Is your homepage telling or selling? With very little time to engage a customer visiting your web homepage, it is important to be strategic with all visual and textual content. When the goal is to engage the customer, the end result looks very different than putting links to everything on your website on your homepage. The primary purpose of a homepage is to message your brand’s promise to solve the customer’s need and establish recognition of their priorities. Here are three steps for building strategic homepage content to sell your product or service solution.
The 1-2-3 list
First, think through how customers are getting to your home page. They browsed a topic, searched in relation to a specific need or had a link. It’s important your brand message and content illustrate you know why they are there. The quicker you can demonstrate a rapport with customers, the more likely they’ll engage with your selling solution on the website.
Start with a list of the customer’s specific needs and prioritize them from the customer’s viewpoint. Using the top 2-3 priorities, write a problem statement for each with these. “When __(1)__ happens, I need __(2)__ or the consequences to my bottom-line are __(3)__.” Then check your list. Have you written these statements for ‘customer-voice’ fidelity? Do they read like what you would imagine the customer wants or can you hear your customer actually saying this? Keep each statement concise, accurate and short. These statements are the skeleton structure for your website design.
Checkpoint: Does your homepage, at a minimum, establish the customer has found a partner with your product or service? Does it point to 2-3 links to solutions for each of their top priorities?
Distill your brand essence visually
Have you noticed how some images keep showing up on websites, often with little relationship to the text on the webpage? It’s important to give your web designer the right visual statements about your brand and your strategy for visuals in the website design. Think of your brand statement, logo and visuals as ‘key verbs’ that message your promise to address the customer’s key pain points.
Make a list of verbs that describe how your brand promise addresses customer needs. For example, does your service or product protect, replenish or nourish the customer? Then gather visuals that represent the verbs to help you refine your image strategy. Tip: Google image search the verb if you are looking for fresh ideas for your visuals and be aware of image copyrights!
Checkpoint: Is your visual language on the website ‘brand promise’ focused and a driver for the overall site design strategy?
Differentiate your value meeting the customer’s business priorities
Align your product/service value with the customer’s needs when messaging how your solution is different. Focus on your relationship to consequences to the customer’s bottom-line if they do not get a solution to their need. This is a much different approach than just describing product or service benefits and features.
Using the 1-2-3 list in step one, focus on the list of consequences to the customer’s bottom-line. It’s fairly easy to write statements that explain your product/service value addressing a customer’s reason for visiting your webpage. The goal is to craft selling statements that present your brand’s differentiating value in meeting their business priorities. These statements make great hooks for anchoring a strategy for engaging the customer as they move through your web pages.
Checkpoint: Is your homepage design a communication strategy that encourages customer engagement by utilizing the customer’s business priorities as the basis for navigation to solutions?
Building the 1-2-3 statement first to drive your website content development and design has added value. It gives you trackable ‘knowledge assets’ to align the website with valuable sales messaging strategies, brand marketing assets and an enterprise-wide content management strategy. The payoff is messaging consistency that builds brand value and sells your solution, plus an operational process for measurable solution selling content design strategies.
Janine Johnson is a Learning & Development Consultant/Business Analyst and Project Manager integrating Web 2.0 social collaboration learning environments with business aligned goals for cultural transformation, change management and new product development.