Everyone loves a good story. The right story can entertain, captivate, touch a reader's emotions – and even convert. But how do you know what story to tell your visitors? Keep reading.
Mike Moran discussed this interesting problem on Search Engine Guide. Content is king online, but you need the right kind of content. You need a story. He also noted that big companies and small companies seem to have the opposite problems in this regard. Big companies have so many different stories that they have trouble figuring out what to sell, while small companies aren't sure of what to say because “We're just a little company and no one will care.”
But what is meant by telling a story? And why do you need a story to tell on your site? Stories have been told ever since people first started gathering around fires. The listeners related to the heroes who struggled through and triumphed. The story became personal for them – something they could take home. And if you want your visitors to “take home” something from your site, you need to tell a story that lets them relate what you have to offer to their own life.
Moran uses the example of the iPod. He notes that there were other MP3 players before it came along, but Apple's device made it very easy for anyone to take music with them wherever they went. This was something that people could relate to. Visitors to Apple's site, and others who heard about the iPod, saw immediately how they could use the mobile device, and how it would fit into their own lives. Visitors became customers.
The thing to remember here is that the iPod didn't sell because of its specs or data sheet or any other hard numbers you could name. It sold because it became personal. If you sell products online, and your website immediately hits visitors with data sheets and specs, you might want to reconsider your approach. As Moran puts it, “everone's data sounds pretty much the same.”
Think about what problem your customer is trying to solve. Now tell the story of how your product or service can help them solve that problem. That makes the story personal. To tell it, you need to know and understand what your customers care about. What would make their lives a little better? How can your company contribute to that better life?
The best stories are true, so don't lie when you tell yours. Remember that all storytellers reveal a little of themselves when they tell their stories, so don't be afraid to show just a bit about what your company and your employees are like; it adds verisimilitude that makes the story more real. But above all, according to Moran, “Your story needs to be relevant to your customer. And it needs to be something they will care enough about to act on and to tell others.”
You may have to experiment with several different stories, or several different ways to tell them, before you hit on what will work. Use a blog, product descriptions, your “About Us” section and more to get your story across. Eventually, you will find that some of your stories get more sales than others; find out what's making them work better, and do more of that. Keep it up, and you will build customer loyalty with every story. Good luck!
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