Effective Homepage Messaging Strategy for Startups

Crafting an effective homepage message is both an art and a science, requiring a deep understanding of your product, your audience, the market, and things that sets you apart in the market.

In this episode, Anthony Pierri, co-founder and partner at FletchPMM, joins Louise Liu to discuss homepage messaging for startups. Anthony shares his process of building homepage messaging with his clients, and the dos and don’ts product marketers should bear in mind when crafting homepage messaging.

Listen to the full interview above or read on for the highlights from the conversation.

A good homepage message, in our opinion, should meet the customers where they’re at.

This Is Product Marketing Episode 47: Anthony Pierri – Effective Homepage Messaging Strategy for Startups

Episode Highlights

In your opinion, what is a good homepage messaging?

“A good homepage message, in our opinion, should meet the customers where they’re at. This is often what we’ve discovered is the key source of the disconnect. And really, there’s kind of these three stages, as a product category goes from being very new to a very mature and established category.

So initially, when you come out with your idea if you’re doing something very new, you actually need to get your customers to change their behavior. So they need to do things in a different way that they wouldn’t have done. Let’s take Airbnb for an example. To get Airbnb to work, you had to convince people to not drive to a hotel, but instead to drive to a person’s house that they didn’t know and sleep in the stranger’s bed. Very different activity. In this earliest stage, Airbnb couldn’t say, ‘Hey, I know you’re trying to sleep in stranger’s beds. And it’s really hard to do. Airbnb is the greatest solution.’ They had to evangelize the use case first. And they say, this is the best way to achieve the unmet desired outcome of getting a cheap room in a busy city. From there, once people get into the concept of like staying in someone’s house, you move into this second level, ‘outcome-based’. Airbnb becomes one of the ways to accomplish the goal. You might be asking a friend to stay, instead of Airbnb.

As you move through these stages, eventually, to the point where a category has been solidified, you actually have to answer a different set of questions. You don’t answer the question of ‘why would I ever get in a stranger’s car’ because the market has matured. And now the positioning question becomes, ‘why would I choose Uber over Lyft’.

The biggest problem is when companies don’t understand where they are in that journey. So it’s really about figuring out where you are in that overall flow, and planting the flag and then building the message in the most customer centric way.”

Can you walk us through your process/framework for crafting a compelling homepage messaging?

“So we really try to do this over two main workshops, sometimes it takes three.

In general, the first workshop is all about figuring out who is the audience that we want to speak to primarily. You want to lead with an audience on your homepage, but that doesn’t mean you exclude all the other audiences, they just get de-prioritized. You want to have an ICP, so we spend the first whole half of the workshop, just trying to understand what are the options of different groups we could talk to, and we look across four different dimensions. Is there a specific department that you’re selling to? What is the type of the company? Is there a specific use case of your product that they care about most? What other tools do they use today? And ideally, we get a department in a type of company, performing a specific set of actions that would serve as a use case for your product, and then using tools that are your kind of competitive set.

From there, the second workshop that we run is working out what are the problems associated with the ways that they’re doing it today, and listing out what these problems are. We use those problems as ways to surface the most compelling and interesting things that the product can do, then we try to look across these value props and figure out the best way to summarize this into a positioning statement, which ends up serving as the website headline. We do a wireframe that is reflective of everything we’ve landed on in the workshops, and it would basically match the right set of awareness of the customers.”

What are the common mistakes you’ve seen working with startups?

“I think a lot of them come from a refusal to put a stake in the ground of what they want to be known for. If you’re an early stage company, you’re lucky to be known for anything at all. What we often find is, early stage companies try to position all their products for all these different customer segments at once, and hoping to become a billion dollar company. What they forget is that you win these markets, not all at once. We often see them trying to position as if they’re the unicorn already when they’re at the beginning. They don’t have any credibility, and no one trusts them, no one knows them. And people land on their website are just confused.”

About Guest

Anthony Pierri is the co-founder of FletchPMM, a product marketing consultancy that helps early stage B2B rewrite their homepages with sharper positioning and messaging. Since Fletch started, Anthony and his partner Rob Kaminski have worked with over 200 venture-backed startups.

Leave a Reply