Content Marketing: How to choose the best offer for your homepage
Today we’re taking a quick walkthrough of Real Plans’ homepage. I’m on a mission to make preparing the vegetarian meals for our small household easier and I’ve been on the hunt for tools to help make this happen.
During my journey to more organized and efficient meal planning, I came across Real Plans. After a bit of digging, I realized I had actually come across this website a couple years ago when a friend gave me a quick tour of the service, so I thought this might be the ticket to easier planning and prepping. Hurray!
With meal planning especially, I feel like I need to buy in to the habit as much as the solution being sold. I really wanted to see if Real Plans could help me get there.
My next step? Gimme those sweet, sweet opt-ins.
Naturally, I went looking for a Real Plans lead magnet that would help me build those healthy habits.
Spoiler alert: I found the lead magnet. But it wasn’t on the homepage. Or the Meal Planning 101 section. Or the About Real Plans section.
I had to work really hard to find that opt-in.
Putting myself in the shoes of a typical visitor searching for a meal planning solution, I don’t think I would have worked so hard.
Free lead magnets are such a key piece in your marketing strategy because they provide an enticing pathway between the visitor that’s window shopping and the visitor that’s actually in the store and preparing to buy.
Let’s take a look…
(And no worries if videos aren’t your thing. Scroll down for a much more elegant explanation.)
(All right...that wasn't quite 5 minutes. Maybe next time I should race against a timer?!)
The Challenge: Structuring copy and content for homepages is really difficult!
So, here’s the thing:
Homepages are challenging. Really challenging.
Why? Because visitors are arriving from who-knows-where in such a wide variety of stages of awareness. Seriously, think about all the different ways a visitor might land on this page. Via social media, through a Google search, by clicking a link located in a blogger's healthy meal planning app round up…and the list goes on. The variables here make following the Rule of One so, so difficult.
Challenges aside, we should be matching our page’s one offer to our one reader’s most probable stage of awareness.
Hint: This is the point where I typically want to run on-page surveys so we can find out why visitors are actually on your site. These tests will provide primo clues and help round out a solid hypothesis for their most likely stage of awareness.
Given the variety of ways a visitor could arrive on this page (and without any access to Real Plans’ actual user research), I would hypothesize that visitors are most likely to be in a solution-aware state. In other words, the visitor is aware that there is a problem (the woes of meal planning with dietary restrictions) and they’re now on a mission to learn about the different services that might be their perfect solution.
Why this particular stage of awareness? Because food bloggers. With the sheer amount of them writing on the interwebs, the chances are good that a visitor has found a recommendation through a blogger referral. Again, in an ideal world, I would have traffic data to confirm this.
Does the offer match the hypothesized stage of awareness?
Rolling along with this hypothesis, a quick scroll through the homepage shows that our one offer here is the paid subscription. The first call to action is placed in the section directly below the hero shot. As the page currently stands, there aren’t any opportunities to sign up for their newsletter or opt-in for a free resource. I’m only given the option to start paying to use this meal planning service. It’s good that there aren’t multiple offers on the page but…
Here’s the thing:
So, continuing with the hypothesis that the visitor is solution-aware on arrival, it’s not a good idea to make a homepage’s one offer a paid subscription. Because most of those visitors aren’t ready to buy.
Solution-aware visitors want, well, solutions. But, the tricky thing here is that, even if your product is the solution, this isn’t usually the right stage of awareness to offer a paid product. While there are always exceptions, solution-aware prospects are still exploring their options. And they’ve really just learned about you. They’re not ready to hand over their hard-earned moolah just yet!
Yes, the short Real Plan ‘How it works’ video in the hero shot certainly covers a lot of ground regarding both the problem the one reader is facing as well as positioning Real Plans as the perfect solution. But it still feels too early to make this paid conversion the goal. As the visitor, I’ve maybe only known about Real Plans for a couple minutes. I’m not totally convinced that I’m ready to make that leap. Even with the 30-day money-back guarantee.
With solution-aware visitors, your primary goal is to coach them onwards to learn more about your product. If that coaching is better suited to dripping out an email nurture sequence that gives the prospect time to buy in to the better version of themselves that you’re selling, so be it.
An easy solution here is to take a step back with the offer. But why?
Converting more leads on arrival.
Stepping back to a free lead magnet allows the solution-aware visitors (which probably make up a lot of this homepage’s traffic) to exchange their email for an enticing opt-in that helps them learn more about topics relating to the solution you provide. And you can then continue to coach them towards the purchase through a nurturing sequence.
At this stage of awareness, some great lead magnet options might look like:
a calendar helping me map out my prepping and planning times
a healthy habit tracker worksheet PDF
a healthy pantry ingredient checklist
a free trial of the product
Does Real Plans have a better option in their pocket?
Yes, they most certainly do!
In this case, that enticing opt-in is the Real Plans 10-day Meal Planning Challenge delivered directly into the lead’s inbox. This opt-in is designed to coach the lead in building their new meal planning habit. This was exactly what I was looking for – healthier habits, here I come!
There's rarely any harm in taking a step back with your homepage offer. Especially when you know that there’s a chance that problem-aware prospects are floating around on the page as well. But not giving a prospect the opportunity to opt in? This seems like a missed opportunity.
And Real Plans might just be leaving money on the table because of it.
Homepages are tricky. But anticipating your visitors expectations and needs is infinitely easier when you consider the context of their arrival.
Real Plans seems like they have an ace in their pocket with the 10-Day Meal Planning Challenge already created. Leveraging it on their homepage to further engage prospects in problem and solution-aware states seems like a solid lead gen strategy to test and should ultimately improve lead conversions.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Or maybe you want your business to be featured? Drop me a note in the comments below!