Getting the Message Across
A message's elements on the home page of a web site could consist of a number of different parts. But generally speaking, they have certain things in common:
A tagline that quickly describes the benefits of the product, service, or organization. This may sound easy, but this tagline comes only after many hours of work by your marketing department (and your IT staff should be part of those discussions). The tagline must describe in just a few words or a short sentence the benefitsnot featuresof your product, service, or organization. A good example is the Federal Express tagline. When FedEx was first started, their tagline was "We have our own planes." They wanted to get the point across that, unlike the regular scheduled airlines of that day, their planes only carried packages, and the delivery of those packages was their first priority.
That message didn't fly with the public, whose response was, "So you have your own planes. What's it to me?" FedEx was promoting the features of their servicenot the benefits. So they changed their tagline to the familiar "When you absolutely, positively have to have it overnight." That message worked. The public didn't care whether FedEx delivered packages by plane, train, automobile, or donkeyas long as they got it there overnight.
A "What's in it for me?" description of the product, service, or organization withand this is importanta "call to action" right on the home page.
A way to acquire a visitor's email address in order to build a house list for future promotional mailings. The visitor should be able to enter his or her email address directly from the home page.
A third-party endorsement of your product, service, or organization especially if what's offered is new, different, or better than that of the competition.
An ease-of use example (if applicable) of your product or serviceespecially if it's something new or difficult to understand.
Consider an example of getting the message across from one of my recent clients. They sell a marketing communications producta customizable four-color laminated postcardthat can be used by direct marketers as direct mail pieces. The postcards can be created online, merged with a prospect or customer list, and then dropped directly into the U.S. postal system for mailing to the recipientspostage included.
The client has a very tight, concise, and compelling business-to-business message: Their product is easy to use; flexible (no minimum amount); premium quality; and, best of all, less expensive than the traditional alternatives.
As you can see, there are many parts to their message, and these parts represent the elements that needed to be written and designed into the company home page and site navigation.