On more than one occasion, I have asked clients what the main purpose of their homepage is and their response has been “to get the visitor interested in my site” which usually elicits a shudder from me. While generating interest is important, it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all goal of a homepage. After all, while grabbing the visitor’s interest is fine, you still need to do something with it. The function of a homepage shouldn’t be just to provide a jazzy table of content for your site, nor is it to be a media explosion; the purpose of your homepage should be to appeal to your target personas and then to guide them to the appropriate path through your website.
Navigating the Forest of Your Website
One of the key elements of inbound marketing are personas, which are fictional representations of your target demographics. Your personas are the ones that you really want to help through your website, which means that the site itself needs to be constructed with them in mind. Now imagine that your website is a forest and each one of your personas needs to end up in a different spot on the other side of it. Without a proper path, those personas will wander around and have a much harder time getting to where they need to be. With the paths in place, it becomes pretty easy. The problem then becomes, how do the personas know which path to take?
Your Homepage is Your Sorting Hat
Time for another metaphor. If you are familiar with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series (and I am just going to assume that you are) then you know that one of the most memorable moments in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is when Mr. Potter first goes into the Hogwarts’s main hall, puts on a special hat and is told which of the schools four houses he belongs to (Gryffindor of course). The hat is called the “Sorting Hat” and its purpose is to segment all of the new students based on what type of personality they have.
In a lot of ways, a business’ homepage should act like its very own Sorting Hat – it should separate your websites visitors into different groups based on their unique personality traits or needs. When separated, these groups can then be nurtured in ways that are unique to them. In other words, your Sorting Hat helps put your target personas on the right path.
Putting Visitors on the Right Path
Now your homepage can’t magically read your visitors mind and tell them where they should go, as incredibly convenient as that would be. To get the right persona into the right marketing channel, you will need to take some steps yourself in order to guide them to the right path.
- Start With a Targeted Solution. For each of your target personas there should be some sort of description of the solution that you offer them. This needs to be at the very top of the page since the further down the solution the less likely the target persona is to see it. It also needs to be as absolutely clear as possible to ensure that they have no doubt that the offering is meant for them.
- At the end of the description of the solution, direct the persona to the first page in the “marketing path” that you have created for them. Be very clear about where you are sending them and how it will benefit that person.
- Stick to just a few CTAs (or just one). Having too many CTAs on the homepage can get distracting and potentially lead a persona down the wrong path.
If you happen to need help identifying or developing a marketing strategy for your Buyer Personas then feel free to contact us here at MarketHeed.