Three Steps to a Compelling Home Page: Just Add Story
Storytelling is an art, and the art of storytelling for your brand happens on many platforms and avenues.
There are the mini-stories you share in your social media feeds and captions, photographs, blog posts, and even ads and email campaigns. For all of you fellow bootstrapping ‘preneurs out there, you know what I’m talking about. We do our best to weave our little stories into our online presence so we can hopefully make an impact on those who read our content.
In fact, storytelling and marketing are two peas in a pod. What is marketing but sharing the story of your business so that people will engage with your brand and eventually purchase what you offer. Sharing pieces of your story can be one powerful way to make your brand go from that salesy feel to refreshingly different, helping you stand out in a sea of other like brands because you use story to reach people instead of other (sometimes icky-feeling) marketing tactics.
Maybe story is so effective in business because it is so powerful. Maybe it is so powerful because it really makes a genuine impact.
My favorite platform for storytelling as an entrepreneur (because, yeah, I’m a web girl) is the home page of your website. This space is the first real impression of you online. People may see you and know of you by your social media, but you better bet that if someone is getting serious about what you offer, they’ll be heading to your website first thing to get a better feel for who you are. One of the main purposes for a business website is to share what your brand is about and how you can relate, help, transform, or serve others with your business.
After all, when all is said and done, business is all about relationships. No matter what you do, you’re in the people business.
And storytelling gives great voice to entrepreneurship.
But how can you effectively use story on the home page of your website? Here are three tips.
Speak to how your story is a part of their story.
As human beings, we love to know that we are not alone. We crave connection and similarity to understand that our struggles are not singular to us, but rather that many others have gone through like circumstances. We are encouraged to know that others have dealt with difficulties and yet have successfully made it through the valley and reached the other side.
This is powerful. You can use compelling pieces of your story to share that you can indeed empathize with your reader. That they are not alone in the struggle. That you can walk alongside to help them through whatever it is they’re experiencing.
But, put that bit of yourself under the microscope of scrutiny to be sure it’s relevant. It’s important to remember that going off on tangents about yourself won’t be received well by your audience, because effective copy is still all about your reader. Sorry...not you.
But compelling doesn’t mean lengthy. Keep it short and sweet. If your words are not effectively drawing your audience in nearly instantaneously and take them through a short storyline of who you are and why you can meet their need, it’ll be a pretty hasty goodbye. Think of your own experience: if you’re not drawn in, do you want to use your precious time searching and digging for a reason to stay? Probably not.
But if your story can speak into their life and touch a cord in their heart because your story is essentially theirs, bravo. That is the way to authentically reaching your readers.
Use story to guide them to your most important thing.
When I design a website and particularly a home page, a conversation I have with my client is what their business focus is on. What is the most important thing--be that service, product, blog post--to direct the attention and action of their reader toward? Each page should have one primary focus, and the content should point to that action-based focus.
This is where you can use pieces of your story to guide them to that one thing. If your home page goal is to get them to your online shop page, you can add a mini product section to your page, but you can also use some of your story leading up to that section of why you do what you do, or the driving force behind your shop, to relate to their need for the product.
If your home page goal is to have them sign up for a complimentary call to get to know you and your business coaching services, then the copy should point to how you are qualified to help them but also how your story relates to their situation in life. Pieces of that story should take them through a process from the now to seeing the what-could-be, and, ultimately, encouraging them schedule a call.
Use your home page and bits of your story to guide your reader to your most important thing.
Weave story into how your business solves their problem or provides transformational results.
Finally, choose pieces of your story that you know will speak to the needs of your audience. By knowing your audience, understanding their struggles, identifying their frustrations, and acknowledging those pain points in your copy, you can reach their heart. Then by sharing bits of your story that relate to those pain points, you can furthermore share how what you offer can help or transform their struggles into positive change right on the home page of your site.
Just as stunning images draw in your website visitor, compelling words (think: unexpected, meaningful, impactful statements or questions) that take your reader from the place they are at in life to the place they could find themselves can do the same.
If you are a brand that gathers testimonials or reviews from happy customers or clients, use these words as a part of your story! What better way to share social proof with your audience then to share who you are and what you offer, how what you do solves a problem or eases a pain point, and then continue that brand story with the mini-stories of those you have served. As cheesy as it sounds, adding these testimonials is like wrapping up your brand story with a happy ending. And it gives weight and security to your business, and it elicits confidence and assurance in your audience because your brand is tried and true. You have provided transformation and results in the product or service you offer the world, and others are sharing their own transformation stories.
In closing, when it comes to your online presence, weaving the element of story throughout the home page of your website complements your business by making your brand more relatable, more accessible, and more engaging.
Do your written words get to the heart of your business, to the heart of connecting with your customers, to the heart of the outcome you can offer? I’d encourage you to take a small step today and identify one piece of your story that also relates to the stories of your readers. Add it to your homepage! See how it can make a positive impact on your marketing (because you know, marketing is just a fancy word for how your brand connects well with people. Enter: story).
You never know how yours could impact a life.
Need a quick checklist on the best ways to implement your story on the home page of your website? Download here!
Lindsey Johnson // Web designer & Strategist
Lindsey Johnson is the small business cheerleader, designer, and strategist of Verity & Co, a web design & brand strategy boutique. A small town girl living next to Lake Superior, Lindsey believes your brand deserves beautiful visuals and a functional website and takes a collaborative approach to handcrafting brands. When she's not working with passionate creatives, you'll find her chasing her three kids, keeping house, and raising her growing family on faith & grace.