In marketing your business these days, one of the most important “conversations” you will ever have with prospective clients happens without you even being present. It’s the home page of your website.

There are two main types of websites that you could have for your business:

1/ The “Call to Action” Site
2/ The “Brochure” Site

Both types primarily refer to the home page and we’re going to focus on the “Call to Action” today.

The home page of your website should give a quick snapshot of what you provide — in language that tells the reader how HE benefits from that. Think WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) from your reader’s viewpoint.

In this time of instant gratification and ever-shortening attention spans, you need to grab your visitor’s attention immediately.

You want them interested enough in what you say and what you do that they explore the other areas of your website. You want them to desire what you are offering — whether it be your restaurant menu, your auto repair services, your bookkeeping services, your virtual assistant services or your coaching programs — and you want them to take action to learn more.

1. Get their attention.

You get their attention with the headline and opening paragraph. You can either focus on a problem or challenge that your target audience has or offer them a great benefit. Studies show that focusing on the problem AND offering readers a solution to that problem gets the best response.

For example: “Small Business Owners Beware! Studies show that 4 out of 5 small businesses fail in the first year!”

The problem is clear. You get it. And, you don’t want to fail, so you read on to learn more.

The opening paragraph of your home page should describe the problem in more detail and remind the reader of the pain the problem is causing.

2. Hold their interest.

Now that you’ve gotten their attention and they resonate with the problem you’ve outlined, it’s time to keep their interest by talking about the value and benefits that you provide.

Explain in a paragraph or two what you do that will teach them or assist them in eliminating “the problem” that you mentioned in the headline.

3. Inflame their desire.

If you’ve done a good job explaining the benefits that you offer, your visitor may now be asking himself, “Does this really work?” or “Is this another scam?”.

It’s your job, or rather your home page’s job, to answer the visitors’ questions. You can do that here by sharing a success story or a testimonial about your process, services, etc. Let your visitor hear from real people what you’ve done for them.

A well-written testimonial helps your reader to grasp the benefits you provide your clients.

4. Call to Action

What do you want your first-time visitor to do? Very rarely will he just pick up the phone and say “I want to hire you”, so you need to quench his thirst with some free information.

This is where you can point your visitor to a free report, e-course or your email newsletter (ezine). Ideally, you will have a sign-up box for your newsletter on EVERY page of your website. Make it easy. If your visitors need to search, they will go elsewhere.

Capturing first-time visitors’ name and primary email address should be the call to action that you seek. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in — coach (think motivational stories, Feng Shui tips, etc.); restaurant (think special menu items or coupons); auto repair shop (think seasonal check-ups or “How to survive a road trip with your family”-type articles); virtual assistant (think Outlook tips, etc.) — you should always keep in touch with your clients and prospective clients.

An ezine (email newsletter) gives you permission to contact them every week, two weeks or month (I wouldn’t do an ezine less than once a month) and continuously offer them good information.

Take a look at your website today — is it doing its job?