Your Website Needs A Story. Here’s How To Tell Yours.

Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

By: Brian McCracken
High Level Developer

KEY
POINTS
  • In order to resonate with your customers, it’s important to appeal to their emotions by giving them a reason to care or be interested in what you are offering.
  • Be sure that you clearly provide a solution to your customers problems and further elaborate on why they need that solution.
  • A greater number of potential customers will be able to more deeply relate to your brand if you are able to break down complex issues into simple-to-use solutions.

Storytelling is everything.

On a micro-level, it doesn’t matter what product you sell or what service you provide to customers, you have to give them a deeper reason to care about who you are and what your business is offering.

On a macro-level, storytelling gives your brand “Soul” and can motivate people to want to buy from you for reasons larger than you offering a quick fix to their current need or problem.

It’s the difference between:

“There’s a Home Depot on w117th”

and:

“Oh, go to the local hardware store at 15428 Madison Ave and ask for John. You’ll know him because he always wears a blue baseball hat. He’ll take care of you.”

Everything you do should have a story. Each of your products or services need a narrative that explains not just why it exists, but why it needs to exist.

Most importantly, that story needs to tell how what you sell will solve your customer’s problems.

Marketing is a topic that many small businesses struggle with. They often think that marketing and sales are the same thing but they aren’t.

A great way to simplify how you market your business is to stop and ask “How are you driven by the story of your product, your company, and your vision?”

A good story has three elements

Storytelling isn’t tough, you just need three parts.

Appeals to emotion – why should someone care, why do you care, and what drove you to be where you are today?

Simplifies complex concepts – a good story is simple, plainly spoken, and not filled with jargon. Furthermore, because it takes complex challenges and breaks them down into more simple concepts, it becomes relatable to a larger audience.

Solves a problem – your story has to conclude in how your product or service solves a problem that one of your customers might be currently experiencing.

Let’s break each one of these down and look at them a little closer.

Appealing to emotions

If you remember when Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone, he didn’t just come out on stage and say “We made a phone, here’s what it does.”

No, instead Steve conducted the entire presentation as if they were releasing three totally new topics. Famously a “widescreen iPod with touch controls,” “a mobile phone,” and “a breakthrough internet communications device.”

Then as he moved through what he was presenting that day, he would drop the occasional hint, almost baiting the audience to wonder if there was more. Finally he announced that they weren’t showing three devices, but one device and it was called the iPhone, and people went nuts.

He used that teasing and build up that got everyone excited and then announced the surprise that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Thinking about your brand, how can you have some fun with what you do? How do you give it depth?

Tell your story. Where did you come from, why are you here, and why do you get up every morning to provide your products or services better than anyone than anyone else in your industry?

People like to buy from people they like. As a small business, particularly in Cleveland, it’s okay to make yourself likeable… even preferential.

Make complex topics simple to work with

When creating content for your new potential customers, if you use cold, technical jargon at every turn you will end up alienating a lot of your website visitors.

There are two main goals to keep in mind when working through how to do this.

Identify with your customer – Explaining why a problem that your customer is experiencing is complicated and potentially overwhelming will help them engage with your story.

When your content describes what your customers might be working through in the moment, it can create an environment where they feel you know what they have to do to fix the issue, and how to do it.

This is very important when discussing immediate service businesses, like plumbers, or HVAC repair men.

In those moments where someone is on your website and has an immediate need, deciding if they should reach out to you to schedule an appointment, they may be feeling overwhelmed by something in their home not immediately working.

It would be a terrible time to further alienate them by using industry jargon they aren’t familiar with or making what feels like to them is a huge problem sound insignificant or meaningless.

On the other hand, it could be a huge win if while consuming your website content, they feel like you understand what they are dealing with and can provide a compassionate solution.

As you can tell, this runs hand-in-hand with appealing to emotions.

Provide a simple, empathetic explanation– Unfortunately you don’t always know what someone is going through or feeling when they visit your website. That said, you can take some educated guesses.

For example: if you are a Parma, Ohio HVAC repair service and someone is on your webpage that deals specifically with furnaces that stop working, there is a reason to believe that the person on your website is located in or around Parma and has a furnace that won’t turn on.

Most people don’t know about furnaces or HVAC. If you immediately turn into talking about thermal couplers and reset buttons they will probably have no idea what you’re talking about and may leave your site altogether.

On the other hand, you can approach the topic from the view of producing compassionate web copy such as:

The coldest day of the year is the worst time for a furnace to stop working, and yet, that’s when it happens sometimes. Nothing makes the family less happy than waking up to a house that’s 40 degrees inside.

Furnaces tend to be big, ugly things in our basement that we never really think about. Nobody is born knowing how furnaces work, so it might seem overwhelming when one breaks down.

The good news is most of the time this problem is just a matter of repairing or replacing a sensor inside that tells the furnace it is safe to turn on and isn’t very expensive to fix.

Now they feel like you understand where they are at, and you very simply explained what normally is the cause of their problem in language they can understand.

You are reducing their stress and anxiety about what they need to do next and that new potential customer may be more willing to trust your business to provide them the solution they are looking for.

Provide a solution/Solve a problem

Now’s the time in the story where you let your new potential customer know how you solve/solved their problem.

Using the example above for a HVAC service company with a page about furnaces that don’t turn on.

Your Solution:

Our servicemen come prepared with the most common sensors needed to repair your furnace. If that sensor is what is stopping your furnace from turning on, we can normally have it up and running again within 20 minutes of our arrival.”

Add More Context To Your Solution:

If you have an older furnace, or one that uses a less common sensor, we have close relationships with the largest local parts suppliers and will be able to source a replacement for you quickly. Normally we will be able to find a replacement for you within an hour.”

By approaching your products and solutions as stories, you can help new customers feel comfortable with your business, and confident that you can solve their problems.

Do You Need Help Finding Your Brand’s Story?

Storytelling is an important part of our marketing consultation process. Let us know how we can help.