2022 Website Trends: Product-First Design with Alexandra Cote
We spoke with Alexandra Cote a freelance growth consultant and content strategist.
Alexandra helps SaaS B2B companies design their growth and content marketing strategy from scratch and create actionable plans that support their product marketing efforts, rank high in the search results, and get people to take action.
In this interview we discuss:
- Product first website design
- Double calls to action
- Making your website stand out from the competition
To start, give a high-level introduction of your background
I am a SaaS growth marketing consultant and for over five years I’ve been working with companies on both the website side of things, as well as how you can connect whatever you have on your website - so your messaging, your brand values, anything really with what goes on in your product.
What you’ll see in our discussion today is that I’m a very product first marketer. I like connecting everything that goes on the website with other strategies you’re going to deploy with the product that you are selling.
What are some gold standard websites that you love right now?
So my go-to website is Elementor. Really for almost any industry, it’s kind of the one I use as a benchmark.
Website #1: Elementor
If you look at just the home page and the way they’ve structured their menu and specifically the other pages they have on their website. Then if you look at independent blog pages and the speed of their website so the SEO tweaks they made.
They also have stuff like a community, and a partnership program, everything they do is really done the correct way if you ask me.
Whenever I’m not confident with a decision, I tend to look at what some other websites that perform well do. One of them is Elementor.
Explore an interactive demo of the Elementor homepage:
See why Alexandra choose Elementor as one of her gold standard websites.
Website #2: Apollo GraphQL
If you are in the developer tooling open-source space you might want to instead look at apollographql.com.
They have some amazing docs, the blog, and just the way they structure their content works with their specific ICP and really kind of their own goals.
What are top trends you’re seeing for websites this year?
I use some websites where it’s essentially like a directory of landing pages. For example, lapa.ninja is one of them, but there are a lot of them out there.
This helps me stay on top of trends. To keep up with new trends in terms of design and structure of a home page. I look at the technology category on this website where you can see other SaaS brands.
Something I’m noticing is on one end, yes, there are companies’ websites that are being more creative with their designs. But I’m seeing a lot more focus on the actual product.
In the past, you would have maybe a boring illustration or a static screenshot at the top. Now even when like in this case, there are still direct visual cues of how the product works.
Dock, for example, is a good model to look at if you’re kind of trying to mix in product with good design. This is one of the positive trends that I’m really kind of seeing.
Unfortunately, the smaller brands, or when they are just kind of launching, don’t have the resources to build all this from scratch. Usually what I just recommend is having instead of an illustration instead of a plain screenshot, like in the Elementor case, have a GIF or a video of the main feature or the main functionalities of your product, or you can just have like a video that starts auto-playing.
A lot of the websites these days also have a double call to action. On one end it’s going to be something like starting a trial or using the product straight away and then you can have a secondary call to action.
With one of my past clients, we were moving a bit more up-market selling to enterprise companies. So the secondary call to action was getting a demo.
It can be even just like visualizing a demo so that you can see the product in action or testing it straight away.
What is a trend you’re ready to see end this year for websites?
It’s a bit related to what I’ve already said. I’m seeing still a lot of founders when they’re creating their first website, they just look at their competitors and copy the same format for the homepage of the website.
You end up with a lot of startups that have websites that essentially look the same. The classical landing page, and then you have some product pages, maybe a pricing page, maybe a blog page. And they pair this boring structure with messaging that doesn’t really resonate with anyone.
For example, if you are launching a project management tool and you’re bragging about how it’s going to change the way you manage your tasks. Every other tool does the same exact thing.
I would suggest even from an early stage, working with the way you structure your homepage creatively and also with your messaging.
If you look at some examples of just brands that are either launching right now or rebranding, you’ll see that you can get as creative as possible. And I think that this period, your first year in business, is the perfect chance for you to be creative because this is when you can use your website to really kind of stand out.
And there are a lot of things you can do. I have another example here from Mixpanel. They have a lot of the classic elements, essentially, but really what they did was they taught a bit more about exactly what questions users would they wanted to be answered.
Instead of just outlining the name of the feature or writing down the benefits they used to highlight their features, they use actual questions that a marketer, for instance, could have, like where and why do users drop off?
So this is a question that you could answer using their tools. This is a perfect mix of kind of working with your messaging, highlighting your product, and also just making sure your home page is a bit more different than whatever your competitors have.
What are some of your favorite tools for website design or optimization?
I am a big fan of classic stuff. So if it’s SEO, it’s ahrefs or you can stick to your basic Google Search Console to do speed optimization and then really get the right keywords. And it’s a free tool, easy to use and it really helps you to kind of choose the exact keywords that you want to rank for and monitor them. In one year from now you can then see if you are ranking for the best keywords or if there are better opportunities out there.
Another tool I’ve been recommending to startups lately is Clearbit but specifically, they have a free version that gives you a weekly report of your visitors. So what happens is that you can see the exact companies that have visited your website.
You can take this list of companies that have had a first interaction with your website so they might know something about you already and either just reach out to them or add them into your account-based marketing tactics.
You can also pair this account-based tactic with a tool like Mutiny, where you would take either your home page or a specific landing page, even your pricing, and customize it to the ICP that you want to target.
Tell us more about MKT Odyssey and give a plug for any B2B SaaS companies looking to expand their growth and content strategy
Yeah, so I mean it would be awesome if you could reach out to me. I’m on LinkedIn, I am on any other channel really. I also have a YouTube channel but specifically what you would find helpful is my newsletter.
Essentially every other week I go over one B2B experiment in either the content space or growth marketing and what I try to do a lot in my newsletter, on social media, and in talks I have with my clients is to really get into those topics that others don’t want to discuss or they’re just kind of missing out.
So I like to focus on the small details essentially that after all when paired with other details they can go a long way.