What Is A Hero Message - And How Do You Make One?

Written by
Glen Erickson
April 4, 2023
min read
A hero jumping above two text blocks.

Everybody needs a Hero.

If you have participated in an agency-led website project recently, you may have heard the term ‘Hero’ strangely used in reference to some of the components of the website. If you build a website with Nimble, you will definitely hear the terms “Hero section”, or “Hero message”. What part of a website acts like a hero? Who needs saving?

Thankfully there will be no cape or tights included with this article. The Hero Message is actually the first, most prominent statement appearing near the top of the website homepage, usually in very large type. It is part of a group of elements commonly called the Hero Section — including equally large and prominent image. It is all designed to be visually captivating. Why ‘hero’? Some trivial research suggests the term is borrowed from the theatre world, which used a “hero prop”— a prop designed to garner more attention than others with its close up detail.

Why is the Hero so important to your website?

By now you may have heard the staggering and disheartening facts about low attention span on websites. You may have ten, fifteen seconds at best to convince a visitor they are in the right place before they choose to abandon the website you invested so much time and resources into for another. The Hero has become a universal standard to most websites, as its function is undeniably important. So how do you capture attention, build trust, and inspire action, all in under 10 seconds with one easily digestible statement?

How to write your own Hero

Lets start with the obvious. Who are you, and what do you do? These should become instantly clear in order to establish trust. No one likes walking into a storefront or front desk area for the first time and pausing awkwardly to make sure they are in the right place, slowly back-pedalling to read the name on the door for assurance. Your statement should answer who you are, what you do, and what is the main thing that captures your reason for being? This isn’t the time to be really clever, unless you are part of the small minority where being clever is actually your main thing. If the title, subtext, or image is too ambiguous, you are likely at risk of not passing the ten second window.

What resources do you have to help you write a Hero? Well, first of all, this is the kind of thing we love to help with at Nimble. You have mission and vision statements, a unique selling proposition, maybe a slogan, and those can help shape your choices, but they aren’t the right choice for your compelling welcome message. Perhaps its a good time to google Value Propositions. A Value Proposition is a literal, functional expression of what your product or service is, who your customer is, and how it can uniquely benefit them. Condensing “all the things” about your company or organization into a one or two sentence “pitch”, combined with a clear opportunity to take action — the button/link asking them to “see our product line” or “join the community” — is more consistently compelling method of retaining your website traffic and making sure your valuable content is reaching your target consumer.

To be even more specific, let’s ask what is actually compelling? I would suggest its the opportunity for a visitor, a potential client or customer or volunteer, to find themselves in your statement, to have some point of identification. It doesn’t require pizzazz, it requires honesty. If you can accompany some levity, some smart wordplay, even better, but its less form and more function.

For example, new transportation company might have the slogan, “We Move You”, but I can’t see myself in that statement. However their value proposition might be “Always ready to take you to the places you need to go”. The latter is much more literal, more applicable to what I need, a more direct promise of transportation support.

Be the Hero

In conclusion, a Hero statement should be concise, clear, and direct in order to engage potential customers and motivate them to take action. It might seem simple, but it is rarely simple to construct. At Nimble, we craft very intentional homepages, intended to build trust and compel your visitors to explore more. The Hero is really just part one of our crafted process, but important enough to wear the cape.

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