Like pretty much every company out there, we’re constantly trying to optimize our website. And like every other marketing team out there, we release iterations that suck and versions that rock. Our newest website is one of the latter and below is our ‘secret sauce’.
Here are the numbers —comparing the first week of December 2014 to the first week of March 2015. Let me walk you through what we did, step by step.
TL;DR: We released a very effective and highly performing website. To do it, we took time to go through market research and customer feedback, adjusted our voice to match what we are–young, fun and clever–removed all unnecessary industry jargon, excluded boring feature lists from the public site, and trusted our awesome designer to turn it all into a visually appealing product. Look at the screenshot above–it worked for us!
1. Take your time
The first part is setting yourself up for success.
Like any creative process, building a website requires a ton of prep work. We wrote down a list of questions to answer before even thinking about the color palette, the keyword ratios or anything else
We had 30 sub-questions in three main categories:
- Who are we making this website for?
- How does our target audience express the problems they are looking to solve?
- What is appealing to them and what do they hate?
And we did our homework. To nail down how our target audience is searching for a solution, we reached our Google API request limit. More importantly, we spent hours on the phone with our clients to get an understanding for what they loved about our product, what they didn’t like, and the main value they saw in integrating Pressly to their workflow.
It also allowed us to go back to our beloved software team with some interesting feedback, which is never a bad thing!
Ultimately, I knew it would take us around a month to build the new version of the site. To make sure we’d deliver without rushing through the last steps, I budgeted 6 weeks with our CEO Jeff.
2. Cut the crap. Copy makes a difference
Screw that jargon.
Let’s be honest: Marketing jargon is the worst.
Do you really think anyone picks up on something when they read, ‘our next generation of innovative software enables customers to efficiently implement streamlined strategies while thoroughly tracking the ROI of their multi-channel initiatives in a sophisticated, safe and secure cloud-based platform… blah bla bla’?
We’ve all made this mistake at some point. When you read other marketing copy day after day, you just learn and repeat by osmosis.
Good copywriters are able to convey a message, using a voice and tone that not only match your brand but are aligned with what your target audience expects. Personally, I think that cutting the number of words used to express a simple idea is a high-value skill. Aren’t the best programmers those who are able to shrink a code base while keeping all of it working?
Stay away from feature lists
For this website, we focused on expressing what Pressly can do at a high-level along with what you can expect in terms of results.
For both our homepage and product page, we decided to stay away from feature lists and in-depth descriptions of our software. Why? Because Pressly is a sophisticated web app and we couldn’t possibly convey it all outside of a demo.
Our assumption was, if the website did a good enough job at showcasing the output product (Pressly hubs from our customers rotate below the fold), our potential buyers would engage with us and ask to see it. So we optimized our demo request pop-ups and added quotes from thought leaders to decrease the defection rate as much as possible.
It works for us: our demo request rate from the website jumped by 185%.
We are a startup so we can be a bit more liberal with our voice than, say, Salesforce or SAP.
Humor is a great tool to create a connection, humanize the website, and encourage engagement. Under our product description, we added a fun bit at the end of each section to keep readers interested through to the next paragraph instead of closing the tab out of boredom.
As a result, we have seen a 45% increase in average visit duration. This told us that our tone and voice encourage visitors to browse through other sections of the site: on average our visitors go through 4.6 pages instead of 1.6 as before.
Make CTAs less boring.
Changing ‘Request a demo’ to ‘Don’t be shy, request a demo” made the pricing page one of the most effective lead-generation areas of the site. Don’t be scared to test CTA copy, as long as it matches your overall voice and tone.
3. Have a kickass designer
Even if you write the best copy in the world and have the most effective website structure, it will still fall short if the overall product looks like sh*t.
For the design, we went back to simplicity. Making the visuals match the overall idea is key and Liam, our boss designer, did an amazing job. The color palette has been updated, the sticky menu lets every visitor navigate to other areas of the site at any time, and the calls to action stand out.
We’ll cover the design part more thoroughly in a future post. That’s a scout’s honor!
Feedback, questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to follow us @Pressly!