When we think of a website, we often think of aesthetics.
“Oooh, we want something eye-catching and simple yet sleek and modern. Here’s what my competitors are doing. I want something that’s going to put theirs to shame.”
These are some of the more popular responses we as designers and marketers get from clients. While this is important, since it is the primary branding of a company, we need to start thinking strategically about what the main objective of a homepage and a website as a whole is and let the aesthetics fall in naturally after.
I used to think the purpose of a homepage is to simply get visitors off the homepage and to make your visitors feel a little excited about how creative it is. And, while there is some truth to this, that should not be the main objective.
Looking over some analytics recently for a few clients, I’ve come to realize that while blogs tend to be the top landing pages on a website, your homepage usually falls within that top 2 - 4 place.
When visitors land on your homepage, you generally lose about 50% of them right after the second section of the homepage. Now, remember that saying about first impressions—specifically, how you only get one chance at them?
Your homepage is often your first impression that you make with your website visitors.
Your Website Is a Story You Tell Your Visitors
Think of your website as a story. A story about your company, your industry, and the benefits of working with you. The problem is this: some visitors have already heard and are very familiar with this story, while others are fairly new to it.
As the owner of that story, you need to figure out where your personas are in that lifecycle.
Are they in the Beginner Stage (TOFU, or top of the funnel), Intermediate Stage (MOFU, middle of the funnel), or the Advanced Stage (BOFU, bottom of the funnel)? This will determine your verbiage and CTA types, as well as where and how you start that story.
Fortunately for HubSpot users, you can create smart content.
What does this mean?
According to Hubspot Academy, “Smart content alters the content displayed in a module depending on specific viewer characteristics.”
Basically, you have the option to pretty much pick up where your personas last left off in that story using verbiage and CTAs that would make sense to them based on where they are in their own buyer’s journey (a.k.a., lifecycle).
The user’s characteristics can be filtered/categorized by Country, Device Type, Referral Language, Contact List Membership, and Lifecycle Stage.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s imagine you have a product or service and you’re not sure where your visitors are in their lifecycle stage. Or, based on your analytics, you’ve realized that not only are you getting a ton of return visitors, but you have a large influx of new visitors on your website and landing on your homepage.
This is where you’d want to take advantage of the smart content feature because this is where the story begins for these individuals.
Let’s group our visitors into two categories: Beginners and Advanced visitors.
Beginner Lifecycle Stage
These are your newer visitors who don’t really understand what you do and the benefits of working with you as opposed to your competitors. However, they know they have a pain point in their company that they can’t solve on their own and they need help.
Since it’s important that your website homepage passes the blink test, as marketers we need to figure out this question: where should someone in this lifecycle stage begin?
How you start nurturing these kinds of visitors can be a make-or-break deal for them since they’re not yet invested in your service and, as such, have nothing to lose.
These visitors tend to be looking for answers to basic questions, such as:
- Who are you?
- What kind of services do you offer?
- How will you benefit their business or solve their pain points?
- If they need help, how can they reach you?
- How much will your service/product cost?
Advanced Lifecycle Stage
Since these visitors are fairly familiar with your industry and its benefits, they tend to be looking for more advanced/direct tone or language. They know what their pain points are and what they need to solve them.
In fact, they may already have someone in mind to solve said problem but are looking to explore other options, such as finding someone who has a better price, better quality, is local, has better reviews, offers additional features they may need in the future, etc.
Simply put, they are looking to solve or avoid additional pain points if at all possible. That’s where you come in.
To ensure you’re the right option to solve this problem, they’ll be looking for dependability, accountability, some kind of differentiator (what sets you apart from your competitors), and, most importantly, TRUST.
This is where your verbiage, tone, and CTAs matters most. What you present them with as a next step could be the deciding factor of whether they choose to work with you or not.
Keep in mind, these prospects are presented with tons of other options and are not looking to spend hours researching your website to find what they are looking for. So making the needed information easily available to them will be a big win for you.
In this scenario, you’d want to put all of your best cards on the table to show them that you’re legit and worth investing in. This is where you’d want to present them with the right CTAs, such as View Our Case Studies, Request a Demo, Try it for Free, A Message From the CEO (video), View Our Services, Schedule a Meeting, etc.
As soon as they land on the page, present them with the right solutions so they can instantly start feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
People are naturally attracted to working with companies that can present them with great customer service, quality work, have great social proof, and, more importantly, can prove to them that you can solve their problems without them having to search too hard for the answers.
If you can start your story by hitting all those nails on the head, you’re off to a good start.
How Do You Get This Information?
Getting this information is much simpler than you think. Talk to your visitors using a basic customer satisfaction/survey form. Ask them simple questions, such as, "Were you able to find what you were looking for?" and "How user friendly is our website?”
Send them emails with similar questions, and consider giving them an additional coupon for completing the survey.
Ask your sales team to send prospects/clients basic questions about their experience with your team as opposed to your competitors. What set you apart, and what can you do better to improve it? Ask them about their pain points and how easy it was for them to find the answers they were looking for on your website.
Once you’ve gathered all that information, try to use it to come up with a strategy that can further your marketing efforts.