When it comes to selling newspapers, persuasive and relevant ‘above the waterline’ content has always been a must. The top half of the newspaper – the only part visible in newsstands, is what is commonly referred to as “above the waterline”.
In order for newspapers to sell, this content above the waterline has to be compelling and engaging.
The same is true for websites. On a website, this is the part that visitors and prospects see immediately, without having to scroll. Also known as the âheadline,â this section should present your business’s value proposition.
The way you communicate the core value and qualities of your product / service here will keep the visitor scrolling, learning more about you, and ultimately choosing you over other competitors.
Your title and subtitle should answer these questions, as briefly as possible:
- What is your business doing?
- What problems does it solve and what problems does it solve for your visitors and prospects?
- Why should prospects choose you over your competition?
In other words, a good value proposition knows its target market and thanks to the above, it immediately lets visitors know whether they are in the right place or not.
Here are five ways to make sure your value proposition is right:
1. Talk to your customer about your entire offering
A good value proposition invites visitors to focus on their needs as well as other aspects of their requirements that they might otherwise fail to consider. Try to capture the full essence of your offering instead of talking about a specific aspect.
For example, take a bed and breakfast (B&B) that also includes additional services such as experience packages and guide bookings. The title and subtitle together should succinctly inform the visitor that this is a B&B which offers not only a relaxing stay but also a range of additions. Benefit-oriented copy always goes a long way.
2. Emphasize your difference
Showcase the outstanding qualities of your product / service that will pique your visitor’s interest. If it is CRM software, how is your offer different from other CRM software on the market? Is it the best rated on the market? Is it recommended by industry experts? Is the price the best? Is it tailor-made for a certain segment like large companies or SMEs?
3. Show them a nice and trouble-free future
Your copy should inspire your visitor to envision a future that will be âall the betterâ for them because of your product / service. Suppose you provide a digital note-taking app. It is a good idea to describe the problems solved as well as the pleasures offered by the application.
The headline and caption could jointly communicate that while the visitor finds things easy to remember, the note-taker also helps him become resourceful and accomplish more by keeping track of his thoughts. and his ideas in the form of organized lists. Plus, while visualizing the relationship, it’s important to use plain, jargon-free copy to reinforce the benefits in a more impactful way.
4. Be smart (but not too smart)
The pun can be a hit or miss in writing – sacrificing clarity for intelligence in your copy more often than not creates as powerful an impression as the simple but clear copy you threw out earlier. Whenever you use puns or less common words in your copy, use a light hand. Remember, the goal is to show the customer exactly how your product or service will improve their life.
5. Use hero images and CTAs
If you’ve noticed, most of the titles and subtitles on websites are placed in the hero image. In addition, each caption is directly followed by a call to action (CTA). However, these two elements, the hero image and the CTA, should only be the second and third elements that you consider for the space above the waterline of your website.
First, try to summarize your business value proposition in simple, clear, and brief copy. Plus, browse the websites of some of your favorite businesses and see how they’re using that valuable real estate. Submit as many titles and subtitles as possible. Mix and match them and get other people’s comments to make the most of this space.
By Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager – MEA, Zoho Corp.