Can You Write A Script For A Website Home Page?

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Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Chronicling my attempts to answer a critical question about web visitor behavior

I’m working on a client website and thinking through ways to make my messaging more directly address the needs of my visitors, rather than focusing on the features the business offers its customers. I have an idea for a process to do that but first I need to try and figure out the answer to a fundamental question any digital marketer needs to address.

Your core message is a story and should unfold like one

I’m currently experimenting with a different approach to developing an overarching message for a B2B website: writing a script, similar to a script for an explainer video, that would create a path for a visitor to follow to learn your message and its benefits. I haven’t used this particular tactic before but it is proving useful as a way to organize my thoughts and for the designer to follow when creating visual and interactive cues. This script is for the Home page but I think will inform the messaging architecture of the rest of the site.

One message, one story

One of the most common marketing communication mistakes I see on B2B Home pages is trying to sell multiple messages and benefits. The reality is that your visitor is trying to answer one question and address one primary problem. And you should have a pretty good idea what that is. Yet many websites try to address every possible visitor need. This comes, in part, because they know every bell and whistle they offer and they can’t resist telling the world about them. The sad truth we often don’t want to hear is that most people don’t want to know about your bells and whistles. They want the answer they need, now.

“What are you trying to accomplish by visiting this site?”

If I had the option of asking my site visitors one question, it would be the question above. Hopefully I would have enough opportunities to ask that question to develop a unifying theme I can write about. I may not have the option of asking directly but we have the tools we need to find the answer by observing visitor behavior. Google Analytics offers a list of Pages Visited and their Behavior Flow tool shows us visually the path visitors typically follow from page to page. You add in time on page and bounce rates, exits, etc., and start to see patterns.

What’s hot and what’s not

After looking at Analytics I move on to the heatmapping feature of Hotjar, another site behavior tool. This shows what areas of the home page are being clicked on and how many clicks each receives. It verifies Analytics on popularity and click flow but also reveals something interesting: we’re getting a lot of clicks on static content, specifically blocks of text that are not links. This seems counter-intuitive to me but there it is, captured by the tool and I can’t ignore it. But what to do with that info? Make all those text blocks into links? Seems like a messy thing to do and I’m not certain how the Google algorithms might respond to everything being links. Probably not well!

Back to the script concept

Marketing with stories is a hot concept right now though in reality good marketers and sales pros have always used stories. The story format of beginning, middle, and end is mirrored by the case study model of Problem, Solution, Results. These story components lead a visitor through the message, step by step, taking them to a point where they see how they might benefit from the service. Very different than scrolling down a page and seeing a set of claims, features, client logos and other information that isn’t structured as a story. This is where the script comes in. It is merely a very simple way to structure a top level benefits message.

Successful landing pages always tell stories

This is nothing new if you write landing pages that are linked to ad campaigns. They take the concept expressed in the ad or the search query that led to it and flesh it out. When you reach the end of the story you are asked to take an action. If you think about those half hour infomercials you see on late night or weekend broadcast TV, you know they always build up a story. They are carefully scripted and tested. I want to do something similar on the home page I’m building.

A communications challenge for the writer and the designer

The script above could easily serve as a video script. In fact, doing both an animated video and a more verbal website version of the story would be a good communications strategy. The verbal story appeals to people like me who are largely auditory in the way we process information. This is typical of writers. People who are highly visual (like designers), respond better to video or a series of images like a storyboard. Why not do both so you don’t leave anyone out?

Written by

Novelist, Tech Marketing Writer, Growth Consultant. I have been a professional writer for over 20 years- 8 non-fiction books and 1 novel, many articles, etc.

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