A guide on what to say on your home page

Your home page is normally where most of your visitors will first see your website and you have between 4 and 10 seconds to impress them before they will either decide to continue reading or run away. If they run away they will most likely never return again.
The home page sets the scene for the rest of your website and its objective is to capture the visitors immediate interest and motivate them to explore your site or take whatever next step you want them to.You want to be able to picture your visitor nodding his/her head as they read/scan your home page.

To be able to properly represent the benefits of your business to your visitors it is critical that you first have an intimate understanding of your target market and the challenges they face. If you havent already it would pay to re-visit one of my earlier blogs on “Take a walk in your visitors shoes”.
Armed with the answers to these questions and your intimate knowledge of your target market listed below is a guide on what to say on your home page.
  1. Keep the information your present on your home page to the point and benefit orientated. People are scanners so use headings to get your message across and break up the content.
  2. Start with what is known as a H1 Heading (biggest heading in size and one Google pays attention to) and place it right where anyone visiting your site will immediately see it. ie At the top of the page and in the middle.
  3. Do not start with a “Welcome to our site” or talking about how wonderful your business is. The reality is at this early stage visitors dont care about your business, they only care about what your business can do for them. So talk to them, not at them about the benefits of using your business.
  4. Use the main H1 heading to talk directly at your target market, identifying with the problem or reason they would be visiting your site.
  5. Its always good to get the keywords that you have identified in this heading or at least the next smaller heading. As close to the beginning of the heading as possible – its a Google thing.
  6. Next tell your visitor who you work with. Identify the sort of businesses/industries/clients. If you think your product/service applies to everyone then you havent completed the 10 questions or identified your online target market. Best to do so before going any further.
  7. Find a way to show them that you know about the challenge or predicament they are in by directing them towards a solution or outcome that has helped others. Talking about results is a good thing here.
  8. If you have done the job well so far it should be easy to imagine that the visitor is nodding their head or identifying with what you have written. So they like what they are reading and now would be a good time to prove to them that you are credible and successful. This will vary from business to business but could include a statement about how many businesses you have worked with, some associations or even testimonials.
  9. One of the last things to consider is the call to action or suggesting where you want them to go next. Opt-in boxes offering free reports, contact numbers for enquiries or links/buttons to more targeted information are some examples.
  10. Its a good idea to find a way to somehow demonstrate what you are about. eg. if you are selling advice then highlight some advice – 10 key things you need to know etc. If you are a coach then highlight some coaching concepts.
The above does require a bit of trial and error however the best way to determine if you are being successful is to monitor the site statistics. If you are seeing an increase in the amount of time spent on the site, a drop in the bounce rate and are measuring your calls to action then you are well on your way.
Have an amazing day
Richard Ferguson
Web Enhancer

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What is Content Marketing and Why Should I Care ?

Content marketing is a concept that is really gaining in popularity and unless you sell products that don’t require research or compete primarily on price and convenience then you need to know about it.

It is Non-Interruption Marketing

Content marketing is all about communicating and sharing information, insights and answers with your visitors in a non threatening way that they will genuinely find of value and doesn’t sell to them. It is non-interruption marketing. The idea is to deliver information that makes your potential buyer more intelligent, positions you as the expert, builds credibility and loyalty and when they are ready they will buy from you.

For non-commodity type products & services

Ideal for businesses with complex services, high dollar volume products and longish sales cycles where your buyer will need to be educated or conduct further research before being ready to purchase. It shouldbe adopted in some form for any business that is not selling a commodity type product/service.

Buying cycles start with research

You should care because most of your potential customers start their buying cycle by doing their research on the web and will choose to develop a relationship with those businesses that have adopted a content marketing approach. With so much choice and competition buyers are looking for information and value that will assist them in their process. If your website only talks about you (ie a brochure type site) and doesn’t communicate value in a non-threatening way then opportunity lost and conversion rates fall.

Some Content Marketing ideas to start with

If you are looking for ideas about how to better present and structure your content so visitors will find it appealing then put yourself in their shoes and start with some of these points :

  • What do you offer that you know is of real value to your prospects and customers ?
  • Better define your unique selling proposition and communicate it in a more detailed and informative way.
  • Get together with your team and define what problems you have solved for your customers.
  • What results or approaches have lead to success.
  • Consider a recent success story and define what happened.

Some Content Marketing Approaches to Consider

Here is a quick list of some content marketing approaches that you could create :
  • Well written white papers
  • A research report
  • Blogs
  • eBooks
  • Podcasts & Video’s
  • An article series
  • Webinar’s
  • Tips and Tools section

Until next time, all the best

Richard Ferguson
Web Enhancer

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Top 5 Reasons to Update your Website NOW rather than later

  1. It is costing you sales opportunities. Almost all potential prospects will check your website out prior to doing with business with you. A poorly built and maintained site would be costing you sales opportunities and what’s worst is that you probably don’t even know they are going to your competitor.
  2. It is lengthening your sales process. Following on from point 1 if it doesn’t cost you the sale it will lengthen the sales process as you will create doubt in their mind that then needs to be overcome. That means handling unnecessary objections.
  3. It is damaging your credibility with existing customers and reducing opportunities for repeat business. A well maintained and functional site continues to build relationships past the initial sale through various forms of on-going and relevant communication. Repeat business is a key driver for any successful business.
  4. It is making your business look tired and small. If you are not attending to your site on a regular basis, its like never changing the presentation in your shop front window. Eventually dust gathers on your products and services and visitors stay away. People like to do business with dynamic businesses that are always looking to add value for them in some way.
  5. It is time to get a return on your investment in your website. You have probably already invested several thousand dollars in your website but have not set things up to determine how or if it is working for you. Time to review that and set up the necessary objectives and systems so you can see a ROI.

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The impact of the recession on the web and what Smart Businesses can do about it

Rather than just talk about how the recession is impacting the web this article also provides some points as to what Smart Businesses can do about it.

1. Traffic on the web will continue to increase. As people become more discretionary and price conscious they will research more and will use the web to do so. Smart Businesses will understand this and will continue to invest in their online presence to benefit from it.

2. Selling on the web will become more soft sell or relationship driven. As a result of the downturn people will not be pressured or pushed into buying. Refer point 1. Smart businesses will adapt by :
• Providing more free offers, trial offers, e-books, white papers and more relationship building activities. Publishing more and giving away more free and relevant stuff.
• Holding webinars as attendance at offsite conferences will fall and people will use the web more to ensure they are up to speed with relevant industry knowledge and skills. To protect themselves in case of job loss or retrenchment.
• Updating or building their sites to “Talk” to their customers and “guide” them over any questions or objections they have ensuring they build trust and credibility along the way.

3. There will be a continued increase in social networking on the web and people will use these networks to ask around, seek references and/or recommendations before they buy. Smart businesses will recognize this and ensure they have a social media strategy in place to benefit from it.

4. Marketing spend on websites will be impacted but should hold its own well. Compared to other mediums the web is more measurable and you can determine a ROI. In fact this downturn may turn into a catalyst for more businesses to use the web as their other sources of leads dry up, traffic on the web increases and you can actually measure your ROI. Specialist online marketing agencies will be impacted as businesses will utilise their own internal staff to conduct more campaigns such as SEO and PPC. Smart businesses will continue to invest in their online presence because they can
• Determine a ROI quickly,
• Use it as a opportunity to enter new markets
• Take advantage of the times to grab market share from less nimble competitors.
• Negotiate great advertising rates as marketing agencies fight for a smaller share.

5. Web design & development costs will come down as businesses will spend less on creative innovations and more on applications that enable them to bring control of their websites inhouse. You will see more applications that will provide greater functionality at a lesser cost. Free applications will grow and become better as well. Smart businesses will update or develop their sites so they have the ability to make changes and control it without having to engage Web developers as much.

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“Take a Walk in Your Visitors Shoes” and Win More Sales Opportunities Online.

The best place to start to creat more sales opportunities online is to “Take a Walk in your Visitors Shoes”. Take the time to answer the following 12 questions so you can then update your content to reflect them. If you write your content with the visitor in mind it will quickly improve your conversion results. A conversion being whatever action you want your visitor to take as a result of visiting your site.
Here are the 12 questions :

Question 1 : If a visitor comes to your website via a search engine (eg Google) – What do you think would be some of the search phrases they would use ?

Question 2 : What do you think they would be feeling when they are typing in these search phrases ? eg confused, curious, desperate, vulnerable, overwhelmed etc

Question 3 : What do you think they are looking for by initiating the search ?

Question 4 : What do you think they are NOT looking for by initiating the search ? eg. ads trying to sell them something straight away, boring landing pages that only talk about themselves etc

Question 5 : If a visitor comes to your site via other means such as word of mouth or as a result of some other marketing – What do you think they are feeling when they arrive ? eg. let’s check these guys out, are they credible, can they really help me etc

Question 6 : In all cases, what challenges do you think they are wanting to solve by initiating the search or coming to your site ?

Question 7 : Taking all the above into account, how do you want your visitor to feel when they arrive on your site ?

Question 8 : What would you like the visitor to see ?

Question 9 : What would you like your visitor to be able to do ?

Question 10 : What are your overall objectives for your visitor ?

Question 11 : What do you want to know about your visitor ?

Question 12 : What features/functionality do you need to acheive all of the above on your site ?

If you are having trouble with any of the above questions or need help in interpreting the answers then leave a comment and we will try to put it into perspective for you.

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