When you first meet a new person, you have less than seven seconds to make a good first impression. This applies not only to in-person interaction but also to interactions we have with companies and brands. That means, when potential customers first visit your website, you have to wow them and you have to do it fast. Usually businesses try to do this by making a beautiful, eye-catching website. However, the most effective way to get website visitors to stick around longer than five seconds is by passing the StoryBrand Grunt Test.
What is the StoryBrand Grunt Test?
Donald Miller presents the grunt test as a quick and powerful method to ensure the messaging on our homepage and landing pages is clear and concise. The idea behind the grunt test is that if you were to show your website to a prehistoric caveman who knows nothing about you or your business, he would immediately be able to grunt the answer to these three simple questions:
- What does this business offer?
- How will it improve my life?
- How can I buy it?
All that in about five seconds. Are you up for the challenge?
Why Wow Website Visitors in 5 Seconds or Less?
Before we get into the details of how to make sure your homepage passes the grunt test, let’s look at the why. Why do we only have five seconds? Are our attention spans really that short?
Although mankind has evolved a lot from our prehistoric caveman days, our brains remain largely the same. Our brain’s main function is to help us survive and thrive. Believe it or not, processing new information burns calories and our brains are always looking for ways to avoid burning unnecessary fuel. We are wired to search for the easiest way to reach our goals while filtering out any unnecessary information. That is why we are drawn toward clarity and run from confusion.
So, if you want your business to grow, all your landing pages have to be so crystal clear that visitors are able to answer the three simple grunt test questions without burning many calories. Let’s dive into the details of each question so that your website can pass the grunt test with ease.
The Three Essential Questions
To pass the StoryBrand Grunt Test, the answers to these three essential questions need to be boldly outlined in the header of your homepage above the fold. (Above the fold means they are at the very top of the website so that you don’t have to scroll down to see the information.) :
*Hint: If you’ve already written a StoryBrand OneLiner, the elements are already outlined there. Now you are making that phrase even shorter and more concise.
What does this business offer?
This is where you tell your potential customer what you sell or do. You can list the product or service itself or take things even further and connect your offer to an aspirational identity or transformation. Within your offer, you have the opportunity to add value to your product with the power of words.
How will it improve my life?
In this section, you show clients how your product or service will transform their lives. Although you’ve got an amazing business that has transformed lives in millions of ways, for the header, you want to pick just one. What is the most common way happy clients have told you that your product has transformed their lives?
Brainstorm a few ideas for each category and then combine them into a short, concise phrase. You might be tempted to be cute or catchy here. That is fine as long as you aren’t sacrificing clarity. At the end of the day clarity creates sales while cute might cause confusion.
How can I buy it?
This last piece seems so obvious but businesses often fail to include it. You need to give your customer a clear, bold call to action. What do you want them to do next? You could use words like: buy, schedule a call, or sign up. Remember, you need to be bold and be clear. Weak calls to action tell potential customers that you don’t really believe in your product or service.
If you want to make your call to action even more effective, add a sense of urgency to it: Buy now, schedule a call today, etc. Adding one simple word makes your ask feel even more urgent and compelling make visitors more likely to click that brightly colored button.
The Final Test
Before you head off to a designer to create your new header, test it out on real people. Show your header to friends and family, or even random strangers at the coffee shop. Give them five seconds to view your site. Then, close the computer and ask them the three questions. If they are able to answer, you’re good to go. If they hesitate or struggle to answer any of the three questions, make some edits and try again.
Examples of Headers That Pass the Grunt Test
Here are some of our favorite headers we’ve created for clients that pass the grunt test with ease.
Does Your Website Pass the Grunt Test?
Your website can be a beautiful piece or art or a powerful marketing tool. It is the words you use that make all the difference. If you love the idea of a clear, actionable header that passes the grunt test and calls website visitors to action, but aren’t sure you have the time or brain power to create it on your own, we’d love to help. Contact us today and speak to one of our Certified StoryBrand Guides.