Building Your Website Home Page
If you are developing a new site, build your home page last. Go ahead and read this page once over now, but then skip to #2, Building Your Website About Page and build that one first.
The home page is the last page that we build and for very logical reasons. The home page should guide the visitor vertically through the "main tabs" of your website, as your navigational tabs do (most often horizontally).
The home page will often make use of a dynamic slide show and should always include a compelling call to action. The call to action is your instruction to the website visitor to: call, contact or click.
Your home page needs to accomplish these four things:
- It should quickly capture the attention of your target audience.
- It should vividly communicate your main marketing message.
- It should clearly employ a conversion vehicle.
- It should briefly outline the main contents of your entire web site.
Following are the reasons the home page should be built last:
- You will have a better grasp on the overarching message of your site by building the other main content pages first.
- You will easily be able to build your brief outline (see #4 above) and guide your website visitors through your site if you have already built those pages.
- The process of creating your content pages will help you clarify your marketing message.
- Having your key content pages created in advance of your home page will help you create and refine a conversion vehicle.
Who is Your Target?
Everyone is not your target. If you need help identifying your true target market or demographic audience, sign up for 5 Minutes Marketing (it is FREE) and then make a special request for "Words That Work Wonders".
You must have a rock-solid knowlege of your target in order to market effectively, and that is never more important than when it comes to marketing your business via your website.
If you aren't confident of your target, then you will not be able to create an effective marketing message, commonly referred to as an "elevator speech."
Your target are those that need and want your products or services. Are they mostly male or female? What is their age? How highly educated are they? Where are they most likely to live? What do they value? What type of music do they prefer?
Add more of your own questions and get a clear picture of your target.
Craft and Clarify Your USP!
Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. How is your business BETTER than your competiton? What do you do DIFFERENTLY from the others? What makes you positively STAND OUT from all of the rest?
There are usually many other choices that your target has for your products or services. WHY should they buy them from you instead?
Develop and Refine Your Marketing Message!
Your marketing message is a concise and powerful message that tells prospective clients why they need you.
When you are hoping to engage a potential client, you’ve often only got a few seconds to engage the mind of your prospects with the hope of turning them into clients. A few seconds means just a few words, so you want them to be powerful. You need to successfully arouse their interest and arrest their attention. This is why you must create and hone your marketing message!
This is never more true than when someone lands on your website. I know that it just doesn't seem fair, but you've got about 8 seconds to captivate their attention, and you need a clear marketing message that greets them when they land.
Your goal is to either get them to continue to read your marketing material or start asking you questions about your products or services.
Be sure and include your logo and then forget it.
You should have a properly developed logo and should brand all of your marketing vehicles with it, whether in print or electronic media. Just keep in mind that your logo needs to be present but need not be prominent.
Your logo will identify you, but it will not sell anything for you, so place it and forget it!
You need a good marketing message to sell.
Your marketing message should quickly seen as soon as your web page loads. In most cases, and for most small business owners, it should be embedded in the header or masthead of your website.
Your marketing message should be directed at your target and should include your USP.
Above the Fold and Beyond the Fray
See your webpages viewe as standard 8.5" X 11" pages. Now, take your home page (an 8.5" X 11" page) and fold it in half to create a viewing pane that is 5.5" tall and 8.5" wide. This area is "above the fold".
Your branding, marketing message and conversion vehicle should all be visible above the fold. When your target lands on your website, they should NEVER have to scroll their screen in order to see and/or hear your message to them along with your conversion vehicle or "call to action."
They need to see how or why you are better than your competition and have no doubts about the "button" that they should click!
What is a Conversion Vehicle?
What is a conversion? A conversion is the opposite of a "click away." When a new prospect (someone actually in your target) lands on your site, you often have about ten seconds to:
- Captivate their attention
- Convince them to read, listen or watch more on your website
- Copy or click on button or complete a quick form for more information.
A conversion is when the visitor to your website accepts your invitation to "take the next step." These three things are ALL potential conversions:
- Complete a form requesting more information
- Pick up the phone and call you
- Place an order
Your conversion vehicle is the tool that you use to get the conversion, and it is often incentivised as a special offer or a limited time offer.
When someone visits your website, what do you want them to do?
Whatever that is, make dead sure that your website spells it out for them with a clarion voice.
Don't Make the Mega Marketing Mistake!
The biggest mistake that many small business owners make is trying to sell to soon.
Put yourself in the chair of the person that does not know you that is looking at your website. Have you got their trust? Have you eliminated their risk?
They don't know you, and to "buy from you" they must first come to either trust you or at least not feel that they are greatly at risk.
So, along with a "buy now" button, be sure to offer a "learn more" button, too.
If their only option is to buy and they aren't sure they should, they will usually click away ... and never come back.
The Best Way To Arrest Attention & Present Your Marketing Message
No doubt it is video.
A 30 to 60 second video of YOU talking to YOUR audience directly. Deliver your marketing message in the most often preferred medium: video, - like watching TV.
It is so super-easy to get video on your website today. If you have a $20 web cam, you have enough to make it work.
You can essentially have your own TV commercial running on your website for FREE. Just record your videos, upload them to YouTube and then embed them on your website. (Be sure and add your website address to your YouTube videos).
Write your script, weaving in your marketing message and then make an appeal for them to take the next step ... which happens to be the key missing ingredient from most small business websites.
Check Out: Website Video Spokesperson (Hire an actor to speak for you)
The Key, Missing Ingredient from Most Small Business Websites
If there is anything that small business owners are not doing today that they should be doing, it is using a quick form as a primary conversion vehicle, providing something of value to the target audience in exchange for a name and an email address.
It can be as simple as a "keep informed" offer, but why not spice it up with the offer for a FREE Coffee Mug or some other item(s) to brand your business?
The BEST thing you can do for your business is BUILD A DATABASE of contacts, and with email permission marketing, it is EASY to get your message directly to them at any time.
- This is called email permission marketing.
If you are on our most basic subscription, a simple email marketing program is included FREE.
If you need a more robust program, I recommend the use of a professionally managed permission marketing program, such as A1 Email Marketing. They will custom-craft your email templates for you as well as create your data collection forms for your website, help with landing pages and much more.
Email Permission Marketing TRUMPS all social media put together, because it enables you to ALWAYS reach your very best audience with your message at any time.