Storytelling through your website
You may have noticed we’ve been blogging for a while about the importance of the ‘user experience’ in website design; that businesses should do more to offer an engaging experience on their site that guides visitors from the point of entry to the point of purchase. While that’s still important, it’s certainly not easy, so we thought we’d offer a tip for businesses looking to get themselves started online, or improve their existing presence with a bit of oomph and personality – tell your story.
In high school, my favourite subject was English because my teachers were such great storytellers. Whenever there was a novel in the curriculum, my year 11 English teacher would read it to the class, creating accents and actions for characters, really bringing the story to life. It may not have been particularly hard for him to do, but it certainly made a difference on how the story was received – in short, it enhanced our experience of listening to the story.
Thinking about web design, we meet a lot of businesses that come from rich and interesting backgrounds with great stories to tell; in fact, some of the most passionate people I’ve met have been business owners who could talk your arm off with stories about their company – but for whatever reason they aren’t doing it online. A website is your platform to capture your audience with a gripping story, really holding their attention, before nudging them toward the next area of your site you want them to go.
Give users an enjoyable experience and they’ll be more willing to hear anything else you have to say
The great thing about storytelling is it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you can tell a story about your company, your message or the people you employ, then you’re onto a winner.
Anyhoo, how about a few examples of creative storytelling just to give you an idea…
Every Last Drop is an initiative designed to get us thinking about how much water we waste on a daily basis and how little changes can make a big difference. This is a great example of getting your message across through intuitive and creative storytelling. The website uses a technique called ‘Parallax Scrolling’ – where background images move slower than foreground images as the user scrolls down the page – unravelling the story that is being told in a quirky but clear way.
Another awesome use of parallax scrolling. It really makes you appreciate all of the vibrant and diverse cultural influences that have gone into developing the Nandos brand over the years. I’ve probably scrolled all the way to the bottom a good 20 times now – but hey, I love Nandos.
Tell it in blocks. There’s no shame in going into detail to tell your story; in fact, if one of the defining characteristics of your company or product is your attention to detail then this could be a good way to go! But make sure you keep it light and fresh, something MailChimp are very good at. Their ‘about’ page goes into quite a bit of detail about the company without users actually realising, offering short bursts of storytelling in small, digestible blocks rather than clumping it all together. For businesses with quite a lot to say but looking concerned about keeping users interested, look at how MailChimp do things.
To be honest though, even if you’re not going into a whole lot of detail, telling your story in small blocks can have a really positive effect on a webpage – like Graze have done…also working in a short video too for good measure.
Speaking of which, creating a video is one of the most engaging ways to get your message out there – so if you can tell your story through a unique and informative video and stick it on your website, you’re giving yourself a good chance of holding users’ attention and directing them to other content on their site.
This Dollar Shave Club video (below) went viral in 2012 because they found a way of telling their story and spreading their message in an informative and hilarious way. The video now holds prime spot on the homepage of their website – why? So they can offer visitors to their site a great experience that encourages them to hang around and see what it is they have to offer.
We’re not saying these are the only ways to go about telling your company story, but these brands have had great success through a bit of creativity and effort to enhance users’ experience when visiting their site – which can be the pivotal point between turning a breezy visitor into a loyal customer, something you can read more about here.