In order for a business to reach the customer in the 21st century, some sort of personal connection between the two parties has to occur. Without this human-to-human interaction, it's fairly unlikely the company will close the sale.
Firms that don't employ their website effectively toward the goal of relationship building will come up short in a multitude of areas, not least in sales.
The Role of the Website in Branding
When you think about the strongest relationships you have in your life -- perhaps with a parent, sibling, coworker, best friend, or significant other -- think about what's the glue that binds these connections together. In most cases, it's an intimate understanding of the other person's story.
You know where they've been, what they're doing, and where they're going. You have a complete picture of who each person is and where you fit into the relationship.
As humans, we find stories compelling. They help us organize disparate bits of information and find or impose meaning where it otherwise doesn't exist.
From a business perspective, it's vital for a brand to recognize the value of storytelling and make sure it suffuses your web design and development strategies. The website is a brand's most versatile and influential tool for engaging customers.
Even with the rise of social media and other mediums of communication, the website is where customers go to learn more about a firm and gain insight into where it has been, what it's doing, and where it intends to go.
You may have neglected the role your website ought to play in branding until now, but you shouldn't do that any longer. Consider yourself warned.
Four Tips for Telling Your Story
Brand storytelling via website design and development isn't easy, but you don't have to make it more difficult than it has to be. The following tips will point you in the right direction.
1.Start With the "About" Page
People often assume one starts with the homepage and branches out, but it may be better to go to your "About" page and work from there. This is one of the first places a visitor will go when he or she wants to learn about you, so your "About" page might well create their first, essential impressions.
"If your 'About' section only contains the facts about your business, it'll be dull and less likely to engender customer loyalty," Green Residential explains. "People like to see a story. Start with your About page and integrate the storyline throughout your site."
2.It's Not About You
"Contrary to popular belief, brand storytelling is not about your company. It's about your customers and the value that they get when engaging with your product or service," digital marketing expert Neil Patel explains.
"The most powerful brand stories are the ones that prioritize customers as the stars. Think of your company as a supporting character."
Trying to look at brand storytelling through this lens can be a little jarring at first. But once you understand the truth of Patel's approach, it should become easier to focus your efforts.
3.Research Your Audience
If your brand story is about your audience, then it follows that you need to conduct a meticulous investigation into who your audience might be. "Proper research and a strong knowledge of best practices will help you identify why users come to your website and what they need," web designer Andrea Ferguson writes.
"Cohesive design elements and selection of information will carry your [users] towards their goal and give them the confidence they need to engage you as their trusted guide."
4.Simple is Best
In the current web design landscape, "cohesive" could serve as a code word for "simple." You should be able to tell your brand story in one or two sentences ... perhaps even one or two words. Until you can simplify your brand identity into a clean, crisp story, you won't be ready to proceed. If you overwhelm your users, that could have an adverse effect.
What's Your Story?
It's imperative that you begin optimizing your website to tell your story, but don't do it prematurely. If you're still not sure about what your story is, or how to communicate it to your audience, slow down and take a little more time.
Patiently fleshing out the details will prove invaluable in the long run.
Larry Alton is a multi-talented professional with a diverse background in writing, sales, marketing, and account management. He has a wealth of knowledge in digital marketing and a passion for e-commerce, SEO, social media, conversion rate optimization, and creative digital design. In addition to his expertise in digital marketing, Larry also actively invests in real estate and is passionate about this field. His writing has been featured in prominent publications such as Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, and TechCrunch, as well as Business.com and TheNextWeb.com. With a proven track record in both the digital marketing and writing industries, Larry is a valuable asset to any organization.