It should be fairly obvious in this day and age that your website is often the primary, and maybe only, opportunity you have to connect with a potential customer. As such, it’s important to make a good first impression and show a site visitor the wide range of products you offer, or talk about your wide range of services, and describe your excellent customer service, your proud company history, your phone number, your address, your email address, your business hours… whoa, when you type it out, it becomes apparent that this is way too much content for a single sentence, which also means it’s too much content for your homepage.
If you want your site visitors to engage with you, to contact you for service, or to make a purchase, you need a homepage that is set up for success. At Cassel Bear, we help our clients evaluate what’s really important to their customers, structure the site’s pages, and then design a homepage that both instills consumer confidence and gives users a clear path forward. Before any of that happens, though, there’s a bit of homework you can do to get the ball rolling:
Craft a clear, concise, and compelling message that speaks directly to your ideal customer and inspires confidence in your brand.
There are people out there with a problem or need that you can address. When they come to your site, whether through an ad, organic search, or a referral from social media, they’re interested in one thing: what can you do for them?
And they’re going to make that decision in a matter of seconds, so you don’t have much time to tell them why you and you alone are the right choice to help them with their need. By making your value proposition the main point on your homepage, and clearly stating who you can best help, you’ll have a better chance of capturing the attention of potential customers and convincing them to stay and learn a bit more about what you offer.
Put the solution to their problem right in front of them.
There’s a phenomenon in marketing and consumer psychology called the Paradox of Choice. In short, the more options someone has, the less likely they are to actually make a decision. Ever find yourself hungry, staring into a fridge full of food, unable to figure out what to eat? The same thing happens to website visitors when they’re inundated with too many options. Part of an effective homepage is giving your visitors a clear path forward, a beacon illuminating the path to follow to find the solution to their need.
This can take many forms. Often times it’s simply a contact form to request service, but it could also be an offer of some sort, such as a limited time discount, an e-book, or a free consultation.
Show the user’s future success
When people come to your site, they already know the problem they’re trying to solve, so why would you show it to them again? They came to you looking for a solution, so instead show them what their world will look like if they take you up on your offer. And when I say “show”, I really mean “show”, meaning pictures – real, authentic, genuine pictures of past customers enjoying the benefits of your product or outcome of your service.
As we’ve discussed previously, authentic photography has all kinds of benefits, and putting these to work on your homepage should be a no-brainer.
Hello Fresh – www.hellofresh.com
A clear, simple message that addresses a common pain point – cooking a delicious, nutritious meal in the middle of a hectic week. Imagery makes the food look attractive and gives a hint at the process (recipe card, ingredients organized, all the way down to a finished plate) and a big green button that entices me to take the next step.
Columbia – www.columbia.com
Imagery showing the product in dramatic action, with some copy that builds trust and shows integrity. Clear paths forward for natural categories of customer (shop men, shop women).
Prana – www.prana.com
Smaller imagery and less copy, but still effective in conveying a connection and understanding of who their customer is and what they value. Again, a clear differentiated call-to-action (shop men, shop women) gives clear and concise next steps.
These concepts may sound simple right now, but as you dig into developing your core message, crafting a compelling call to action, and creating imagery that inspires confidence in your potential customers, don’t be discouraged if you hit a few bumps in the road. This isn’t a one-size fits all solution, but a set of exercises that can help jump start your online presence. If you get stuck, that’s ok! If you get really stuck, that’s where we can help, so give it a go! And then give us a call.