Your website home page is often the first impression a visitor receives. Assuming you’ve done a good job attracting the right visitors through organic and paid search, advertising and other forms of marketing, you have a brief window to convert your visitors to leads, then nurture them into customers.
Designing an effective home page is a critical step in that process. Manufacturers have some unique challenges when it comes to optimizing their home pages. Here are some of the best examples and solutions to those challenges.
You have a strong brand and naturally, you want to show ownership and pride in your products and your people. The problem is, while some people may be visiting your website to seek information on your company, the vast majority are looking for a solution to a problem. Most searches involve finding the most helpful, authoritative answer to a specific question. Relatively few are product or brand searches, at least at the beginning of the buyer journey.
You want to anticipate those questions and answer them up front, on your home page. Remember, you just have a few seconds to let your visitor know she’s at the right place and to further satisfy her curiosity.
Flowserve does a good job of anticipating a search phrase like “green lpg car filling,” then showing a graphic and headings relevant to the search and by going further with subheadings to explain what they offer to solve the visitor challenge and why it’s the best choice. In a single banner, Flowserve answers the questions “who we are”, “what we do” and “why you should be interested in our solution”. By doing so, they increase the chances that the visitor will explore the site further and return for additional information.
One of the big challenges manufacturing website designers face is attracting and engaging different market segments and personas. If your website features your brand on the home page and requires a visitor to drill down through a complex, multi-tiered menu to find their industry, they are far less likely to stick around. Many will bounce and seek a better, more obvious solution. This problem is often compounded by the menu itself, which takes up the entire screen and requires scrolling on mobile phones.
Phillips handles this problem well by creating a simple menu at the top that designates its primary markets, consumers, professionals and government, then a simple graphical menu that shows its main segments within each market. By simplifying the menu and bringing in graphical elements, they reduce the distractions and allow the visitor to quickly identify the right solution for their needs.
Phillips also highlights customer segments, rather than brand, in their primary rotating banner. UX designers will argue the merits of these banners, since visitors may not have the patience to watch them cycle through, but by making them relevant to visitor interests, they can serve to add “stickiness” rather than distraction.
PRO TIP: Consider a short video (instead of a banner) highlighting your solutions for the most common buyer pain points.
Want to take your UX to the next level? Try customizing the messaging and offers on your home page based on user profiles. First, you need to convert them into leads, so make sure you reach buyer personas (by industry, job title, role and interest for example) with valuable offers.
A great way to do this is to run targeted demand generation campaigns in which your offer is helpful, relevant content, such as an ROI calculator or a how-to-compare guide for a certain type of industrial project. You don’t need to gather a ton of information, just an email, industry and role (or interest) will do for starters. Another great way to do this is to set up a chat feature to answer visitor questions that requires only an email address. If the visitor is really interested in getting product information, this approach may greatly shorten the sales cycle.
The next step is to set up smart content based on buyer persona or industry. In HubSpot this is easy, because it’s built into the website platform (COS). Segment your contacts based on the properties you’ve collected. Visitors expressing an interest in aerospace products, for example, will see aerospace related headlines, content, videos and calls-to-action for more information. You can also highlight products they might be interested in right on the home page, which makes it easy for them to find the right solutions for them.
Here’s an example from our website, in which we created calls-to-action (smart CTAs) based on industry data. In this case, we’re targeting manufacturers. If a visitor has already downloaded the first offer, the second offer appears, so we continue to offer them fresh content and keep them engaged over multiple visits.
Some additional uses of smart (personalized) content include:
Consider your website the R & D department for your sales and marketing. To increase traffic by qualified leads, conversion and engagement, it’s important to test everything. Try different approaches, messaging, layouts, graphics and videos. Measure the impact of each round of changes on your marketing KPIs and sales. This is a dynamic process that should never cease, because your customers are constantly changing their needs and preferences. Keeping a sharp focus on their needs will bring them back to your website multiple times and help them make the right decisions.