Updated: May 21, 2021
Perhaps the most compelling tool you have at your disposal to drive sales or draw in new and returning customers is your story. We love to feel connected to each other and this extends to the brands we support: when we feel heard, represented, and invested in the brand’s story. Large brands like Target, McDonald’s, and Nike are great at using storytelling to inspire, motivate, and entice us all, but you don’t need a ton of money to make the same work for you and your business. In fact, your unique experience and perspective as a small business owner give you a great advantage over faceless megacorporations-- here’s how to use your website for storytelling.
What is Your Story?
You probably know what your business’s story is: why you started, when, your ultimate goals for the brand, etc. But what IS your story, really? Does your audience know? Learning how to translate the essence of your business and mission is core to forming a genuine connection with your customer base and bringing them back again again.
So what is your story? Are you a single mother who started a gender-neutral clothing brand after struggling to find options for your child? Are you a small tech start-up trying to create a space for black women in a male-dominated industry? Did you start a private practice after noticing a need for more LGBTQ+ friendly therapy options for people of color?
Sometimes we have more than one inspiration for setting out on our own and starting a business.
To help you narrow down on your true story, try this simple exercise: assume you only have 10 seconds to explain your business to a generous investor.
How would you describe your mission, vision, and values in three sentences or less? Once you have a solid idea of what your story is, it’s time to convey it through your website.
Key Site Pages for Storytelling
Your website is for more than just showcasing products and services: it should give visitors a full picture of who you are, what your company stands for and offers, and how those things benefit their lives. The best way to do this is to ensure your site has these essential core pages and that the content is clear, concise, and compelling.
About Us: This is the primary page where storytelling will shine through. Tell your audience how you came to begin your business: what experiences shaped your journey, inspired your innovation, and led you to make a difference? Why should they trust you and your company to provide quality services or products? What sets you apart from everyone else?
Mission Statement: In a similar vein to the About Us page, the mission page gives your audience a clear idea of what drives you and your company. What are you trying to accomplish through your business? How can they help you reach those goals-- and why should they? Is their patronage helping to protect the environment, or supporting an organization serving the underprivileged? Give your customers a reason to want to support you and your goals.
Why Choose Us?: Another great place to highlight what sets you apart from others in your industry. Why should your customers choose you instead of a large corporation like Amazon or Walmart? As a small business owner, it can be intimidating to try to compete with these giants, but you can use your size as an advantage. Small businesses put more care and effort into their products, so highlight that dedication here.
Reviews and Testimonials: sometimes the best way to share our story is through others’ experiences. Encourage your customers to leave you reviews and testimonials across all your platforms, then collect the best of the best to highlight on your website. This gives new customers an idea of what to expect from your company and helps build trust.
Using Videos to Your Advantage
Most people are visual learners. We are more likely to recall information learned through visual means like photos, infographics, and charts. But the most effective way to communicate a message is through videos: it allows the viewer to feel a more human connection and increases their likelihood of recalling information. Videos have a variety of uses on your website. They can offer company overviews to give your customers a better understanding of how it works, showcase your products, or introduce key staff members for businesses in hospitality or healthcare.
A few things to consider when developing videos for storytelling include:
Length: in general, videos that are five minutes or less perform the best in terms of watch time and conversion.
Style: whether you decide to keep things simple or go all out with a more artistic approach, make sure the video style you choose makes sense for your brand and messaging.
Quality: crisp, clear visuals and audio are a must for videos that will be showcased on your website. Lower quality productions may reflect badly on your brand and dissuade prospective customers.
Tone: not everyone is great in front of a camera. If you’re not a video person, consider who on your team may be a good fit. Hiring an actor to do a voiceover or star in the video for you may also be a good option.
Come back for Part 2 on how to use your website as a channel for storytelling.
Do you need assistance with story creation? Click here to connect with us.