A website is more than a place to show information about your business. It should lead your prospective clients to take a certain action, whether it’s to buy your product or service, sign up for a free trial or a demo, subscribe to your newsletter, and such. If the idea is to create engagement, your target audience needs to feel satisfied, like they have gained value from your website.
In other words: they were active, not passive and watching from the sidelines. Better engagement starts by answering these three objections every user has once they enter a website:
- Is this for me?
- How does it work?
- Does it really work?
#1: Is it relevant to me?
You need to have a clear message, coherent visual elements, and usually a straightforward call to action (CTA) that says in a very concise way “this is what we do.”
What makes a message clear and concise?
For starters – explaining what your business is about in as few words as possible without minimizing your content. By that, I mean having a one-liner that showcases the general vision of the business, accompanied by a short caption that goes into detail about what that vision entails and an image that relays what you do. Then, a CTA will motivate users to do something on the page (anything from ‘sign up’ or ‘contact us’ to ‘scroll down for more information’) and not bounce off.
Your content needs to be brief (because nobody likes reading a wall of text that can be summarized in a few sentences), on point, and easy for your audience to understand when it comes to meaning. There’s no place for vagueness nor ‘read between the lines’ nor any assumptions one might make to try to understand what you are saying.
For example – can you tell me what this website is about?
You can’t and neither can I, even though it looks super fancy. How about this one:
Not really sure what NMG Group does based on that one-liner, are you? That makes two of us.
For a diametrically opposite example, check out monday.com’s homepage:
It tells you everything you need to know, right from the get go. Bad Rhino is another good example:
#2: What are the finer points?
Assuming the first question is answered and the visitors landing on the website understand what you are doing, and find it relevant to them – now they want to know details.
For instance, if you offer some kind of service or a product, this is the part where you focus on certain aspects of your solution and offer an explanation of how it works. If there are multiple steps to how your service works – mention them and highlight the qualities that you think your audience will find most appealing. You can also present all the products or services you offer.
The point of your descriptions is to effectively reach your potential customers and speak to their specific interests. It’s a big opportunity to steer your visitors on route to becoming customers. Ultimately, how you present your offerings could be the deciding factor whether someone actually clicks away or stays interested.
I find PayPal does this really good:
On the other side of the spectrum is Dashlane, who went to the extreme and has this for a homepage with virtually no scroll whatsoever.
#3: Can you offer any assurance of quality?
The third question or objection is probably one of the most important ones as it shows proof that what you do is the real deal, that it really works.
There are a few methods of achieving this. Arguably the best one is social proof, best described in this case as a digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s the most straightforward and trustworthy (in the eyes of the customer) way to adjust their behavior according to what others are doing.
Social proof covers a variety of forms, with the standard being user reviews and ratings, as seen in the examples of Rover, the pet care website, and Buffer, the social media management software:
There are also written and video testimonials, as well as case studies that offer a detailed story of how your solution helped another customer. Earned media such as positive press about your business and endorsements from experts or other companies also account for social proof.
You can curate different user-generated content by encouraging your users to use a branded hashtag, for example. Business credentials such as the number of customers you have, well-known names among them, or industry awards and certifications you have received are all examples of social proof you can leverage to your advantage. Anything factual you can put to either ease the mind of someone looking to make a buy or reassure them in their decision helps.
Bonus pro tip: sorting your call to action placement
I realize what I’m about to say contradicts common knowledge but it’s important to realize not everything is black or white – there are a lot of grey areas. I’m referring to the practice of having a CTA button above the fold line.
The term refers to an area of a website that is shown upon landing on any webpage without scrolling down to see more. Placing a CTA there is not necessarily beneficial for most websites and certainly not a must-do practice.
A much better way to think of CTA placement is the area of the webpage where the user will have enough relevant information to make a decision. If you put a CTA button above the fold, the user is likely at a point where they are scrolling for information and not yet ready to pull the trigger. You don’t want to be too intense and too aggressive, especially early on. It’s important to consider the flow of the webpage and figure out what is the best spot where your users will absorb enough information to do something when you drive them to action via a CTA button.
Plus, nobody says you can’t have more than one CTA on the page – you can have one that encourages to scroll down for more information and the “actual” one that leads to a conversion.
As a rule of thumb, it only takes three seconds for a user to gain a first impression and decide to leave or stay. If they don’t understand what your website is about and what’s going on there, they will bounce. There is very little time to capture and keep the attention of your visitors.
One of the principal things of user experience is finding a balance between what you are trying to achieve as a business and what your users’ needs and pain points are. A business website implies there is some kind of conversion in store. Clear messaging on a website is a tool that will lead your users to convert and get them to the place you want them to be, achieved by taking into consideration both their and your needs.
This is why these three seemingly benign questions are very important. If you answer them correctly, users will gain a good understanding of what you’re doing. They will believe in it and know exactly how it works. Begin the process by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about what you’d like them to take away from your words. The rest will go easier.
If you’d like to know more about reaching your website user engagement goals or need help, feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn – I’ll be glad to help out if I can.