How to Use Storytelling on Your Website

Nov 7, 2017

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An about page without a story arc is just a resume. A sales page without storytelling elements is just a sales pitch. A brand without a story is not a brand.

You can shrug storytelling off as redundant. But when you do, your online presence remains slippery. No matter how many potential clients land on your website, if you fail to hook them, you’ll lose them forever.

Today, we’re going to cook three stories you need to serve on your website to make your Dream Client:

✯ Trust you

✯ Trust your solution (products/services)

✯ Trust themselves

 

Because these are the three main goals of your brand story.

Don’t worry. You already have all the ingredients you need.

 

Recipe #1: Help them trust themselves

Main ingredient: Your Dream Client’s story.

Let’s start with the least obvious one. The thing is, copywriting advice often centers around how to make people trust you and the thing you sell.

But when the thing you sell is a better version of your client’s self (through teaching programs, coaching packages, online courses, and similar), it doesn’t matter how much they trust you if they don’t trust themselves, first.

You won’t make them do anything unless they believe they can do it. And that’s where storytelling comes in.

 

Humans tell stories to make sense of the world. We need to turn all the mess into stories that we can understand, remember, and make peace with. That’s why, in every story, we’re looking for a reflection of ourselves. When we don’t see it, we don’t care.

Stories are also our opportunity to change. When you transform the story you’re telling yourself about yourself, you can do anything.

So, your website’s job is to show your Dream Client a reflection of themselves to make them stop and listen. And once you have their attention, start telling the most promising story: The story that features them as the Hero.

Not sure how or why you should make your Dream Client the Hero of the story? Read this: A Geeky Guide to Brand Storytelling

 

Help your web visitors trust you using these three stories on your website.Click To Tweet

 

How to tell the story:

The point here isn’t to uncover all stages of the Hero’s Journey. Not yet, anyway. When your Dream Client lands on your website for the first time, you can’t ask them to follow you to Mordor right away.

First of all, help them change the way they see themselves and their story. Point at the superpower they can’t see in themselves (yet).

Then, ask them to take the first micro-step: Join your list. Of course, no one is eager to “join your newsletter.” But if you call them to adventure, they’ll want to at least check it out. They’ll want to hear the rest of the story.

 

Where to tell the story:

Think about the place where people are likely to land on your website for the first time (hint: homepage, landing pages).

 

Example:

On her homepage, Regina from byregina.com says:

“The Human Approach to Teaching, Publishing, and Selling Online”

Here, she shows you that you’re in the right place. If you want to teach and sell online like a human, you stop and listen. So she continues and makes you the hero of the story (and adds her personality):

“You are legendary. I’m just here to make sure other people find out how epic you are, how valuable your information is, and why they should buy from you. Also, I’m a ninja.”

And then she invites you to join the adventure:

“Get my free online workshop to monetize and market your mind online.”

(And you say, “Yay, sign me up!”)

⇒ The copy copied from Regina’s website.

 

Make it yours. Some prompts for you:

Think about your Dream Client.

✯ Where are they when they meet you for the first time? What do they want? What have they done already to get it?

✯ What are they telling themselves about themselves that’s holding them back?

✯ What do they need to believe instead? How can you change or challenge their beliefs?

 

★★★

 

Recipe #2: Help them trust you

Main ingredient: Your story.

When your Dream Client ends up on your website, it’s because they’re looking for help. The process of change has begun: They want to set off on the journey, but can’t do it on their own. They lack self-confidence, skills, or guidance.

But the fact that they’ve found you doesn’t guarantee they’ll listen to you, trust you, and follow you. Not even when you show them all your degrees and certificates.

The most convincing proof of your competence as a mentor is your own story.

 

How to tell the story:

Your Dream Client doesn’t necessarily need to know when and where you were born or other biographical details. As you already know, a story is not a story if it lacks struggle.

I know it may seem counter-intuitive. You want to position yourself as an expert. So how are you supposed to talk about the struggle without sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about?

Here’s the trick: Talk about the struggle, then show how you’ve overcome it.

Now, the struggle has to be relevant to what your Dream Client is going through right now. If you haven’t experienced the same thing (e.g., you’re a native English speaker teaching English), you need to talk about a situation that was similar (e.g., how you learned another language).

This way, you will:

(1) Show empathy. Instead of yelling at your Dream Client from the “other side,” you’ll talk to them as someone who has been where they are now and knows how it feels.

(2) Show you’re human. People want to learn from people, not from robots or superhumans.

(3) Prove your expertise. If you have walked the same journey, it means you know the way.

(4) Add a story arc to your bio and transform it from a cold resume into a captivating story.

 

Where to tell the story:

On your about page. Plus, place the condensed version on your sales pages.

 

Example:

Violeta from violetanedkova.com teaches creative rebels and multipassionates how to do marketing on their own terms. On her about page, she opens her story with these words:

“I spend my entire life silenced by others.”

If you’ve ever felt the same (but, frankly, I believe that even if you haven’t), you must continue reading.

Then, Violeta talks about her experience of not fitting in anywhere. She describes how her rebellious, multi-passionate nature didn’t seem to go together well with the world of marketing—until she found a way to make it work:

“After I reinvented what marketing was supposed to look – and feel like – for me, I could finally build a brand that was more me than anything I’ve ever done before. I could finally start a business I was proud of and that felt right.”

⇒ From Violeta’s About page.

 

Make it yours. Some prompts for you:

Think about you and your Dream Client.

✯ What parts of your stories do you have in common? What have you struggled with that they struggle with right now?

✯ How did your life look before you changed it and how does it look now? What do you have now that your Dream Client wants (and that you can help them get)?

✯ How is your story different from other “success” stories your clients may have heard before? What makes it more relevant to them? What makes them say, “If they could make it, I can, too”?

(Hint: It’s usually something they consider a handicap that’s not *really* a handicap: Being a non-native speaker, an introvert, having ADHD, and so on.)

 

★★★

 

Recipe #3: Help them trust your solution

Main ingredient: Your product/service’s story.

No, we aren’t going to talk about how your product or service came to life (although according to experiments, attaching a story to a product increases its value by 2,706% – crazy, right?).

The story we’re going to deal with is the story of the new life, the life after your coaching program or online course.

 

How to tell the story:

When pitching, don’t pitch the thing you sell, but the change it’s going to make in your client’s life. You can talk about your own life, or use one of your client’s success stories.

 

Where to tell the story:

On sales pages. Also, testimonials or case study pages if you have them.

 

Example:

Paul Jarvis opens his Grow Your Audience course page this way:

“14 years ago I created two digital products that failed spectacularly.”

This is the “struggle” part. It’s also something Paul’s audience knows well—so they know they’re in the right place. Let’s read on:

“Fast forward to the last five years. I now have over 10,291 paying customers for my courses and products, and they fully support the life I enjoy. I still work hard, but now it actually pays off.”

⇒ From Paul Jarvis’s Grow Your Audience website.

Paul talks about himself, but at the same time, he pitches the life you can have as well if you let him help you. He doesn’t build castles in the air. He just states the truth.

 

On his Chimp Essentials (that’s an email marketing course) website, Paul features case studies of some of his many successful students:

“Davida Pitts Raised over $38,000 for a crowdfunding campaign.”

“QuHarrison amassed a 4,578 subscriber list in 3 months.”

“Mike Rohde landed several speaking gigs after redesigning his newsletter.”

From Paul Jarvis’s Chimp Essentials website.

These are short stories, right? And yet, for someone who is about to run a crowdfunding campaign, needs to grow their list quickly, or wants to land speaking gigs, these stories are long enough to make them trust that they’ve found their solution (and of course, they can click through and read the case studies in details).

 

Make it yours. Some prompts for you:

Think about one of your products or services and about your Dream Client.

✯ What is something your Dream Client wants that the thing you sell helps them get?

(Hint: Usually, people want more money, more time, less overwhelm, less pain, better social status, or better feeling about themselves. How do you help them get one or more of these things?)

✯ Did you get what you wanted (and what they want) using the methods you teach? How?

✯ Did other people who worked with you get what they wanted using the methods you teach? How? (Time for case studies!)

 

How to use storytelling on your website to seduce your dream clients: Three storytelling recipesClick To Tweet

Here’s what to do now

Study examples of how storytelling is used on websites you like. If you don’t have your favorites, use the examples I gave you.

✯ Think about your Dream Client and try to craft stories based on the recipes and prompts above.

✯ If you need more prompts, exercises, and guidance, I have something for you:

✯ If you liked the article, please leave a comment below. I’d like to hear what you think about using storytelling in your web copy.

✯ Also, would you please share it with your friends and followers to help more people find it? Thank you!

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