This article was originally published as a guest post on inbound.org.
I recently attended a webinar given by Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, and I learned 3 huge lessons that I was able to implement immediately and that I felt I simply had to share so that you can benefit from them too.
First off, special thanks to Noah for offering a free webinar! Unlike most webinars that are really big sales pitches for a particular product or service, this one was about 95% useful information and 5% soft selling, primarily at the end. Sure he mentioned the sumo tools, but you can use them all for free (which I do) without ever paying for the pro versions if you don’t need the extra features. So free information + free tools = pretty darn good deal!
Getting back on topic, the webinar consisted of Noah looking at websites and giving his recommendations of what could be improved to make each more effective in communicating its message and achieving its desired objective. There were lots of good tips, but these 3 really resonated with me so much so that I’ve chosen to call them lessons instead of just tips.
Lesson 1: Clearly communicate what you do or sell above the fold.
Sounds pretty simple, and it is. Unfortunately many people don’t do it. Instead they try to be witty, mysterious, coy or just plain confusing, resulting in the visitor having no idea what they actually do and probably bouncing.
Sometimes they’ll make you scroll down the page before revealing what they do or sell. The problem with that is that it assumes that people will be interested enough to scroll. While there are different opinions as to the importance of “the fold”, I think everyone would agree that if a visitor isn’t interested in what they initially see on their screen, they probably won’t spend more time on the site.
Here’s how I applied this lesson to our own website. The first screenshot is of our original homepage. The second one is post update.
Onrush Digital is a digital marketing agency. Our core areas of expertise are content marketing, seo, social media and marketing automation (and we also build websites). So that’s pretty much what we do, and we did state that (pretty much) on the original page. But even though we list all the things we do, is that really what our target customer is looking for?
Our target persona is either a CEO/Owner or a CMO/Marketing Director of a business doing at least $1m in revenue that does not have an inhouse marketing department or staff. When that owner or CMO goes online to get marketing help, is he or she looking for content marketing or social media, or any other specific skill; or are they looking for help in getting specific results, like driving traffic, increasing their exposure and generating leads?
I think they’re looking for results. When they scroll down they’ll find out what disciplines we use to get them those results (i.e. content marketing, seo, etc.). They might not even know what exactly content marketing is. But they do know they want more exposure, more traffic and more leads. That’s what they’re buying.
On the second homepage version we give them exactly what they’re searching for in their face. Results. That should get them interested enough to watch the video and scroll down to learn more.
Lesson 2: Focus on 1 action you want your visitors to take.
If you could pick one action that you’d want your visitor to take, what would it be?
You might want them to purchase a product or give you their contact info. Or you might want them to read a blog post or watch a video. Whatever it is you choose, make it so crystal clear to your visitor that he practically is drawn to that action.
Studies have shown that if you tell someone what you’d like them to do, there’s a good chance that they’ll do it. The technical term is “call to action”, and every piece of content you create should have one. If you don’t include a CTA, you’re leaving the decision of what to do entirely to the visitor, in which case he might do something other than what you want, or nothing at all.
On the first version of our homepage (not including the top nav bar) there are a bunch of things the visitor can do: download an ebook, schedule a consultation, watch a video, click on the links (in yellow). There’s nothing wrong with the visitor taking any of those actions. But there’s also an old Talmudic saying that teaches, “if you try to grab everything you end up with nothing.” Too many choices could result in overwhelming the visitor and cause them to run. (Personally, when I’m overwhelmed with information, my brain tends to shut down.)
You need to decide what the one most important action is that you want your visitors to take. In our case we felt that while it would be great if they’d schedule their free consultations, if someone has just landed on your homepage they probably won’t be ready to meet with you just yet. They’ll need to learn more about you and what you do first.
On our revised homepage we chose to drive visitors to watch a short video that introduces them to who we are and what we do. We felt that the video would build rapport and make them feel like, “hey, we can work with these guys”. At the end of the video we included a CTA link to schedule a free consultation.
Lesson 3: Offer a personal challenge to get emails
For the majority of visitors who will NOT be ready to contact you when they first visit your website, the goal is to get their email address in order to be able to contact them or nurture them until they are ready to become a customer. The accepted way of doing that is to offer them something of value in exchange for their email address (and name). The initial offer is usually a piece of contact like a whitepaper or ebook.
The ideal offer with the highest conversion rate will be something that the recipient can implement immediately and see positive results. Noah suggested offering something that personally challenges you, which should in turn impress the heck out of the user and greatly increase the chances of conversion.
The offer that we’ve implemented (which I think was the example that Noah, although I honestly don’t remember) is that we’ll review your website and send you 3 specific tips that will improve your site and help you generate more leads. And we’ll send it to you within 24hrs.
We use the sumome list builder and scroll box (free versions) to present the offers. Here’s a screenshot of the scroll box:
It’s a lot more work than just creating a report or ebook, because we’ll have to look at each website and provide good tips for each one. But would you rather get 3 personalized tips or an ebook? We obviously think you’ll go for the personalized tips.
Providing personalized tips also gives us the opportunity to form a relationship with each individual visitor and potentially explore the option of working together by asking followup questions. We’ve already given you actionable advice and proven that we care about YOU. That’s a great way to start a relationship!
Why not see for yourself? Fill out one of our forms and we’ll send you your free tips within 24 hrs!
PS — Thanks again to Noah Kagan for an awesome webinar!