It may be time (or long past it perhaps) to say goodbye to the traditional website home page. You know the one – it says what you do, has a big ol’ signup box and image carousel, a stack of testimonials or a little bit of “about you” stuff, and probably a featured product or service.
The truth is, people are getting busier, more impatient and less inclined to stop and look at your pretty pictures and meticulously designed banner graphics. They’re becoming more action-driven, and sites that have callouts to “buy”, “get” or “join” are going to win over those that don’t.
Not to insult your average consumer (hey, I’m one of them!) but the more you can cattle-drive people toward your desired end result, the more likely they are to do what you want them to do.
The key lies in figuring out how to do this, and a funnel-centric home page may just be the answer. If you’ve got more than a single product or service at more than a single price (ie: just about all of us!) then consider these ideas for designing your home page to drive leads and sales more effectively.
(Warning! Requires homework!)
Segment By Needs And Interests
In other words, categorize! This can be as simple as grouping your products by type (dinner plates, placemats, decanters) or as conceptual as grouping by use (family dining, holiday parties, late-night entertaining).
This requires that you know your target audience. For instance, shopping by product category may be intuitive for your audience if you’re selling straight-up dinnerware. But if you’re creating more of an experience for a unique consumer, then a “use” category could have more appeal.
You can apply this to services the same way. A landscaper may categorize by service type (poolscapes, water gardens, patios) or use (commercial, residential, municipal).
Or how about a resort that categorizes by service type: boat rides, hikes, shopping excursions… or experience (use): family events, nightlife, romantic occasions.
I could give you lots of examples but the best thing for you to do is to think about how this applies to your business! Your answer will depend entirely on your audience, their expectations and the type of funnel you want to create.
Try it now: think about your products or services and come up with two ways to group them so you can reel people into your funnel. Which way fits your business model and your customer needs best?
Segment By Price Range
Sometimes you can funnel people more effectively toward a sale if you consider their budgetary constraints.
For instance, if you install telecommunication systems, your prospects may want the super duper high end amazing phone system that walks the dog and washes the dishes, but they are probably limited by a corporate budget. And though you may be able to upsell, it’s probably not in your best interests to show all the bells-and-whistles to the low-spenders.
Likewise, for those with higher budgets, you can direct them to your top-of-the-line systems.
You’ve probably seen a budget-based approach on a lot of service sites, from Mailchimp to Salesforce to Hootsuite. Each of those has a budget-based series of service packages. It’s better than getting a customer all hyped up about a bunch of features only to lead them down the pipe to an end cost that makes their jaw drop into their soup.
Again, knowing your audience is key. If there’s a good chance that your customers choose based on budget, then keep their expectations in check and lead them to the products or services in your line that make the most sense for them.
Try it now: think about how you can package your products or services based on price. Even if this isn’t a route you choose, it can be a good exercise to help you think a bit differently about your offerings.
Segment By Demographic
This can work well for lifestyle-based products or services. For example, you may have a spa with packages for kids, teens, moms and seniors. Your services and prices will vary in this case based on age. Maybe the little kids get a choice of three nail polish colors and a cucumber facial, but moms get the full range of colors plus a massage.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record… it depends on your audience!
There are a variety of ways to segment by demographic, age being only one. How about gender? You might sell skin care products for men and different products for women.
Or by residence – how about a line of garden products for suburbanites vs. apartment dwellers?
You’re only limited by your imagination… and how well you can make your products or services specifically relevant to your audience.
Try it now: how can you group your customers by demographic factors like age, gender, marital status or some other factor? Will doing this help you create a better sales funnel?
Offer Multiple Funnels
Just because you can segment your audience by need (family vacations vs. romantic getaways) doesn’t mean you can’t also segment by price range (budget trips vs. luxury excursions).
In fact, if you can legitimately segment your audience in different ways then use that to your advantage! Don’t go overkill here and segment for the sake of segmenting… but if it makes sense then give your website visitors the option to shop in a variety of ways. You’ve probably seen clothing retailers that give you options to shop by size, occasion, price range, even color palette.
Some of your customers may not know if they want a woodland garden or a hardscape but they’re probably confident that they fall in the residential category. Others may be pretty certain that they want a stairway fountain.
Try it now: Can you come up with multiple ways that your customers might want to find and buy your products or services?
The better you can define your prospects’ specific needs, the more likely you are to pull them in.
So forget that pretty-but-useless photo carousel – it’s fashionable but what benefit are you (or your customers) getting out of it? Stop worrying about the page header or the number of columns in your footer. Focus instead on how you can use your home page to lead your prospects down the path you want them to follow to the sale at the other end.
What do you think of the funnel concept? Have you thought of a way you can use it to focus your home page on conversions? Let me know, or if you’re stuck, tell me and maybe I can help!
Join the discussion 12 Comments
Great advice Carol Lynn! I do segment by client type but I’m sure I can do it better. One tool that I find missing on many bigger consumer sites is a simple Website search button so people can quickly find what they are looking for. Love the “try it now” takeaways – instant gratification! 🙂
Thanks Clare, I want to take my own advice and do that on my company site… as soon as I can clone myself 🙂 And yes, search is a must-have, especially for a big site! Seems like a no-brainer but I guess unless you’re on the user end you might not notice.
Gotta love the funnel! My husband and I have created products, now on a sales website and almost ready to go. Just a few nuts and bolts to do and we are off!
Now this took a lot of work, from down sales to up sales. Did the homework, know the age and gender groups and have a few follow-up emails in the tank when we roll.
But…..Once that is done, I do need to create pages on my blog so people can find out more of what I have to offer. It is a very strategic approach, but once you have your funnel figured out, it is smooth sailing. The best thing I like about it is that once you set it up, roll it out, it can be duplicated with other products time after time.
You’re so right, Donna – once you put in the effort of planning and setting everything up, it’s a lot easier to make the sales and to use that concept over and over. It could take some thinking and sometimes you may have an idea that doesn’t work out and then you find a better one. But you said the magic words: “did your homework”. Looking forward to seeing your new sales site 🙂
Great post! I don’t have my website up and running yet (still working on it), but I am bookmarking this to reference again when I do!
Hi George! Good timing then, you can do your homework BEFORE you put your site up 🙂 I’m glad this could help!
Wow, this is full of nuggets. I continue of being amazed at all the segments we can create to better be able to reach the right people with the right product. It does make sense, but boy, yes, lots of homework to do.
Thanks for another great informative post!
There are definitely a lot of ways you can reach people, and it all depends on what you know about them: what do they need, what do they look for, how can you best give them what they want? It could take a little experimenting but its worth it!
What a great update to the tired old landing page. Thanks to Squawk Media for sharing this with the BizSugar community. No excuse not to convert your traffic into revenue now!
Thanks for stopping by! Glad you found us via BizSugar and I’m glad I could offer some ideas for leaving the tired landing pages behind 🙂
My homepage used to just be my blog with product links in the sidebar. But now, I really only offer two services: 1.) speaking, and 2.) our key product, AgentPress.
So I changed up my homepage to a landing page. It links to my speaking, my recent blog posts, and a big call to action at the bottom to sign up for the free content library at AgentPress (so far, this last one is converting very well).
It makes a world of difference to identify who your audience is, and what you want them to do when coming up with the layout for your site.
No doubt! It’s funny how that seems to be a pretty recent discovery. A lot of home pages are just “for decoration” – big photos, cool graphics. But what do they sell? Good choice to move toward conversions!