Let me start with a question. What’s your homepage? You’re probably imagining something like this:
While that answer is technically right, it can also be a symptom of a backwards website strategy. Marketers tend to imagine their customers go on a journey like this:
Traditional Home Page > Category Page > Product Page
Really, though, most of your customers have a journey like this:
Inbound Marketing Channel > Early Stage Content > Mid Stage Content > Final Stage Product Page
No one will discount the importance of having a strong traditional homepage, but let’s not forget that most of our customers first experience our brand on third party sites and through content marketing.
That’s why it’s critical to map your buyer’s journey from the outside in for a user-first website strategy.
Your customers’ entry point to your site is their true homepage and introduction to your brand. Just like you do for your traditional homepage, it makes sense to put careful thought into that content’s visibility and the navigation path on each of those pages.
Website Strategy 101: Content Mapping
The first step in a website strategy is to make sure you HAVE visible content that will attract customers in the early stages, and then sustain them through your funnel. Creating a content map can help you track and optimize your visibility.
Alongside a solid search engine optimization strategy, content mapping helps you make sure your brand is found by customers at every stage – whether they have little to no recognition of your brand, or they’re searching for a pricing page.
Learn how to use customer intent to drive content strategy in this webinar with Acronym and Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Website Strategy 102: Creating Gateways and CTAs to Guide Your Customer to a Sale
After you put a system in place for online visibility (like content mapping), you need to think about building bridges between your buyer’s journey stages.
Smart Calls to Action (CTAs) help encourage potential buyers to proceed through their buyer’s journey deeper into your site. Creating conversion opportunities is important, too; that will help you capture prospects’ information so you can nurture them if they’re not quite ready to buy. In summary, you need:
- A portal to a middle stage piece of content
- Conversion opportunities to gather information about prospective customers so you nurture them more through email, social networks, and retargeting
Learning Through Example: How Bellroy Maps their True Homepage to Conversions
Here’s an example of a brand that’s got the right elements in place: Bellroy, an Australia-based brand that sells high-end leather wallets.
Early-Stage/Awareness: Educating and Entertaining Your Audience
The Bellroy blog post pictured below is an early stage piece of content – prospective customers are not thinking about buying wallets as they read.
Clearly, this content geared towards one of Bellroy’s personas. I’d hazard a guess and say the persona is a Millennial – tech savvy with a high value on independence and mobility.
The CTAs on this page provide three options: a portal to mid-stage content (“Slim Your Wallet”), conversion opportunities for prospects that are ready for a sale (“Related Products”), and social buttons and a blog subscription to capture those customers not quite ready to go further down the journey.
Mid-Stage/Consideration Content: Introducing Benefits and Options
Let’s say a customer is ready to proceed on their journey, and they click the mid-stage portal, “Slim Your Wallet.” Note that the copy caters to the persona’s pain points: as an independent, mobile Millennial, they care about keeping their possessions simple, functional, but stylish.
Click through and you’ll see this rich, interactive page begins educate consumers about product options and benefits. If you visit the page and scroll down, you’ll see they compare and contrast available wallets.
Bellroy continues to serve up conversion opportunities like a subscription on the side bar, but it’s clear that the main function of this page is to drive prospects to late-stage product pages, seen below.
Late-Stage/Decision: Your Product Page and Point-of-Sale
Once you have your customer on your product page, you don’t want too many options to distract them from a conversion. This page is the end point of the funnel, a “hard sell” page, supported by the softer sell of the early and mid-stage content a prospect likely consumed before they landed here.
Bringing Your Website Strategy Home: Map Content from Your True Homepage to a Conversion
If we put a lot of thought into creating compelling content, we should put just as much thought into where we want our customers to go after they consume it.
Ask yourself: does each entry point of my site map towards my products? Are there sufficient conversion opportunities to help keep them from slipping through the cracks?
Rethinking your “homepage” mentality, creating a content map, and providing smart CTAs and conversion opportunities will give you a fighting chance at turning casual readers into repeat buyers.
This article originally appeared on MoreVisibility’s blog.