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Are conversions on your home page lagging behind your expectations? There is an art to designing a high-converting home page, and a lot of small businesses simply don’t give the content and appearance of their website enough attention.
The good news is that there are some very simple things you can do to increase your conversions without having to spend a ton of time and money.
1. The first thing you need to consider is the quality of the images on your home page. A page that’s densely packed with text is not going to be appealing to the majority of internet users. On the other hand, a page that mixes text with effective images is far more likely to convert. A great image is one that accurately reflects your product or industry. If you can afford it, the best option is to hire a photographer to take pictures of your business and employees. However, if budget is a concern, don’t be afraid to use stock photos as long as they are unique and not cheesy. Stay away from anything that is obviously a stock photo and go for images that are striking and appealing. Also, you should strongly consider using pictures of people’s faces, which tend to draw customers in.
2. Use strong marketing copy that focuses on the things that are most important to your customers. When people search for a keyword, they are really asking a question – and most often, they are asking about a problem that they want to solve. When your home page uses language that plays to your visitors’ emotions, it can trigger a powerful response – one that’s very effective in terms of increasing conversions. There’s an old advertising trope that says that using fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) helps drive sales. The most effective home pages don’t market openly in fear. Instead, they focus on a user’s problem (which may be making them feel one of those three emotions), empathize with it, and then offer a concrete solution.
3. Make sure that your value proposition is clear. What are you offering, and why should people be interested? It’s not enough to have well-written copy. You need a strong headline that will immediately put visitors to your site in the proper frame of mind.
4. Don’t be coy about your product. You are offering a product or service that you want people to buy, and that should be clear from your home page. It’s one thing to focus on selling the sizzle and not the steak – but remember that there is no sizzle without the steak. Your home page should not leave visitors to your site in doubt about what you sell or the service you provide. You don’t have to provide all the details on the home page, but you do need to show people what it is you sell. If you don’t, they may very well end up navigating away.
5. Collect leads using an easy opt-in form. Marketing wisdom says that most users require between seven and ten exposures to a brand or product before they make a purchase online. In practical terms, that means that the overwhelming majority of visitors to your site will not make a purchase on their first visit. One way to mitigate that effect is to have a simple opt-in form that allows you to collect user email addresses – and follow up with them to increase your brand recognition. Your opt-in form should be extremely short, asking for no more than an email address and a name.
6. Create an appealing and valuable lead magnet to convince people to opt in to your list. Many companies use the promise of a freebie to get potential leads to hand over their email addresses. For example, a short eBook, email series, or course can be a good way to entice users to join your list. Not only will it allow you to collect email addresses, but giving away a valuable item for free also builds something called reciprocity – a cognitive bias that greatly increases the chances that customers will buy from you. The free item creates a sense of obligation in the same way that doing a favor for someone in person does.
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7. Make sure you have a compelling and effective email series to send to people after they opt in. Every email you send is an opportunity to provide value and increase your authority, as well as building brand recognition.
8. Make good use of testimonials and social proof. 80% of all internet users say that they read reviews before making a purchase. If you aren’t including testimonials and social proof in the form of trust symbols, you could very well be missing out on conversions as a result. Remember, a first-time visitor to your site knows very little about your company. Seeing enthusiastic testimonials and reviews and other trust symbols can be a very effective way of increasing your authority and overriding the objections that a user might have to opting in or making a purchase.
9. Consider adding a video to your home page. Videos are very popular – in fact, they are the most popular kind of online content. When you add an interesting and relevant video to your home page, you encourage people to spend time there, listening and watching. If your product or service lends itself to demonstration, a video is a great way to highlight what you’re selling. Even highly technical products can benefit from certain types of video, such as a white board video. The best way to incorporate video is to let users decide whether to play the video or not. Videos that play automatically can be off-putting and distracting.
10. Add social following buttons to your home page. New users to your site may not make a purchase on their first visit, and they might not even give you their email address. However, following you on social media is a risk-free way for them to learn more about your company and products. Why not make it as easy as possible for them to do so?
11. Test everything on your home page to optimize it fully. Every element of your website needs to shine if you want to maximize your conversions. Split testing, which is also known as A-B testing, is the best way to do it. Using a split-testing software like Optimizely, test each element of your website individually. The software splits your traffic, sending half to your original page, and half to the page with the new element you are testing, such as a headline or call to action. After the test has run long enough to get you a statistically significant result, you can switch to the new option if it results in better conversions and then move on to testing the next one.
Increasing conversions on your home page doesn’t have to be difficult. The most important thing you can do is to look at it from the standpoint of your ideal customer. What problem do they want solved, and what do they hope to see on your home page? If you tailor your home page to meet those needs, the conversions will follow.