How to Get Your Website Messaging Right [Best Practices]

Podcast host

Phil Vallender

Phil Vallender


Episode summary

Website messaging is often overlooked, but it’s a small yet mighty element of your website.

In this episode of Demand Decoded, Phil covers the components of effective website messaging. He explains how to craft messaging that goes beyond the blink test by resonating with visitors in seconds. He also provides advice about how to grab attention, connect emotionally and guide visitors deeper into your site.

Tune in to learn tangible tips for creating website messaging that speaks directly to your ideal customers and increases engagement. Phil decodes the elements of messaging that turn passive visitors into engaged buyers. 

Episode transcript

The way to get your website messaging right is to think pure and simple about what the buyer needs to read or hear in their mind in order to stay on your website, develop a sense of trust and preference for what you offer, and go on to enter into some sort of sales process with you. That might be trying a product or that might be talking to a salesperson.

Either way, getting them to that point is a product of telling them the things they need to hear.

Homepage hero section messaging

Now, the most important element of messaging on any website is the Homepage Hero section. And it's the one that most people get wrong because they let their desire to be different and their creative sort of aspirations get in the way of clear and concise language that makes sense.

Buyers have shown us, businesses, again and again, that what they want to read on the homepage is what you do, who it's for, and what problem it solves for them in some way, shape or form, as opposed to in that first moment on your website, read a snappy strap line or a clever headline that doesn't contain any of the value that they're looking for from that critical first few seconds. That's often called the Blink Test.

So, a visitor arrives on your website, they are time-poor, they are information-rich, in fact, information-overwhelmed. And they're going to give you about 8 seconds in which they decide whether they're on a good website that they want to stay on, that's right for them in this particular moment in time, or whether they want to leave.

And so in those 8 seconds before they scroll, before they click, you've got to catch their attention. You've got to hook their interest and demonstrate that you offer something they're looking for at that moment in time. So homepage heroes, homepage subtitles, homepage images and illustrations all need to get that across quickly.

Website sub-page messaging

Then as you go further into the website, it makes good sense to apply the same approach.

To not get too clever with headlines, to keep it clear, and concise and to communicate the value that you offer. Because even if you get a buyer to stay beyond the blink test, they are still going to skim-read.

They're not going to read every word, so they're going to glimpse at the headlines. They're going to read a few of the areas of body copy, but they're not going to read it word for word.

So, if you go too long or too creative or too fluffy, you are going to reduce the amount that they take away from the experience. So all the way from the top of the home page through to the bottom and every other page that focus on being clear and concise will get you a long way.

There is room for creativity, there is room for tone of voice, but both can be done in a way that gets the message across rather than makes it invisible.

Including keywords in your messaging

Good messaging will often include the keywords that you need and want to be found for, and so it isn't a challenge to search engine optimise a website that has good messaging.

The idea that you shouldn't write copy for search engines, you should write it for humans is valid, but it isn't so difficult to blend the two that a headline can't contain a keyword.

Let's face it, if we write clearly that we offer what a buyer is looking for, then we'll most likely use the keyword that they will type into search when they look for that solution.

Now, there are situations where that keyword is not the keyword you wish it were, especially if you're trying to popularise a new concept or an innovative solution, or create a category even.

But that sort of thing takes time and persistence. And you don't get there by avoiding using the language that buyers use every day when they interact with Google, Bing, or AI to describe the way they think about the problem you solve and the solution you offer.

The most common issue with website messaging

I think the real issue for marketers is that the best messaging often feels like the least interesting, but I've always seen the best results when I go for that clear, not clever say it how it is approach to website headlines and messaging.

So my advice to everybody is to try not to give into that fear, and at the very least test the impact at a site-wide conversion level of stating what you do clearly and concisely. You might be surprised at just how big an impact it has on engagement, how many visitors stay and how long they stay for, and the number of high-level conversion high intent conversions you receive as a result.

I wouldn't look at sort of micro measurements of clicks on certain buttons on the home page and bounce rate and things like that.

I'd be looking at the impact on the pipeline and the MQLs or the high-intent conversions, but over several weeks or months, you might see quite a pronounced difference.