After 2 Teardowns of SaaS homepages (Close.io and Contactually) and their marketing, I wanted to share a checklist for SaaS homepages.

What’s the purpose of your SaaS homepage?

Front App says that “SaaS products have in common the fact that they must convince potential customers of their usefulness.” And I agree, they must do this and must do it quickly with their homepages.

Your homepage should do these 4 things:

1) Sell your product
2) Teach visitors about your product, expertise, industry
3) Collect leads
4) Direct people where they need to go (support, login, blog)

Why Are SaaS Homepages Different?

Imagery

One of the major issues I see with a SaaS B2B homepage is imagery. All hero shots are going to be similar- a person smiling at their office.

It’s someone being happy because they can tell exactly when their email was opened, or scheduling their social media updates easily. For most SaaS companies, the ‘moment’ isn’t as easy to ‘see’.

This means the other elements of a homepage need to make up for that lack of hero shot. The headline needs to paint a picture, which is why a sub-headline helps.

The Homepage Must Sell

Not all web pages immediately need to sell their products, most can be an introduction to their company.

In SaaS this isn’t true, you’ve got to get to the point, grab their attention, show your value prop and get them interested. If you can’t accomplish this quickly, you’ll lose potential users which means revenue.

Most Important Above The Fold Homepage Elements:

There are 4 important elements you need above the fold on a homepage. The most important is your headline, spend a lot of time working on this.

Doing most of it right: Wrike– they have imagery that says business, an OK headline (this is the only place they aren’t doing great), social proof and high contrast CTAs.

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Headline– Your headline (and possible sub-head) needs to tell me what you offer and your value proposition, in a compelling, concise, and attractive way. Kissmetrics has an informative step-by-step post about headlines, although I don’t agree that you should focus on a feature at all. People like to know how they will benefit from your product, not what features it has.

  • What You Offer– I immediately need to know what you do/offer/etc. This is a MUST. If I have to question this, I’ll leave. You’ve got a few seconds.
  • Value proposition– Tell me what you offer, and how you’ll help me

 

2 High Contrast CTAs– There should be 2- one to buy now, sign up, get a free trial, etc. AND one to learn more. Remember 90% of your visitors will not be ready to buy now, you want to make sure you don’t lose their interest.

Example of who is using this right: Samanage, their imagery is all wrong, I don’t know what they are going for here, but, the high contrast colors of the CTAs are awesome. Here is an article by Crazy Egg describing high converting CTAs.

Here is a post by HubSpot on why you need 2 CTAs

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Imagery– Stock photos are dying, please pick images that are specific to your company, involve your employees or clients, or show your fun side. You have to stick out, not blend in with the others and just about every SaaS has a boring stock right now.

Example of who is doing this right: Men with Pens– look at how fun this page is. You don’t necessarily have to have gorgeous pictures, being fun with design is great as well.

If you aren’t sure about the power of images in selling, check out this post by ConversionXL (you can’t argue with their expertise.)

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Social Proof– Logos and testimonials show me you are trustworthy, and that others in my industry are trusting you with their businesses. Here’s an awesome article on Kissmetrics about using social proof in marketing.

Example of who is using this right: SEMrush

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Get My Interest

The whole point of everything above the fold is to grab a person’s attention and keep them interested in your site. Based on multiple studies you have very little time to do this, and only so much space in which to do it. So every element needs to perform at a high level.

If you want to learn more about websites getting attention, check out these studies: A study from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2011 showed that first impressions are formed in 180ms from landing on a web page. Another study shows that you have even less time, 50ms (Human-Oriented Technology Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada).

[freebiesub download=”http://mary-green.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/SaaSHomepageAuditChecklist.pdf”]

Still Above The Fold

Design

Here is a clean, easy to read, and uncluttered site Convert. They are constantly testing and that might be even more important than anything else I’m saying.

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  • Clean, Easy to Read Design– No black text on red or blue backgrounds, grainy images, etc. It should look clean and professional. Even ugly designs can be clean.
  • No clutter– every section on your homepage should contribute to the purposes listed above. When there are too many options people get overwhelmed. They don’t want to choose, they want to be told what to do.
  • Navigation– Top level navigation should include: The blog, support and login. You can add contact, about, team, careers, etc as well, but they can be sub levels.

Below The Fold On Your Homepage

Now that you have their attention, let’s help them accomplish what they came to do. The following elements will help.

Resulting Benefits

Significant Features– There may be features your target audience is specifically looking for, if you offer this, it is a must for your homepage. For instance, if Close.io had the technology to listen to calls and take notes for you, or even transcribe voice notes, that would be a great add for the homepage.

Product screenshots- Let me see what’s inside the product. What will I be looking at? Bonus points if you include screenshots inside device graphics so I have an idea of what platforms you support and what I’d be looking at.

I really like the product screenshots on Adaptive Solutions, they have a gif running in the background, maybe a video, but it’s beautiful.

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Integrations & API– You should definitely work with Zapier. It isn’t important to show me EVERY company you integrate with, but make it a point to say you do integrate with most popular programs. We want an automated world, we need our time back, help us get that.

Showing app integrations can be beautiful. Here is a screenshot of some app integration images on Google. Use it for ideas.

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Address Objections– Chances are visitors will have objections to your products, especially if they are over the top, or unbelieve promises. You can do this by using testimonials, or using quick explanations. Here are some ways Crazy Egg suggests overcoming objections.

Additional CTAs– It’s important to give visitors multiple options to ‘sign up now’. When they get the urge you want a CTA to be there, but not be obtrusive. The best way to do this, is to ask people (who will be honest with you) to look at your site and let you know what they think. Or run a survey with a tool like Hotjar.

Short forms– Any forms on your homepage should be as short as possible. This isn’t the place to get picky about company size, age, company name, job title, etc.

Keep it short, and ideally just for a download you need an email address. Long forms are for further down the sales funnel, in front of webinars, or demo appointments. For instance, Hootsuite has giveaways where they ask for far too much information (see below).

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PricingMake it easy to find pricing. You don’t have to have your entire pricing table on the homepage because it will take up unnecessary space. (Personal preference- if you don’t have easy to find pricing on your site, I will leave.)

Testimonials– This is where you get to show off how beneficial your features are to users. You can interview users and ask them questions about how your features benefit their businesses.

Get their permission before using their words and images (necessary).This is different from the logos above because it doesn’t just say you have users, but that they have something amazing to say about your product. You should test using logos vs testimonials above the fold and below, but definitely try using both.

Operating Systems– Devices, platforms and operating systems logos show users the flexibility they’ll have with your product. They don’t have to wait to get to work to check on things, or on a phone call they can quickly grab the information they need.

Lead Magnet– I recommend a lead magnet on the homepage. You’ll want to test this vs a CTA instead, to see if it takes away from other conversions, but if you can’t sell them on the homepage, let’s try to get their email address.

This needs to be something compelling for almost anyone interested in your industry or product, yet it needs to be different enough from others in your market that it is unique.

There needs to be a balance here, so work with your team to come up with a few ideas, then test these ideas before building the download/course itself.

A great lead magnet for the SaaS and B2B world Infusionsoft.com:

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Social media links– In the footer is fine. But I want to like you on Twitter or Facebook so I can remember you.

Retargeting Pixel– Hopefully you are considering FB ads in the future, install this pixel so you can retarget people when and if are ready to do this.

‘You’ Focus on Target Market This one is easy to forget but makes a big difference in how visitors see your product. When you are properly positioning your product to the right target market, you’ll use their language. When you talk about them, by using the ‘You’ focus, you’ll put them in the power seat and help them visualize success with your software.

This isn’t about you being proud of your product– Stop thinking about what you want to share with others, and think about what they want to hear. They are making a purchase, this isn’t your portfolio to show off. If you can’t handle it, hire a copywriter.

[freebiesub download=”http://mary-green.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/SaaSHomepageAuditChecklist.pdf”]

Conclusion

For many SaaS products, the website and copy are some of the last thoughts before going live. Unfortunately, this means a lot of companies aren’t taking full advantage of the opportunity to showcase their company and product as the beneficial software it is.

This checklist might be difficult to implement, but it’s worth the time. Start by making small adjustments, sign up for tools that allows you to track easily, and build a marketing roadmap you can refer to when you have the resources to contribute to driving conversions.