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Yesterday I spent 2 hours on a value proposition headline.

No joke.

And it was some of the highest ROI time ever spent.

Why did it take that long?

It’s because every word has to deserve its place. But also because coming up with the first few words for your homepage requires looking at a huge amount of data.

That’s when your positioning, your big idea, your voice and tone and your value proposition come together.

There’s one thing a lot of companies get wrong though when it comes to writing these first few words.

And that is, they start by telling readers what they do and who they are.

Seems logical, no?

To be fair, in most cases simply doing that would skyrocket conversions, because most sites (especially in ecommerce) just start off with pushing their products, discounts and flashy banners in a futile attempt at catching attention.

But attention is attracted with relevance and resonance, first.

In other words, the first thing you should do on your homepage (or on any landing page) is to match what your visitors are thinking, in that moment.

Joanna Wiebe at Copyhackers has this nice 10/90 model: use the first 10% of the page to match expectations and the remaining 90% to exceed them.

Only once you show visitors what they’re thinking, you can then move into telling them what you do to fix that problem or to help them achieve that outcome.

That’s because people want to see that you understand them first, that you empathize and are familiar with their situation.

  • Relevance: is this what I’m looking for? (logic)
  • Resonance: is this right for me? (emotion)

You start understanding why a simple headline like that can take hours to flesh out. It’s all your previous research and data coming together, along with the right framing.

So you can make it look like you’re reading your target persona’s mind.

Remember, always match, then explain and persuade.

Need help putting it all together? Get in touch.

brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.