For thousands of years human beings have been sharing information through stories. If you want to see the history of story-telling click here. The human brain is hard-wired to understand, remember and (most importantly) share stories.
Strong marketing helps create memorable, shareable stories and your website must be a master story teller if it is going to deliver the leads your business needs to grow. The days of your website being an e-brochure are over. How do you ensure that your website is a master story teller? First, make sure it has the following core components required to tell a good story.
Theme – All good stories have a theme or a message that the story teller wants to convey. To relate this back to your business and your website, there has to be a “win” for your potential client or customer. Here are some examples: the theme of our website is “get the leads you need to grow your company.” For our accounting firm client, the theme is “fight to protect what you have worked so hard to earn.” For our self-funded insurance provider client, the theme is “there are insurance options that will save you money.”
Plot – The best stories have a compelling plot line that takes its audience on dynamic journey, overcoming unique challenges or roadblocks. The plot has to be delivered in a way that keeps the reader engaged and wanting to hear more. Really great stories often have an emotional component that readers can relate to readily and easily. Making the story about the reader is, therefore, critical. Addressing the pains or challenges of your audience right on the homepage of your website brings them into the story, allowing them to identify and connect with your company's story. You want them to say, “That sounds just like me.” When that happens, you have them hooked. Then you are ready to offer them the solutions they're searching for. Remember: the more remarkable your solutions are, the more interested your visitors will be in your story.
Characters – This part is actually the easiest because the cast of characters in your story is usually pretty straightforward. It consists of you and your business, your team, your potential customer and their team. Your goal and your website’s goal is to talk to all those people and help them see themselves in your story and in the solutions your organization provides.
Setting – This is simple too. The setting, in most cases, is your prospective customers' business, industry or target marketplace. Be sure to populate this setting with the characters above and make sure that the plot and theme you've identified fits into that setting seamlessly.
There is a reoccurring message in each of these sections. The story has to be about your prospects and not about you. This is where most businesses go wrong. They write the story about themselves: When they started, how long they've been in business, how many people they have, how big their facilities are, and so on. This is a mistake. When designing your website, be sure to tell a story about your prospects: What their challenges are, how those challenges were solved, what benefits they saw, how long it took to achieve the solution and what it meant to the business when it was all finished. That makes for compelling story that will get others to want to work with you.
Start Today – What’s your story? Here is a trick we like to use. Tell your story verbally and record it on a smart phone or tape recorder. Make sure your story has the components above and is about one of your customers or clients. What was their pain? How did you help them? How did you do it remarkably? What did it mean to them? What benefits did they see and how did it make them feel when you were done. That is the story you want to tell.
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