Take a good look at your newly completed Brandwork doc, & ask yourself:
Has all the Brandwork we’ve done been made public?
Ready to starting saying, “YES”? Dive in:
3 Big Ideas
Before you head back to your Brandwork doc, review some of the big concepts in this section:
All the brand-defining work you’ve done only matters if it’s public.
→ If you don’t translate the work you’ve done to Design Your Brand & Define Your Tribe into your messaging & the way you present your gym to the world, you won't see much return on that investment. We don’t want to keep these things secret. We want to hit people over the head with them.
The homepage of your website should be simple, specific, & focused on non-members.
→ If a person can’t skim your entire homepage in about two minutes, you need to cut things out. If you ask him to read too much, you need to edit & simplify. If you don’t make it abundantly clear what you want him to do first, you need to make it more obvious. The job of your website is not to give a new visitor a complete dissertation on the value of doing CrossFit. If they’re on your website, they already know enough. Nobody ends up on your website by accident. What they need to know is whether you’re the right gym for them.
The job of your homepage isn’t to give every possible answer to every possible question.
→ There will be plenty of opportunities to explain your training options to a new visitor. But only after you’ve hooked them, created the right amount of tension, & told them what you want them to do. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to get a sense of your amazing community. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to understand how good your coaches are. But only after you’ve inspired them to take the first step.
All the Words
At this point, you’ve put hours of effort into defining, designing, & refining your gym’s branding. You understand the changes you’re seeking to instigate & who you exist to serve. You’ve thought about where your operations should dictate your marketing & where marketing should dictate operations.
But none of that work matters until you've made it public. If you don’t translate it into your messaging & the way you present your brand to the world, you won't see much return on that investment. We don’t want to keep these things secret. We want to hit people over the head with them.
Everything we do going forward will be about taking the work you’ve done & the principles you’ve learned, & executing on them. We’ll be going from the core of your brand to its extremities. Like all functional movements, going in any other order than we have, or skipping steps entirely, would have dramatically limited the power output of your branding efforts.
The first step in this process of execution is to take the work you did to refine your Brandwork in the previous Section & make sure your website, your social media bios, & your email signatures reflect the new direction. If a person finds you on Instagram, then takes a look at your website, & then gets a response to an emailed question, is what she sees at each step consistent?
It’s important that these public platforms are telling the same story, using the same words, & speaking to the same people. Of these three, your website is the most important but often the least effectively used. That’s where we’re going to spend our time in this session.
In the last Section, you whittled down your answers from Sections One & Two in pursuit of creating effective, simple language with which to articulate your brand. In this Section, you’ll make sure you’re displaying that language in a way that communicates who you are, attracts the right person, points her in the right direction, & inspires her to take the first step.
If it doesn’t do one of those things, you need to be unemotional about throwing it into the digital trash can.
If a person can’t skim your entire homepage in about two minutes, you need to cut things out. If you ask him to read too much, you need to edit & simplify. If you don’t make it abundantly clear what you want him to do first, you need to make it more obvious.
The job of your website is not to give a new visitor a complete dissertation on the value of doing CrossFit. If they’re on your website, they already know enough. Nobody ends up on your website by accident. What they need to know is whether you’re the right gym for them.
We want to focus first on the very top of your website, visible before a visitor needs to scroll. This section is known as “above-the-fold,” which is a term borrowed from print journalism. In the world of newspapers, it’s where they place the most important headlines & stories of the day. These are what they want a prospective reader to see as they stroll passed the stack of papers while in line at their favorite local coffeeshop.
Like with newspapers, the above-the-fold section of your homepage is where you need to put the most important bits of brand information. There are three specific things you want to include:
1) A minimal navigation bar
The homepage of your website should be entirely dedicated to individuals who are not yet members of your gym. Don’t give a visitor too many options right off the bat by sticking every possible link in your navigation bar. If he’s not yet a member, he doesn’t need to see the word “WOD," for example.
Keep it to less than four options if possible. The first could be a link to your pricing page & the second to a page with your schedule. The third could be a link to your content blog (not, mind you, where your daily programming lives), or a testimonials page. The fourth link should be the call-to-action you came up with in Section Three. If possible, make it a different color than the other navigation links or in the form of a button.
2) An image that is a direct visual representation of your core values & your tribe
The top image on a website is referred to as the “hero image.” This is the first image a site visitor has of your business, so we want to make it impactful. We want it to be representative of the person you’re trying to serve. They are the hero of this story.
In the case of our Community Gym, their hero image could represent the value of “inclusivity” with a photograph of a mother & daughter standing above a barbell, sweating & smiling.
Our Corporate Gym could represent the value of “expertise” with an image of a coach giving a tactical cue to a male, mid-thirties athlete in the bottom of a squat.
Keep the image quality high & avoid using sliders or animation of any kind.
Be sure to look at how the image displays on mobile devices before considering it final. Most new people will be visiting your site on their phone, so respect their experience.
3) Your tagline, one-liner, & call-to-action
Over the top of your hero image should sit your tagline, then your one-liner in smaller font. Below that should be a single button with your call-to-action.
This combination of words, in collaboration with your perfectly-chosen photograph, communicates almost everything a site visitor needs to know about what you do, who you exist to serve, & what you want them to do. All in less than 26 words. That’s why we spent so much time crafting them.
Most people aren’t going to read every word on your website. They’re going to skim them. But they’re much more likely to read the first 25 words. You’ve got to make them count.
As with your hero image, make sure everything can be easily read on both desktop & mobile. The words are more important than the image, so always default to making them clear if you need to make a change.
Now that you’ve got your above the fold section buttoned up, let’s turn our attention to the rest of your homepage.
I encourage you to think of everything below-the-fold as supporting evidence to the specific story you’re telling in what’s above-the-fold. In other words, as a visitor scrolls, you shouldn’t be giving her loads of new information. You can think of her scrolling as her going deeper. You want to reinforce the message, not broaden it.
There’s an understanding in marketing that it takes approximately seven exposures to a message before a person finally “sees” it. Every time you introduce a new idea, explain a new training program, use jargon, or display a photograph that contradicts a previous photograph, you are robbing yourself of an opportunity to have your message resonate.
There will be plenty of opportunities to explain your training options to a new visitor. But only after you’ve hooked them, created the right amount of tension, & told them what you want them to do. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to get a sense of your amazing community. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to understand how good your coaches are. But only after you’ve inspired them to take the first step.
Your website is not going to convince them of how incredible your gym is. Only their experience with your gym will convince them of that. The job of your website is to convince them that you might be the right place for them, that you are trustworthy, & that you are empathetic to the challenges they are facing.
Exactly what should come below-the-fold, & in what order, will vary depending on the specifics of your website & your own personal taste. For example, the next section a visitor sees as she scrolls might be the 3-4 sentences you wrote about your expertise in Section Two. Or it might be one of the tension-creating questions you’ve translated out of the problems you seek to solve.
There are no hard-&-fast rules here when it come to your Brandwork document. It’s not necessary to include on your homepage every single word currently in this section. Perhaps you only want to use three of the customer-facing questions. Perhaps you have a short video that articulates the gym’s “About Us” instead of text.
The only thing I would encourage is for you not be coy about inserting your call-to-action button liberally on the page. In addition to it living in the navigation bar & above-the-fold, you should try to repeat it three or four more times as the person scrolls.
The action you’re calling them to embark upon is the single most important step they’re ever going to take with you. Don’t be shy in reminding them exactly what it is you hope they’ll do.
Beyond that, keep a few principles in mind as you design or redesign your homepage. They’re the same principles we’ve been operating under from the beginning of this program. It would be a shame if we lost them now.
1) Make it about them
Too many gyms open their website with a celebration of some award they’ve been given or some proclamation of how great they are. Resist this temptation. Your website is not about you. It’s about where you fit into the journey that the visitor is currently on, or the one they hope to embark upon soon.
With each change or revision, be sure you make it more about them than about you. Remember that a new visitor is always asking herself: “What’s in it for me?” If something on your homepage doesn’t answer that question, get rid of it.
2) Be specific
Remember that your gym is not for everybody, so your website does not need to be for everybody either. The right person for your gym already believes & wants a few things. Don’t waste words by trying to convince the un-convincible. If a visitor thinks CrossFit is dangerous, your website isn’t going to win her over. (In fact, that person is unlikely to ever be on your website.) Use this space & this opportunity to speak to the right person who is ready to enroll in your specific journey.
3) Seek simplicity
Think of the homepage of your website like an elevator pitch. You’re getting into the elevator with a prospective client & you’ve only got three or four floors to explain what you do & to get them excited about learning more.
In the two minutes the elevator is going up, you could try to word-vomit all over them in the hopes that something sticks. But more than likely you’ll overwhelm them & they’ll be begging for the doors to open.
Or, you could say something like this instead:
“We’re a CrossFit gym that welcomes, encourages, & supports the whole family through fitness. We’ve been open for more than five years & we’ve been fortunate to help over 600 people lose weight & live more active lives. We’d love to see you at one of our classes this Thursday if you’re interested in learning more.”
Your website is the most valuable, non-human marketing asset you have. Obsess over getting it right as you do your daily programming, your coaching points of performance, & the cleanliness of your facility. It’s that important.