When a typical web visitor lands on a typical business home page, what single button are they most likely to click next? Sadly, it’s the Back button. Gawd, I hate that statistic. So let’s consider it a call-to-arms to learn how to grab our gentle readers by the throat and yank them deeper into our websites. So to speak. To that end, here are some stray thoughts to keep in mind for smart home pages that convert visitors into buyers. And who doesn’t want that?
1. Text and images work best when they work together
You see it all the time, in home page banners and boxes: A headline, a line of text, a call-to-action, and an image. I call that combo a conversion kit. The eye tends to go to the image first, because our minds process visuals much quicker than text info. Then our gaze shifts to the headline. To make sure the eye doesn’t lose its way, the image and the first word of the headline should be pretty close together. And the last word of the headline shouldn’t be far from the next thing. That doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but trust me, it is.
2. Images are important, but they’re not the most important thing
Although pictures are essential to draw the eye to our messages, the dirty little secret is that simply having an image there is probably more important than what that image shows. Of course stunning visuals are better than mediocre ones, but ’fess up, either way, you don’t spend a whole lot of time looking at any particular picture on a site. The real purpose of a great image on a biz website is to deliver the eye to the headline. Except for when we’re selling a really beautiful product, it’s usually good, engaging writing that persuades buyers to lay their money down.
3. A powerful main message should never slide away
Sliders, or multiple rotating banners, on websites are convenient for getting across multiple messages. Unfortunately, multiple minor messages can never be as impactful as a single awesomely strong message. That lovingly-crafted banner headline, that core branding idea, should clearly and quickly explain why your unique offering is the buyer’s perfect solution. It will be the first thing folks see, and make a big difference in whether they stick around. But if that big idea is one of four rotating sliders, that means it’s getting just 25% of the thunder instead of 100%
4. You can target your audience by turning your images into a mirror
Web buyers want to know that your product or service is for people just like them. Sometimes that’s easier to convey with images than with words. For example, if you sell expensive insurance policies to upscale families, well, show a pic of an upscale family in front of a big fancy house. They’ll make the connection. Or, if you’re offering cheap basic car insurance to twentysomethings in jeans, then show…well, you get the idea. This approach helps pre-qualify your prospects, because they can quickly tell if it’s probably not a good fit.
5. People are far more focused on themselves than they are on you
You’ll get people’s attention if you talk about something they already care about. And you’ll get them to read further if you make them curious. So, craft your headlines to make people curious about something that’s already important to them. Which, however, may not be what’s specifically important to the owner of the company. The trick is to start where the buyer is at, then with a quick but strategic sequence of messages, take them to where you’re at. When a company can’t stop talking about how great they are, there’s no opportunity for the rest of us to connect.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about home pages that convert, pay careful attention to your experience on other websites. See how other companies handle the issues above, and other factors. And notice your own reaction, as a typical web visitor. Then every time your mouse reaches for the Back button, at least you’ll know a bit more about what not to do.
Since we’re all so close to our own websites, it’s often hard to asses what’s working and not working from our visitors’ point-of-view. An independent Website Marketing Audit can reveal a lot.