When launching a new web app, or site, it can help to start marketing early. A “coming soon” page has several different purposes. Firstly, it allows you to show a teaser of your new app to people and to start the ball rolling with building the excitement. Secondly, it allows people to sign-up to email updates about your new app, and this lets you know how popular it might be.
It’s also quite motivating – if a lot of people have signed up, then you may find you’re more likely to continue working on the app. It can be a warning sign too – if there’s very little interest, then it can give you some ideas about whether to continue building the app as you are, or whether you should change the app to be better suited to what people **are** looking for.
Your Coming Soon page can also be used to show the personality of your new app, and as you start to promote your new product you may find it comes in useful as press sites & blogs start to talk about you more.
In this post, we aim to show some of the different features that Coming Soon pages can employ, to give you some inspiration & ideas when building yours to help increase the chance that your new app will be a success.
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While it’s not a necessity, beautiful typography on a Coming Soon page (as with most web pages) can help to make it stand out, and look visually appealing.
Milk is a good example of a Coming Soon page that has been designed with typography in mind – from the logo, to the micro-copy that encourages you to sign up for updates.
They haven’t been afraid to make use of the white-space, and they’ve helped the page to stand out and be a bit more memorable by using a custom-designed typeface for the logo. The overall effect is that the landing page is very uncluttered and calming.
Campus Perks uses typography to help particular elements stand-out. Important words are emphasised with a blue highlight, so that if you’re skim-reading you immediately get an understand of what the site is about – sponsorship and perks from brands.
Eberri focuses on minimalist typography, with just their name and a very brief idea of what the app is about – “your social cloud”.
Beautiful, interesting, unusual or unique illustrations can help to create a personality for your new app or product.
Birdboxx’s vibrant illustration of a bird in a birdbox helps to show the fun-side behind the new site, and makes them seem a bit more interesting and creative. With just the text on it’s own, “a vibrant new holiday and vacation accomodation directory” could be seen as somewhat dull, but the illustration helps to liven the page up and keep the visitor’s attention for a bit longer.
Cloudring stands out by using a beautiful illustration of clouds along with the “sign up for the beta” call-to-action. Hovering over this causes the clouds to part, revealing the sign-up form. It’s a nice touch to improve on a clean, simple & effective design.
Zaarly still technically counts as a “Coming Soon” site as it hasn’t yet launched fully everywhere. Their landing page makes an exceptional use of illustration with a rich, vibrant & detailed design that helps to show the concept of Zaarly – the idea of buying & selling items locally.
Animation on a Coming Soon page can, like beautiful illustrations & typography, help the page to stand out and be noticed. Clever, interesting or unexpected animation on a page can also help it to be more shareable, as people will often link to or tweet about creatively designed sites.
Bre.ad is an excellent example of creative animation. While the “request an invite” sign-up box is shown front and centre, the background shows a little van with the Bre.ad logo rumbling along an illustrated city landscape.
Coderr is more subtle with it’s use of animation, with the page elements sliding into view slowly when the page loads. This creates quite a gentle introduction to the site, and helps to encourage the user to focus on several elements in an order – first the sign-up box, then a brief description of what the site is about (a “premium Ruby and Python assets marketplace”) followed by the Coderr logo gently dropping into view. It’s simple & subtle, but beautifully done.
When using animation, it’s best to ensure that it gently enhances the user experience and doesn’t get in the way of it. Tripl expertly uses animation on their Coming Soon page, by including two small planes that quietly fly across the backdrop, and includes hoverable circles across the landscape – hover over one of these circles, and a small notification bubble pops up explaining what it does. It helps to visually show a teaser of what the app is about, without being intrusive.
Feastery.com uses animation in an extremely subtle, but clever, way. There are two main elements on the page – the “Become a Member” box and the “Sign In” box. Hovering over one of these causes the other to fade gently into the background, while selected box becomes opaque. It’s a subtle trick, but it helps to draw the visitor’s eye to the appropriate box for them.
Micro-copy is the principle of writing something easy to understand without taking up much space or writing too much. It’s an extremely important principle with Coming Soon pages because, typically, visitors will be unlikely to want to hang around reading pages of documentation. For most people, they will want a quick summary of what the app does before deciding whether to sign up, or register their interest.
Beautifully written micro-copy is an artform, and it can be much harder than it looks – especially for complicated apps, or sites that handle difficult to explain tasks.
Piictu is a great example of micro-copy done well. The opening sentence is “A fun + simple way to talk & play with piics”, with a speech-bubble rising from “piics” to reveal that it’s their name for a “picture used as a reply in Piictu”. The red squiggly underlining under “piics” is a gentle nod to Microsoft Word seeing it as a typo, but also helps it to stand out and be seen.
Piictu also goes further by giving one sentence snippets of how it works under the tabs “Discover”, “Then Reply” and “Share”, which helps to further explain what the app does without asking the visitor to spend too long reading.
CardFlick not only has a beautiful design, they’ve also thought carefully about the text they include on the landing page. The text is minimal, but it immediately conveys what the app does. From the opening sentence on the micro-copy, above the fold, which reads “CardFlick helps you create beautiful business cards with your iPhone”, along with the styled sub-heading “Create and Share Digital Business Cards”, the reader instantly understands the app’s purpose.
Polo also makes use of micro-copy on their landing page to explain the purpose of the app. The concept of the app isn’t the most straight-forward, but they’ve made it easy to understand with succinct & to-the-point micro-copy:
“Polo let’s you set a custom ‘away status’ for your phone. If you miss a call, Polo will automatically text that status back to the caller”.
Polo, like many of the Coming Soon pages featured, reassures users that their email address is safe with the words “We will never share or sell your info” underneath the sign up box. They also give visitors a further incentive to leave their details, with a call to action offering a chance to win a free copy of the app by registering their interest. In short, Polo (despite it’s simple appearance) does a lot of things right.
Yupeat is an interesting concept for a business – they’ll email you each day with a recipe for a dish. From there, you can pick a nearby location to pick up food from (a nearby grocer, for example). You can then buy those ingredients from Yupeat, head to your location when you’re ready and the food will be there waiting for you to collect it. It’s not the easiest concept to explain quickly, but Yupeat have clearly put some thought into it. Their introductory paragraph begins with “Pre-purchased and bagged meal ingredients ready for you after work”.
Got Badge? is an iPhone app that aims to bring game mechanics into your life, by awarding the user with badges for various accomplishments. The micro-copy used to describe the concept is kept short & sweet:
“Got Badge? is a fun and easy way to keep track of your life achievements by earning badges”.
They’ve also made use of big, brash & bold design with a great colour palette – which (like the examples above) help the page to stand out and helps show a hint of fun, quirky personality.
Talkbee is an interesting, unusual concept – the idea of paying for video calls with startup entrepreneurs like the co-founder of Hipmunk & Reddit, along with designers like Drew Wilson. Talkbee have put a lot of care and attention into their design, and one of the things that their landing page does right is explain this somewhat difficult concept succinctly:
“Book one-on-one Skype sessions with awesome people”.
They’ve also made sure to include Facebook Like and Tweet buttons on the landing page – which is a simple idea, but helps to encourage visitors to share the landing page. This is a concept that LaunchRock takes a bit further..
Some Coming Soon pages use it as an opportunity to market themselves before they’ve launched, by being seen by as many people as possible & getting talked about by having their landing page go viral. It’s not an easy thing to do, in fact – it’s exceptionally difficult – but there’s a few landing pages out there that are creative enough to be shareable.
Ben the Bodyguard is an iPhone app that aims to keep data encrypted & safe. Their landing page was extraordinarily memorable because of it’s creativity – by building the site with HTML5 techniques, they were able to employ animation to tell a story about how the app was useful. Scrolling down the page saw Ben take a journey through a comic book illustration of a city centre at night, telling a story about the theft of data. It was an extremely popular, unusual landing page and (as a result) it went viral, being shared and seen by thousands of potential customers & fans.
Forkly was the first landing page to employ a clever, new technique for encouraging visitors to advertise the site. When entering your email address to be put on the invite list (and so get early access to the app), you are shown a message offering priority access:
“Get early access by inviting at least 3 friends. The more friends you invite, the sooner you’ll get access”.
The app then gives you a unique sharing code so they know who to credit for sign-ups. The concept took off in a big way, with news of Forkly spreading widely. It was even so successful that LaunchRock used it as a business model.
LaunchRock is a startup that takes Forkly’s approach to sharing a Coming Soon page and allows any new app or site that’s soon to launch to recreate the “sharing code”. It’s a very interesting concept and it seems to have been popular so far, although time will tell whether it remains creative enough to be successful.
There are a number of Coming Soon pages that have made use of LaunchRock’s platform, including:
5MinSites.com uses LaunchRock to promote their soon-to-launch site, and it does seem as if they’re being tweeted about as a result of it. From looking at Backtweets.com, they’ve gained around 70 tweets in the last couple of weeks from people that want early access, so it’s definitely a concept that people are willing to make use of.
Sumazi’s Coming Soon page is full of personality despite being minimal, and is presented in the form of a letter:
“Dear Sumazi, I think I like you. A little bird told me that you’re up to something big. Can I be the first to know?”.
It creatively presents visitors with a Facebook like button and a Tweet button mid sentence – replacing the words “like” and “bird” with the recognisable symbols – in the hope that users will be more likely to share the sign-up page with their friends. It’s a creative and interesting approach, and it definitely helps the page to stand out a bit, and be memorable (even if it’s not quite clear what Sumazi is or does).
Instead of encouraging users to leave their email in order to be notified of launch, Kohort goes one step further and invites users to register their username (and their email alongside it). It’s been worded very carefully, too – “It’s a new frontier – stake your claim”. It gently encourages visitors to register early, to make sure they get their desired username – and at the same time, it builds their userbase before they’ve even launched.
Dabble employs a very similar tactic to Kohort, except it’s even less clear about what the site is going to do. From the landing page alone, there’s no indication other than the words “What do you Dabble?”. However, word of Dabble has spread quickly and sign-ups have grown rapidly as users rush to make sure they’ve registered their username of choice. It’s the pressure that you won’t get the username that you want that helps to fuel the sign-up process, and it helps to make sure that (come launch day), you’ll already have a healthy user base.
Turntable.fm aims to spead cleverly through Facebook. It explains this by saying “How to get in: if you have a Facebook friend already on Turntable, you’re in! Just sign in below”. If not, you can add your email address to the invite list, where you may eventually be given an invite. Allowing users to sign in and use the service via Facebook is a creative way of spreading, as Facebook’s massive user base can allow things to be shared between friends quickly and on a huge scale.
Of course, not all of the above design elements are required for a successful landing page – and many of the examples shown above don’t include all (or even many) of the aspects. But if you’re in the process of designing a new Coming Soon page, and you’re not sure what elements are useful, hopefully keeping some of these ideas in mind will help you to design a successful, creative & interesting landing page.
While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great “coming soon” pages. Feel free to share it with us.