Mashable & Harvard conducted one of the most powerful research studies on startups and found some interesting facts:
- 75% of all startup will fail
- 90% of the products they create will fail.
- Most startups never even break the 100k month of revenue threshold, in fact, the number of success is only 7%
So what separates the successful startups from the rest? It’s a combination of an infinite amount of factors. As far as behind the scenes, it is tough to determine the individual factors such as:
- Market potential
- Team dynamics
- Problem/Solution dynamic
- Startup funds to break even costs
- And more
We are, however, able to analyze the homepages of some of the most successful online service companies and have found some interesting common denominators that a business may want to apply to their website.
Lesson #1 – Use the Words “Free” in Your Call To Action
According to small business trends, 70% of small business websites lack a legitimate call to action – without this, most businesses are losing major sales!
- Make sure there is a clickable call to action button on your homepage.
- If possible, mention the word “free”, as it will peak the interest of the visitor and motivate them to take instant action.
Here are some of the benefits of having an excellent call to action:
- This will allow you to send them to another page in which they can submit their personal information such as their name, e-mail, and even their phone number. Therefore, if you noticed they lost interest in your product, you can either convince them to stay with your product, or extract some information on why they lost interest.
- A call to action simplifies a person’s decision making responsibilities, especially when there is a minimum amount of information and pictures on the homepage. Therefore, they will not be overwhelmed with too many decisions. Either they click on the free offer, or click the back button and miss out on the free offer.
- To add to this, if you put “No Credit Card or Contract” somewhere in your call to action button, this will motivate for even more action because there is no fear of being tricked – this small technique goes a long way in addressing the fears of your potential customer.
Lesson #2 – Social Proof
The above example is an excellent piece of social proofing from a website known as: Uservoice.com that helps people get quick and regular feedback from their customers. Robert Cialdini, author of the book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, addresses the topic of social proof and cites it as one of the most powerful forms of persuasion. We must remember that the whole point of a homepage is to help the customer decide to do business with your company, therefore, in order to ease this decision, we must create a situation in which the person is sure that the choice they are about to make is the correct one.
Here are some of the things that one must understand when trying to use social proofing for their website:
- Avoid negative social proof. For example, if you are have a dog walking company, it’s probably not a good idea say: “4 out of 5 dogs that are lost are due to dog walker negligence”. While this statistic is made up, it is to drive home a point – that negative social proofing can drive a customer completely from your industry, let alone your business.
- Customers care about others experiencing the benefits with your service as opposed to how much money can be saved. Don’t take our word for it, read this Wall Street Journal study for yourself! People were more inclined to know that 77% of customers are saving energy, as opposed to saying “You can save money!”
- Use pictures and logos when doing social proofing. Pictures are known to increase trust among customers, even if the pictures have nothing to do with what is being expressed. People prefer to see human faces, and are more believed when there is a corresponding face attached to the testimonial.
- Use stories. Have you ever seen the most effective reviews on Amazon. They are usually personal accounts from something using a product, reading a book, and the benefits (or detriments) they experienced with the product. Try to incorporate a story from another person that gives a clear picture of what one could expect by utilizing your service.
Here is another example of social proofing from the website TextBroker.com
By applying some of these social proofing tips, including case studies, testimonials, and a list of your most prestigious clients – you may see the conversion rates of your homepage skyrocket!
Lesson #3 – List the Most Important Features of Your Product or Service
The above feature list screenshot was extracted from a website known as Next Big Sound, which offers musical analytics to both businesses and individuals that are looking to be successful in the music industry.
As you can see, in many cases, the number of features to mention is 3. Furthermore, when many businesses mention the features of their product or service, they tend to also talk about the benefits. The features and benefits of a product are usually “below the fold” of the website, while the call to action tends to be in the upper part of the fold.
Here are some important things to look out for when you are listing the features on your website:
- Ask your customers what their favorite features of your service are, and use the top three services on your homepage.
- Be sure to mention the benefits of each feature so that the customer realizes how it benefits them.
- Try to use keywords in your features so you can attract some additional search engine traffic.
In summary, by having a compelling call to action, excellent social proofing, and using effective feature/benefit listings, you can maximize on each customer visit and minimize on the amount of ad spend you need in order to break even!