Let’s face it – generating leads is hard, especially in the early stages of starting a business.

However, designing a visually intelligent and easy to digest homepage is one of the most effective ways to stimulate lead generation.

As your company’s virtual front window, the homepage is responsible for enticing your customers to step over the threshold and take a look inside.

Here at The Entourage, we’ve seen time and time again how much a business can boost their traffic thanks to a few small improvements to their homepage.

In this article, we’ve identified eight key elements every homepage needs in order to be successful.

1. You have three seconds

You read that right – three seconds. Three seconds to interest, entice and compel viewers to believe that your business is worth looking into.

According to a 2015 Microsoft Corp. study, an increasingly digitalised lifestyle has drastically reduced our attention span.

The only way to combat this is to lead with punchy content that grabs your audience’s attention. So keep your headline clear, simple and powerful.

2. Deliver

Back up your headline with a subheading that describes what you’re offering and how you’re going to deliver it.

For example, the standalone headline ‘You’ll never wait for a tradesman again’ simply doesn’t deliver enough information.

However, if you add a subheading that says, ‘Our app schedules your availability into your tradies’ calendar’, then you’ve answered your customer’s first, and most important, question.

3. Provide a problem and a solution

The best way to create a connection with customers is through empathetic storytelling. Telling them how you experienced the same problem they’re facing instantly creates a subconscious bond and sense of trust.

Once you’ve done this, provide them with a solution.

It’s important to correctly identify the wants, dreams, fears and frustrations of your target market. You need to speak directly to their hearts and minds, and you can’t do this if you don’t what’s going to pique their interest.

4. Why should they choose you?

Describing what you’re selling on your homepage is all well and good, but you need to tell your customers exactly why they should buy it from you.

Build a short and concise case for your product. Tell them how your business can provide them with a value that no-one else can match, why your service is different to all the others and how suited it is to their needs.

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Vinomofo in one sentence lets their visitors know exactly what to expect.

5. Build credibility

While you know that you’ve got an amazing product, your new customers don’t.

According to Inbound Marketing and Sales platform, HubSpot, including testimonials, examples of results and real life images on your homepage is a powerful trust-building device.

“Your product or service could be the best in the world, and it’s okay to lay that claim – it’s just that people may not believe you unless they hear it from other customers.

Include a few of your best (short) quotes on the homepage and links to case studies if they’re available. Adding a name and photo gives these testimonials more credibility, too.”

Awards, qualifications, accolades or press coverage are also effective tools to demonstrate your ability to deliver on your promise.

Keep in mind that establishing a trusting relationship with your customer is without a doubt the most important element in encouraging your reader to take the next step, so invest in going above and beyond to achieve it.

6. Call to action

The goal of any homepage is to compel readers to step over the threshold and explore your business, and the best way to do this is with a call to action.

Simply put, a call to action is what you want the viewer to do. Not only does it need to be visually striking, but the copy has to be punchy enough to compel the reader.

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Make sure your CTA is easy to understand, clear and speaks directly to your target audience.

Some examples of this are:

– Click here to book your free trial
– Claim your event pass here
– Download the complete guide
– Subscribe to our newsletter for a free gift

7. High-quality imagery

More often than not, people rely on imagery to tell a story. HubSpot recommends using images that capture an emotion and inspire action, while avoiding cheesy stock photos.

“Make sure to use an image (or even a short video) that clearly indicates what you’re offering. Also remember to use high-quality images that have a reduced file size (tools like TinyPNG can compress your images free of cost) and add alternative text in case mobile devices block any images by default.”

8. Create a sense of urgency

Saying that something has almost sold out or is part of a limited collection is a tried and tested technique that subconsciously drives people to buy.

One of the most effective ways to communicate this on a landing page is through call to action copy and a countdown timer. If you’re using a landing page builder, remember to utilise A/B testing to continuously make improvements.

Regardless of what your business does, a powerful homepage is the crux of your online success.

It offers a glimpse into your website, and like any bricks and mortar store owner will tell you, ensuring that your front window looks as appealing as possible is the main reason why customers walk through the door.

“The world may be new to the internet, but it isn’t new to business,” writes Jim Thomas, President of marketing enterprise Key Web Concepts Inc.

“The internet acts as a virtual street, with millions of companies and organisations all vying for your business. Like that window, a homepage is a website’s only chance to show visitors what there is to offer.

A website visitor, like a shopper looking in a window, makes a decision within a very short amount of time whether a website will be any benefit to them.

So, if you wouldn’t fill your storefront window with huge advertisements, erroneous announcements, irrelevant news, and anything else not pertaining to your store’s purpose, then why would you do that to your website?”