Who are your heroes? Why do you admire them?
Whether you're conjuring up images of the Avengers or thinking of someone from the TIME 100 Most Influential People list, chances are, they share some important qualities.
They're strong. Bold. They stand up for what they believe in. They dare to be different. They keep their promises.
I'll bet these are all qualities you want others to associate with your company, too.
How well does your website reflect what your company aspires to be?
If your website was a preview for a movie, would you wait in line to see it?
Your website gives you just a short window of opportunity to grab someone's attention. In less time than it takes to watch a preview, most visitors will decide whether they want to see more or move on.
It's up to you to save them with a great hero message.
A hero message is a short, intriguing statement that captures the essence of what your company does.
It's not necessarily a tagline, nor is it your elevator pitch (although that usually follows just below it).
It's designed to inspire, invite and even evoke emotion.
Writing a strong hero message is a lot like writing a successful headline or writing a strong call-to-action. It's important to be clear, concise, set expectations and use action-oriented language.
Need some inspiration? Here are eight website hero messages that invite visitors to come in and stay awhile.
Lights. Camera. Mayhem. Who wouldn't want to read more? Adobe does a great job of capitalizing on the popularity of Deadpool to promote its video tools.
With an eye-catching image, an intriguing value proposition (unleash your storytelling superpowers!) and a clear call-to-action button, I suddenly feel inspired to produce a mini-documentary.
Intel makes processors, computer chips, server products and a bunch of technologies most of us wouldn't recognize, although we use them every day. The company could lead by saying it produces some of the most powerful processors in the world—and it does get into that, later—but it recognizes most people care more about what those processors allow us to do. It focuses on experiences its technology makes possible, like Lady Gaga's David Bowie tribute during the Grammys.
Shameless marketing ploy or not, it told an incredible story and brought a semiconductor chip maker into the national conversation.
Every company wants to be known as an innovator, and Intuitive Surgical positions itself this way with a single, simple phrase. As the first company to introduce robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgical technology in 1999, it has a proven track record of innovation.
Great hero messages project confidence, but they don't make empty promises they can't back up. Your company may not be able to say it's the world's largest or most successful of its kind, but if you're profitable, you're obviously excelling at something. Think about what your company does better than any of its competitors, and run with it.
This office software system knows its niche—small medical practices—and makes that clear from the start. It's not trying to compete with enterprise electronic health records systems, so there's no misunderstanding about whether a website visitor has found the right solution. By qualifying itself as a small-business solution, a physician running her own practice immediately perceives this software is an affordable way to be more efficient.
Kareo also addresses a common pain point for medical professionals—feeling like they spend too much time on paperwork and not enough time with their patients.
With a simple message, Red Hat calls out a lot of companies that brag about security "features."
It's taking a stand for something—the idea that security is fundamental, not a nice bonus. It's telling company leaders and IT professionals they deserve the peace of mind of knowing their company's data is protected.
All that, and a thought-provoking idea: The most secure systems are open? Really? It seems so contrary to what common sense would tell us that it begs for a further explanation—and further exploration of Red Hat's website.
Electric vehicles have been slow to catch on largely because of logistics. Trying to plan a road trip around charging stations really sucks all the spontaneity out of it.
ChargePoint wants owners of electric vehicles to have peace of mind while they're out enjoying the open road.
It gives you the feeling that life with an electric vehicle is easy, breezy and, of course, green.
In case you've never heard of ChargePoint (and most of us driving gas-guzzlers haven't), the company establishes credibility in an instant with stats on how many charging stations it has delivered since it was founded in 2007.
Another environmentally friendly company, Cool Planet, develops engineered biocarbon and hydrocarbon products to address the growing need for sustainable sources of food, water and energy. The products are designed to sequester carbon, improving soil health for the agricultural, water and livestock industries.
Cool Planet's website conjures up a positive first impression because just about everyone can get onboard with a mission of changing the world for good. That's a lofty goal, so the company breaks it down further in the text directly below its logo. Anyone who visits the website can see its high-level mission, but someone who's serious about investing in the company or using its products quickly gets a better understanding of how it's changing the world.
This consulting and technology company takes a deep dive into the factors that influence pricing and helps businesses devise and implement a pricing strategy that improves profitability. This is particularly important to private equity firms, company executives, pricing and product managers and sales leaders, but each has distinct goals and challenges.
While bottom-line growth is the overarching goal for all, INSIGHT2PROFIT takes its messaging a step further to address the unique needs of each of its users. Whether they are a CEO or a pricing manager, they can clearly see INSIGHT2PROFIT offers a solution for them within the first few seconds of coming to the website.
How can you create a home-page hero message that better reflects your company? First, take some time to spell out your company's values if you haven't already. Re-read that mission statement. If it takes you more than a minute to find it, it may even be time to rework it.
Consider your value proposition: What makes your company unique, and how do you meet your customers' greatest needs. If you haven't thought about your customers' needs in awhile, it may be worth doing some buyer persona research and looking for the common denominators.
What keeps your customers up at night? How do they measure success in their roles? What inspires them?
The answers to these questions may be different for each persona, so consider adjusting your website messaging accordingly. You could call out each of your main personas just below the hero area. If you're up for the challenge, you can even incorporate some elements of smart content into your homepage so returning visitors see a different message and calls to action specific to their role.
If you're still stumped, don't be afraid to get a group together in front of a whiteboard. Brainstorming forces you to articulate what you want your website to say about you as a company and helps the words flow more freely.
Eventually, the right phrase will leap off the page, and you'll have a hero message that soars above the rest.
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