Home pages are the entrance to your website. Because of this, you want to make sure yours gives the very best first impression possible.
Some may wonder why copywriting fees differ between a home page and the rest of the website. The answer is simple.
It’s because a home page is an introduction to your business’ value proposition with the added challenge of creating persuasive copy that keeps a visitor on your site. The home page is to pique interest, to satisfy curiosity, to clearly explain the visitor’s problem and present a clear solution.
And… a copywriter is usually expected to deliver all of this in 500 words or less.
Ask any copywriter. They’ll quickly admit it’s much easier to write long than write short. When you have shorter copy, every word is strategic. You need to develop a logical flow of ideas that educate and persuade. And you need to do this from the very first word of the headline to the last word of a call to action.
Home page copy ain’t a walk in the park, that’s for sure.
Home pages have undergone a transformation since mobile devices hit the scene. We used to take all that screen space for granted (I especially covet the 27” iMac). Now we have to remember that many visitors are viewing your website through the smaller screen of a smartphone or a tablet.
How can you improve your home page copy? Here are a few considerations.
Does the home page copy clearly define your business offering?
I’m currently working with a new client on developing his website. He’s offering a SaaS (Software as a Service) product that is a new concept and has few direct competitors.
On one hand, it may sound great at first that this business doesn’t have much competition. But in reality, this makes writing the copy more difficult, not easier.
Because no one is familiar with the concept.
So not only do you have to persuade the reader that this solution is something they need, but you need to educate them about the concept, too.
Spend time on writing the most clearly defined explanation as you can for your business. Then show it to a friend or acquaintance. Pay attention if they “get it” right away or if they have more questions about what it is you’re trying to say.
The questions themselves are often golden nuggets you can use in your copy.
Continue to tweak your copy until a friend or acquaintance not only “gets it,” but asks, “How can I sign up?” or “Where can I get one of these?” That’s when you know you have winning copy.
Does your home page copy clearly present your value proposition?
A value proposition is your promise of the value you will deliver. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you.
A value proposition:
- Explains how your product is relevant to solving your customers’ problems or improving their situation
- Delivers clear and specific benefits
- Communicates why a prospect should buy from you and not from the competition
The value proposition should be the first thing a visitor sees on your home page but also visible in other pages.
Let’s say you’re a realtor. There are plenty of realtors in your area and you want to differentiate yourself from them. This is when your value proposition will do just that.
Do you sell homes for a specific area? Do you offer showings beyond “office hours?” Do you coach your buyers on how to find the best home for their needs?
Remember: everyone else may be doing the same thing but the image you present to your reader emphasizes that “the same thing” is something you use to bring her happiness.
From the TV show, “Mad Men,” here is one of my absolute favorite “aha” moments:
Saying that Lucky Strikes was “toasted” gave it a completely different image than a company that was selling poison. “Toasted” gives warm vibes. Happy vibes.
And that’s what you need in a value proposition – good vibes.
If it can make someone’s life easier, better, simpler, enjoyable… then hammer on it. Your website visitor is busy and you’ve got to grab them by the shoulders and shake them up the moment they land on your home page.
Smack ‘em upside the head with a value proposition that makes sense and has them wanting more.
Does your home page copy give social proof?
You’ve seen home pages that feature the logos of various news organizations that have covered them or big brands who use their product or service. That’s one type of social proof and it’s a very powerful one.
But what about testimonials?
I love using testimonials in copy because it’s one of the most potent ways to prove your business’ claims.
You can sing the praises of your product all day long but let another person explain exactly how your product improved their life and you’ll hook people fast.
A testimonial can be a short quote or a long one. You can feature it front and center or on the side. If you’re wondering what makes a good testimonial, here are some simple guidelines:
Before: ask the person who is giving the testimonial to describe how their life was before they used your product or service. The more specific, the better. And if they can mention what bugged them about their previous choice for a solution, even better.
During: ask the person giving the testimonial to describe their experience using your product. What did they love about it? What made it a joy to use? What surprised them? Delighted them?
After: How did this affect the person’s life for the better? Did they really save money using your solution? How much? Again, the more specific you can get with results, the better. If you’re advertising a healthy eating plan that will help someone lose weight, having a testimonial that says a customer lost 8 pounds the first month will be compelling.
I always closely examine that last “after” part of a testimonial. A customer may speak positively about a product or service but if no beneficial results are listed, the testimonial loses its punch. Make sure to end your testimonials with a nice, big BANG! It will help people envision their own successful results using your product.
Creating a home page that gives you an increased conversion rate takes strategy. Take the time this month to examine your own home page and see how you can improve it. I’m tinkering with an overhaul, myself, so stay tuned.
Remember: ABT… Always Be Testing. ;-)