Go take a look right now at your site: What’s the first thing that catches your eye?

If it’s your logo, the start of a video, testimonials about your app – you have a problem.

If it’s the outdated look of your site, a sense too much is crammed into too small a space or that you’ve not updated your product in 6 months – you really have a problem.

The first thing that should get your visitor’s attention is your answer to their most important question: “Why should I care about this?”

If the first thing that gets their attention on your site doesn’t answer the question, nothing else matters. Not your site. Not your product.

The screenshot above is an example of how to do this right: Gauges has a very attractive site, but what starts the ball rolling is they answer the right question right off. And they do it in a way that:

  • Speaks to their customers – not to just anyone.
  • Focuses on what their product does for their customers.
  • Explains at a high level how their product delivers what their customers care about.

The pitch, hook, headline is your answer to why you are worth one more precious second of your visitor’s time. How well does your site answer that question?

(If you think your site nails it – comment your URL. If it doesn’t, email me and I’ll try to make a quick suggestion. If you need more than a quick suggestion, let’s talk.)

16 thoughts on “What’s the most important question about your startup?

    1. Hi Rafal,

      Right now, the answer you have is “The Next Generation Condominium Website Come see what the HYPE is all about!” But I don’t think that’s the answer your prospective customers want answered and:
      -Hype repels people, even if it’s not your’s,
      -What if they don’t have a current generation solution,
      -They are already “there”.

      Alternative:
      Build community, reduce costs and simplify managing a successful Condominium/Homeowners Association with Geniepad. Track and report member requests, build online community ties and eliminate paper notices, all from your desktop, iPhone, iPad or smartphone.

      And the way you know if this (or another) alternative is better is a/b test it. I’ve used and recommend http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/. or Google Website Optimizer.

    1. Hi Beatrix,

      Gauges looks good to me in Chrome, Safari, Firefox (all Mac); is the text doubled on my post or their site?

      Thanks for commenting

    1. Hi Marcin,

      Right now, the answer you have is: “Run Awesome Meetings. make meetings quick, to the point and achieve your objectives” This is under the slider that has four panels, “Make your meetings count”, “Set the agenda”, “Run your meeting”, “Meeting Minutes”

      First, which part of all this is the answer? (All of it is a pretty muddled answer). Consider moving the headline above the slider, give it some white space to make it stand out.
      Second, awesome is in the eye of the beholder, and whose meetings are we talking about? An answer that causes the visitor to immediately wonder if this product is really meant for them or they are wasting their time is not what you want to do.

      From what I gather, Your software is for business users, who use Windows/Office/Outlook. And, it’s for the people calling/controlling the meetings, not primarily for the people attending. Work with those:

      “Manage and measure the success of your meetings directly from Microsoft Outlook and stop wasting your time with ZippyMeetings.” or,
      “Professional meetings, measurable results, managed easily from Outlook. That’s ZippyMeetings.”

  1. Great post. I think a lot of sites put too much emphasis on their own branding on their landing pages, and neglect the opportunity to really show potential clients why they should be interested in their product.

    I’ve been doing SEO work for http://docraptor.com/ and I’ve talked to the development team quite a bit about effective ways to show clients (and potential clients) why they should use DocRaptor to convert HTML to PDF or Excel format, rather than one of their competitors. It’s always about demonstrating value as quickly and powerfully as possible.

  2. Found my way here from Patrick McKenzie’s blog. I really enjoyed your mISV book when I read it a year or so ago…anyway, if you’re still taking a look at sites, I’m about to push http://protectedbyscarecrow.com fairly hard via AdWords and would appreciate your opinion(s).

    I really don’t need any more traffic on my “main” website. It’s been a great conversation starter, and that was its intent. I have big plans for that later on, but first I must build a platform, and that’s what Scarecrow means to me. So now I’m looking to directly sell something, and the world is changing on me.

    Thanks either way!

    -David

    1. Hi David,

      The service sounds great, but the site…. the site needs a new site. Fair or not, your customers are going to judge your service by your site. Suggest you take a look at the HTML/CSS templates over at themeforest.net. Avoid the over the top, too slick: stick with something clean, minimal, hassle free for both you and prospective customers.

      Cheers,
      Bob

  3. Heh. Well, of course they’ll judge the service by the site–what else would they see? In this case, the site _is_ the service anyway, as far as customers are concerned. The back-end stuff was more fun to create but it is also invisible.

    Thanks again.

    -David

    1. Hi Duncan,

      I think the question employers will be coming to your site to get answered is how do they get their employees to volunteer ideas that save money, suggest new product ideas and generally really tell management what they are thinking. The answer you provide almost works, but not quite. “Give your employees a secure, easy way to suggest improvements and provide feedback with Vetter”.

      Also there are some issues in your 3 points: “Quick and simple, tagging & Idea Challenges built-in.” What’s and Idea Challenge? “With a twist – the submitter is a mystery to keep things unbiased. Commenting optional.” – Huh?

      Re the product itself, I think one really good selling point is that you can set up a Challenge with a prize and people can suggest ideas and rate them. But I had to really dig for that – this is front page stuff.

      Also, do what you have to get those great specific examples onto the home page – they sell the product.

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