Your hero shot is the most important piece of real estate on your website.
It’s the image people see the moment they arrive on your homepage or another landing page - the section above the fold - and it’s the deciding factor between a visit or a bounce.
As you can see in the image above, KlientBoost’s hero shot is extremely simple. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the value proposition and then the Call to Action (CTA).
This is EXACTLY what should happen on your landing page.
It should be simple.
It should draw the eye to your value proposition and then to your CTA.
It should be specifically targeted.
As I mentioned in my piece on landing page headlines, we are only interested in how our target customer responds to our landing page.
KlientBoost is only interested in potential PPC agency customers.
If you are looking for someone to help you with content marketing, as soon as you hit this website’s hero shot, you’ll know you are in the wrong place.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for help with your PPC campaigns, the moment you see KlientBoost’s value proposition, you’ll know that you’ve found what you’re looking for.
Your hero shot should make your target customers stay and everyone else bounce.
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Everything you need to know about landing page hero shots
The purpose of your website is NOT for visitors to ask, “Wow, who designed your site?”
Your site, and particularly your landing pages, are there for one reason and one reason only.
You want people buy, subscribe, call, donate, etc.
Accordingly, you your landing page should be the entrance to a conversion funnel.
It’s #1 purpose is to get people into your funnel.
Your design should facilitate this goal.
It shouldn’t be distracting or cluttered.
It shouldn’t overwhelm new visitors.
It should, very simply, take them by the hand and lead them straight towards conversion.
Clear Value Proposition
Your value proposition is basically the best of your business in 1-2 sentences.
The goal of your value proposition is to communicate EXACTLY why customers can’t afford NOT to use your product/service.
Can you afford to pay a PPC agency that simply “goes through the motions”?
Are you intrigued by an agency that “only does what makes you money”?
The best value propositions make a crystal clear, highly compelling promise to their viewers.
It’s not about creating mystery or a curiosity gap. Nobody has time for that.
If you want to convert, you need to be painstakingly clear.
Finally, your CTA needs to be distinctive. It shouldn’t be hard to spot.
In fact, it should be the easiest part of your page to find.
Fortunately, this is extremely easy to do with colors.
As KlientBoost demonstrates, all it takes is a contrasting color scheme to make your CTA easy to spot.
That said, you’ll also want to use language in your CTA that fits with wording of your value proposition.
I’ll demonstrate this in some of the examples below.
The Hero Shot Test
A good rule-of-thumb test is to grab a 3rd party, load your website, and let them look at the hero shot for 10 seconds.
After 10 seconds, close the browser and ask the viewer to explain what your business is all about.
If he or she can’t give you a mostly accurate 2 sentence explanation of your business, you’re doing something wrong.
Either the design is too complex, the value proposition isn’t clear, or the CTA isn’t distinctive enough.
If you want to test the immediate effect this type of hero shot can have on your business, use SumoMe’s Welcome Mat app to install a drop-down, conversion-focused hero shot to any page.
With Welcome Mat installed:
At What Point Should You Attempt To Convert?
Depending on your product/service, your hero shot can attempt a number of different conversion strategies.
- Immediately convert visitors.
- Get visitors to keep scrolling/reading
- Go for immediate conversion and offer scrolling as a secondary option
Depending on your conversion strategy, you can utilize two different types of landing pages:
- Landing page consisting solely of the hero shot
- Landing page that uses the hero shot to kick off a longer pitch
Let’s take a closer look at which of these strategies might be right for you website.
The Landing Page That Begins And Ends On The Hero Shot
For some designed landing pages, the page begins and ends with the hero shot.
That’s all there is.
For example, Facebook...
Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout blog does this as well...
A third example is Crazy Egg.
Crazy Egg started with a short landing page, then switched to a much lengthier page, only to ultimately return to a hero-shot-only home page.
Having worked extensively with the Crazy Egg team (and knowing their commitment to A/B testing), I can tell you that this means one thing: the hero-shot-only page is converting the most.
This breaks away from the more traditional homepage layout.
It offers visitors two options ONLY.
Do you want to continue? Or do you want to leave?
The benefit of this is strategy is twofold:
- You immediately eliminate anyone who doesn’t fall squarely within your target audience.
- You increase the buy-in value for new visitors, because they have already said “Yes” to you with their email, URL, or whatever you require to access your site.
Obviously, this strategy doesn’t work for every site, or else it’s all we would see. At the same time, it can be extremely effective for certain businesses.
So how do you know if it’s right for you?
The simplest answer is that hero-shot-only landing pages are best used when promoting extremely low friction offers.
- Free access
- Free tool
- Free subscription
- Free trial
- Free ______
If you are offering something free that can be immediately utilized upon signup, a simple Yes/No landing page might be the right strategy for you.
Why is this?
Because “FREE” is an easy sell.
You’ll obviously need to be writing excellent copy, clearly articulating what you are offering and why, but at the end of the day, if your offer is valuable and you’ve been attracting the right people to your website, closing them on “FREE” isn’t difficult.
Additionally, you are going to attempt to convert them at some point anyway.
If your offer is extremely straightforward and solves a very specific need, going for the close right off the bat can be a successful strategy.
There are 3 super important keys for success with the hero-shot-only strategy:
- Extremely specific value proposition
- Immediate benefit
- Low-friction opt-in
While specificity is ALWAYS a good idea in your value proposition, it is MANDATORY when going for the immediate close.
If your offer can’t be easily communicated in a few sentences, don’t use this strategy.
Your benefit also needs to be immediate.
Instant gratification is one of the main reasons this strategy works.
If waiting or additional steps are involved, this typically won’t be the best strategy for you to use.
Finally, as I mentioned already, your offer has to require a very low-friction opt-in.
It needs to be really easy and painless for visitors to “say yes” to you.
If all of these ducks are nicely in a row, give this strategy a try and see how it performs.
Landing Where Hero Shot Kicks Off A Lengthier Pitch
As you probably already know, most landing pages do not utilize the hero-shot-only strategy.
The most traditional layout can be seen here.
While I don’t personally think much of this layout, the point here is that the hero shot is being used to kick off a longer “sales pitch.”
This is the preferred strategy for most landing pages, because most products or services need a proper sales pitch in order to convert.
They need to take customers through the full sales process.
If you are in a competitive market, offering a higher priced product/service, or unable to provide any form of instant gratification, you will probably need to have a fuller length landing page.
As you’ll see in our examples, it’s always good to offer a CTA within the hero shot, even if you are expecting visitors to continue scrolling before opting in.
You never want keep pitching someone who is ready to be closed, so giving users that immediate, impulse option is almost always a good idea.
Let’s take Bryan Harris’ blog Video Fruit, for example. Bryan is 100% focused on building his email list.
His hero shot includes the basic ingredients we mentioned at the beginning:
- Clearly worded, targeted value proposition
- Highly noticeable CTA
This hero shot offers an incredible example of the type of value proposition and CTA you should be using.
“Step-by-Step formulas to grow your business: Learn the exact formula I followed to grow my business to over 10,000 subscribers and gross $200,000 in my first year.”
And the CTA goes right along with the value proposition.
“Show Me The Formula”
I know exactly what I’m getting.
Honestly, this could be the full landing page and still work pretty well.
But marketing content is an extremely competitive niche, so Bryan wants to offer a more full-featured pitch.
The rest of this page flows from the hero shot.
Each piece is designed to reinforce the initial value proposition promising an exact formula to grow your business.
Your page should do the same.
If your landing page needs to make up for a mediocre hero shot, your page will perform poorly.
The hero shot should be your top priority, and anything that follows will simply backup what you’ve already said.
Let’s look at another example.
GetResponse actually offers a full-featured landing page service, so they know a thing or two about getting results.
Their hero shot offers one of my favorite value propositions yet.
They flaunt the size of their email list using real numbers.
And they promise an explanation of how everything works in under 2 minutes (when you click on the video).
While there is a little more going on than I would typically recommend (and the CTA requires a slight scroll), this hero shot makes up for it with a very clear, benefit-heavy value proposition that makes a compelling promise.
Again, this is the opening round of a fuller-length pitch.
Similar to the Video Fruit example, GetResponse is operating in an extremely competitive market.
There are a lot of other email clients out there competing for market share.
And also just like the Video Fruit example, GetResponse uses the rest of its page to reinforce the hero shot claims.
“World’s EASIEST Email Marketing”
Scroll down: “Powerful tools built for success and EASE OF USE: Find out how SIMPLE email marketing can be”
Scroll further: “Whether you’re a BEGINNER or advanced pro...”
This page is another fantastic example of the hero shot being properly utilized to kick off the rest of the page.
Wrap Up on Landing Page Hero Shots
At the end of the day, the hero shot is all about action, whether that action looks like immediate conversion or forward progress.
Some websites will benefit from a yes/no, hero-shot-only landing page, while others will need a fuller pitch.
Regardless, all landing page hero shots should be simply designed with a clear value proposition and distinctive CTA.
Your landing page hero shots are the only real estate on your website guaranteed to be viewed by every click-through.
Make it count.