Online Marketing 5 Storytelling Tips
Online Marketing 5 Storytelling Tips is about the rare apparently universal agreement – storytelling is a CSF (Critical Success Factor) for Internet marketing. The Problem is no one tells you how to tell an effective story from landing page to your homepage. Working with Exinent yesterday we had a chance to share ideas about how to tell an effective story including:
Landing Pages & Offers
Kissmetrics defined the elements of a perfect landing page. Yesterday we simplified Kissmetrics landing page model. Exinent’s landing page opened with an offer. They were “selling” a free Magento audit. But there was a problem.
Who needs a Magento audit and why?
Everyone knows NOTHING is truly free. Opening a landing page with what sounds great to sellers but creates suspicion to buyers doesn’t work. We’ve arrived at perhaps the hardest aspect of online storytelling – thinking like THEM (your customers or potential customers) instead of you. Exinent is a Magento web development shop. They think about Magento. Everything they think about is colored by what they do and who they are – Magento specialists.
Magento is important, but offering something free BEFORE explaining why it has value or who should use it creates storytelling confusion and dissonance. Confused customers do many things buying is rarely one of them. I suggested we place the offer in context opening with a bold statement as a headline such as:
A Magento Audit Is Crucial!
Share 3 to 5 Brand Aligned Themes
We like short punchy headlines. Use the 7-word billboard rule. Billboard creators, those signs we fly by on the interstate know never to have more than 7 words since no one can read more. The web is the fastest interstate going so no more than 7 words for your headlines is a great rule. After the headline, we suggested a warmer “guide-like” note something like:
Let us share why a Magento website audit is a Critical Success Factor (CSF) for Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs):
Request a free Magento e-commerce audit today. (sign-up form next to the copy on the right).
Your Creation Story
Now we’ve told a story, the story of why a free Magento audit is a good thing. We haven’t told the Exinent story nor have we explained who need a Magento audit. Some would attempt to tell those stories on the landing page with links. I prefer to do LESS on a landing page. Remove all links since other links act as Call-To-Actions and can distract from what you really want customers to do – sign up for an audit.
Making the Exinent logo on the landing page return to the homepage utilizes a well-known convention and rewards surfers with confirmation you, the landing page creator, understands and uses a convention to build trust.
Homepage Design and Define Your Audience
Storytelling needs consistency. Consistency is how you build trust. Exinent’s homepage needs to reinforce claims made on their landing page. The best way to continue to tell a consistent story is to include customer voices. When friends at Moon-Audio.com say growth has been exceptional their testimonial speaks to increased sales and profits. I’m working on a testimonial about finding “unknown problems” such as fixing internal search or schema. Another Exinent customer will speak to optimizing their customer experience.
Homepage and landing page are now walking the same talk AND Exinent isn’t selling anymore. Now their customers are confirming Exinent’s claims. We haven’t shared or defined who Exinent is or who is their ideal customer yet. I like to define who companies are on the About Us page. Here is what we have on the homepage so far:
To that list we would add:
Your homepage is a great place to share customer voices. People sell better than things. In a time of plenty when we have at least three good options for almost every buying decision creating movements your customers want to join is important. Sharing your customers’ experience, perspectives and thoughts about you creates trust and a “like me” moment for your buyers.
When a customer discusses moving from Shopify to Magento Exinent is defining their audience – online merchants whose businesses can make more than $1M a year top line and/or are scaling to tens of thousands of customers. Magento is Shopify on steroids. Magento’s power can be good and bad news. Good news if you know how to harness, control and direct Magento’s power as Exinent does or bad news if you blunder in, hope for the best and use a chainsaw as many unsuspecting merchants tend to do.
By working back from the landing page Exinent’s story is consistent, hits every important dimension from offer to their creation story to who should use Exinent. By utilizing storytelling techniques we plant seeds and allow our readers (i.e. potential customers) and existing customers to “sell” each other. We place our offer in context and are subtle about letting potential customers discover and learn more.
Storytellers walk a fine line between mystery and information. Too much of either mystery or information turns readers off. Best to plant seeds your online readers harvest by actions (clicking, reading, filling out forms). Be sure to make it easy to get back to your offer page. You may make your offer page the top of your contact us page (with social links, address and phone above). Never FORCE customers to fill out forms.
Phone calls beat forms, so make it easy for customers to level up and call you…ALWAYS, but do tell consistent stories about who you are, who you serve and who you’ve worked for. Guide potential customers through a journey and you are telling an online story and telling it well.
Here is the “unknown problems” testimonial I just wrote for them:
Working backwards from claims on our landing page informs what to ask our customers for. We also know what customers did what, so match your “ask” to the biggest benefit you created and your testimonials will speak to the claims you make (always a good idea).
Testimonials with pictures and links to social networks are more powerful since your customers can see who is behind the statement.