Most websites are too company-centric. Let me explain…
The biggest mistake most businesses make with their websites is they talk about themselves too much.
Their product, their solutions, blah-blah-blah… they’re making themselves, the history of their company, their philosophy, their puffed-up selves the hero of the story.
It’s egocentric. It’s boring. Customers don’t give a flip about you until you’ve gotten their attention.
So how do you do that?
To make online marketing really work you’ve got to know (1) who your customer is… (2) what keeps them awake at night, and (3) what you can do to help them solve it better than anyone.
You do it by making your customer the hero of your story.
You’ve heard of the one radio station that everyone listens to, right?
WII-FM — What’s-in-it-for-me?
You need to get your customer to tune into your message on WII-FM with a simple story.
A narrative that makes your customer the hero.
A story that positions you as a guide who demonstrates knowledge of their problem(s) with empathy and authority.
This opens the door — giving you the opportunity to talk about what you can do to help your customers.
You have problems. We understand. We’ve been solving problems for 15+ years.
Your Customer Journey
If you’re going to tell a story, it’s useful to take a look at the book: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell.
Campbell underscores the fundamental structure for stories that have survived thousands and thousands of years. His work has inspired modern storytellers to write stories using the framework known as “the hero’s journey.”
Most notable among authors inspired by the hero’s journey is George Lucas, who credits Campbell’s work as the source for the plot for Star Wars.
To build on the Star Wars analogy, when you put your customer in the role of the hero (Luke Skywalker), and your company as the guide who assists the hero on their journey of transformation (Obi Wan), it can be very powerful.
Companies like Apple and Nationwide have used this same framework to create wildly successful advertising campaigns. Because it mirrors the way we view our journey through life.
The Hero’s Journey in the movies is complex, but in online marketing it can be simplified and reduced to fewer elements that make it easy to present and understand.
- A character
- Has a problem
- Meets a guide
- Who has a plan
- And calls the character to action
- Resulting in success (if they take action)
- Or the status quo (if they don’t)
Why is this so powerful?
It’s because we’re wired to listen to stories. If you tell your story right, you’ll capture someone’s attention long enough to get your point across. They’ll want to know how the story ends.
It’s important to communicate the way that people think. In fact, you don’t want them to think. You want to tell them a story that really resonates, have them “get it”, and then take action.
So How Do You Use This?
I’ll illustrate by using this website as an example.
Here’s my story (in a nutshell)
- A CEO/Manager
- Wants more customers
- Meets me (Les Proctor at Nicheworks)
- I Show Him/Her My Plan (The Lean Growth Blueprint)
- I call him/her to action (Get it now!)
- Resulting in more customers (If they follow my advice)
- Or not (If they don’t)
And this is how I guide prospects into my marketing funnel using a simple story plot:
Exposition/Setting. As it relates to conversion, the story is usually set up in the channels (PPC, Email, Banners, etc.). The goal of this step is to engage the visitor, start building the problem, and lead them deeper into the conversation.
Rising Action: As it relates to conversion, we elaborate the problem on the home page or a specialized landing page. The goal here is to re-iterate the problem, demonstrate knowledge of their pain, meet them with empathy and authority, intensify the problem. and present your value as the unique solution. This is done all on one page with the 7 Creative Essentials Of Home Page That Really Works.
The Climax: As it relates to conversion, the climax happens at the point of decision for the main conversion objective (to buy, submit information, etc.). Most of the time this happens at the call-to-action on the landing page, or the home page, where the rising action is at the highest intensity.