Stop aiming for website perfection. Build a minimum viable website, and perfect it over time
The ultimate goal of your website is to get people to know, like, and trust you–as quickly as possible.
It’s the copywriter’s job, the web designer’s job, and ultimately the website owner’s job to ensure that happens.
How Do You Create A Minimum Viable Website?
To convert browsers into subscribers, and subscribers into customers you need to build a website that gives your prospects the information they’re seeking quickly — at first glance.
People skim. They don’t read everything. They take things in. And either you succeed or you fail.
You don’t want your prospects to think, you want them to act.
Think about it: they’re searching, searching, they finally use the right combination of keywords and phrases — and bingo! Your website pops up.
Are you giving the user the information they’re looking for? Are you giving yourself the best possible chance to convert them? Or are you letting them down? If you’re letting them down, you’re really letting yourself down.
Operation: “Stop, Engage, Convert”
You want your customer to say: “Here it is! I’ve found what I’m looking for.” And then you want them to stay.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once they’re on your website you want to get them engaged.
How do you do that? By collecting email addresses. You need a great offer — a great lead magnet.
Your success is measured by the number of subscribers you sign up every day, every week, every month.
These are your top of the funnel prospects who drive your business. Then you use marketing automation and lead nurturing to educate your prospects about what you do until they convert again. And become a first time buyer. Then you continue marketing to that segment until they’ve bought twice, and then three times. They’re not a customer until they’ve bought from you three times.
The #1 thing that’s going to make your website work is clarity.
You’ve got to be crystal clear about the value you’re offering your customers. You’ve got to know what you’re saying, and when.
There 7 things your website really needs to achieve clarity — to create a website that works.
7 Creative Essentials Of A Minimum Viable Website
1. An Easy To Understand Headline And Subhead With A Unique Value Proposition That Resonates With Your Audience
Clarity trumps persuasion. Keep it simple. Do it with six and twelve: Describe what you do in six words, and sell the major benefit in twelve–or vice versa. Make sure that one of these headlines contains the primary keyphrase you’re aiming for with your SEO. This should be communicated in the headline or subhead. Very often this is buried at the end of the body copy.
2. Introductory Copy, or a lede, that tells your story from your customer’s perspective
The very first sentence or short portion of copy on your website should give the gist of the story and contains the most important points your prospects need to know. This should include a simple narrative who makes it clear who the customer is.
- Who is the customer?
- What are their problems?
- How can you help?
You should demonstrate knowledge of their problems with empathy and authority.
3. A Featured Image that illustrates how your customer will benefit from your product or service
The emphasis should be on your customers. Specifically the change that will occur if they sign up for your services. There should be a big featured image that illustrates how your solution will improve your customer’s life.
4. A Lead Magnet, or Free Offer, that solves a major problem for your customers
Offer a white-paper, a free-guide, or a free book. Give it a great title. Make it solve a big problem — the problem that’s keeping your customer up at night. The more immediate and concrete it is, the more likely someone will download it. It should promise to solve the major pain point for your target audience. It should give an overview of your program. What are the key benefits? How does it work? People want to research your services without having to speak to someone yet. Once someone downloads it, you should set up a marketing automation system to drip several emails that got into each point in your lead magnet in greater detail.
5. A Call To Action that encourages your prospect to take the first step
For example: “Download The Free Guide Now!
Prospects should download the blueprint, and then get the invite for the free consultation. The consultation also needs to be available on the home page. Two offers: The lead magnet. And the consultation. You should have a phone number available in the upper right hand corner so that users can find it via mobile.
6. A Few Bite-sized Products & Services
These should illustrate your “value ladder”; how your customers can engage with you (1) for free (2) with your introductory offer, and (3) fully engaged.
The first product can be your lead magnet. Then the 2nd, should be an introductory offer: a coaching session, or something that’s not expensive at all. Then the 3rd should be your complete solution… that shows the customer fully engaged and with full benefits of your program.
You have to remember you’re always one click away from oblivion. So you want to lay things out in a way that makes it easy for your customers to do business with you.
7. A Few Testimonials for social proof
Just because you or we say it doesn’t mean it’s true. But get a customer to say it and it’s gospel. Short quick testimonials are great. “XYZ Co. increase our income by 20%!”.
Video testimonials are great. What was life like before [your business]? How’d you find out about [your business]? What difference [has your business] made in your life?
Ok, so those are what I call the 7 Creative Essentials Of A Minimum Viable Website.
The #1 thing that’s going to make your website work is clarity. You’ve got to be crystal clear about the value you’re offering your customers.
If you’ve done this on your home page, or your landing page, you’ve done the heavy lifting that will radically improve the time visitors are spending on your website, and your conversions.
What do you think? Have I left something out? What else works?