Website & Landing Pages 101: Rep your Brand!
By: Gabriel Ruane
Founder of Turn Agency
Social media is a great place to engage and rally fandom. But you need a bridge from that social effort and engagement to sales. Directly or indirectly, you need to be able to harness the excitement you generate on social channels and move those potential customers through to your site or your brick and mortar storefronts - the places where business is transacted.
There are ways to sync up your Instagram and Facebook with various e-commerce storefronts - but remember that someone scrolling through their feed may or may not be in a buying state of mind. Putting a buy-now link on an Instagram post can seem presumptuous. Use IG to get them to want what you're selling. Then make it easy for them to give you their money on and offline, once they're ready to buy.
Tools to creating your first landing page until you have a site
The tools to build a landing page are just as accessible as the tools to build your first site. Your first site can be a one-page landing experience that serves both purposes - validation that you're a real company and has an online presence, and a landing spot for potential customers that you've connected with on social channels.
Whenever our agency works with startups, as soon as the brand identity is ready to roll, we put up a 1-page website. The full website effort can take a lot of time and energy, but there's no time to wait on that process. Get something simple up on Squarespace or Shopify on day one. As soon as your social channels are live on Instagram and Facebook (YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, wherever), your fans will check your profile and look for the link to your site. Have something ready!
Your landing page should be disciplined and focused
Don't try to put all of your thoughts down in one place. Show who you are, what you sell, and maybe a short paragraph or two about why you've launched your business. Branding should be consistent with your social profiles. If you can make it clear who your audience is, the right people will feel like they're in the right place when they get there. Then there should be ONE very clear CTA (call to action) - what is it you want people to do next once they've hit your site? Get in touch, make an order, follow you on Instagram? Based on your business goals, figure out that one next thing you want them to do, and then ask them to do it with a concise sentence and a button. Don't bury it at the bottom of the page. And don't forget to infuse your personality in your writing style. Most people are pretty boring with their copywriting - often trying too hard to sound established or serious. Just be you.
When your business requires a web designer for brand development
Like every other aspect of your business, hiring specialists for complex tasks will always level-up your results. If you're bootstrapping though, and most startups are, I'd recommend you hold off on any big budget engagements for web design, web development or brand identity. Those three things make up the core of my business, and I know they're all hugely important, but they can be expensive as well. Start by rallying the design and development experts in your inner circle. Ask for free or cheap help to get started. Offer delayed compensation of some kind, like bartering.
Build out an affordable site on Squarespace. Get what you need to get off the ground, and then as you build revenue and cash flow, you can come back to a more formal branding and/or web engagement with an agency or freelancer that does work that resonates with you. And keep an eye on your product/service at all times - if that offering is strong, and people like what you do, they won't care that your website and logo aren't high-end. If people don't like what you're selling, it won't matter how much money you spent on that awesome logo and a slick website.