In most companies, we spend a lot of time talking to ourselves.
This provides a verbal shorthand that is internally useful: We know what we’re talking about; there’s no need to spell it out. But when talking to our prospects, customers, partners or clients, we need to remember they have no idea what we’re talking about.
I’ve been reminded of this recently because new clients usually ask for a web site review. And almost always, the company’s home page – their introduction to the world, the first thing people see when they visit the site for the first time – is wasted space.
Eye-catching graphics and inspiring words are great – once the visitor knows what you do.
I’m speaking primarily about business-to-business technology start-ups or small- to medium-sized companies, as they comprise our client base. But as an exercise, I looked up the home pages of Intel and Apple, because everyone knows what they do. Even so, the first thing I saw was a product offering with a message about that product’s unique selling point; they used the space correctly.
Let’s imagine you have technology that provides financial services companies a way to target new customers, or sell more into existing customers, more accurately and with more effective data security measures than your competitors.
Short phrases such as
which I saw on your home page, are great. Except I’m visiting your web site for the first time, and without context, they mean nothing to me.
So I ask you, yes, but what are you? “Oh. We’re a FinTech company.”
OK, and what do you offer? “We offer Product Z, which targets prospects more accurately and has much better security than our competitors.”
Who are your customers? “Retail financial services.”
And what’s their greatest need? “They have two. Finding new customers without wasting money on inappropriate prospects and keeping data secure.”
Great. Say all of that. In short phrases.
Technology for retail financial services
Target customers more accurately
The highest data security
Good start. Anything else you need prospects to know? “Well, we took an entirely fresh approach with the software; we wrote it from the ground up.”
This is a tricky one, when you’re talking about the home page. Normally, the “how it works” part of a tech company’s strategic messaging comes at the end, after the customer’s need, what you offer to answer that need, and then finally how it works. For some audiences, “how it works” is unnecessary until your tech people are teaching their tech people how to deploy the product.
For some products and some audiences, how the technology works is a unique selling point. If you believe this is true for you, be very careful how or if you use that message on your home page. It’s so tempting to talk about how your technology works, because you’ve worked hard on it, it’s your intellectual property and you’re justly proud of it.
So ask yourself, or better, ask your customers, during the sales process, do they need to know? Or would they care more about testimonials from existing customers saying how their marketing ROI improved 34% in the first three months? Or a statement from the customer’s marketing department about how easy your offering was to integrate into their operations?
Just don’t waste the space.