You only get one chance to make a first impression, and on the internet that chance lasts precious seconds. You need to ensure that your website’s first impression and introduction are exactly what your visitors need to hear.
If this makes you nervous, it should. This is where you have the chance to get your foot in the door. But rather than be the old-school door-to-door salesperson, blurting out your pitch while your mark’s interest fades, your website is the chance to welcome a new customer to your company.
So what are you supposed to tell your visitors?
It’s simple: you don’t tell them – you answer their questions and take their state of mind into account.
Think about your customers. Don’t think about what you want them to know about you, think about what they need you to solve in their lives. What’s the central problem they come to you about? Usually there are two or three different types of core customer questions like this.
Let’s take a look at something that people search for different reasons: Dog Training.
There are a few different customers for dog training methods:
Beginning Trainers are asking, “What’s the best way to train my pet?”
Advanced Trainers want to know, “How to refine my dog training methods for competitive sports like agility?”
And Professional Trainers are asking, “How do I Stay Competitive In My Career?”
Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training website knows how to answer all three of these questions, and prioritizes their above-the-fold screen real estate based on customer knowledge and needs.
The website serves each type of customer based on how new they are to the website, the terminology, and the amount of patience they are likely to have to find what they need.
Beginning Trainers are in research mode, and so the website grabs them right away: Don’t just teach your new dog something cool, build a relationship with them! And if you want help, "Find a Trainer" is in the right sidebar waiting for them.
Advanced Trainers want to improve their training methods and connect to other dog people. The top navigation bar is focused on them: access to a library, videos, and other resources.
Professional Trainers want to build a business and reputation. The right sidebar sends professional trainers two clear messages: We will help you improve your business with “Build your Skills”, then help people find you and your business with “Find a Trainer”.
This home page doesn’t tell any of these customer types what clicker training is, why it is useful, or how to do it. It answers the questions that bring them to the website in the first place.
This home page could instead have a description of what clicker training is and how to do it, but that would only appeal to a narrow range of visitor: the beginning trainer who has moved from awareness to research and comparison.
Advanced and Professional trainers would still come to the website when they had to, but with ready access to resources for self improvement and community building, the current layout gives these readers reasons to return often and re-engage.
And if you’re a beginning trainer who really REALLY doesn’t know where to go, they take one last chance to capture your attention with a shadowbox popup:
What makes this website work is that it understands the frame of mind that its three main categories of visitor are in when they find the Karen Pryor Clicker Training website. The most real estate on screen is devoted to low-patience, brand new visitors. Once they’re taken care of, visitors with more knowledge and patience have their needs and desires served.
Once you’ve considered this on your home page, it can inform the way you design the rest of your sitemap, and the way you structure the content on your website.
Need a whole new website made with your marketing in mind? At ATAK, that’s a challenge we love to take on. Give us a call or book a meeting – you might even get to meet an office dog or two.