“Erm… I’ve no idea. No? Yes? What?”
Your business website is your most important marketing tool. It’s where you get to explain:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you’re the answer to your customers’ problems
But if your message is muddled and you aren’t giving visitors a chance to contact you then the answer to the question “Is your website losing you customers?” is:
Yes. Yes, it is.
But before you start hyperventilating into a brown paper bag, don’t. By the end of this article, you’re going to:
- Understand the Z-layout
- Learn how to make your message clear
- Understand how to set out the first three sections of your homepage and what comes next
- Learn a load of other helpful hints and tips
So, grab yourself a brew, make some notes and get ready to answer “Is your website losing you customers?” with an emphatic: No feckin’ way!
Understanding the Z-layout
The human eye doesn’t read a webpage like it does a book. It skips across the screen in a Z pattern, trying to pick out the most useful information.
This means the layout of your homepage, and the information you stick above the fold (the top and bottom of the visible part of your website before you scroll), is dead important.
To make things easier, I’ve chosen my own website as a template. Not because I have a massive ego, but because I can’t be arsed trawling for examples when there’s one right in front of me.
Anyway, let’s begin…
Below is the current header (at time of writing) on my homepage:
Here’s how it works:
One. Top of the Z
Along the top of the Z, you need to have your logo and the most important links you want visitors to click on. It’s important not to clutter this section, but one of these links MUST be your call to action. For me, it’s ‘Let’s Chat‘. For you, it might be:
- Buy Now
- Book a Call
- Get in touch
- Buy dog food
- Email us
Whatever is right for your business make it clear and put it in the top line of the Z to make it easy for your customers to take action.
Two. Middle of the Z
If your visitor is there purely to buy your product they’ll have clicked your call to action already. The vast majority won’t know you, so they’ll need a little persuasion before they trust you.
Don’t be too clever here, be clear. Clarity kicks clever’s arse every time.
I’m going to explain this more in-depth in ‘Make your message clear‘ further down, but as you can see I tell the reader copywriting can ‘Save them time’ and ‘make their business money’.
Three. Bottom of the Z
Along the bottom, you need to include your call to action again – and make sure it’s the same wording as at the top. You might think this is too much, it isn’t. You have to give your visitors every opportunity to get in touch or buy.
If they’re won over by your headline chances are they won’t need to scroll any further.
Now you understand the Z-layout you need to make sure your message is clear.
Make your message clear
Your headline, tagline and call to action need to do three things for the reader:
- Explain what you do/are selling
- How it makes their life better
- How they can get it
Let’s have a look at my header again to show you what I mean:
Just in case you’re not sure, the yellow text is the headline, the white is the tagline (or subheader), and the call to action is the ‘Let’s chat’ button. And here’s how it answers everything:
One. Explain what you do/are selling.
The headline and tagline accomplish both.
The headline: ‘Save yourself time. Make your business money‘ tells you what they can have if you work with me.
The tagline: ‘Copywriting for busy business owners‘ not only explains I’m a copywriter it reminds the reader they’re busy and that they need to use me.
Business owners are busy people, so save them time.
And when copywriting is done right it can make your business money.
Two. How it makes their life better.
My writing services can: ‘Save you time‘ and ‘Make you money‘.
Two benefits in one sentence.
And you’ll see as we go on how I hammer this message home, but more on that later. If you can only think of one benefit, that’s fine. Two is a good number, three you can probably get away with if it’s snappy enough, but don’t cram in any more than that.
Make it simple. Make it clear.
Three. How they get it.
By clicking ‘Let’s chat‘.
Don’t just hyperlink a line of text, make sure it’s a button.
By following these rules you’re giving potential customers all the information they need and the means to take action before they even look at the rest of your homepage.
Setting out the first three sections of your website
The first three sections of your website are dead important. But you can’t just plonk anything in them. You need to approach the layout in one of two ways:
- Benefit, Problem, Benefit
- Problem, Benefit, Problem
Confused? No worries, let me explain.
Section One: Benefit
Here it is again:
It’s all about the benefits:
- It’ll save you time
- It can make you money
- It’s a writing service for business owners who are busy – and who isn’t, right?
Section Two: Problem
Look, we’d be all living in dreamland if every visitor contacted us from the header alone. Most likely visitors will continue to scroll down.
If you start with a positive, section two needs to touch on your customers’ pain point, i.e. the problem they’re facing:
Section two leads with the headline:
Find writing about your business difficult, boring or time-consuming?
And then builds on their frustrations: “Going round in circles, confusing your message and pulling your hair out trying to find the right words?” before explaining what this is doing, “If so, you’re probably driving away potential customers too.”
Up the stakes because your customers need to know you understand their problems. If you can touch on their pain points, they’ll feel you know them personally. This builds trust because suddenly they finally feel there’s someone out there who gets the problems they’re dealing with.
Heck, I even say it’s frustrating, before giving them a reason to stop all this – by speaking to me instead.
And, there it is again, ‘Let’s chat‘.
Three opportunities in the first two sections of the website to get in touch.
Section Three: Benefit
Okay, now the visitor feels you understand them. Next, you need to reassure them you’re the right person for the job. Section three hammers home even more benefits:
- Keeps customers on your site
- Gets customers clickin’
- Gets you more sales
Remember, your visitors will still be reluctant to part with their money, so you need to reassure them that what you do will result in a positive outcome. And another call to action.
You really might feel it’s far too much, it isn’t.
Every visitor is different.
Some will need persuading more than others.
Give each client type an option when they can get in touch with you.
You’ll notice the copy is also extremely short and concise in these sections. If you swamp the reader with too much information from the start, you’ll overwhelm them.
Keep it to a minimum.
As mentioned at the top of this section, you can do it the other way round.
Start with the problem they’re facing, move onto how you solve that issue before moving back to their pain point to hammer home how much they need your product or service.
But what comes after section three?
Well, that’s up to you…
What else to put on your homepage
If your visitor has read everything so far and they’re still scrolling, now they’re prepared to read more. Don’t throw War & Peace at them, but give them more information. There’s no rule to what sections you put next. It could be:
- An About section
- A Blog reel
- A newsletter sign-up
For the rest of my homepage, I went with:
Section Four: About
I touch on more pain points:
- The time it takes to write and rewrite
- Search engine optimisation
- That you still have to run your business, manage staff and find time for family
- And price
All legitimate worries customers have about any service – whatever it is you do. I finish off with the time and money benefit, introduce myself and give the reader the option to visit the actual About page.
Oh, and so people can put a face to the writer, I use a clear picture of myself smiling.
I’m human and approachable. I won’t bite.
Hire me, please!
Section Five: Testimonial
To show visitors I’ve done excellent work before, I pop in a testimonial:
Section Six: Contact Form
And there you have it:
If you follow my template, you could swap out the About for a Newsletter signup, or even include one elsewhere.
Once a visitor is past your opening three sections they’re already invested in what you do.
Make sure you give them a chance to get to know you – and more opportunities to contact you or buy your product.
Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself
You’ll notice throughout all the above, there’s a lot of repetition, including:
- Let’s chat
- Saves you time
- Makes you money
Because humans need to hear something 8-12 times before they take it in.
By repeating the benefits, it’ll stick in the head of your potential customers.
Sure, they might have a look around at your competitors. But if their message is muddled, that customer will remember you and how clear your message is. They won’t automatically assume your competitors offer the same benefit.
A new customer!
So, is your website losing you customers?
It won’t if you implement these changes. Even if you only tweak section one right now you’ll:
- Improve your homepage
- Give yourself a better chance of winning a new customer
And that’s it. Phew! It’s a lot to take in, so read through it a few times before tackling these changes on your website. And stay tuned, there are more in-depth articles to improve your website copy on the way! Until next time,
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