Messaging Audit

SaaS Homepage Messaging Audit: PandaDoc's Grade-A Performance In One Particular Page Element

Cain Smith


PandaDoc’s homepage makes for a classic SaaS homepage messaging audit..

There are many elements here that fit the mould.

They do what you expect them to do.

It feels familiar.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Let’s take a look and find out.

We’ll break this audit down into page sections.

 

  • HERO
  • SOCIAL PROOF
  • FEATURES & BENEFITS
  • CTA

 

At the end of each of these four sections, I’ll give the page a score out of 5.

 

I’ll add these scores up to give the page an overall “Heuristic Message Optimization Score” out of 20.

 

NOTE: I don’t know the conversion rates on this page and I haven’t researched the company’s ideal customer.  The below breakdown is a heuristic messaging analysis based on good conversion copywriting practices.



The Hero Section




PandaDoc’s target audience are enterprise leaders looking to make document workflow easier.


It’s a crowded space – how do they differentiate themselves?


The headline offers a value proposition that targets a pain their prospects are experiencing.


Take the work out of your document workflow is cute and subtly tells the reader there’s a better way of doing what they’re already doing.


And it speaks directly to the reader: It addresses them as “You.”  Always a good thing.


So, the headline homes in on an immediate pain and hints at a brighter future.


The sub-header explains that PandaDoc achieves this promise by enabling easier management of creating, editing and signing documents…


It’s very high-level, but the broad capabilities of the tool mean it would be tough to get more specific, here.


The goal is to let the reader know they’ve arrived in the right place.


The CTAs offer a dual option of starting a free 14-day free trial or requesting a demo.  


The “softer” option is colored white, to make it less visually appealing than the “harder” option of starting the trial.


Standard SaaS CTA-ing.


And on the media image side of things: PandaDoc use a cool, quirkily-drawn animation to summarize their M.O.


Nice.  (For more examples of imagery done well, check out this post on SaaS LinkedIn ads).


It’s all easy on the eye and solidly put together…


I’m not seeing anything that screams “differentiation”, though.


HMOS: 4/5



Social Proof


Their opening social proof salvo is a proof bar, immediately below the fold:




It does its job well, doesn’t it?


Big, recognizable brand names that appeal to their enterprise audience.


The use of the 27,000+ statistic is smart.  It lets users know they’re in very good company.


And I do like the phrase “reached document workflow nirvana…”


It’s writerly, but in a good way.


Most SaaS homepages are sorely lacking in creative writing and don’t leverage emotions well, so this is a nice little touch.


Next up, comes this terrific testimonial showcase, delivered via a Wistia video embed:


PandaDoc – Create, Approve, Track & eSign Docs 40% Faster


It’s been lovingly created and it’s super-strong.


Why?


Because the 2:37 video cycles through 7 soundbites from customer interviews. 


We get a company logo and a name/job title for each “talking head”, and they describe a result or benefit that they’ve experienced with PandaDoc.


The use of voice recordings adds a tremendously authentic, human-to-human dynamic to the social proof.


At the end of the video, PandaDoc’s G2 awards are also displayed.


And the third piece of social proof is a case study teaser:




The copy in the testimonial is generic and doesn’t get specific with the benefits.  There’s nothing measurable here, and there’s very little emotion.  


I would have considered not using it, because it doesn’t drive the story further – it treads water.


But, the testimonial serves as an intro to a bigger case study piece that prospects can click through to with the “Read all customer stories” CTA, and this is good to have.


Case studies introduced on the homepage – as opposed to being housed on a separate page and found only via the navbar – always get more views.


All in all, the social proof on this homepage is solid as a rock.


HMOS: 5/5

If this kind of messaging breakdown feels like something that could help your website, head on over to my SaaS Website Messaging Conversion Audit page and see if you think you'd benefit from one.

My bespoke video analyses are considerably more detailed than this!


The Features & Benefits


We can break Pandadoc’s “features and benefits” copy into four separate sections.


  1. Problem/Solution




It’s a good premise – they lead with invalidating users’ current solutions.


I’m a huge advocate for “Invalidation”  copy and I don’t think SaaS homepages and landing pages do anywhere near enough of it.


“Invalidation” is where you discredit other solutions your prospects have tried (not in an under-handed way) to sell them on why they need to use yours to get the results they want.


It works well in a PAISA copywriting formula (Problem, Agitate, Invalidate, Solve, Ask).


All of your users have an alternative solution – it could be Excel or Google Sheets, it could be a different, rival app or it could even be nothing (and to some prospects, burying their heads in the sand and “carrying on” is a solution, because at least it eliminates decision fatigue).


So, bravo to the Invalidation!


My issue with this copy is that it’s hesitant and safe.


There aren’t any specifics here…


“Older tools slow us down and make us work harder…”


Why? What features are they missing? How much do they slow us down? How much do they make us work harder? 


This story could be told in a couple of sentences with specific phrases and measurable quantities to make us visualize the pain and feel it.


The “Problem” is presented too briefly, and there’s no real Agitation.


Then the “Solution” copy suffers from being too generic, too.


There aren’t any word pictures or specifics.


Vague promises of “Send documents faster” (how much faster?) “Take control” (take control of what – my time? My priorities? My business results?)


This section could be much more persuasive.


  1. Who it’s for


Next, PandaDoc cycle us through 4 different customer avatars.  The first is Sales:



Then, Marketing:



Next, RevOps:


And finally, Customer Success:


Good homepages do an excellent job of speaking to every customer avatar (it’s why they’re so hard to write).


PandaDoc manages the challenge well, and writes different value props to appeal to each persona (with photos of actual human beings, too, to put faces to the personas).


It wasn’t obvious that the clickable persona tabs were clickable, though…


So, brownie points lost on UI.  


Arrows indicating a carousel would help, here.


Overall, though, it’s a good section.


PandaDoc have set up the product’s core features and benefits and are now indicating who they’re for.


  1. Features Breakdown


So, in the first features section, we got a broad overview of what PandaDoc does.


In this section, they break down the features in a little more detail:



These are meant to be brief snippets, with the user clicking the “Learn More” button on each tab to well, learn more…


Again, the copy suffers from being too safe, here.


Always avoid saying things like “Save time” in your copy.


How much time? Minutes? Hours? 


Even better if you can say how many minutes and how many hours.


Overall, am I getting a feel for what PandaDoc can help me do?


Yes, definitely.  It could do with more detail, though.


But overall, the homepage is doing its job.



  1. Integrations


Little to note, here – it’s the customary list of tools that you can integrate with the app:



Very generic copy, again…


“Say goodbye to mind-numbing work.”


Paint a word picture!  In just a few words, describe “mind-numbing work” to us.


How about this?


“Say goodbye to multiple open tabs and application whack-a-mole.”


I know, I don’t particularly like my example, either!


But I thought of that in 10 seconds.


And it’s still better than what they’ve got.


HMOS:  3/5   (I’m being generous!)


The Call-To-Action


The CTA is simple enough:



It mirrors the options presented in the hero section.


I think it would benefit from the repetition of that “27,000 businesses” statistic we saw earlier.


But I can’t complain, because their social proof sections were by far the strongest elements on this page.


HMOS: 3/5


Overall Heuristic Message Optimization Score:


HMOS: 15/20


This is a solid effort from PandaDoc – it describes what they do clearly to the reader.  The social proof is fantastic.  But it suffers from a lack of obvious differentiation. 


Want another SaaS homepage messaging audit? Check out this one about Sendbird’s homepage here.


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