Does Your Home Page Engage Customers?

  |  February 5, 2001   |  Comments

The only thing customers care about is what your product or service can do for them. To engage customers, you need a Web site with strong copy that spells benefits in their own language.

In my last article -- "Does Your Home Page Help or Hinder Sales?" -- I discussed many of the basic components of the home page on a Web site that works. By that I mean a Web site that goes beyond allowing your customers to buy (at best) and actually knows how to persuade and sell them -- a Web site that increases your conversion rate.

Now we're ready to explore some of the more subtle factors that can make your home page stand out where it matters most: in the hearts and minds of your customers.

AIDAS

For those of you who may have missed the last article, AIDAS is an acronym that stands for attention, interest, desire, action, satisfaction. You want your home page to grab your prospects' attention, hold their interest, stimulate their desire to continue the process, motivate them to act (i.e., click and, ultimately, buy), and then satisfy them once they've taken the action you've motivated them to take.

AIDAS is not simply some B-school buzzword. It provides the momentum that keeps your visitor moving through your site, to and through the act of buying. If you don't use it, you have little, if any, control over where your visitor goes or why. Used right, it will increase your sales directly and immediately.

Navigation

Navigation could be an article in itself. If AIDAS provides the momentum to keep your prospect moving toward the purchase, good navigation is the lubricant that makes that movement possible. Your navigation must be:

  • Visible

  • Clear

  • Simple

  • Intuitive

  • Consistent

We'll dig much deeper into navigation, as well as into its cousin, information architecture, in future articles. In the meantime, we hope these five points are self-explanatory and provide information you can use right now.

WIIFM

"What's in it for me?" Sometimes it's referred to as "WIIFM, everyone's favorite radio station." But it's no joke. It's the question your prospects are always asking, and it's the question you must always be answering. Your prospects don't really care about you. Your customers don't even care about your product or service. The only thing your customers care about is what your product or service can do for them.

Web sites usually are far too heavy on graphics and far too short on strong copy (text). WIIFM helps you realize why that's backward. It's absolutely essential that your site has:

  • Clear and compelling copy

  • Copy that speaks about benefits, not features

  • Copy that speaks the language of your visitor, not that of your tech department or your marketing department

Words are what engage the imaginations and hearts of your visitors. Why is that so important? Because people rationalize buying decisions based on facts, but people make buying decisions based on their feelings. That's a proven fact. We may believe, and even feel, otherwise, but buying is an emotional process, not a logical one. Transform your business around that one insight, and you'll be amazed at the results.

Benefits? Talk about how your product or service will make your visitors' jobs easier, their lives happier, and so on. Speak to why they're really on your site in the first place. Specs, features, and even prices may be important ingredients, but they're not the real drivers.

And, finally, if you are going to reach the widest possible market in the most effective way, you need to be aware that different people with diverse personalities respond differently to how you present your product or service.

According to the renowned psychologist Carl Jung, there are eight personality "archetypes." For sales and marketing purposes, these are usually condensed into four: assertive/driver, amiable, analytical, and expressive/humanistic. (Various authors have used other names; the principle is the same.)

Each of these types has both a different mode of shopping and different emotional needs that need to be met in order for them to be willing to buy. The different types ask different questions, and they respond best to different types of presentations. How that all works will be the topic of my next article.

Just remember that if you want to persuade and engage your customers, you have to speak to them in their language and sell to them in the way they want to be sold to.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

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