This week I analyzed Close.io, whose CEO Steli Efti, is also doing the bi-weekly podcast The Startup Chat with Hiten Shah. Needless to say I’m a little nervous, but I did get permission from someone at Close to put up this teardown.

Here are the sections:Close.io

Homepage Analysis

This homepage is shorter than last week’s Contactually Analysis. This is good because these pages need to get to the point, and get visitors to take their next step- Buy, Subscribe or Learn More.

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1) Headline- Close More Deals. Make More Sales.
There are loads of tools that make this same statement so this is a weak value prop, and it gives me very little information about what I’m looking at.

We all want more sales, more closed deals, but what makes Close.io different, better, the CRM I need? Unfortunately, we don’t know just yet.

Suggested Headline: Make 32 More Sales Calls Per Day With Our Streamlined Sales Process (I like this because in a world of sales products, being specific helps you stand out from making the same claims, I don’t know the exact # of calls per day, but you should be able to get this information from talking with customers.)

Suggested Sub-headline: The only sales focused CRM that automates data entry and email tracking. (More information to set this product apart from the competitors).

2) CTA to Buy- Start Free Trial 
I’m a fan of longer, purpose driven CTAs, I’d prefer something like: Start Closing 4x More Deals (get the data to back this up from current clients). I would try a different color for contrast, this one blends in too nicely with the theme.

3) Operating systems or Platforms
Not super important to have in this spot but it should be included on the page. The way they are greyed out is like an afterthought. Instead of saying you are on all of these devices, show me by putting a screenshot in different devices so I have an idea of what I would be looking at. I’m assuming the mobile view would be an app and very different from the site.

4) Product View
This is important as a lot of buyers want to see before they jump in. The one problem with this image is that it takes up a lot of space that could be used for other important elements. It doesn’t need to be above the fold.

By making this the focal point it makes me feel like I’m supposed to see something wildly different here than I would in other software, yet there is not focus on that in the image. If this is the point, let’s add some arrows and text to explain why this interface is so awesome.

Above and Below the Fold
There’s just not enough information and activity above the fold to make a person want to stay on the site. Those looking for a CRM might stick around but many important points are yet to be covered as the page moves down. I’ll (*) things I think should be above the fold.

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5) CTA- Get Started (14 Day Trial) 

I like this CTA here, but as always test, test, test.

*6) Remove Friction for Sign ups
No credit card required! This tells people they can get started right away, they don’t have to wait for to get approval from the team or finance department, and they don’t have to risk getting charged later when they aren’t ready to commit.

7) Features vs Benefits
These should be benefits of using the software, not features. They could be both (3rd item on the list) but benefits are far more important than features.

For instance:

  • Make & Receive Calls with 1 Click- Fully documented call data in just 1 click (assuming that if you just click to call, time/date/people on call are all documented)
  • Emails sent & received are automatically tracked- No importing data from emails, it’s done for you.
  • One beautiful sales workflow with no manual data entry- All of your important data in one place, at the tip of your fingers.

8-10) Tour – Make More Calls, Say NO to data entry, For sales people, by sales people

I would rather see this section be “Save 4 minutes per Call, It’s So Easy” with the following:

  • Click to call (image of clicking one button that says Call Peter)
  • Call data saved automatically (image of call data- date/time/name/ log)
  • Popup (if this exists) to enter personal notes

Here’s why: when I first saw the site I thought: “wow, it listens to my calls and enters everything for me?” but that isn’t true, it only enters the date, time, person’s name, message left, etc sort of data.

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11) Video
A video on a sales page may increase conversions by up to 20%. I’m not sure about it being so far down the homepage though. I would rather see a small video section, next to the device shots from above. But I would add a CTA (or test one) immediately after the video.

*12) Social Proof
It puzzles me that this is so far down the page. This is super important and yet it’s buried. You have to scroll through the entire page (almost) to see it. You want to show off these successes up front, at the top of the site, let people know: These people love this product.

Further, nothing is formatted in the testimonials to highlight the benefits of purchasing. You’ve got my attention with HelloSign and EchoSign, follow through by making it easy to see why others love you.

13) Logos
At the very least I would have logos at the top of the page somewhere. While these might not be immediately recognizable, it helps to know others are using the product.

Danger, Danger
A big issue I see with this homepage is the assumption that a visitor is going to come, stay and scroll through the entire thing.

Data does not support this (in most cases). Heatmaps show that visitors are less likely to get to each section down the homepage and I’m willing to bet the same is true here.

With the weak focus on benefits, a lacking headline and very little information above the fold, my bet is there is a lot of testing and improvement to see from this template.

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14) Open Pricing
I like seeing the pricing so clearly displayed. I’m not sure it is 100% necessary to show the entire chart, but it’s far better than the sites that don’t mention it at all (God I hate those). If I were to offer an improvement, I’d try to test with just mentioning the $65/user/mo. starting price, not including the entire chart, but linking to it.

*15) Happiness Guarantee
WHYYY??? is this buried? I love the happiness guarantee, why would they hide it so far down the homepage? Add a trust icon of some kind and get this up higher. This helps instill trust which is a HUGE factor in making a purchase. Do not hide this.

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16) FAQs
I don’t like FAQs on a homepage for SaaS. I think it encourages doubt, it’s boring, and in this position on the page, it doesn’t help confront objections.

If there are regular objections they need to be confronted immediately (at the top of the page, I know I keep saying that). This could easily be turned into a benefits section (moved up yet still under the fold) but FAQ just gives me the wrong idea here.

It is important to have support easy to find for return visitors, but in this case, it is already in the navigation at the top.

*17)Build Your List
Getting people into your system is a great fall back to getting the sale. You can email them and build a relationship. I’m disappointed this isn’t an option further up the page.

18) Pic, Headline & Sub-headline of Free Course
Steli Efti is a pretty big name in SaaS, I wonder why we don’t see his picture (for trust) earlier on the site, not to mention his name. But some founders don’t want to push themselves on people, they like to let the product speak for itself.

Besides that, the Free Sales Course sounds great, but the headline doesn’t help sell me, the sub-head does. “Predictable & Repeatable Sales Model” now I’m on board. Focus on that for part of the headline.

19) CTA- Get it for free
Weak CTA, I’d test this (of course) with Enroll Now, or a little bit longer Enroll in Our Free Sales Course.

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20) Social Proof 

This is even better social proof than the logos from earlier, I would have it at the very top somewhere (above the fold). Perhaps get rid of the logos earlier and use these there, they are far more convincing.

21) Footer
Another section that doesn’t contribute to the purpose of the page. The book could have been mentioned earlier to establish authority, contact us form should be on the contact page. Remove this completely.

Conclusion

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Personas

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Close.io has one persona in mind right now, SaaS sales teams, and it seems to be working well for them. I think the persona might be able to be broken down further, with some NPS, surveys, interviews, etc to get more information.

At this time, it’s acceptable that they are focusing on such a small sliver of their market. No idea if they’ve reached product/market fit. But it’s clear this product could be useful for many other industries once they are ready to scale.
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Blog

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The blog on this site is very interesting to me, because Steli wrote a post on Inbound about blogging last year, so I know he believes in the power of blogging. I actually have a lot of feedback on the blog.

The Close.io blog

The content very much has a target persona- saas sales teams- yay!

The content itself is helpful for this persona, because he is basically telling them exactly how he sells and he’s good at it.

But (isn’t there always a but), I have some thoughts, here goes:

  • The content seems to be largely what’s on his mind at the moment, could use more content strategy here.
  • I would add social sharing options to the top of the posts in addition to the bottom. These act as a bit of social proof when people land on the blog and see x number of shares.
  • There are very few blog posts with related CTAs throughout or at the end of the post. (Aren’t these posts here to convert visitors, too?)
  • The same CTA is at the bottom of every post, it isn’t as compelling as it could be (same as the homepage) and when another is added, a post might have two CTAs at the bottom which looks messy.
  • Sidebar lead generation has poor copy, doesn’t grab attention, looks like an afterthought.
  • No Visual CTA in sidebar to ask for signups or offer resources.
  • Additional reading posts should be above the comments, otherwise people who don’t want to participate in the discussion (a greater part of the audience) won’t see the recommended reading.
  • The blog page before individual posts isn’t visually compelling with most posts missing a featured image.
  • The book is out of place as the last section of the sidebar. I’d offer the 1st chapter as the freebie for entering your email address in the top section.
  • Since they are HubSpot users I would put to use the content strategy education the company offers. Plan out some of the posts, align them with lead magnets, set up email marketing, and build relationships, otherwise you are leaving massive amounts of opportunity on the table.
  • There seems to be little content promotion of blog posts, yet there is a new post 3x+ per week. I might consider cutting back and pushing each piece to its limit. I don’t think they are getting the max value of blogging this way.

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Lead Magnets

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There are only 2 lead magnet pages I could find for Close.io. I recommend taking some of the blog posts and curating them into give away pieces to attract more email sign ups.

Every lead magnet should have its own landing page with a headline, benefits, image and short form. Once these are up add related CTAs to the blog posts above (one CTA per blog post).

Make sure existing blog posts link to landing page where applicable for even more push to those pages and lead capture.
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Email and Onboarding

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The lack of lead magnets tells me there isn’t enough email marketing here. The two lead magnets do offer daily and weekly tips and newsletters, but targeted campaigns might help convert more subscribers.

Unfortunately, I just subscribed so there hasn’t been enough time to accurately assess their email efforts. I did get one for onboarding and one for the newsletter in which Steli puts forth a great effort to show how much he wants you to succeed (awesome job).

I signed up for the trial and have a few thoughts about that. Immediately I got a gray page with the option to download software or use the web version. At first I thought this meant I had to download the software, when I just wanted the web access. It doesn’t set a great tone, I would add it to the wizard that begins when I go to the web version.

There is a small wizard, that talks me through connecting Gmail, inviting colleagues and importing data. The email I received had links to learning more about using Close.io and a get started guide. The email was from Kevin Ramani, I would consider changing this to come from Steli since that is who leads me through the wizard.
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SEO

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I’m smart enough to know I’m not awesome at SEO. I understand some of it, and I understand a lot of it is based on technical settings, here is the 2015 technical SEO checklist from Moz.

Here is the website grader report from HubSpot, it is largely based on SEO issues, since performance, mobile and security all contribute to ranking in SERPs.

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  • Internal linking- decent
  • External linking- decent
  • Title tags- need work
  • Sitemaps- missing
  • Descriptions- need work

It looks like Close.io is a client of HubSpot, so they should take advantage of the SEO opportunities they can optimize from within the software, one of which being the Security https feature.

Additionally, I would take a look at Webmaster Tools through Google to see if there are any issues there to fix. Then get help with the Technical Checklist I mentioned above to make sure the SEO is at its peak for content marketing (blogging).

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Social Media

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Twitter

Social media is one of the best places to promote content. Admittedly Steli’s Twitter account does promote the posts from Close, and there is a Close.io account but there is little engagement and focus for increasing followers. I suggest retweeting pages/posts multiple times and getting influencers involved.

Facebook

The FB page has some nice images, I like it. But not a lot of likes which would be nice for promotion. It’s generally believed that Facebook is not the best place for B2B marketing but with almost everyone having a FB account, it’s impossible for it to not be useful in this way, done right of course.

Try FB ads to the landing pages we discussed adding above. Post to Facebook, get a few people to seed it with likes and responses, and then boost the posts.

Linkedin

I don’t think a company page is necessary, they tend to do little to contribute to many campaigns (except for huge brands).

I do think some blogging or content repurposing to Linkedin Pulse could be beneficial. It’s worth a try and should take little effort to implement.

Regular updates to Steli’s and employees’ accounts will drive traffic.
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Testing

I hope Close is using Mixpanel to see what users are doing and communicate with them.

Mixpanel is great at understanding so many things about your users- where they come to the site, what they do, where you are losing them, how long they are sticking around in the trial. It’s very important for this kind of business.

Hotjar is great for surveys, and other important analytics. Talking to customers is the only way to understand them. Hotjar is a great company, check them out if you don’t already have a program for this.

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Conclusion for Close.io

Close.io is doing a great job with blogging and using Steli’s personal brand to push the company. I’d love to see some repurposing of content to turn the existing work into more value for the SaaS sales community.

Additionally, the homepage NEEDS to be tested. It needs to fulfill its purpose of directing people where they need to go, while also being a sales page for the product.

Marketing Roadmap

Marketing is a never ending road. Just like your product roadmap you’ll have a business roadmap and a marketing roadmap. You start in one area where you have the skills and then expand as you have the resources to do so.

Many companies get stuck in one strategy because it works, but this can hold back growth especially when simple changes can make a big difference. Don’t get comfortable, test and try new things.

I recommend taking the simple changes here and implementing them. Then build a roadmap of changes and testing you’d like to implement and work from there. If Close.io or any other company wants suggestions on prioritizing this roadmap, contact me for help.