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3 Ways to Hack Your CMS Defaults to Sell, Not Tell


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DATA-DRIVEN CMO is an ongoing series on the Brooks Bell Blog that focuses on topics for the modern day data-driven CMO.

Here’s a quick way to lift response: hack the defaults of your CMS.

One of the most common areas of lift opportunity we find when working with our clients lies deep within the defaults of their CMS. More specifically, it lies within the titling of category or list pages. When figuring out the taxonomy of a website, companies tend to categorize their products in groups, like “Checking” and “Savings” for banks, “Men’s” and “Women’s” for apparel, or “Small Business Solutions” and “Enterprise Solutions” for B2B.

When these are listed in your global navigation bar on the homepage, it makes total sense! Allowing your visitors to self-select their path and also see your total product offering is important.

The real fail lies in what happens next. When someone clicks into the next page, the title of that page does a whole lot of telling and very little selling.

Let’s take a look at this conversion path from BB&T.


BBT Screen Shot 1 CMS

Let’s say I am motivated to open a checking account with BB&T. I click “Personal Banking” in the global navigation bar and select “Checking Account” in the drop down. It brings me to this page.


BBT Screen Shot 2 CMS

There are a bunch of clues that I have arrived at the right page: A banner image with “Personal Checking” in the headline, modules that differentiate the various checking products, and even a bread crumbing section, confirming you’ve landed in the “Checking” section.

But there’s a single easy opportunity to drive more action that most marketers ignore: The section title. Typically, a CMS will generate the page section title directly from the naming established in the global navigation. Or vice versa: what you called your section title will auto-generate a link in your navigation. This is a huge mistake!

In the case of this BB&T page, listing the title as “Checking Accounts” is a huge opportunity lost! I already know I am in checking accounts. Why are you wasting prime real estate to tell not sell? A simple change of wording to “Open a Checking Account” could lead to huge lifts.

This is also true of the title tag on the page. In this case, BB&T misses the boat again. The title tags simply states, “BB&T: Checking Accounts”. Again, this tells and doesn’t sell. A simple change to “Open a BB&T Checking Account” could see a lift in conversions.

BBT Screen Shot 3 CMS

Finally, using the default category in your headline does more than just visual damage. Typically, headlines in CMS carry a <h1> tag. This is the case of this example from BB&T. This can also limit additional SEO benefits for this page.

BBT Screen Shot 4 CMS


These are just 3 ways you should consider hacking your CMS to sell not tell. Have any ideas for more ways? Leave it in the comments!