on young Billy better than Mom can. One thing I'll add here is that no two Instagram galleries are the same. Ours allows our customers to create galleries that pull in either an @ccount or a #ashtag. We tap the API and pull in those photos into an approval queue, where the admin can select which size. So you have control. You also want to pull in all the image data and display that on your page, versus sending the user out to Instagram when they select a photo.
Also, for hospitality/resorts, the Photo of the Day is dead. That's Instagram.
4. Solid Image Galleries
If you're in hospitality especially, you'll see that galleries are very popular. Seeing is believing. So make sure they're easy to navigate too (we've started adding "Galleries" to top level nav), and make sure they don't suck. Most do.
For years we used the same lame galleries that many still use - a carousel with thumbnails that are hard to even see that blow up into a lightbox or a window above. Two years ago we studied how Flickr, Yahoo, Facebook, and Google and built a new photo gallery tool based largely on Google Image Search. Big "thumbnails" that expand within the page and allow you to continue scrolling past endlessly. No pagination. No lightboxes. Here is an example for one for Crystal Springs.
5. Design That Gets Out of The Way
I'll never forget one of our design meetings that included the CEO and department heads. People were spouting off about calls to action, the fold, and sell sell sell. Then CEO, Julie Mulvihill, reminded everyone that the visitor is shopping for a vacation. Vacations are fun but also relaxing. So we can't overwhelm them with everything at once, and we don't need to hit them over the heads with aggressive offers. We just need to open the door and show them how great this place is.
So notice how there are not calls to action or buy buttons in your face above the "fold"... whatever that is.
Its clean. Its classy. Its visual.... it Entices.