I’m sorry to break the news, but website visitors are not coming to your site to check out your brand story.
Your site is not Facebook. Visitors are not there to kill time or just hang out. They are there because they have a goal and they believe your website can help them accomplish it.
That goal is to either research the best product to fit their need, or to buy your product which they have already determined fits their need.
So to be successful online, your website must align your brand story to the goals of your customer.
Once a visitor has reached your website, your marketing (and the brand story that forms your marketing) has won. It is now time for your ecommerce or lead generation website to serve the visitor’s needs – and to help them convert.
What is a brand story?
A brand story is the narrative of your brand. It’s your company’s mission, values, and personality – in the form of a story.
If used correctly, a brand story is a powerful way to increase online engagement and conversions. It’s your culture, your content, and your customer service.
Why a story?
Storytelling is a rich means of driving engagement. Raw data uses only the language part of our brain that work to decode meaning. But, research indicates that narrative actually activates more parts of your brain.
Stories allow the reader to produce a more vivid simulation of reality. This, in turn, often makes it more memorable and engaging. We end up remembering stories better than facts because we associate stories more closely with reality.
In short, stories convert better.
Why have a brand story?
If your marketing doesn’t hook the shopper and lead them to your website, then it won’t matter how well your website converts. Your brand story is the hook in your marketing.
However, we’ve found that almost every brand believes their brand story is unique, or that their brand story is the sole reason the shopper converted into a buyer on their website. While it’s not the sole reason, a brand story certainly can influence an online purchase, so it is imperative to have a brand story that influences conversions.
The key to a killer, highly converting brand story is aligning your brand story to the goals of your customer. Brands that only talk about themselves end up only talking to themselves. Brands that let the customer become a part of the story create a relationship and promote loyalty.
Customers don’t care if they fit into your brand story. They care if your brand fits into theirs.Customers don’t care if they fit into your brand story. They care if your brand fits into theirs. Click To Tweet
How to craft a brand story for greater conversions
So we’ve covered what a brand story is, why you need one, and what makes a good one. But how do you get started on yours?
Here are a few key steps to crafting a more effective brand story that converts:
- Know your customer.
Discover who your core audience is. Invest in customer research. Speak to those on the front lines: your customer service team. What do you target customers like? What problem are they trying to solve with your products? To craft an effective brand story, you need to learn what is important to your customers. Then weave your story into what customers’ already believe and care about: the problem they are trying to solve with your product.
- Know your website.
What if your site sold the success story of owning your product rather than the product itself. Infuse your brand story into your product descriptions instead of shouting it from your homepage (or worse within a rotating carousel).
- Start with why.
Communicate why your company has chosen to solve the problem you solve. When you visitors relate to the common pain point that your product solves, they’re more likely to convert.
- Be inspirational.
Show, don’t tell. Can you show how your products solve the problems the consumers are researching how to best solve (with your products!) through powerful photography, videos, and text?
- Try new things.
Once you know your customers, listen to them. What problems do they face on a regular basis? What helpful content could you produce that would make their life easier? Could you then create a new product that compliments your popular offerings?
In the end, people are visiting your website only to research or buy something. What they want to hear from your brand story is how your products will help them. When your site diverts customers away from accomplishing this goal, you lose.In the end, people are visiting your website only to research or buy something. Click To Tweet
If you tell them about your brand instead of making it easy to browse, your conversion rate will suffer greatly. For example, if you try to get your visitor’s email when all they want is your store locations (so they can buy), you lose.
So it is important that your brand story is woven throughout your site, in a helpful manner – to your consumers.
Where should I include my brand story?
When your site has too many obstacles for your visitors, your brand story loses. They will bounce away from your site once and for all — and on to your competitor’s site.
But there are many places where you can weave your brand story into the site content in a helpful manner.
The best place to start is your product detail pages.
Consumers who visit your product detail pages are in a very clear research (or buy) mode. And helpful content is a perfect way to support that research while telling your brand story.
In fact, download this infographic on 17 product detail page best practices, which offers suggestions for incorporating your brand story in a manner that will increase conversions.
The perils of a poor brand story
Remember, don’t expect your customers to wade through your brand content to get to the solution to their goal.
That’s like asking them to care more about commercials than the programs they’re watching. Like at home, your customers will grab the remote and hit mute, fast forward the DVR, or change the channel completely.
To create content that will help visitors see your products in the context of their lives, you need a different approach: care about your customer’s goals online, instead of trying to get them to care about your brand story.Care about your customer’s goals online, instead of trying to get them to care about your brand story. Click To Tweet
Your customer’s story is your brand story
To have a highly converting website, your brand story must provide real support, value, and alignment around the things your customers care about: their goals.
Remember this principle of telling your brand story online: when a consumer or lead is on your site, your marketing has already won. It is now time to use your brand story to show them how your products will help them.
That is the brand story that will lead visitors to convert from a shopper into a buyer.
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About the Author
Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest online brands including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, Verizon, Intel and more. Jon regularly contributes content on conversion optimization to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc. He knows how to get visitors to take action.