Research shows your website has between 0 and 8 seconds to make an impactful first impression before the majority of online explorers leave your page. We know, that’s enough to make you reach for a paper bag to put over your head (or hyperventilate into). But before you succumb to “too-much-pressure” overwhelm, let us reassure you there are PROVEN strategies you can use to capture people’s attention right away on your website. Knowledge is power, my friend and we’re in the game of giving power to the people. Here are some sure-fire things you can add to your site to get and keep people’s attention so you can start seeing actual results:
1) A CLEAR EXPLANATION OF YOUR BUSINESS
Don’t make people guess what you do. This should be obvious within the immediate window of your website when it pops open in a browser, before someone even has to extend the strenuous effort of scrolling down the page. (“These millennials, am I right?” *she says scoffingly, clearly a millennial*). Not sure how to do this? Don’t worry. Banners and tag lines are here to save your paper bag wearing face from the sea of uncertainty. Not sure what I mean?
2) YOUR GOSH-DARN FACE, YOU SHY LITTLE VIOLET
This is a really easy, yet for some people, really terrifying one. The simple fact of the matter is: websites that feature a photo of the team or actual person behind the business upon loading typically see higher conversion rates. Why? People like transparency, personalization and authenticity. They relate to it, they connect with it and they immediately feel more willing to trust something they can put a face to. You may totally hate photos of yourself, and we get that, we all deal with camera shyness in our own right but if you’re brave enough to implement this throughout your website, your engagement will reap the benefits. Some simple tricks to follow on this rule:
Take a deep breath and realize that your face is your face. Everyone around you sees it...sitting there...being your face...all day long. You don't, so suddenly seeing it everywhere may feel really weird and self-centered to you, but to others, it’s ESSENTIAL to familiarizing themselves with your vibe and your story (which creates relatability and loyalty).
Include a photo of yourself or your team immediately on the home page of your website (people shouldn’t have to scroll down more than once to see it).
Hire a professional and get a stock of 20 - 30 (or more) photos you can use for the next 1-3 years throughout your branding (in your email campaigns, on your website, on your social media outlets, etc). If you have a great at-home office space you love or a great commercial space for your team, have the photographer shoot photos of your environment as well. The goal is to bring people INTO your world and your space so they relate to you like a trusted ally or cherished friend and not just another random salesperson.
Reshoot your photos every 3-5 years or more. Your face changes, your team changes, your space changes. Keep people engaged with your current path and wanting to take the journey with you.
3) AN EMAIL OPT-IN IN THE BANNER
In a hugely online world, your email list is a secret weapon of mass destruction (or construction, in this case). You can literally build and sustain an entire business around an email list if you do it right. It would then follow that getting people INTO your email list is probably a swell idea. So how do you make it RIDICULOUSLY easy and RIDICULOUSLY “duh”-worthy for people to opt in to your tribe? One of the most effective ways is to include an email opt-in button on the head banner of your website. Offer something simple yet useful to people in exchange for their email; this can be something quick and easy to create such as a checklist, tipsheet, downloadable report, worksheet, resource list, ten minute phone call, whatever you think your audience would gladly opt-in to.
PRO-TIP: Make sure you have a BUTTON that leads to a pop-up email opt-in form, not just an email form right away. Research shows that button opt-ins are far more effective than simply placing a fillable email form in front of people’s faces. Who knows, perhaps the button makes it feel more like a choice and therefore less pushy? All we know is, the numbers don’t lie.
4) AN OPT-IN IN THE MENU
Your website banner isn’t the only element of your site that you can put to work on your behalf. Including a tab in your menu that allows people to opt-in to your list / your community / your group / your following is another handy way to increase engagement and conversions. If you’re someone who regularly puts out valuable content via your blog, the creation of free materials or resources like cheat sheets, tip sheets, mini training series, free webinars, etc, you may want to add a tab to your menu that says something like “Free Resources”, “Free Updates”, “Free Advice”, “Free Coaching”, etc. Again, this tab would then lead to a pop-up email opt-in form where people can subscribe to your list. If you’re someone who has an active Facebook page where you’ve built or are building a great community and offer things like handy article shares, valuable live video trainings and AHAs, hot topic discussions, etc, you may want to add a tab to your menu that says something like “Community”, “Join the Conversation”, “Free Trainings”, “Network”, “Connect”, “The Cool Table”, “Tribe”, etc. This tab would then lead to your Facebook page where people can opt-in to your community of awesomeness.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Don’t include this feature if you don’t plan on following up with what you've promised your audience. Aka: if you don’t regularly put out free valuable content or you’re not actively contributing on your FB page, don’t fake it. (Trust us, it’s a bad look).
5) AN ACTIVE BLOG OR RESOURCE PAGE
We’ve mentioned this one a few times lately but it’s worth saying again. An active blog or resources page is one of the number one ways to become a thought leader in your industry. Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Can it be leveraged? Yes. Is it then ESPECIALLY worth it because it’s not cutting into your time? Yes. If you’re not putting out content that people want to consume, you can guarantee that your email list will continue to grow at the exact rate of your actual customers, who either find you through referral or blindly stumble upon you out of dumb luck. When you start showing up in your industry as a voice of authority and actually put your voice out into the world strategically, your email list will develop in leaps and bounds and will take on categories, and sub-categories, brimming with potential clients just waiting for the right offer, the right email or the right moment to say YES.
6) CALL TO ACTION BUTTONS
A little something we’ve learned in our exploration of the human psyche (which is basically what marketing is built around)? Buttons are the adult equivalent of ANY nearby object to a teething baby. They’re just too tempting; think virtual bubblewrap. Each page and section of your website should have a clickable button to the natural next step you want your clients to take. Buttons are a strategic way to lead people exactly where you want them to go and make navigation on your website intuitive and low effort, which means higher participation.
7) THOUGHTFUL NAVIGATION
The navigation of your website should absolutely be intentional. If it’s not, make a note on your TO-DO List to give it a good look-see. Strategic navigation leads your site visitors on a journey you’ve planned starting with what you want them to know, do and see first and ending with the action you ultimately want them to take. Everything in between should be designed to lead them to that final step. Here are some helpful tips to get you there:
Order your tabs from left to right in the way you want them to be consumed.
Don’t over-clutter your top navigation; it should contain NO more than 6 tabs (3-5 is ideal). If you have additional tabs that are important to include, include them in a footer menu.
Make your home page a “reflection” of your menu tabs to increase click throughs. (Home pages are the most visited page of any site so take advantage.)
Cross-link the CRAP out of your site wherever possible. Writing a blog post about interior design and know you have a checklist for “Questions to Ask Before Hiring An Interior Designer” on your resources page? Link to it. Sharing a real estate market report and referencing information you shared in last month’s market report? Link to it. Telling the story of how you built your business from zero to six figures in three years on your about page and have a course that shows people how to do the same? Link to it. You get the picture.
Get creative with how you navigate people through your site. We loved this business mentor’s method of taking people exactly where she wanted them to go immediately
8) SPECIAL OFFER BANNERS
This nifty little tool is great to use when you have special promotions you want people to be immediately aware of. Placing a small banner at the top of your site that states what the offer is and gives a clickable link to engage with that offer is a subtle yet effective way to get people to opt-in. This can be for more than just the typical “blow out sale”. You can use banners for training announcements: “Don’t miss our free ‘Business Plan Bootcamp’ webinar airing this Friday. Click to register”. You can use banners for event announcements: “Ready to skyrocket your online income? Join our weekend workshop here”. Get creative, man!
PRO-TIP: Be careful not to OVER-use this feature. When you always have a promotional banner, it stops becoming noticeable. To keep repeat customers/visitors engaged with your promotional banner, make sure to switch up the coloring of the banner each time so people don’t breeze over it thinking they’ve already read it.