Breaking down the conversion secrets of Slack's new website

Slack's website gets over 100 million visitors every single month. Their conversion rate is among the highest in the industry!

I break down Slack's magical formula and show you how you can apply it to your own SaaS website!

By Sumit Hegde

The Slack rebrand made a LOT of noise. Everyone had opinions. It was a whole fest on Twitter, and I was LIVING for it. In times of great distress, I often go back to the discourse.

I mean, this is some good content right there:

Dieter Bohn Slack redesign reaction

But don't worry!

I'm not here to rant about the Slack rebrand. (It's grown on me, okay?)

I'm here to talk about their website.

It's new and shiny and honestly, we can learn a lot from it. And learn, we will!

Historically, Slack re-builds its website every.single.year.

Sometimes even TWICE a year.

That's so crazy!

I mean, I don't even clean out my closet that often. Angry Indian Mom noises.

I love the new 2019 Slack website, and I want to walk you through everything you NEED to steal from it for your own website.

Here's what you will learn:

(Click to skip to the section)

The essentials of a great SaaS website—
  1. The effective way to combine benefits and features AND explain your product at the same time
  2. Using animation to give a sneak-peek inside your product
  3. Showing off your integrations
  4. Kickass testimonials that convert visitors

What Slack doesn't (need to) do; but you should—
  1. Talk about the problem the product solves
  2. Position the product as the radical cure for a new age!
  3. Straight to the point, no BS headlines
What you should steal from Slack's website—
  1. Highly targeted landing pages for different sections of your audience
  2. Localizations for different regions of the world!
  3. Separate landing pages for your strongest integrations
Bonus


There's a tonne of stuff. Let's dive right in!


The essentials of a great SaaS website:

Effectively combining benefits and features

Don't mind my spiderman cursor

Slack's website is all about the benefits: they almost never mention their features in isolation.

Everything is neatly tied up with what the consumer gets out of it.

No customer cares about your channels or the file sharing. They care about what they can do with the features.

And Slack gets it perfectly right. But they didn't always do that—their first few websites only talked about the features on a separate landing page.

Like this single screen homepage from 2016, whose navigation bar led you to the product page, where you could look at the features:

slack 2016 website

The problem with this is that people might think Slack is just another messaging app...like Facebook chat, because they can't see all the amazing things it does.

Using animation to give a sneak-peek inside your product

Move over text, animation is here.


If anyone had the remotest doubt as to how Slack works IRL, the features+benefits video is all armed to dispel it.

Videos are such a great way to demonstrate how products work—without lengthy instructions that you stop reading two lines in.

I know I do.

It's the fastest portal to information, like how Tom Riddle SHOWED Harry the truth about the Chamber of Secrets, instead of telling him. He KNEW that it'd be more convincing.

A visual of your customers watching your video.

Slack does it better: it SHOWS and TELLS.

Showing off your integrations

Slack website header


You see those dancing Dropbox, Zendesk, Drive logos in the header?

Now, why would a super powerful company put other logos right in their header?

Because integrations are currency.

Actually, let me just quote ProfitWell on this:

"When measuring willingness to pay, those customers who have 1 to 3 integrations are willing to pay 8 to 13% more for the same core product. Those with 5 or more integrations start breaking into 20% plus higher willingness to pay for the same core product."

So if you're wondering why Slack stresses so much on integrations (they've not missed pointing this out in even ONE of their many redesigns), this is it.

No one wants to go the extra mile to integrate all their stuff—it's like paying for water, freely available...oh wait, we do that.

You get my point.

People expect integrations. This could be a major objection to you buying their product and since Slack portrays itself as a one-stop application for all the company's collaboration needs, they clear it right away.

That's 20 points to Slack!

Kickass testimonials that convert visitors

The Slack team looked at customer reviews and testimonials and were like: We can do you one better. Customer stories.

These show how clients actually use Slack to make a difference in their work life.

These are real-life applications of the product to show visitors: Hey, this is the impact of Slack. This is how it is used and this is why we love it.

From SurveyMonkey to BBC, the customer stories span a companies that are very different from each other, proving that the product works across industries.

If I had a survey tool and saw a market leader who used Slack, I'd trust it 100% more.

But that's not all: these case studies also show different benefits of the product.

One story is all about how Slack allowed quick fixes and issue resolution at critical times, through collaboration.

Another is all about Slack helping team-building and easy feedback loops. The diverse uses and benefits of the product, in story-form makes a HUGE impact.

These are things companies care about—streamlining onboarding, resolving issues fast, building a strong team.

These are problem spots within all teams, and when a solution comes along, claiming it helps, with proof, visitors just go..

want gif

Once you have the exact problems that your customer faces (that your product can do something about), customer stories are THE way to show you're the best solution.



Okay, enough cute stuff. Rage time!

Here's what's missing from Slack's website that YOU cannot miss!

What's the problem?


Slack doesn't really speak about the problem of too many emails and too little productivity.

It doesn't talk about fragmented collaboration and lost files.

But it doesn't need to.

When you have a revenue of $401 million, you won't need to either.

Because everyone in the industry you operate in will know what you do. Or at least, have heard of you.

But right now: you need to tell your customers that you understand their problem, and are set out to solve exactly that.

Because why would they trust you to solve a problem that you don't even deeply understand?

Slack did address the problem in a lot of their older websites, before everyone knew what they did, like here:

slack problem section

To really know how amazing your product is, your customers first need to know how bad the problem that they're living with is.

The world only needed a Batman because there was the Joker.

They need to understand why it is crucial that they solve the problem, and then how exactly you're going to solve it.


No more email-killer.

Back in 2014, Slack was all the rage as the 'email-killer'.

Sounds like a hit song from the 80s, not gonna lie. It is a catchy nickname that grabs your attention, and gosh did it work.

There were articles all over the internet talking about how Slack was revolutionizing workspaces and teams by killing emails. For example:

time magazine slack article

Now, Slack's stance is...not so radical.

It is smooth and helpful and hardly attaches itself to nicknames.

Today, they focus on the benefits of the product and lean on their extensive client list instead of advertising themselves as the changers of the industry....because 'been there, done that'.

But you? You need positioning.


You need to put yourself in the market as a new solution, as a better solution.
You need to be your industry's equivalent of an email-killer.

But wait: you don't need to create a new product category.

You might want to, if your product doesn't fit into existing markets.

But you can still be the market leader in an existing category.

What you need to do is define your product in clear, distinct terms that show why you're the best option out there.

Market leaders have always been those you decided to show their customers the true value of the product—the most important problem they solve and why they're so good at it.

Straight to the point, no BS headlines

Okay, if a relatively unknown company called...err... Plack.. came up to you and said 'Whatever work you do, you can do it in Plack', what would you think 'Hey, this is an app I need!'?

Nope. Because it doesn't explain anything. Most likely, you'd be like:

my reaction to generic headlines
Honestly, this is my face 24/7.

You'd probably be confused. You'd think: 'What exactly does this product do?' 'Is it a CRM? An organiser app?' 'How will it help me?'

Slack can afford to use vague headlines that don't really explain the product and what it does in the header. Because just like the problem, everyone already knows. Slack can afford witty copy that sounds good.

You cannot. Yet.

Good design has a rule: you need to explain your product, what it does and why it's important to the visitor in the first 5 seconds of their coming to your website. First impressions, that's why.

Slack is exempt from this rule because they're crazy successful.

But all start-ups must, ideally do it. Slack did it, when they were young. Their 2015 website had this headline:

slack 2015 website

Not the most powerful headline, but it got the point across.

But why are headlines so important?


When a visitor lands on your website, in that moment—your headline represents all of your business.

The headline is your wingman, your ambassador. It has to be intriguing to your visitor!

I don't mean flashy, salesy, scammy headlines that promise amazing deals. No 'The Secret to..' or multiple exclamation marks.

Gotta keep it real.

Tell them what you do, and in the most clear-cut manner. Because:

  • If your customers don't understand what you do for them, why will they convert?
  • The first five seconds are when the customer decides whether they care enough to learn more or not.
Good headlines are ones that focus on the end-outcome of your product, are relevant to your best customers' interests, offer something unique and are not vague!

What you should steal from Slack's website—

Here's some things I loved about the Slack website that I wish more SaaS companies did:


Highly targeted landing pages for different sections of your audience


No no: these are not your average separate landing pages. They're sooooper specialised for every use case. Have a look:

Or see it live here.

You know when you go to the eye doctor because your head's been hurting and you just want to get a check-up and then he starts monologuing about screens and the impact they have on today's youth and from there it's just a cascade of irrelevant opinions? No?  

My point is: these segmented landing pages NEVER do that.

They never talk about things the segment is not interested in.

They never stray from the one thing they're supposed to do.

They don't talk about the general benefits of Slack, only the ones that affect the people of THAT segment.

Each use case talks about ONLY the things that segment cares about, and it talks about it in depth, passionately.

Customer support teams care about resolving issues faster: so Slack's landing page, from top to bottom, shows how Slack makes that easier.

Task management teams care about smoother intra-team communication and collaboration—their landing page is all about completing projects on time and efficient planning.

These landing pages know what their target audience struggle with, and focus on their problems and how Slack solves them.

You need to segment your best users and target them with highly specific landing pages that understand them and cater to them.

Here's some ways that you can target your segmented audiences:

  • Integrations—

    Show how your product integrates with the most important tools for that segment of the audience.

    Task management teams would love a Trello integration. IT would love Zendesk. Sales would love Salesforce.

    Slack does it, and it's pretty awesome. This is their landing page for engineering teams:
Slack engineering integrations

  • Metrics + Social Proof:

    You've proven that you can help design teams, but how do I trust that you can help marketing teams too?

    The right metrics with a dash of validating testimonials.

    Show your customers you're fully equipped to make their job easier and their results better!

    This is from Slack's marketing teams landing page, and I'm convinced:
slack case study for marketing teams

  • Case studies:

    Have case studies that appeal to your best audience segments—and show them off on those specific landing pages.

    Landing pages for sales teams have customer stories that talk about companies from that particular segment, which helps visitors understand how others in the industry have been using the product.
customer stories


Make it feel like home!


I mean, localization.

Depending on where the customer is coming from, Slack's website does tiny personalisations that make the visitor feel more at home. For example:

The website shows me Indian people all over—there's Jagdeep, and Fatima and the ever-present Rahul:

slack 2019 website graphic design


And the micro-copy is altered to reflect Indian names and companies. Seriously, there's no way I can Kriti-que this:

website microcopy

Now this may seem small—but it makes your website more cozy, more easy to warm up to!

Even their social proof and case studies are adapted to the country you log in from: this way visitors can trust the product, because companies they know use it. This is the U.S website:

Slack US logos

And this is the Japanese one:

Slack Japan logos

It's possible you've never heard of some of these Japanese companies, but the Japanese have, and that's all that matters!

This is what Slack has to say about localisation: "Localization builds trust with our customers in a language that they understand, with cultural references that are familiar to them."

Trust me, it goes a long way.

Also! My man, Jagdeep even made it to the United Kingdom's landing page:

Slack UI design

Leveraging your best integrations!


We've talked about integrations, but let's level it up.

Slack built an entire app store for all their integrations—to make it easy to add other applications.

This app store brings massive traffic to those apps. Of course, that's not feasible for everyone, but hear me out.

Make sure your product integrates with the biggies in your industry, and have them add you to their app store/directory.

It is an amazing source of traffic!

Additionally, products like Trello and Github have separate landing pages to advertise their Slack integration.

slack trello integration

Imagine if you and your integrations partnered up and had a landing page dedicated to each other on your websites.

Trello and Github alone drive hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Slack website every month.

To be precise, Trello brings Slack more than 150,000+ monthly clicks. And GitHub brings them around 200,000+ clicks. Say whaaaat.

It's an ingenious way to get people to convert, by showing them how two products combined make their job doubly easier. The results speak for themselves!

And now, a Bonus section: Positioning!


Look, Slack is an enterprise app.

And enterprise apps, by definition, are complex and need to be equipped for war.

But using Slack is ridiculously simple and honestly, it fits a team of three as well as a team of 500—and the best part?

You don't have to wait for your company's founder to make the move.

They positioned themselves very differently from existing enterprise communication apps. There was no complicated set-up involved, no configurations.

Now this all seems like we're talking about the product. But it's equal parts product and marketing strategy.

Slack marketed to support teams and marketing teams and developer teams and the tiny parts that made a whole company: it showed them how it would be useful in their particular functions.

Anyone can start using Slack, it could be a whole organisation or just the customer success team.

Think about it: on first glance, their audience seemed to be corporations and big companies who needed smooth intra-functioning.

But they redefined their audience and split it into parts. Instead of marketing to founders of companies, they targeted the teams that made up the company.

Slack just went 'Checkmate, losers' at all other options in the market.

checkmate


Slack's model was to start from the bottom and make the way up to the top—and it worked.

What it really shows is that the right audience might be something completely different from the norm.

The person paying for the product might not even be the one you need to target.

You need to target people who will use your product, because they will see the true value in it.

You have to structure your positioning so that it speaks to those people!

Before we leave

I thought I'd do a quick rewind of all the lessons you can apply from Slack's website:

  1. Features as benefits, always. Market the improvement your product brings to the customers life, rather than selling what your product does.
  2. Use video to show how your product works! It's easier to understand by example than through instructions.
  3. Talk about your integrations: make and request separate landing pages for all your integrations!
  4. Talk about the problem that your customers are facing, and that you can solve. Slack became famous as the email killer only because they pointed out lengthy, confusing email threads as the problem.
  5. Actually explain your product in your header. Visitors will only read further if they think your product could be of help. Tell visitors the outcome of your product and why it's worth buying in clear words!
  6. Position your product as a real solution that understands your specific, ideal, carefully chosen audience's needs and is best equipped to help them!
  7. Create segmented landing pages based on deep research of different use cases, what the audience of that segment cares about and how your product solves their problems.
  8. Localised landing pages make visitors relate to the content on your landing page. It evokes an emotional connection, which eases conversions.

Now go forth and improve your website!


Wondering how to identify the right customers and how to create a website that appeals to their problems?

I've created an email course to answer all your questions about positioning and messaging for your website!

Check it out, I'm sure you'll love it!

By Sumit Hegde

I help SaaS businesses make more money by creating badass websites. And by badass I mean high-performing, flawlessly positioned and customer-centric.
Learn more about what I do
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