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What do we mean by the sub-headline and why is it important for your website?

The sub-headline is the sentence that appears below the headline on your website’s homepage. It is there primarily to answer key questions that come up in your customer’s mind relating to your headline.

This blog is the third in a series all about how to make your website much more engaging for your visitors. As engagement improves so will your sales. If you would like to read the other posts in this series so far, they are available here.

'The sub-headline is a simple yet effective way to remove any barriers to use in your customer’s mind'

The best way to unpack this is with a couple of examples.

Deliveroo

Deliveroo Is a fantastic company. They deliver food from restaurants in your area that do not have their own delivery services. They spotted a gap in the market to provide an alternative to the standard take-away and set up Deliveroo to meet that need. The headline on their site is ‘The food you love, delivered to your door’. The sub-headline goes on to answer and hopefully resolve potential questions in your customers’ minds. It reads ‘get amazing food from an incredible selection of local restaurants, delivered in an average of just 32 minutes’. Questions that your visitors might be thinking include:

  • How is this different from a normal take-away?
  • Which restaurants are included?
  • How long will it take them to deliver my food?
  • What is this likely to cost me?

The Deliveroo sub-headline neatly answers three out of the four questions above. This should be enough to encourage your visitors to click onto the next landing page. The question your sub-heading answers, should remove one (or more) of the likely barriers to use. You need to answer their initial questions, assuage any doubts but also keep them interested so they move on to the next page. You are telling a story!

Most customers are interested in the cost. If you can answer this question in the sub-headline so much the better. Netflix, for example, have had the sub-headline ‘plans from £5.99 per month’. Immediately someone considering joining Netflix knows that their basic package won’t cost them more than £5.99, another reason to keep scrolling and reading.

Moss Landscaping Liverpool

Moss Landscaping Liverpool For the purposes of illustration, let’s look at a local website that is perhaps not making the most of their site. We are based in Liverpool, Merseyside, so I googled landscape gardeners in Liverpool. One website that popped up is Moss Landscaping. I expect they provide an excellent landscaping service. However, their website could be much more customer focused and engaging. The website homepage doesn’t appear to have a headline or sub-headline. If I were to make some changes to this homepage I would dramatically reduce the amount of text and include a compelling headline and sub-headline. I do not in any way claim to be a landscape gardener, but if I wanted my garden sorting out, a great, engaging headline, coupled with some attractive photography, would definitely draw me in. The options for a good headline are numerous. I would perhaps say something like ‘Making outside space beautiful’ or ‘transform your garden now’. This puts the emphasis much more on you and the customer achieving something together. There is no ‘we’. It isn’t about what your amazing company has achieved, but focuses much more on the customer and their garden. With a great headline in place, you then need to think about the potential questions in your customers’ minds. They may include things like:

  • How do I get a quote or book someone to come out?
  • How much will it cost me?
  • How long will it take?
  • Can I see examples of transformed gardens?

With these questions in mind, the sub-headline could be something along the lines of: ‘to book a free visit and personalised no-obligation quote from an experienced landscape gardener, just call ….’. Your visitor immediately knows that they can have someone come out and give them a quote for free and without having to commit to having the work done. That’s pretty compelling I’d say!

The sub-headline is only a sentence. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It needs to be customer focused. It is the place where your customers begin to understand how your headline promise is realised.

My next blog, which is part four in this series on how to create a more customer focused website, is all about images. I will be looking at the images on your homepage: your image story, your big hero image and image personas.