What does your B2B website home page communicate?
People buy from those they trust. If visitors don’t trust you, they’re much less likely to buy from you – no matter how attractive your prices or your promises are. But don't rely entirely on your website to build trust for the first time.
Your home page's primary job is not to tell your story. Homepages aren't your company Wikipedia page. They are your most visited marketing asset. Don't be exhaustive — give your ICP the TL:DR.
Before prospects come to your website, they should have already heard and be familiar with your story/narrative and POV through other channels.
What is a B2B Website Homepage Design?
A homepage functions as an introductory page for your website. It’s the first thing visitors see, and it takes them only a few seconds to decide whether they want to stick around. And since a company’s homepage accounts for up to 50 percent of the site’s total pageviews, it’ll make or break your business.
But don't rely entirely on your website to tell the story for the first time. Most visitors don't have that much attention to give you. Message testing data via Wynter is clear; first-time visitors are primarily interested in:
- what is it?
- is it for me?
- what can I do with it?
- why this over alternatives?
Asking them to dive into your story is too big of an ask (in most cases), says Peep Laja.
The story needs to be spread by the CEO and marketing through social, podcasts, email, blog, etc - day in and day out.
The odds of you converting someone during their first visit are very low. You could use that visit as a starting point to tell your story (through remarketing etc), so they buy into you over time. In short, your b2b business need a website strategy in place.
Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image, so choose images that are relevant to your product or service offering and will not distract from the overall objective of the website.
A Website Communication Approach - They Ask, You Answer
They Ask, You Answer is a business framework with one obsession at its core: “What is my customer asking?”
In a b2b website communication design context, you can modify this to you answer, you imagine what they are thinking, you answer and repeat this a few times.
If you want the BEST chance to convert your website visitors...
...then anchor your homepage messaging on a specific use case 👌🏻
What's the goal of a homepage?
Your website homepage has a few main functions: Show visitors what they’re looking for, show them where to start, and establish your company’s credibility.
Anthony Pierri from Fletch says, in most cases, it's to get someone to click the CTA.
And in most cases, there's a finite amount of words you can (or SHOULD) include in a homepage.
Which means if your homepage speaks to multiple customer types, the amount of words you can devote to each segment SHRINKS ⬇️.
In general, there are three levels of specificity for website messaging:
Messaging an entire platform
↳ consists of several products for different customer types
Messaging an entire product
↳ consists of several different use cases that may (or may not) be shared by the same customer types
Messaging on a specific use case
↳ anchored on one singular reason someone would use the product
Rippling anchors their homepage on the entire platform.
→ Since they have multiple products aimed at different departments, they have ~13 words to convince each department
We can see Bizongo, a B2B website, designed and developed by Everything Design, following a similar structure.
Notion anchors their homepage on the product.
→ Since they cover three main use cases, they have between 11-40 words to convince the segment(s) depending on if the segments are looking for wikis, project management, and docs all at once (or just one of those)
Loom anchors their homepage on a use case.
(or to be fair, they DID at one point... they've since removed the main use case)
→ Since they are just focused on the use case of sending team updates, they can devote 61 words to making their case AND talk really in depth about the product and how it works.
Now maybe you're thinking...
"Aren't all three of these companies really successful?"
And the answer is YES!
This is purely talking about the AMOUNT OF WORDS you can use to make your case.
The product adoption of any of these platforms, products, or use cases is dependent on the go-to-market muscle backing each one.
What should you put on your b2b website's homepage?
A strong value proposition is more important than lowering friction.
If you have something the market wants, they're ready to put up with some inconvenience.
Sure everything is important, but you gotta prioritize. Focus energy and effort where it will have the most impact.
Every website should have these six essential components on the homepage:
- Value proposition and messaging: what you do and who you do it for in your brand tone of voice.
- Target keyword: the word or phrase that you want your business to be found for.
- Differentiation: why a customer should choose you over other solutions.
- Proof: evidence that you can do what you say you can.
- Brand application: a consistent look and feel that reflects your brand.
- Call to action: ways for your visitor to convert or continue their journey.
Remember, your website homepage is supposed to act as a silent salesperson. Walk your visitors through the purchasing process, and convert them into happy, enthusiastic customers.
What is a perfect homepage template for a b2b startup?
70% of small business websites lack a Call to Action (CTA) on their homepage, so that is one key point to consider, have a clear call to action on your home page.
However, there is no such thing as a perfect homepage template, says Robert from Fletch in his LinkedIn post.
💥 Because your business growth model dictates your website strategy.
Remember, your website is just another Go to Market asset.
It should have a specific purpose
↳ especially for awareness and acquisition motions.
Too many startups use it as a company wiki trying to explain everything they do and how they do it.
❌ This is a BIG mistakes.
It puts prospects into evaluation mode and forces them to make a decision on everything right away.
Instead, startups should meet prospects with the smallest message to get potential users to the next step.
There is plenty more time to communicate everything else.
Here are the 3 acquisition models and the corresponding messaging strategy
🟢🟢🟢 Sales-Led Growth
The primary motion here is to reach out to prospects directly via:
→ emails & LinkedIn
→ cold calls
The purpose of the website?
✅ To establish credibility
Running an outbound motion doesn’t even require a website.
But it can be useful when a prospect starts to engage with your outbound message, and goes to your site to see if you are legit.
The website messaging strategy?
💪 Tout your most impressive progress that highlights your credibility — and indicates that you could be valuable to a target customer.
Include things like:
→ Big customer logos
→ Case studies
→ Funding announcements
🟣🟣🟣 Marketing-Led Growth
In this motion, startups are engaging with prospects indirectly through content to drive them to your site:
→ Social media posts
→ blog articles
→ webinars & communities
The purpose of the website?
Convert a target persona on the CTA
↳ Either book a demo or start a trial
In this model, your website is CRITICAL for acquisition.
The website messaging strategy?
🎯 Be as clear as possible about what the product does.
To do this, emphasize your most compelling capability that you enable for a user.
And save all the extra capabilities and features for your sales demo or in-product messaging.
🔵🔵🔵 Product-Led Growth
For PLG startups, your website strategy will be very similar to those taking a marketing-led approach.
Especially for early stage companies.
👥 Because you’ll need a lot of users to get PLG acquisition working.
(Not to mention finding product-market fit)
👉 You can’t rely on product-led acquisition in the early days.
Because your are starting at zero users.
The purpose of the website?
🤠 Get a potential user to try the product.
The website messaging strategy?
🔨 Focus on the most compelling capability AND the feature that powers it.
→ Think of the page almost as a buy now for the single feature
There are three narrative structures for B2b SaaS startup homepages?
Single Use Case Narrative
→ "Here’s how our software helps you accomplish one specific thing."
Multi-Use Case Narrative
→ "Look at all the different things our software helps you do."
Suite of Products Narrative
→ "Look at all these different software products we've created."
To further simplify (or perhaps complicate) things...
✓ Any company could theoretically use any narrative
↳ for example, a page about Microsoft Office 365 could be written in a use case narrative, a multi-use case narrative, or a multi-product narrative. Your business strategy determines which direction your home page communication should take.
What should you give priority on B2b SaaS startup homepages - Features or Benefits?
I would you need to find a balance, but in so many cases companies are failing to showcase the features well. In many times the benefits are common and understood, yes it saves times and money, so does your competition.
Describing your product features in excruciating detail ("11% faster processing speeds!!!") may be effective in some contexts, like a late-stage sales conversation. But it’s rarely effective in b2b website home page messaging.
Conversational copy on B2b startup homepages
Conversational copy – what B2B marketers are obsessed with but can’t achieve. Because they treat it like a hook up when it’s really a marriage to get right, says Victoria Gamlen
Most B2B companies don't know their target audience well enough to have a conversation with them, in real life or in their copy. And what people who don’t write copy don’t understand is this:Copy isn’t written. It’s assembled from raw materials in the form of experiences, moments, and anecdotes.
The tagline that “just came to you"? You drew on data from your subconscious. There’s no way you didn’t; information has to come from somewhere.Another thing people don’t understand about writing copy (and I mean actual copy, not social media writing), is that conversational or not, it isn’t about writing like you speak.It’s about writing how your client speaks.Copywriters are voice actors. We just use the written word instead of the spoken one.
To write like you speak from the perspective of a company that sells a product that you don’t use and drive revenue from it takes an enormous amount of effort on its own. But to do all that and then also make it casual yet clever? That requires making yourself a local. It’s learning nuances like knowing that Prescott is actually pronounced like Triscuit, and that anyone actually from Silicon Valley would never be caught dead calling it that. (It’s the Bay Area.)
It’s learning that a Vesper martini is stirred, not shaken. So even though shaking looks cooler for a video montage on the website, anyone who knows anything about cocktails is going to think you don’t. You only pick up on these things if you’re immersed in it. That is much harder to do with a product that doesn’t solve a problem you personally have or a target audience you think you’re too good to get to know. More work is required to get the insight required to write effective conversational copy and many B2B copywriters and marketers who think they’re copywriters refuse to get their hands dirty. So they default to dumbed down, overly friendly copy and trashy all lowercase subject lines that turns off their audience.Because they tried to riff before they researched. Because they fell for the lie that writing something that reads effortlessly was effortless.
How to improve B2B startup homepages messaging?
There is a reason why “B2B” has been dubbed “boring to boring”.
Is there a quick fix? Yes.
- Go read your homepage now for 8 seconds
- Put yourself in your best customers’ shoes… before they became your clients…
- Ask yourself: does this excite me to learn more?
Remember, you have about 8 seconds to make an impression for the right buyer.
If you’ve done this exercise and 8 seconds later, you're like “meh"... then where you need to start is: POSITIONING
Positioning (or a lack thereof) is the root of all copywriting-evil.
Here is what you can do fast to make your copy un-suck.
I’ve found the best quick fix for positioning (and consequently messaging) problems is April Dunford’s framework. Do a brainstorming session around these five topics:
- Competitive alternatives: if you didn’t exist, what would customers use? For Saas, it’s often human labor that is prone to errors and much more costly. For IT development companies, it’s the opposite: a Saas that is much more restricted than a custom solution.
- Key Unique Attributes: what features/capabilities do you have that alternatives don’t? This can be tough, actually. You might come up with “our people and our culture”. Which is nonsense, your buyers don’t care about that. If in doubt, ring a few of your best customers and ask them - the answer will reveal itself.
- Value: what value do the attributes enable for your buyers? Tie it to making money or saving money, but don’t stop there. Be brave and bring in emotional/psychological attributes too. A cybersec solution will save millions in problems, but it also gives peace of mind and better sleep for execs. Of course, you want to focus on the features from step 2.
- Customers that care: who cares a lot about these values? You’ll find that a vertical or a niche loves your solution more dearly than others. Make sure you have this down, don’t be afraid to communicate it for fear of scaring off or not attracting others. Fortune favors niched and well-positioned companies.
- The market you win: what is the business context in which your value becomes intuitively crystal-clear?
- Do new CxOs need your solution?
- Do companies who just got funded need you?
- Or those who have just been victim of a cyberattack and are running Azure with part of the infrastructure on premise in multiple locations…? (you get the point).
Again, this is a quick fix, but if you talk about the above instead of how great and reliable you are, your awards and your years of experience, you’ll make it easier for the right customer to intuitively fall in love with your offering. «« and that's your goal with B2B copy.
Do this fix now for better results starting tomorrow. Then find someone who can do proper positioning and messaging based on customer interviews and an intimate understanding of your market and product.
Checklist to get improve B2B startup homepages
- Optimise Your Homepage for Many Devices: Regardless of how strong your homepage design is, it won’t matter if users can’t see it on their devices.
- One of the most common reasons users leave a site is that they simply don’t know what to do. So make sure there is a clear call to action, and make it compelling.
- Use careful copy: use creative copy that uses engaging and clear language. The true purpose of a headlines on the homepage is to compel them to keep reading and moving through your page. Present a complete value proposition within the headline. Keep in mind that clarity trumps persuasion.
- Provide Clear Navigation on your homepage
- As soon as a visitor arrives on your homepage, you need to show them the value of what you’re offering.
- 113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability
- First impressions are 94% design-related, so you better have a good home page design, especially the hero section. However a website can't be just about pretty design. Visually complex” websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts. By creating a design with cognitive fluency, you allow visitors to process other things with their working memory that make it easier for them to say “yes.”
7 tips to create a simple home page website design by CXL
- Research your audience and the sites they visit most. Look for case studies on design changes from said sites and how those affected key areas.
- Create a mashup for your own site with all the “working” components you uncover.
- Obey the rules of cognitive fluency when you lay out your design. Put things where visitors expect to find them.
- Rely on your own colors, logo, and typeface to communicate clearly and subtly. Don’t add copy or images unless they communicate something your visitor cares about.
- When in doubt, less is more. One large image is usually better than a bunch of little ones; one column instead of three; more whitespace instead of more “stuff.”
- Make sure your site fits the expectations for pricing, aesthetics, speed, etc.
- Retain originality. A “prototypical” site doesn’t mean that every aspect of your site should fit that mold.
The six website sections that drew the most interest from viewers
- The institution’s logo. Users spent 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
- The main navigation menu. Almost as popular as the logo, subjects spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the menu.
- The search box. Users focused for just over 6 seconds.
- The site’s main image. Users’ eyes fixated for an average of 5.94 seconds.
- The site’s written content. Users spent about 5.59 seconds.
- The bottom of a website. Users spent about 5.25 seconds.
Key takeaway: A good first impression leads to a longer visit. Make sure the six elements listed here look great.
Homepage as the core positioning strategy document
Using a startup's homepage as the core positioning strategy document is both innovative and practical. This approach capitalizes on the homepage's accessibility and user-friendliness to communicate essential information about the company's value proposition, products, and services. Let's delve into why this strategy is effective and how it can be optimized:
Advantages of a Clear Homepage for Positioning
Ease of Consumption
- Familiar Format: Most people are accustomed to browsing websites, making a homepage a natural starting point for understanding a company.
- Instant Access: Unlike traditional documents, a homepage is immediately accessible to anyone with internet access, broadening the reach of your messaging.
- Focused Messaging: A well-designed homepage forces you to distill your value proposition to its essence, ensuring that visitors grasp the core benefits of your offering quickly.
- Visual Support: The use of visuals, infographics, and brief text blocks can convey complex ideas more efficiently than lengthy documents.
- Wide Reach: Anyone from potential customers to investors can get a quick understanding of what the company does and its value proposition without needing access to internal documents.
- Easy Sharing: Sharing a link to the homepage is straightforward, making it easy to spread awareness of your startup.
Maximizing the Homepage as a Positioning Tool
Clear Value Proposition
- Ensure that your homepage clearly states what your product or service is, who it's for, and why it's unique. This should be immediately apparent to first-time visitors.
- Design with your target audience in mind. The layout, language, and content should resonate with their needs, preferences, and pain points.
Strategic Content Placement
- Prioritize content to guide visitors through your key messages effectively. Use the hierarchy of information to lead them from understanding your product to taking action, such as signing up or making a purchase.
Testimonials and Social Proof
- Include customer testimonials, case studies, or notable press mentions on your homepage. This adds credibility and can help solidify your positioning in the market.
- Regularly update and test different elements of your homepage to refine your messaging and improve user engagement. Analytics can provide insights into how visitors interact with your page, allowing for data-driven adjustments.
The concept of leveraging a startup's homepage as its primary positioning strategy document is a testament to the power of simplicity and clarity in marketing. By focusing on making the homepage a concise, accessible, and compelling introduction to the business, startups can effectively communicate their value proposition to a broad audience. This approach not only streamlines the positioning process but also aligns with the way people seek and digest information in the digital age.