Your Website Homepage Might Be Stopping Your Inbound Marketing From Working
January 12, 2017
If You Ignored Your Website And You’re Expecting Inbound Marketing To Work, Think Again
We’ve looked at so many inbound marketing programs that we’re usually very sure what’s preventing the program from performing to expectations. Most of the time, it’s your website.
It might look great, it might be just a few months old and you might have written every word yourself, but unless the homepage grabs a prospect’s attention, pulls them into your story, tells them why they want to do business with you and explains how other people have had success working with you — and does this all in 10 seconds — your marketing is dead on arrival.
Yes, your website is the most important marketing asset in your collection of marketing tactics and it’s the most complicated asset you’ll work with. It also needs to be continuously updated and upgraded based on performance data. If you’re not using your website like this, this is why your inbound marketing might be underperforming.
Here are some website design tips for your homepage to help you start getting more leads and better leads next week...
Create An Emotional Message
People buy emotionally and if your homepage is filled with features and benefits, you’re in trouble. You have to help them get to know, like and trust your company. If you can deliver a message that gets them emotionally connected to your company, they’ll be ready to hear what you have to say.
Part of emotionally connecting with them is also disrupting their status quo. People don’t want to change and you have to help them understand the risks associated with not changing.
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
- John Wooden
Change might be risky, but not changing might mean failure. Delivering this disruptive and emotional message needs to be the first step in your website messaging strategy. If you don’t do this, your visitors won’t be around long enough to read anything else on the site.
Use It To Tell A Story
People love stories; we’re tuned to remember stories, share stories, connect with stories and internalize stories. We suck at remembering anything associated with features and benefits, yet people continue to use information like this in their marketing. It’s a big mismatch with what your prospects need and a recipe for failure.
Stories have a beginning, middle and end, so your website homepage needs to have a similar flow. Start with the big emotional and disruptive message. Move into what you do and why you do it differently, then close with how you help them with their goals and what other businesses have worked with you. Skip any of these components and you have an incomplete story.
Skip The Jargon And 'Tech Speak'
Make your site about your prospects and not about you. I know it’s easier to talk about yourself, your company, your products and your services, but your prospects don’t care about you. They only care about how you’re going to help them deliver on their challenges.
When you create your homepage messaging, skip any jargon or "tech speak." Keep the language as simple as possible. Remember, your visitors won’t spend time interpreting or attempting to understand what you do, so if you can’t explain it simply in a sentence or two, you’re not ready to launch the new page.
You might want to consider using the red/blue test on the homepage. This test helps you make sure you have more references to your clients than you do to yourself. Circle every word that talks about you — such as us, we, the name of your company and the name of your products or services — in red. Any time you talk about your clients or reference them, circle that in blue. You need to have 90% blue circles and 10% red circles. If your page doesn’t look right, keep working on it until it’s properly balanced.
It Needs Social Proof In The Right Sequence
I mentioned above that the story needs to be complete and in the right sequence. One area that companies mess up the most is pushing social proof like testimonials, success stories or awards to the top of the page. I know you’re proud of that stuff, but your prospects aren’t ready for that. It’s like telling the end of the story first. It’s confusing and prospects will skip right past it.
If you wait until the end, when they’ve been brought along thoughtfully and they’re buying into your messaging, they’ll be ready to see who also thinks you’re great, who you’ve worked with that’s just like them and what successes you’ve achieved. If you mess up the order, you’ll diminish the value of any social proof.
Make Sure It Has Offers That Convert
Finally, this is about turning visitors into leads. Let’s not lose sight of the website’s only objective. To deliver on this goal you need the right offers on the right pages. Homepages typically get top-of-the-funnel offers that appeal to people in the awareness stage. You might want to consider a bottom-of-the-funnel or decision-making offer for the homepage, too. Resist the urge to include a ton of offers on the homepage because having offers that are out of context to the prospect’s buyer journey causes confusion, leading to them not converting at all.
Think about your website homepage as a front door. It has to be welcoming, it has to be warm, it has to be clearly visible, it has to be clean and well-maintained, and it has to be an entrance way to other information. You only have 10 seconds to make a first impression on the web and if your homepage is missing any of these characteristics, you’re probably repelling high-quality prospects.
The days when you guessed about whether your website was doing a good job or not are over. We now get performance data on all of our clients’ home pages and we’re keeping close tabs on those numbers. Bounce rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, scroll rate, click rate and other numbers tell us whether the home page is working or not. There is no more guessing, no more opinions and no more assumptions. Marketing your company and using your homepage to do so is now a science.