If you are currently designing or redesigning your website, the last thing you probably want is an article extolling the virtues of an unknown design methodology. But if you’re willing to give us just a few minutes of your time, we’d like to convince you that your lead generation website needs a completely different approach to design. No matter how educated you are in traditional User Experience Design, nor how carefully you execute its best practices, your website will not deliver the leads you need without an approach that takes the prospect’s experience into consideration.
A Better Way to Design Marketing Websites
We’d like to share with you everything we know about Prospect Experience Design (PX). This page summarizes and references a ten article series on PX. It covers the underlying thinking behind PX as well as specific structural recommendations for the essential pages and forms your marketing website must have in order to engage and convert prospects. Along the way, there will be plenty of extras for you to take with you. We’re including wireframes and worksheets you can download and use to improve your website right now.
Prospect Experience Design for Marketing Websites
A core principle of User Experience Design (UX) is to enhance user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure of interacting with a product or interface. But, the purpose of your website is to serve you. It does this by attracting and graduating prospects through the buy-cycle. It elevates only the best-fit opportunities for you to pursue. That means we need to adjust our approach to UX — not in a way that runs counter to good design, but by focusing in on the goals that are unique to marketing.
Prospect Experience Design (PX) does this by (1) addressing specific users, (2) encouraging specific interactions, and (3) expecting specific outcomes.
Before you begin designing anything — before you begin even thinking about what you design — it’s critical that you understand PX. The idea of encouraging specific interactions is especially important.
PX and Primary Actions
PX is built upon the concept of primary actions. Primary actions are the things you want your prospects to do. It’s more likely that prospects will do those things if you make their importance clear and offer fewer alternatives.
Every page of your lead generation website should be designed to clearly present a single primary action to prospects.
You can learn more about Prospect Experience Design (PX) by reading our article on How Prospect Experience Design Can Help You Create a Better Marketing Website.
Copywriting for Marketing Website Positioning Language
Your positioning should be expressed by three different kinds of statements:
- Tagline: A tagline is what you do and for whom, in 5 words or less. It should be visible and indexable in the header of every page of your website.
- Positioning Statement: Your positioning statement expresses what you do and for whom. It can also include unique differentiators or special claims. Ideally, it is 10-15 words in length. It should be the first thing prospects see on your home page.
- Reassurance Statement: A reassurance statement is not required. But, including one may enable you to elaborate on some details that are important to your positioning. For example, it might say more about how you do what you do, why you’re good at it, or specify a guarantee.
These three statements are the basic components of your positioning message. Make sure they are in sync with one another.
You can learn more about copywriting for marketing website positioning language by reading our article, These Tools Will Help You Write Better Positioning Statements .
The Pages that Control Prospect Experience on Your Marketing Website
Seven unique templates comprise the marketing engine at the heart of a marketing website. They can be organized into two categories:
- Positioning Pages, which help prospects understand the intent (why) and structure (how) of your business. Each of your website’s positioning pages should offer prospects a clear, primary action to take. These primary actions will guide prospects forward. They will eventually put them in direct contact with you. There are four individual positioning pages that we will discuss in more detail below.
- Content Marketing Pages, which help prospects better understand the nature of your expertise in a more educational setting. Each of your website’s content marketing pages should also offer prospects a clear, primary action to take. But these primary actions will enable prospects to learn more about you, and you to learn more about them. There are three individual content marketing pages that we will discuss in more detail below.
You can learn more about these types of pages from our article, These Seven Pages Control Your Prospect’s Experience.
There are many other articles on our website on these topics, including:
- Four Building Blocks of a Great Agency Website
- How the Right Design Will Turn Researchers Into Buyers
- Prospect Experience Design (Podcast)
- Tell Them What You Do and What To Do (Podcast)
Now we will go through each of the seven unique pages your marketing website must have.
The Marketing Website Home Page
An effective marketing website home page layout contains just four elements: positioning, work samples, testimonials, and expert content. The way you prioritize and arrange this information will have the greatest impact on the actions prospects take on this page.
You can learn more about how to design your home page from our article, This is The Best Way to Design Your Home Page .
The Marketing Website Capabilities Landing Page
A capabilities landing page is a simple page that explains the purpose of a firm. It’s about your business function, not about you, the people that do the work. By paying the right attention to your capabilities landing page layout, you can help prospects better understand how they can make use of your expertise. You can also clarify what it will be like for them to work with you. Often, these kinds of pages are called something like, “What We Do.”
You can learn more about how to design your capabilities landing page from our article, This is The Best Way to Design Your Capabilities Landing Page .
The Marketing Website Service Landing Page
A service landing page is a page that explains a unique service, discipline, solution or phase of work. A service landing page layout should include a brief explanation of three things:
- the problems it exists to solve
- how it solves them
- how you measure the success of its solutions
You can learn more about how to design your service landing pages from our article, This is The Best Way to Design Your Service Landing Pages .
The Marketing Website Case Study
A case study’s job is not to describe an engagement in detail so that a prospect will know and understand every step you might take to get them from Point A to Point B. That kind of case study might give away too much. It also might be too much work to produce.
A case study’s job is to describe an outcome you made possible for your client. It should do this in a way that will appeal to prospects who need what your client needed.
You can learn more about how to design your case study pages from our article, This is The Best Way to Design Your Case Studies.
You can learn more about how to write your case studies from our article, Follow these Three Rules to Write a Better Case Study.
The Marketing Website Content Hub
A content marketing hub is a landing page on your website that provides prospects with portal to all your expert content. It should list all of your articles, white papers, webinars, podcasts, e-books, and any other content types you regularly produce. It should make it easy for prospects to filter this content so that they can move on as quickly as possible. This page should also show prospects the best ways to engage with you.
You can learn more about how to design your content hub from our article, This is The Best Way to Design Your Content Hub.
The Marketing Website Article Page
The article page is probably the simplest page type on your website. But it’s also the most important. A good prospect is far more likely to begin their session on your website on a lower-level page than on a top-level page like your home page. Article pages are exactly what we have in mind when I say “lower-level.” It’s not that they’re of lower importance, they’re just lower in the information architecture of the site. They’re the “children” of your content marketing hub. And since a healthy content marketing hub adds several of these kinds of pages every month, it’s critical to anticipate a prospect’s experience when designing the template they use.
You can learn more about how to design your article pages from our article, This is the Best Way to Design Your Content Marketing Article Pages.
The Five Essential Prospect Engagement Points on Marketing Websites
Content is what attracts and informs prospects. And what provokes them to engage with you. But how they engage is entirely up to technology. Technology makes it possible to design effective progressive engagement.
There is no shortage of tools that can supply engagement technology for you — you should choose the one that best suits your needs — but few technology providers have a point of view on the types of forms and calls to action (CTAs) you should create, where to use them, and how to design them. Five unique types of engagement points comprise the progressive engagement system your website uses to generate opportunity. They are:
- Smart CTAs — or sidebar widgets — which automatically cycle according to a prospect’s unique session history
- Content Gates, which require prospects to share information in order to gain access to content
- Opportunity Forms, which enable prospects to express direct interest in becoming customers
- Repeating Inline CTAs which automatically display as prospects scroll through your content archive
- Calculators and Assessments which enable prospects to directly analyze their own fit for your services.
Each of these five engagement points is designed to enable actions that make the most sense for prospects at each stage of the buying cycle.
You can learn more about how to design each of these unique engagement points from our article, The Five Essential Prospect Engagement Points.