By Andrew Bourne
When it comes to selling newspapers, persuasive and relevant “above-the-fold” content has always been a necessity. The top half of the newspaper—the only part that can be seen from newsstands, is what is commonly referred to as “above the fold.” For newspapers to sell out, this above-the-fold content needs to be compelling and enticing.
The same is true of websites. On a website, this is the part visitors and prospects see immediately, without having to scroll. Also known as the “headline”, this section should carry your business’s value proposition.
How well you communicate the core value and qualities of your product/service here will make the visitor want to keep scrolling, learn more about you, and ultimately choose you over other competitors.
Your headline and sub-headline should answer these questions, as briefly as possible:
- What does your company do?
- What pain points does it address and what problems does it solve for your visitors and prospects?
- Why should prospects choose you over your competitors?
In other words, a good value proposition knows its target market and through the above, it immediately lets visitors know if they are in the right place or not.
Here are five ways to ensure you get your value proposition right:
1. Speak to your customer about your entire offering
A good value proposition invites visitors to focus on their needs as well as other aspects of their requirements that they may miss out on considering otherwise. Try to capture the whole essence of your offering instead of talking about one specific aspect. For instance, take a bed and breakfast (B&B) that also includes add-on services like experience packages and guide bookings. The headline and sub-headline together should succinctly inform the visitor that it’s a B&B that not only offers a relaxing stay but also a range of add-ons. A benefits-focused copy always goes a long way.
2. Emphasise your difference
Showcase your product/service’s remarkable qualities that will pique your visitor’s interest. If it’s a CRM software, how is your offering different from the scores of other CRM software in the market? Is it top-rated in the market? Is it recommended by industry experts? Is it priced the best? Is it tailor-made for a certain segment like large enterprises or SMEs?
3. Show them a problem-free and delightful future
Your copy should encourage your visitor to envision a future that will be ‘all the more better’ for them because of your product/service. Say you provide a digital note-taking application. It’s a good idea to portray the pain-points solved as well as the delights offered by the application. The headline and sub-headline could jointly communicate that while the visitor finds it easy to remember things, the note-maker additionally helps them become resourceful and accomplish more by keeping track of their thoughts and ideas in the form of organized lists. Also, while visualizing the relationship, it’s important to use a copy that’s simple and jargon-free to reinforce the benefits in a more impactful way.
4. Get clever (but not too clever)
Wordplay can be a hit or a miss in copywriting – sacrificing clarity for cleverness in your copy more often than not does not create an impression as powerful as the simple but clear copy that you discarded earlier. Whenever you’re using wordplay or less-common words in your copy, use a light hand. Remember, the goal is to show the customer exactly how your product or service will improve their life.
5. Use hero images and CTAs
If you’ve noticed, most headlines and subheadings on websites are placed in the hero image. What’s more, each sub-headline is directly followed by a call to action (CTA). However, both of these items—the hero image and CTA, should only be the second and third elements you consider for your website’s above-the-fold space. First, try to summarise your business value proposition in a copy that’s simple, clear, and brief. Additionally, go through the websites of some of your favourite businesses, and see how they are using this valuable real estate. Come up with as many headlines and subheadings as possible. Mix and match them, and get input from other people to make the most of this space.
The Author, Andrew Bourne is Zoho’s Regional Manager for the Africa region and is based in Cape Town, South Africa.
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