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How to Set Your Design Apart Through Story Integration

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The entertainment industry rakes in about $2 trillion each year.


Social media platforms like Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube hit the 4.48-billion user milestone in July 2021.


Americans buy more than 650 million print books every year.


The average gamer has a controller in hand for six hours and 20 minutes each week.


Now, what do these four unrelated things have in common? Other than setting you up for a future Jeopardy victory, of course!


STORIES.


None of these industries would exist if it weren’t for powerful, relatable, or inspirational stories that other people could connect with.


Every business has a story, too.


What’s yours?


The Truth About Your Story


Every new business begins at ground zero.


Some grew out of a need to pay the bills and rent on time.


Others evolved from a passion for helping others — like Toms, a company that has since donated 60 million pairs of shoes to those in need.


A few happened by accident, like Avon, which began as a door-to-door book sales service.


But while your story inspired your business and is a proud accomplishment, here’s a fact:


Nobody really cares about you.


We’ll get to that in a moment.


Tune Into WIIFM


You might not hear the static or see them turning the dials, but every customer has a secret, internal radio. And every single one is tuned to the same exact station:


WIIFM.


What’s In It For Me?


Unfortunately, Google didn’t point users to your site because they searched “local sob stories.” Or “college dropouts turned businessmen.” Or “local companies that need the extra cash.”


It all started with a problem.


More specifically, your visitor’s problem.


Maybe it’s an upcoming wedding and the need for dress alterations. Or a rattling noise coming from the refrigerator. Perhaps their backyard needs a deck or a patio for July 4th.


The only question on their mind is, “Do YOU have the solution?”


Rewording Your Story to Interest Customers


We started this off by telling you how meaningful your story is. Then, we pulled the rug out from under you and suggested the exact opposite — that nobody really cares about your story.


So what gives?


Well, there’s no catch here. Both of those statements can be true at the same time!


Google doesn’t care about stories when it processes its 5.6 billion searches a day. It simply guides customers to the top-ranked pages and allows them to choose their own adventure.


But once they’re on your site, how do you tell your story:

  1. In a way that your client sees themselves in it?

  2. While shifting the focus AWAY from you and ONTO your client?

  3. And set yourself apart from your competitors while showing your relatable, human side?

  4. Without letting your story overshadow your brand and quality service?


Whether you’re a plumber, painter, personal trainer, or make-up artist, you have a unique story that nobody else can tell. Of course, that’s as long as you’re a good storyteller.


Your Story Matters: Here’s Proof


Stories are about building genuine connections. But if you’re still debating whether your story is worth telling, let’s look at two scenarios in the construction industry.


Site #1: A Generic, Blah Site


Things become sketchy the moment the page loads.


It’s clear from the get-go that every image is a stock photo.


Not only that, but every image seems to feature the same hard-hat-wearing guy. First, he’s in a dump truck smiling cheesily at the camera. Then, digging a hole with a shovel. And so on.


The text reads like a canned, fill-in-the-blank format and is cliche and boring.


It sounds pathetic, right?


Well, unfortunately, that’s also how most sites look and feel in this space!


Site #2: A Bedazzled, Personalized Site


From the moment you land on this site, you can instantly feel the heart.


The images are custom and showcase the construction crew that’ll actually arrive at your home. There aren’t any thousand-yard stares or corny smiles, just real people looking back at you.


And the copy tells a story that pulls you in and inspires you. You read all about the local pro-bono projects they spearheaded and how it’s a three-generation-old family-run business.


You’re sold!


Which Site Would You Choose?


The answer is obvious, but we’ll ask it anyway:


Which company would you hand your business to? Based on effort and passion alone, who do you think would care more about your project?


Hopefully, #2!


But here’s another way to look at it.


Customers do business with three types of people:

  • Those they know.

  • Those they like.

  • Those they trust.


The fastest way to make yourself likable is to put your true, authentic self out there. Pushing the ROI and business mindset aside, letting down your walls, and being human above all else.


Now, What’s Your Story?


Let’s take the construction company example and go a bit deeper. Say the company specializes in building disability ramps in public spaces, and you need to book a company to do just that.


Which story would make you say, “I want to hire them”:


  1. The company admitting that disability ramps can make a big buck, which is why they prefer to partner with multi-million corporations.

  2. The company with wheelchair-bound relatives who inspired the business; the business owners also donate to local charities and build free ramps for homeowners.


Both are stories, albeit one is much more philanthropic than the other! The initial story didn’t draw you to either story, but now that you’re comparing them, which one catches your eye?


Don’t Have a Story? Or Worse, Have a Boring Story?


Storytelling is an art form.

But while some business owners struggle with telling their stories, others have trouble finding it. Or at least angling it in a way that sounds interesting.



The perfect story follows three steps:


  1. The Problem

  2. The Breakthrough

  3. The Solution



Here’s an example to see this format in action:


Act 1: The Problem


Maya and Jack are on a camping trip deep in the wilderness for the next nine days. They lie in their sleeping bags until 1 a.m. each night with the lantern on until they both fall asleep.


Until day three.


When the lantern begins flickering before it turns off entirely. The battery is dead, and neither Jack nor Maya thought to pack more.


That night, Maya hears rustling in the leaves just outside the tent. She awakens the next morning to find bear tracks just feet away from their campsite.


Act 2: The Breakthrough


The duo ends their trip early because of safety concerns.


But on the ride home, Jack notices a vast field of solar panels and has an idea. What if, instead of battery-powered lanterns, there were portable solar-panel alternatives for camping trips?


Maya and Jack returned home and put this idea to work!


Act 3: The Solution


A dim, long, and potentially dangerous camping trip inspired Jack and Maya to create their own camping business specializing in solar-powered handheld lanterns.


Their story is relatable to just about anybody who’s spent the night in the forest before.


Forgetting fresh batteries.


Fear of large animals.


Going to bed and waking up with the sun.


Jack and Maya’s story is a precautionary tale that can help others rather than capitalizing on an untapped product space.


How to Create a Story That Sells


Let’s forget about complicated storytelling techniques for a moment and start with the foundations of stories that sell.


How do you do that?


This step-by-step list explains how:

  1. Tell a story your customers want to hear. The story about how your father gave you a $100,000 loan won’t resonate with most people. But a true tale about realizing how fresh food gave your old dog puppy-like energy just might connect with senior pet owners saddened by Fido’s golden years.

  2. Remember that customers don’t want to buy your products or hire you. Switch the story from “here’s what I do” to “here’s what I’ll do for you!” As a plumber, you don’t replace rotten metal pipes with PVC pipes. You lower the risk of flood damage caused by burst pipes and solve decades’ worth of problems in a few hours.

  3. Sell happiness, not services. Stop anyone on the street and ask them if they want to buy a fitness class membership. Most would tell you “no.” Now, ask those same people if they want to lose weight, build strength, and feel the most confident they’ve ever been. They might not say “yes,” but now you’ve caught their attention.


You’re selling a cure, a fix, a relieved headache, peace of mind, confidence. Not a product or a service that any Joe Schmo can sell!


It’s Time to Create Your Story


I tell my clients three things when mapping out their story:


  1. Describe the three key moments in your business, and craft your story around them.

  2. Decide which details help bring your story to life.

  3. Skip everything that’s irrelevant to understanding the plot.


Not sure if your current story does all that — and more?


Download our 10-minute FREE website audit today to learn where your website excels and which pieces need a little bit of work!


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