The 3 stories your website MUST have

Successful marketers have been using stories to sell to their customers since the beginning of time. No matter what your product, who you are, or who you are trying to sell to, a story can be the essential tool for sealing the deal.

As an internet marketer who relies heavily on data and analytics, I often fail to remember that analytics do not inspire people. Personal connections inspire people! Stories are the best way to make a personal connection between you and your customer.

So here are the 3 best stories you need to be telling on your website.

1 – Your Customers Story

Customer Story

Imagine you need to make a small update on your website because you hired a new hygienist. So you call your website company for some assistance and the person who answers the phone has NO CLUE who you are and what you need. You quickly realize that you are wasting your valuable time giving out information and account details to someone you know is going to transfer you to another rep just to repeat the process.  So here’s my question: how long before you start looking for a new website company?

That is the customer story that I use on my homepage. It is about a common problem that my customers have and I attempted to tap into the frustration of being treated like a number. It is far more effective than a simple listing of what services my company offers and how long we have been in business.

Another type of customer story is the client testimonial. When you have a happy client ask them to write a brief story about why they looked for you and what you were able to do for them. A video of your customer relaying this story is even better! Your existing clients will be your best resource for new clients when you utilize this type of story telling.

Why are these stories the most important? Because they are the most effective in communicating that you have helped other people with these issues. It also shows that you understand what your customers are going through.

2 – Your Personal Story

malcolmgladwell-story

The year was 1997 and I was a junior in high school. Pressure was mounting to have a game-plan for college. I still was not quite sure what I could do for a career. Fortunately for me, that year a my school started a computer science program and hired a teacher that would help steer the course of my life.

Your personal story is arguably more important than the story of your business. Many times a client will make a decision on weather to work with you based on YOU and the feeling/emotion that you bring to the table. Being the head of your company is usually not what defines you. Your personal story of how you got to where you are today is crucial. Think of it as your zero to hero story!

These stories work best when you allow yourself to get a bit personal and tap into the emotion of the past. Try to remember what you were feeling and do your best to convey that to your audience. Resist the temptation to try and sound like you are a big shot and you always were. Most of us started from scratch and it is more inspiring to tell the tales of how you kept pushing when it would have been easier to quit.

3 – Your Company Story

Company Story

In 2012 I traveled with my wife, who is a dentist, to San Francisco for an American Dental Association conference. I intended to be there strictly to support my wife and explore the wonders of Northern California. One day while there, I happened to stumble into the bazar where vendors, consultants, and suppliers were all pitching their services. Being a certified nerd and professional web developer myself, I was naturally drawn to the more technical offerings. Upon close inspection, I was shocked to come across so many companies that I could see were taking advantage of these doctors who did not know any better. It was at that bazar that I was struck with the idea that there is a better way!

Again, we see here a sample of my actual story. It is personal and true to the core. The excerpt I wrote is a small part of a larger narrative. While the story of how you got an initial idea is interesting, I personally find the stories of overcoming business obstacles in the early years more valuable. When telling these company stories, try to be as detailed as possible becuase you never know who is going thought the same struggles that you can help out.

I recall reading the story of the Tim Westergren (CEO of Pandora) who early on, ran out of money and could not pay his 50 employees. He would gather all staff members on Tuesdays and convince them that they were on the cusp of something big if they would just stick with it. He was essentially used his passion and persuasiveness to get his team to work for free for 2 years! Here is what he would say to them.

We all know here that what we have created is unique and it’s solving a gigantic problem. No one on earth is gonna do what we’ve done, and when you use this product we all know how magical it is. It will find its home. Everybody on the planet loves music. There are millions of musicians who produce great music and they can’t find each other. When this thing finally finds its home, it’s gonna change culture. And how many times in your life do you have a chance to do that? That’s what this is about.

The power of story telling in an effective story tellers hands is priceless. Business is not about data and numbers, its about these personal stories. So make sure you are telling yours!