It has been estimated that only 2 in 10 people read past a headline. Of course, this is just an average, and not true for every site. It does, however, illustrate the importance of getting your website’s messaging right to increase your online conversion.
Think about it … if you increased the number of people who read past your headline to 3 in 10, you could increase online conversion and revenue by 50%. For many businesses, that increase will mean the difference between financial failure and success.
We only need to look at our own behaviour to understand how impatient we are as a species – especially when we are online. We give just a few seconds to deciding if a website interests us, or is worthy of our time. (Some tests suggest the subconscious has already decided within milliseconds, it just takes a few seconds for the conscious mind to catch up.)
This demonstrates that messaging is more than just the words in a headline. It is also made up of the ability to read the headline, and the non-text cues such as images, layout, and design tone.
Are these elements subliminally giving the impression you are trustworthy, or a business that cuts corners? Is your website shouting ‘easy to use’, or does it leave visitors overwhelmed? Is it simple to understand, or just downright confusing?
The problem with trying to answer these questions is that we don’t see our website in the same way a potential customer does. It is hard not to make assumptions, and we forget we know certain information they don’t. Add to this our own personal bias towards our business, and we can be forgiven for thinking there is nothing wrong with our messaging.
When flaws on their home page are pointed out, many business owners become defensive and justify the choices made, or simply dismiss the feedback. Comments such as ‘our customers understand’, ‘it must be working as we make sales’, or ‘I already paid a professional to do this’ are all too common. While all may be true, none matter an iota when it comes to site performance.
The only thing that matters is online conversions.
Online Conversions are a numbers game; reflections of statistical probabilities. Just because your website makes sales does not mean it is making as many sales as it could. Just because existing customers understand what you do, it does not mean new visitor do. And, a ‘professional’ is simply someone who charges money for what they do, and unfortunately is no guarantee of proficiency (especially not in the field of web design!).
If you really want to find out how good your messaging is, never rely on your own judgement, nor the opinion of those close to you (team members, family, friends, existing customers etc.). Instead, ask the people it is intended for – those who do not know you, have no idea what you do, and who have never seen your website before.
To do this, you need to send a few guinea pigs to your site, and have them take a look for just a few seconds. Then have them answer a few questions:
- How clear are you on what product or service my website offers?
- How trustworthy do you think the site looks?
- Could you explain what the intended action or actions are for you as a site visitor?
- How clear are you on what makes my business different from its competition?
- How clear are you on who the intended audience is for this site?
Try not to get only yes or no answers, but instead ask for a rating (for example, on a scale of 1-5). Also, ask them, what the product or service is, what the actions are, why is your business different, and who is the intended audience.
We often find people think they know, but, despite their confidence, it turns out they were wrong. This can be disastrous as it means you have the wrong people looking through your site, while qualified prospects have gone elsewhere.
To help you, we have created a free tool that you can use to run this messaging test, and collect feedback. What’s more, we are also offsetting 5KG of carbon for each person who checks your site for you (thanks to ekos.org).
To find out more, visit https://www.ethicallymad.co.nz/get-your-usability-tested.
The tool is completely free, but could identify critical errors in your websites messaging or home page design. (When we do these tests with a live audience, less than 5% of websites we check pass all five questions. Most usually pass two at best.)
So don’t lose any more sales. There is likely a very simple solution to stop your online conversions and revenue leak. And, as always, if you need any help, just get in touch