Your Website Narrative Isn’t About You

you're so vainThis might come as a shock, but your website isn’t about you or your product. If you want engagement and conversions, it’s gotta be about, you guessed it, your customer. Everything from design to copy to UX, your website imperatively must be customer-centric. Why? Because coercing what you believe to be the best benefits and features about your product or service onto your visitors’ brief visit to your website won’t cut it.  Unless you are a major player like Apple and customers seek you out, not the other way around.

At Brendan & Brendan, we don’t write web copy, we write what we call website narratives because that is what a website is really, a story. A story that consumers want to read because it:

a. makes them happy, cool or smart, or
b. solves a problem they have.

So how do you tell your customer-centric story? First and foremost, get out of your product and revenue mindset and start thinking and feeling like your customer. The best business owners are the ones who actually need their own product. But even so, we are all individuals who research and process information in different ways. Five customers might give you five different reasons for using your product. The trick is to get a consensus that appeals to the scalable customer. As a business owner or marketing manager you also have to like your customer. And by like, I mean empathize with their problems and understand their lifestyles down to the smallest detail.

writing-rightingSo forget about what will make a sale and think about what will help your customer solve his or her problem. Then make your website easy and fun to understand in digestible pieces of content. And finally of course, make it apparent and easy to purchase, download, sign up or whatever it is your objective is.

Not to give away the secret sauce, but here is how we craft a website narrative (most of the time):

Value Proposition

What is your biggest single unique value proposition? As my Concordia University professor, Mark Haber (you hard ass!) used to say, find the “So What?”. Keep asking yourself ‘so what?’, until you get to the real value that you offer. Say for example, you offer a project management software, so what? Well, it helps you manage your files and collaborate with your team. So what? Ok, well it will increase your productivity. Ok, but so does every other PM tool out there, so what? Ours is the easiest to use and all our customers say there is almost no learning curve saving them time and frustration. Now we’re talkin! Put that up front and center on your website. A great example of value proposition is Canadian Hemp Guitars (yes, that’s a client plug).

Proof

Show me proof. In the flow of the narrative, once I know what value you can bring to my life, I need to know that it will. Testimonials and case studies do the trick. Heck, if I see that others are benefiting from this value, then so can I. A tip when collecting testimonials from your customers: ask them to address different and specific benefits and to be explicit about the gains they received. This way not all your testimonials sound the same and they all portray success.

Interactivity

Typically this would be the ‘How It Works’ part of the story. But I like to look at it as how will your customers interact with your product or service? Again, think about it from their perspective. Before making any purchases, a potential customer needs to see what the product looks like and decide for themselves if they can use it successfully. Whether your product is a toaster or an app, this where you get into the details.

Couple the the ‘How It Works’ with the product features to demonstrate the benefits of the features in action. Camayak does a great job of this. If you have a ton of features, the last thing a visitor wants to do is sift through a list of endless features. In this case, it’s best to compartmentalize features into digestible chunks of content either by benefit or functionality. See how m3p does it (yes, another client plug!).

Price

Finally, now that the visitor is hooked on the value proposition, trusts it, and knows they can use the product successfully, they need to know;

1. How much it will cost them and which package (if any) best suits their needs, and
2. That the onboarding process is simple.

Packaging pricing is tricky, especially when there are combination paying models, such as pay as you go, pre-packaged, custom, etc. Try to keep all the pricing in the same vertical panel so no scrolling is required. And be sure to include a toll-free number nearby so leads can call you if they need help.

Your Story

Don’t forget to include your story. But where and when it is appropriate? After you’ve sold the visitor on your product, it’s time to sell them on your brand and culture. Your story is about why are you doing what you do. It could include a story about the inception of the company, but again only and only if it is interesting for the customer to know and/or read. If you have a look at the Brendan & Brendan story, the copy is witty, the story itself is fun and the design inspires scrolling to keep the engagement high.

Maybe it seems backwards to tell people about yourself last, but think about the customer – they don’t care who you are until they like what you do. And once they like what you do, they’ll want to know more about the brand and what it represents. Not the other way around. So prove to your customers that you’re worth knowing about!

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