Fishing for customers: Why your website homepage is the most effective hook

Your homepage is your biggest marketing asset. It’s the first thing customers see and can potentially win (or lose) you new business in a matter of 30 seconds. The problem many businesses have is they put too much information on their homepage.

This makes it difficult for prospective customers to quickly and clearly understand what you do and how you can help.

Do you want to risk putting off customers before they can even learn about what you do? In this article, I’ll show you how to use your homepage to hook customers and help them decide whether you are a good fit for them.

Main website purpose: generate leads or facilitate transactions

The first question you need to ask yourself is what the purpose of your website is.

  • Are you trying to build relationships in the hope of generating new leads?
  • Or are you facilitating transactions and making sales directly on your website?
  • There are specific approaches to your homepage you need to take based on the purpose of your site.

Websites that generate leads

Most B2B businesses use their homepage to build relationships and generate leads. Since buying cycles are generally longer and more trust is required to close sales, these relationship-building websites work well. Let’s consider our website as an example (Excite Media). Our website is used to build relationships with prospects and generate leads. On our homepage, we share links to other pages on our site where you can get a quote, contact us, find more information on who we are and even view our portfolio.

These pages are all focused on earning the trust of our customers. We want to show them what we do and give them a way to reach out to us for a friendly chat. No transactions are taking place; we’re simply looking to connect with customers who have a business need.

On the flip side, there are…

Websites that facilitate transactions

Consumer brands, ecommerce stores and software services facilitate transactions on their websites. These websites sell products, which means they need to clearly direct customers to product pages and then to payment pages.

Let’s consider Topheads Eyewear as an example. This is a small eyewear shop in Bondi, which specialises in eyewear made from contemporary, eco-friendly materials. The purpose of the Topheads Eyewear website is to facilitate transactions – they capture orders, take online payments and ship products.

Homepage copy must be concise and act like a quick pitch

Your homepage is the first thing your customers see about your brand. Gone are the days of direct mailers, flyers, brochures and radio ads. When customers find you on Google or their friends recommend you to them, they go straight to your website to learn more information. They don’t call you to learn what you do. They don’t look you up in the Yellow Pages to see what you sell. And they don’t crawl through junk mail to find your coupon. This puts a lot of pressure on your homepage. Instead of overwhelming customers with too much content, you need to quickly and concisely communicate your quick pitch and then link to additional content on your site.

What you need on your homepage to communicate your quick pitch

There are five important elements you need to on your homepage:

Show why you’re different (value prop)What makes you different from your competitors? Clearly communicate this on your homepage so you can show why you are a better option.

Show what you do: What products and services do you offer?

Show who you work with: What types of customers do you sell to?

Link to additional content: Use the navigation bar and internal links to direct customers to other pages on your website. These links might be to product or information pages.
 Your homepage is the hook; your additional content is the bait Provide your customers with links to important information from the homepage.

The content flow needs to be logical and easy to understand. Don’t try and get too fancy. The last thing you want is to confuse your visitor. Your goal should be to intuitively direct customers around your website, from one page to the next. Think about your favourite websites. Are they really easy to browse and quite an enjoyable experience? Why? Because they take you on a journey, giving you options and helping you discover the content and information you want to read.

Amazon is a classic example. If you want to buy some kitchenware for your new house, you go to the Amazon website and click Kitchen & Dining. On this page, you have a number of options to dig deeper and discover different sets of products. You might click Tools and Gadgets. From this page you can dig even deeper and click on the products you want to evaluate. And so on… There is a logical (and user-friendly) content flow.

This is the sort of experience you need to strive to achieve for your website. Conclusion – Your biggest marketing asset is your homepage; use it in the right way Packing your homepage with stacks of information is a recipe for disaster. Instead, focus on the five key elements to a great homepage. Use your homepage as a hook and help direct customers to your inner pages with the bulk of your content. Bait customers into learning more about your products. Take them on a journey that offers a great experience and helps them make an informed decision about whether your product is a good fit for them.