A version of this article also appeared on Forbes.com.
While every brand wants to convert audiences into consumers, conveying your own brand’s awesomeness can be challenging. Most brands default to talking about the life-altering benefits or cutting-edge features of their offerings, assuming this will be enough to sell their audience. But for most consumers, that isn’t enough. Audiences need stories.
Create a Reaction with Story
Most visitors won’t purchase when they first land on a site. On average, 96% of website visitors leave without converting or coming back.
To draw them back, you need to create a memorable impression. Because the fact is, no one’s going to remember your product’s features or benefits, but people might remember the stories you tell.
Studies have shown that information delivered as story is 22 times more memorable than mere facts and figures. Further, our brain literally lights up when listening to a story, our sensory cortex conjuring up seemingly real sights, sounds, smells and tastes — a full sensory experience.
That’s something data points and charts simply can’t achieve.
Storytelling triggers a couple of other valuable brain processes, too: It reduces counterarguing, making audiences less likely to be oppositional, and it provokes neural coupling, which helps customers build empathy for your brand.
I’m sold on story. Now where do I start?
You can integrate components of your story into your site today. Here are five places to begin:
Give your visitors storytelling the minute they arrive. Introduce your main character (i.e., your customer), outline their problem and paint a clear picture showing how your product or service can help.
Great example: Atlassian does a phenomenal job of this, with links to powerful stories featuring its customers on its homepage.
Your ‘About Us’ Page
Your “About Us” page should tell your real story, not just air your highlight reel. Why did you start the company? What problem were you trying to solve? Building a company includes setbacks, so include some of the struggles you encountered along the way. The story of your survival and growth builds empathy, authenticity and trust. In research by Edelman, 62% of consumers say they are loyal to brands they can trust.
This is also a good place to tell the stories of your people. Who’s behind the brand, and what do they care about? Audiences get suspicious when they can’t see the wizard behind the curtain, so put your team in the spotlight.
Great example: Founders Brewing gets real about the struggle of starting a business and the mistakes its founders made early on.
Your Case Studies
Your customer stories are critical for building trust. Your prospects want to know that other people have had a good experience with your brand. But as with your “About Us” story, they want the real deal here. So be generous: Illustrate the challenges and how your customer overcame them with your brand.
Great example: HubSpot hits their case studies out of the park, which is no surprise since their main credo is “solve for the customer first.”
Your Product/Services Pages
Is there an interesting backstory to one of your products or services? If so, share it. Or consider getting customers to share their own stories about how they use your products or services. We know that people often make purchase decisions emotionally. If you can inspire them to feel something for your products and services via the stories you and your customers are telling, you are on the path to conversion.
Great example: The backstory to the Clif Bar is genuine, interesting and downright inspiring.
Your TED Talk
Imagine you’ve just been invited to give a TED Talk about your “why” — what drives your company, beyond the bottom line, to do what it does? What TED Talk could you give to light up people’s hearts?
Go ahead and give that TED Talk, record it and put it on your website. And gauge how your audience responds.
Great example: PayPal CEO Dan Schulman’s TED Talk has been viewed over a million times, and it hits at the heart of PayPal’s purpose to break down barriers to financial empowerment.
Once you turn on the storytelling tap, there’s a good chance the stories will keep flowing, giving you ample opportunity to fill your site — and eventually all your other channels, too — with the stuff of true engagement and conversion.
As Seth Godin says, “People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relationships, stories, and magic.” Supercharge your website with stories and turn visitors into customers. That’s the start of the true meaningful work of building lasting relationships. The best part? Your loyal customers will begin to spread the word on their own, and that is a happy ending.
Do you need to better connect with customers, clients, and fans? If your website could use a storytelling upgrade, we’d love to hear from you. Call us at 1-877-777-ECHO (3246) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.