I was sitting around with my friends the other day, having dinner and drinks. As we were sitting there, I realized that almost all of the conversation was storytelling. It surprised me when I thought about it; it’s not like we were reciting novels, but sharing anecdotes about recent events in our lives. I would tell a story about a funny situation that happened to me, and someone would jump in with a similar funny story.
Next time you are sitting around chatting with people, keep track of how many stories are told. It’s just human nature to tell stories; we connect with them on a deeper level than abstract thoughts.
We do this so naturally when amongst friends, but when we get into “business mode,” we write asinine jibberish like this:
We provide strategic solutions to help you engage your customers
Leading synergistic software to empower your communications
Dynamic connectivity in a globalized world
Why do we get all stiff and boring when talking about business? Stiff and boring will lose your customers’ attention, and fails to build trust.
We should be telling stories.
Your business has a great story about how it started, who you are helping, and why. I bet if we had a beer together it would flow out of you completely naturally. If I went to your website, would I get the same story?
The first thing to do is figure out your story, but how do you get started? Let me walk you through how we found ours (and started using it!).
Our story was refined through some constructive criticism from Dre, who was the first one to bring this all up. He asked me to quickly summarize what we do, who we help, and how. I did this, and then I looked at our website and realized a lot of that information wasn’t even there.
If you are just starting out, this may be difficult. Talking to people helps–start brainstorming and explaining what you are trying to do. Get feedback and bounce ideas around.
Next, you need to write your story down. Open up a blank document and write your story out. It can be a few sentences or a whole page; the important part is to start writing something right away. You can edit it later.
Hit these major points:
- How did your company start?
- What is the problem that you (or your product, or your services) is solving?
- Who are you helping?
- What are the specific benefits that you’re providing?
- Why should people care about what you do?
As an example, here’s the story for AppPresser.
WordPress started as a blogging platform, but quickly moved beyond that to being the most popular website software in the world.
With all the great new sites being built, and the popularity of mobile apps increasing, many people wanted an app to go along with their site. The traditional approach is to build an app that is totally separate from the site, but then you have to manage your app and website in different places. That’s more overhead, and more things to worry about as a business owner.
Most app builders and products offer very little integration with WordPress, no support for custom plugins, membership sites, ecommerce, and all of the great features people build into their site. Building a mobile app that integrates with WordPress is such a pain. We thought: there has to be a better way.
We created AppPresser so that WordPress users could put all of the cool features of their site into their app, and then manage their site and app in the same place. It doesn’t require ninja mobile app skills, just basic WordPress development.
We help agencies and developers create mobile apps that integrate with WordPress. This allows them to upsell apps to their clients and bring in more revenue.
This story was not being conveyed on our website, so the next step was to break this down and get it where we needed it.
Putting Your Story to Work
Once your story is written out, it’s time to put it to work on your site.
People want to hear about your story, and they should be getting a sense of it just from browsing your site. You may be able to just put the whole story on your about page, but where else?
You won’t be telling your whole history in the home page (attention spans are short, folks!), so we need to cut it down into digestible sections that fit neatly into your site design.
Here’s how we broke down ours based on the above…
First, who we are (or what our product is) and who we help:
Easily Make a Mobile App From Any WordPress Website
AppPresser helps website builders make iOS/Android mobile apps out of WordPress sites simply and quickly.
Then, why what we offer is different from our competitors (from paragraph three of our story), and who it’s for (from paragraph five of our story):
Why is it different?
Other products don’t let you use custom plugins and all the features of WordPress in your app. AppPresser allows you to integrate everything in your app, including posts, pages, login, custom plugins (membership, WooCommerce), payments, media, and more.
Who is it for?
Agencies and developers who work with clients can bring in more revenue making mobile apps. Even developers with no prior experience making apps can build an app with AppPresser, because it works similar to building a WordPress site.
These pieces are now on our home page.
Tell Your Story
Storytelling amongst friends draws you closer together by building intimacy. By doing the same on your website, you immediately start building your relationships with your customers and clients.
It takes some finesse to make this work, but the point is that you have an overarching story you are telling. That story should be told throughout your site; your story is a thread that should connect all of the site pages and paint a cohesive picture of who you and your brand are. Your site visitors should be able to easily absorb who you are, what you do, and how it helps them–without having to read through a lot of subtext or spend a significant amount of time tracking down crucial info.
We aren’t finished doing this on our site yet, but it is already helping us clarify our message. The story was clear in our heads, but it wasn’t necessarily getting across to everyone else. Writing it down and getting it on our site has accomplished that.
Telling your story will help your potential customers get to know you and trust you more, which should increase sales over time. Nothing is worse for sales than mixed messages, and nothing is better than building trust.
Now go tell your story!