When you first meet a person, you have less than 7 seconds to make a good first impression. This applies not only to in-person interaction but also to interactions we have with companies and brands. That means, when potential customers first visit your website, you have to wow them and you have to do it fast. Website design can be tricky, you need to share a bunch of information in a very limited amount of time for a potential customer to determine if they want to stick around.
Usually, businesses try to do this by making a beautiful, eye-catching website. However, the most effective way to get website visitors to stick around longer than five seconds is by passing the Grunt Test.
The Grunt Test is something Donald Miller shares in his book, StoryBrand. And, it’s the first thing I address when determining if your website is effective. Unclear messaging can be the very reason you are losing visitors once they arrive on your site.
The grunt test is a quick and powerful method to ensure the messaging on our homepage and landing pages is clear and concise. The idea behind the grunt test is that if you were to show your website to a prehistoric caveman who knows nothing about you or your business, he would immediately be able to grunt the answer to these three simple questions:
- What does this business offer?
- How will it improve my life?
- How can I buy it?
And I like to add a fourth one – Who is it for?
All that in about five seconds. Are you up for the challenge?
These are important to include in my brand bio on the homepage so visitors can easily identify if your products or services are for them. Sometimes, this piece isn’t necessary, but there are a lot of great examples of how it can be used.
This same simplistic approach to gauging your website’s effectiveness can be used in evaluating your brand’s messaging. If you can’t easily explain what you offer to someone on the street, you may need to evaluate your brand bio by using the same questions and principles of the Grunt Test.
What does this business offer?
This is where you tell your potential customer what you sell or do. You can list the product or service itself or take things even further and connect your offer to an aspirational identity or transformation. Within your offer, you have the opportunity to add value to your product with the power of words.
How will it improve my life?
In this section, you show clients how your product or service will transform their lives. Although you’ve got an amazing business that has transformed lives in millions of ways, for the header, you want to pick just one. What is the most common way happy clients have told you that your product has transformed their lives?
Brainstorm a few ideas for each category and then combine them into a short, concise phrase. You might be tempted to be cute or catchy here. That is fine as long as you aren’t sacrificing clarity. At the end of the day, clarity creates sales while cute might cause confusion.
How can I buy it?
This last piece seems so obvious but businesses often fail to include it. You need to give your customer a clear, bold call to action. What do you want them to do next? You could use words like: buy, schedule a call, or sign up. Remember, you need to be bold and clear. Weak calls to action tell potential customers that you don’t really believe in your product or service.
If you want to make your call to action even more effective, add a sense of urgency to it: Buy now, schedule a call today, etc. Adding one simple word makes your ask feel even more urgent and compelling making visitors more likely to click that brightly colored button.
The Final Test
Before you head off to a designer to create your new header, test it out on real people. Show your header to friends and family, or even random strangers at the coffee shop. Give them five seconds to view your site. Then, close the computer and ask them the three questions. If they are able to answer, you’re good to go. If they hesitate or struggle to answer any of the three questions, make some edits and try again.
Does Your Website Pass The Grunt Test
Your website can be a beautiful piece of art or a powerful marketing tool. It is the words you use that make all the difference. If you love the idea of a clear, actionable header that passes the grunt test and calls website visitors to action but aren’t sure you have the time or brain power to create it on your own, I’d love to help. Contact us today and let’s get your messaging on point so you can attract your dream customer!