Right at the top of the page is usually the main navigation. We’ll cover the other pages the navigation will have in another chapter – but on the homepage, right below the navigation is something we call the ‘hero’.

It’s a strange name – but it does have it’s own (very short) Wikipedia page, which reads:

In web design, a hero image is a large web banner image, prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and centre. The hero image is often the first visual a visitor encounters on the site; it presents an overview of the site’s most important content. A hero image often consists of image and text…

In a nutshell, the hero is your very first opportunity to connect with your visitor.

Now, this may seem counterproductive at first – but you should absolutely not use it to talk about your firm.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Instead of talking about your firm, use the hero to show and tell your visitor how you will make their life better.

A key thing to understand is: at the core of almost every decision in life, people are evaluating “how will this ‘thing’ I’m about to do make my life better?”.

Whether it’s buying a car, a house, or a cup of coffee – the reason we choose the things we choose, is based on whether or not they’ll improve our life.

This comes into play, even when choosing a new accountant.

What we need to make sure is, that in the first few seconds a visitor comes on to your website, the image and the text in the hero clearly state how you – the accountant – will make your visitors lives better when they become your client.

If you can get that bit right – you’ll buy a few more seconds of their time.

We’ll make some assumptions about who the visitor is (and we’ll cover how they’ll get there in another chapter). But I think we can assume that the visitor is likely to be a business owner or perhaps a sole trader.

Whether they realise it or not; their decision about choosing your firm isn’t necessarily about price or location.

If they believe you understand and can help them overcome their problems – they’ll be more inclined to take a step towards becoming your client.

The types of things your visitor will subconsciously be evaluating are:

  • Will you save me money?
  • Will you save me time?
  • Will you make my life less stressful?

It boils down to very basic needs that we can all relate to.

People often think that they’re buying something to fix an external problem. But in reality it’s more often a solution to an internal problem that triggers the decision to make a purchase.

As a business owner, having someone to do my accounts fixes my external problem of me not having the skills to do my own accounts.

But the peace of mind that comes from knowing my accounts are getting done correctly and on time – so that I don’t end up in prison – is actually the main reasons I choose to pay for an accountant.

I’m buying peace of mind.

People usually buy when they believe that you can help them with their internal problems, not their external problems.

It’s tempting to use the hero section to talk about how great your firm is – that’s what so many firms do. But people won’t connect with that – because that’s your story and you’re making your firm out to be the ‘hero’.

Talking about how great your firm is doesn’t relate to the visitor’s problems, hopes or aspirations.

Along with making the visitor’s life better, you should also position the visitor as the ‘hero’ of the story and position your firm as the guide to help them be that ‘hero’.

Everything in this upper section should focus on your visitor, their life, their story and helping them achieve their dreams in business.

Using that narrative for the text and image will connect at a deeper level with your visitor – and will better position your firm as a choice for becoming their accountant.

Choosing The Right Hero Image

The image you choose for the hero section of your website is extremely important.

The service you offer is for people. And people connect with people.

Use an image of a real person. Someone who the visitor would aspire to be like.

Happy, confident and successful – but obviously without being too cheesy.

Showing a smiling, assured, successful person as the main image of your website– subconsciously says that their life is good because they use your firm.

You’ve seen these types of marketing images thousands of times for a reason. Because they work.

It may seem obvious to use people as the main image – but you’ll be amazed at the number of firms (even in the Top 50+50 Accountancy Firms) using their office building as the focal image.

Don’t use buildings as the main image. People don’t aspire to be buildings. People aspire to be happy and successful – so that’s what you should lead with.

If you can get permission use real clients – go for it. It’ll add an extra layer of trust and realism.

But don’t use yourself or your staff here – the homepage isn’t about you – it’s all about your visitors (and clients).

Choosing The Right Headline Text

The next element of the hero section is the text.

The text and the image work together to reinforce the message you’re conveying: Which is something along the lines of “life will be better when you’re using our firm”.

The text adds context to the story of the person in the image: You’ve helped them to grow their business and now they’re thriving!

Some guidelines for creating good text here would be:

1. Be clear – not clever

Clever headlines can be fun – but most of the time they’re too ambiguous and can often be attributed to any business.

For example “Just Do it”. We all know it’s Nike, but it could work for McDonald’s, Adidas or even Durex.

Be clear and address the core principle of how you’ll impact the life of your visitor.

Keep the text short. If there’s too much text, people won’t read it. One or two lines for the heading with a subtitle or a couple of bullet points is perfect.

2. Don’t use generic or clichéd text

“We’ll be there to help you succeed”

“Delivering results every time”

Generic is forgettable and clichés make you sound insincere, even if you’re not.

Similarly to the clever headlines, generic headlines are also too ambiguous and can be ported to almost any industry.

Nike: “We’ll be there to help you succeed.”

You get the point.

3. Don’t say: “We’re different”

Remember the annoying kid at school who was ‘different’? Well, that’s what visitors will think of you when they read the most overused phrase in the accountancy industry.

The irony is – the firms that say “we’re different” are the ones that have probably copied it from other firms.

4. Check you’re not using the word ‘we’ too much

If you are, then you’re probably talking more about yourself than you are about your visitor.

5. Don’t include anything here about your company history

At this stage, no one cares that you’ve been in business since 1878 or who the founders were.

As the accountancy world marches forward – being thrust into embracing technology – using your history as the primary marketing message to lure new business, is stale and irrelevant.

There are firms less than five years old that got more leads through their website last month than your one hundred year old firm has through your site in the last ten years.

If you must, there is a place you can talk about yourself and your company history – but it’s not here.

Coming up with the correct image and text to convey the right message is difficult. However, if you know who your ideal client is, it makes these decisions a whole lot easier.

We’ll cover this in more detail in another chapter.

Extracts from The Perfect Accountancy Book:

The Perfect Accountancy Website Book

Matt Ellis Honcho Manchester

Stand out from the competition & grow your firm:

  • Win new clients
  • Appear above your competitors on Google
  • Write key information your visitors need