Building a great product is hard enough. But getting in front of the right people and convincing them to buy it is even harder.
Over the last 12 years, nuom has been helping companies do the former. Specialising in working with early-stage companies in the SaaS space. If you work in a sector that long, you come to realise that you often are wrong about what customers will think. However, you do see some patterns and learn how to solve problems quicker.
Over those years, I've learnt the hard way how to help our clients launch great products. I feel like we've gotten pretty good at it. But there's always been one problem I've noticed that's starting to worry me.
I've seen countless startups put their blood, sweat, and tears into building the perfect product. But after they release it into the wild, they struggle to convert people into customers.
Obviously, there are lots of factors to why this is, but there is one that I've seen consistently across the board.
Founders spend lots of money on sales, SEO, and paid ads to try to drive traffic hoping they'll see the brilliance of the product when it's revealed to them. It's a hell of a lot of work. But unless those visitors are turning into customers – it's all a waste of time.
It's at the point where, in the last few months, we've been inundated with requests to 'review our UX' or 'take a look at our website'. During that time, I've noticed some patterns that you can avoid.
Here are the top 5 anyone can start doing right away.
Focus on the problem you're solving
One of the biggest problems is most websites focus too much on the company or products itself. It's me, me, me. Most first-time visitors don't give a bloody Barry White about you or your product. If you lead with 'we do this' or 'product has XYZ feature' people will switch off.
Instead, focus on what value you bring to your customers. What can you do for them? What pain point do you alleviate? If you're using the pronoun 'we' in your first bit of copy – you've done it wrong.
N.B 80-90% of your website is words. This is the most important thing when it comes to designing a website or landing page. At nuom, we learnt this too late. But now it's the first thing we do. Before we do anything else design related, we map out the exact content structure and what problem the company is solving. It directs the rest of the entire website.
A clear and consistent CTA
Out of the 100 or so websites we've reviewed over the year, so many websites can be improved by a simple, consistent CTA (call-to-action). A good rule of thumb is one CTA per page*. The job of a CTA is to give the user the opportunity to make progress. It's easier for them to do that if there's only one way out.
*This rule, like many, can be bent or broken but only when you know what you're doing.
Personalise the experience
Think of your website as a sales tool. It's not the start of the process and it's not the end. Before you start to design your website, you need to think about where these visitors are coming from, what do they know before they get here, and what's the next step on their journey.
Consider things like 'Segmentation'. Your product might have different user types who are directed from different ads or content marketing. Consider personalising that experience to them.
Basecamp is a great example. On returning to their website, I'm redirected here. Not only is this a delightful surprise but below (not pictured) is targeted sections for content that only makes sense if I'm familiar with Basecamp (new products, Basecamp tips and tutorials etc). A brilliant example of segmentation.
Provider proof and build credibility
Everyone can talk a good game. But until you build credibility and prove you can do what you say you can – your words are just that. Proof is one of the key components of any successful conversion-based website. Here are some ways you can build credibility:
If you've got big-name customers that you serve, consider putting their logos on your site. This immediately catches the eye and builds some strong social proof with new users. Only works if they're brands people have heard of though.
The holy grail of social proof. People feel more comfortable if someone else is giving a glowing review of your product. The scruffier the better. Some of the best ways to show testimonials are screenshots or tweets people have sent. It allows for less cynicism from sceptical visitors and shows you're worth what you say you are. Double points for video testimonials.
Perceptions are everything. Having a quality look and feel for your branding will go a long way. Although pretty ≠ isn't always better. Your look and feel need to represent and communicate a message to your audience. For example, if you're charging premium prices you better look and sound like the dog's danglers. If you're going for budget, don't dress up like you're working at the Ritz.
Iterate, iterate and iterate again
Everything written above is some low-hanging fruit that you can apply and see instant improvements. However, the best way to increase conversions is to test and iterate. When you build your website or landing page – make sure you have the power to quickly edit and change content. You'll want to A/B test parts on an almost daily basis.
At nuom, we use Webflow. This allows us to have instant updates to our clients' websites that take literally minutes. We ditched WordPress and Craft because we felt they were slow and overkill for what our clients needed. With Webflow, we could spin up new pages rapidly and give our clients click-and-edit access to their content.
If you want to make sure your website works for you, then you need a conversion-focused design that's built to turn those one-time visitors into life-long customers. We've been helping companies across the B2B SaaS spectrum improve their conversions through growth design and rapid builds using Webflow.