The Single Most Important Sentence on Your Homepage

What’s the goal of your website? This may sound obvious. Of course you want to attract potential clients. But what do you want them to do once they get to your site?

If your have something to sell, the answer is clear. You want them to purchase your product. But what if you’re a service professional?

It’s not enough to describe what you do. You need a call-to-action. This is the equivalent of a Buy Now button on an e-commerce site.

Your Call-to-Action Depends on What Your Visitor Needs Right Now
If you want visitors to call you to find out more information about your services, your call-to-action can be as simple as an invitation to set up an appointment for a complimentary half-hour consult. I’ve had clients who are attorneys use this approach successfully, because people shop around for expensive legal advice.

You have to know your audience and how they make decisions. If they need to feel you out in person as one of several options, a free consult—with limits, so you don’t set yourself up for someone who wants to just pick your brain for free—can be a great way to build your practice.

Build a Relationship with Thoughtful Lead-Generation Content
If you have information products to sell, such as an online course, to leverage your consulting services, you’ll want to develop some free, useful content that your visitor can download, in exchange for an email address. This is called lead-generation content, and the goal of your website in this case is to build a qualified email list for developing your relationship with potential clients through additional info product offers.

Once again, you need to have a clear idea of your goals and offer information that has real value. Most people are wary of giving up their email addresses. We’re all inundated with email, a lot of it junk.

No-one Will Give You Their Email Address for More Junk Mail
What advice can you give in the form of a useful download—be it a fact-filled PDF, an eBook or a white paper—that will make your visitor want to opt into your list? And what do you want to do with that list? How are you going to follow up and build your relationship, leading to a sale of a more substantive info product or your consulting services? You need to know the answers before you craft your lead-generation content and call-to-action.

It’s worth noting that eNewsletters have become so ubiquitous that asking people to sign up for your weekly newsletter, especially if you’re using canned information from an industry subscription service rather than original content, is probably not going to get you much interest. It’s also not going to help you establish your own expertise if you’re just recycling someone else’s content as your own.

So—once again, what’s the goal of your website? And what do you want your visitors to do once they get there?

For a more detailed discussion of how to craft an effective call-to-action, here are some useful articles:

Content Marketing Institute: Are Your Call to Actions Missing These Proven Formulas?

HubSpot: 10 Best Practices to Optimize the Language of Your Calls-to-Action

Smashing Magazine: Call to Action Buttons: Examples and Best Practices

Marketing consultant Evelyn Herwitz loves to help you tell a great story about your great work. She specializes in search-optimized web content that positions you as an approachable expert in your field and helps you grow your business. Contact Evelyn for a free half-hour consult for new clients.

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