Strategy, Website

Roadmap for a high powered, conversion driven homepage

There are a lot of places out there to get a new homepage design for your business.

Do I go to upwork and hire a designer? Do I find a theme? Wordpress or squarespace? There are endless questions that could paralyze you into doing nothing.

OR

Maybe you already have a site that is old as dirt with no mobile version (you are missing about 1/3 of your audience)

OR

Scarier yet, you just spent $XXX,XXX to get a brand new site and nothing is happening. After you stop hyperventilating.... you can recover. Not only recover the investment you made but explode your conversions by incorporating the following action steps into your design.

How do you right the ship to achieve your conversion goal?

Here is not to do it:

1 - Do what everyone else is doing.
It is essential to know what everyone is doing BUT don't create a clone of what your competition is doing. Even looking to highly successful sites, is great to be aware of but will not solve your users' problems if it is a replica. Just because Airbnb is amazing doesn't mean it is right for your users and your business needs.

2 - Do what "looks" good to you or you "feel" is needed for my business (personal preference) 
It is great to have your own biases and likes, HOWEVER just because you came up with a solution to a burning problem for a user/customer does not mean that you are the ideal customer in your target market. 

3 - Do Nothing
This is the WORST one of all. I have been there too. When I first went out on my own and started my own business, work began to slow and my initial gut reaction was just to sit tight and things will turn around.

WRONG!

I had to create systems of generating new business, maintaining communication with existing clients, sharpening my skills, gaining new skills, but most of all be strategic where I put my time.

If you aren't getting the conversions or results you want, focus on where the issues are in the following 3 areas (it is coming....) and get to work. 

You have gotten to this point so don't turn back now.

Whether we are talking about sign ups, purchases, downloads, views, etc, there is a firm business reason you have a site. You need your site to not only convert AND also take the burden off your sales team, customer service reps, and you the business owner.

Even making a call out button to sign up more visible could potentially bump your number of conversions up each and every day. Think of the potential of just a few percentage points increase in your conversions would do for your business. 

Finally having an asset that works for you 24/7, generates sales, leads, answers customer's questions, solves a burning need for your users, and propels your business forward. 

Today I want to show you a step by step process that ANYONE, yes anyone, can go through to create the blueprint for a high converting homepage. You don't have to be a premier UI (user interface - the design of the app or site) designer or UX (the user experience - how a user interacts with the site and app) strategist to create the underlining architecture for a conversion machine of a homepage.

Each of your pages are critical to the success of your site especially because users are coming to your site through different channels and landing on a variety of pages, not just through the front door of the homepage. 

What this strategy will do for your business:

  • Gain a better targeted and deeper understanding of your users/customers & what they want
  • Tighten up your conversion funnel to be more locked on to your business goals
  • Become more knowledgable for future redesigns and landing pages
  • Recognize what IS working for your site and how to do more of it
  • Recognize what ISN'T working for your site and how to change it 
  • Have a rock solid blueprint to give to your design team, a UI/UX designer, or do it yourself on a platform like squrespace

If a client I was just starting to work with came to me with the end product of this strategy, it would make my role in the process uber efficient (we are talking better results, quicker and less of an investment). Not to mention if you posted this in a listing on upwork, designers and consultants would line up to work with a business like yours who understands what needs to happen and TRULY see value in the strategy of UI/UX.

Today we will be focusing on the homepage but the principles here can be applied to any landing page OR interior supporting page with some slight adjustments. 

I introduce to you (queue Hans Zimmer soundtrack)....

The HCH (high converting homepage) strategy.

Before we dive into the HCH strategy, we need to back up a little further into what makes a site successful.

There are 3 things that need to happen for a site to be successful

1 - Your product or services are awesome (ie. an awesome new app, a great line of apparel, or superior financial services)

2 - There is traffic coming to your site (ie. organically through search or blog posts, targeted ads, or email campaigns)

3 - Your site is strategically designed for conversions

Targeting where your site is having issues or lacking is critical but once you know where the issue lies you can adjusted and tweaked it to achieve success in each area. 

For the HCH Strategy, we will be focusing on #3.

AND...

To make it even better for you, I included a link to download all of the blocks for the mockup, blue print, of your HCH strategy to share with your team or pass on to a UI/UX designer. (check it out at the bottom of this post)

Lets do this....

STEP 1
Indicate ONE crystal-clear outcome you are looking for that will impact your business

Take a focused look at your business and ask:

  • Where do I need my website to work for me?
  • How can I help my users/customers get to the solution to solve their problem?
  • How can I help my team become more efficient and effective?

Answers could be:

  • Generate more leads
  • Increase sales
  • Maintain better retention of existing clients
  • Get more customers
  • Create efficiencies for my team
  • etc

Write it out so you can see it on paper.

Once you have selected ONE you need to work on, you have the greenlight to move to step 2

Step 2
Clearly define your audience & user(s) - not only who you would like to see - but who is actually using/buying your products and services

Take a deep breath and let this sink in. This is the most critical part of this process and the one that is most over looked.

You have created a business for your customers. They are what keeps the lights on in your business. Regardless of how well an app is designed, product is built, a shirt is manufactured or investments are placed, if no one wants it then you will never be successful.

 

Be brutally honest, who are your users and how are they using your site. Don't misunderstand, not how you think they are using your site or how they should but actually how are they actually interacting with your site.

Tools like VWOLuckyOrangeGoogle analytics, or Crazy Egg can help you get actual metrics, visuals and user video of what is actually happening on yours site. These metrics are EXTREMELY valuable. 

I would assume you would have a good understanding of your users/customers but push yourself to go deeper to understand who your users are and what they want. Examine who is currently on your site OR carefully examine competitors sites to see who their users are. You can do this by answer questions like:

  • Who has used your product/services in the past?
  • How did they previously buy/use/sign up in your business?
  • What other sites and apps do they interact with?
  • How do they interact with those sites and apps?

You can even go as far as to create 1-2 actual users with name, likes, dislikes, occupation, sites they use, why they are coming to your site, photograph, etc. 

Up to this point I have been referring to your "customers" and "users" as one in the same. But be aware that:

Your customers buy your product/service

Your users retain the same customer description PLUS their actions and phycology of how they interact on your site and other sites & apps. 

This whole process is called crafting a user persona. 

A user persona will help you quickly "become" your user. How they they think and act. 

Sounds weird but is way you can jump into the mind of your users as you make critical decisions for your site. And make better informed decisions.

Once you have your target user for your site go onto step 3.

Step 3
Indicate what is the MAIN action you want a user to do

Now that we know who is coming to your site and why they are coming (step2) we can help them convert in a way that will benefit both them and your business (step1).

What would be the best benefit to your business:

  • Sign up for your service or product
  • Download a white paper to acquire email addresses
  • Buy a product
  • Contact your expert sales team to get started
  • etc

The tendency is to assume the user wants to do multiple things or try to get the user to sign up for a newsletter, buy a product, and fill out the contact form. This very rarely happens all at once. A user might stumble on the site and sign up for a newsletter. Then MONTHS later get an insight from the site and as luck would have it, they are in need of the EXACT service the site provides.

We want to stay laser focused on our main action, as to not distract with other options that aren't critical to the main action. 

Element(s) to enter into Homepage Wireframe

MAIN CALL TO ACTION (01-Intro.jpg, 06-Call to action.jpg) - 

Once you have your ONE main action move on to step 4.

Step 4
What supporting information is needed for a user to take this action

Outcome number one is for as soon as a targeted user comes to your site, they take this main action. Boom, you are in business.

But

What happens if a user has:

  • Never heard of your business
  • Needs a little convincing

That is where step 4 comes in to play.

There are 2 ways to help convince users that your product or service is the one for them.

  1. Credibility indicators
  2. Benefits of your product or service

Lets break each down individually.

Credibility indicators
These show that your business/product is trustworthy and reliable. This could come in the form of:

  • testimonials
  • official organization & badges
  • amount of customers/sales/etc
  • 3rd party app or site recommendations 

Benefits
Your product could sound amazing to your users but if they are unsure about what it does or why they should use it you could lose them.

You have already thought through the creation of your product or services and know it is perfect for your users. Take it one step further and explain both how it works and benefits that users will get from your product or service.

Sites take various approaches to this but the core elements are the following:

  • 3-4 benefits MAX (enough to show provides immense value but not too many that users get overwhelmed) 
  • For each benefit use a short phrase that explains the benefit with optional text if need to support that initial phrase
  • Show your users the benefit - (Pair the phrase with an illustration, image, or video that makes it even clearer for the user to see how it is a benefit)

Think about it whenever you go to buy or take action on something you are either:

  • looking for people you know (social proof - facebook, google, joojoo)
  • trust worth brands that have vetted the product (yelp, trip advisor)
  • the benefits outside of the core product or service (benefits, videos, etc)

The credibility indicators and benefits needs to drive users to pull the trigger an take your main action.

Element(s) to enter into Homepage Wireframe

CREDIBILITY INDICATORS (02-Credibility.jpg):

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  
  4.  

BENEFITS (03-Benefit_Right.jpg, 04-Benefit_Left.jpg)

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  
  4.  
  5. (all other benefits - just a list - 05-Benefit_quick_list.jpg)

Once you have a credibility indicator and 3 benefits you are good to go to step 5

Step 5
Rank the supporting information in order of importance

This seems like a really small step but you want to get in the mindset of your users and think what would mean the most to them to take your action. 

What is the BEST reason for them to help them cross the bridge from their current situation (with out your product or service) to the solution (your product or service)

This also helps if you are lacking in one area. For example lets say you don't have many credibility indicators because you are a new business but your services are top notch. 

Lead with the BEST reason and then add the additional indicators as you move down the page

Got your ordered list? Awesome, move on to step 6.

Step 6
Clearly define your business in 1 memorable phrase & then 1 sentence that supports it

I'm sure you are familiar with the notion of the "elevator pitch". A quick set of statements where you can pitch anyone in a few minutes before they have to jump off on their floor.

Online you have the same opportunity but in a tighter time window. This means you must have a concise statement about what your business does.

You want it to be as clear as possible to your target user what your business does. At the bare minimum, if a user comes to your site, they should clearly understand what your business does and who you serve. 

I am sure it has happened to you, but you click on a link and come to a page and you have NO IDEA what the heck this business or product does....See ya.

Be approachable, appeal to your audience and clearly state what you do.

Even if it is as simple as "We do [product or service] for [This audience] by [this way]"

Take a look a site like square how the execute this step.

The more well known a business is, the less they have to clearly state this. This is why you will never see a site like Amazon or Target have to do this. 


Element(s) to enter into Homepage Wireframe

1 MEMORABLE PHRASE (01-Intro.jpg) - 

1 SUPPORTING PHRASE (if needed for clarity) (01-Intro.jpg) - 

Once you have that concise, targeted statement - move on to our last and final step.

Step 7
Putting it all together

I am sure you are becoming mentally exhausted but before you go to check your email or twitter, take a moment to take a breath and look back at the results of the last six steps you have gone through. 

Just by the past 6 steps you are going to be light years ahead of most sites. With this knowledge your site will start to convert more and lift your business.

What is left? How do we take our gold nuggets we have uncovered and hand it off to your marketing team, design, or even how do you implement it yourself?

I got you covered.

I have put together a set of assets to help you organize your findings & hand it off to the next phase of the game.

Download the free premium resource here.

Once you have it downloaded, Start plugging in your text and elements into the cards by either printing them out and hand writing them or pulling them up in a design program to stitch them all together. 

***Note***

When it comes to the benefits, you need to:

  1. select your order of your benefits (remember keeping in mind your user persona and what would help them convert)
  2. print a few of the individual benefits (03-Benefit_Right.jpg, 04-Benefit_Left.jpg)

Time to give your site a HCH upgrade (and start converting)


There you have it, the strategy to boost your conversions and bottom line for your homepage. 

You have busted your butt to get your business where it is so it is time you get to reap the benefits from you asset that will work night and day for your business.

What do you have to lose?

Now I turn to you, in the comments below please let me know what are your biggest challenges for your homepage? I'd love offer some more detailed insight on how your homepage a HCH machine.  

I'd love to hear what is your biggest sticking point for getting more conversion on your homepage or landing page. Let me know in the comments.