It's likely a daily occurrence. You visit a website. You immediately become confused. You leave the site and never look back.
If you had bothered to stick around for more than a few seconds, you might have found yourself asking:
- What products and services are being sold?
- How do I benefit from them?
- What can I expect to experience when engaging with this company—and how do I engage in the first place?
- Why should I care about any of this?
But why would you stick around? There's not enough time in the day to read unclear value propositions, decode confusing processes, stumble through industry jargon or—worse yet—deal with companies that talk at you and tell you about how amazing they are.
The sad truth is, behind most of these quickly abandoned websites, and buried under the countless corporate platitudes, are companies that sell great products and employ talented, smart people.
Yet there's still a sadder truth: The fix is simple. And the fix is simplification.
When a company can clarify its marketing message and structure it in a way that's effortless for people to consume, that company succeeds in the game of simplification.
But where do you start?
With a simple script.
Why a Script?
A script provides structure to your brand's story.
Stories themselves are one of the most effective frameworks for logically organizing information.
And, according to Gabriela Pereira, founder of DIY MFA, people are scientifically hardwired to demand story—stories grab attention unlike any other mechanism. I saw Gabriela speak at length about the power of story at INBOUND 2019 and how when compelling storytelling is paired with a logical buyer's journey, your marketing becomes that much more impactful. (Spoiler: I'll be speaking with Gabriela about this in my next post in a few weeks.)
Using the logical and effective framework of story, companies can position themselves as guides who help their customers become the heroes of their personal narratives—not as braggadocious experts who self-aggrandize. Through story, you can use simple messaging to empower your ideal customers to take action to achieve their goals and overcome their fears.
With a corporate story script in place, you'll have a strong backbone that can be used to create all of your website messaging and marketing content so that it showcases the benefits of using your products or services in an easy-to-understand, digestible way.
So, What Should Your Corporate Story Script Look Like?
At its most basic, your script should contain five elements in this order (we're creating a story after all):
1. Your Ideal Customer
Start by defining who your ideal customer is and what they want. Important (!!!): In your story and brand messaging, you need to position your ideal customer as the hero your brand is leading to success. Readers don't want to hear about how amazing your brand is (unless they navigate to sections of your website that should be about you; "About" and "Careers" pages are great examples).
2. Needs Help
Great stories contain conflict and someone or something that needs to be defeated. The trick is to define this primary source of conflict, personify it (even if it's not a person) and identify the three levels of problems (external, internal and philosophical) it creates for your ideal customer.
3. But Finds a Solution Provider
You need a character in your story that helps your hero succeed (i.e., the Yoda). You guessed it—it's you; you're Yoda. This means in your messaging you need to explain why you should be trusted to lead your customer to success, without making it entirely about you. To do this, you need to be empathetic to the plight of your customer and demonstrate authority—but don't go overboard—using testimonials, impressive statistics, awards you've won and notable associations you're apart of (Tip: Look at the main headlines on your website and put yourself in your ideal customer's shoes. Are you seeing statements that speak directly to you [that use "you/your"] and list compelling benefits? Are you seeing too many statements where your brand is patting itself on the back?)
4. Who Tells Them How to Succeed
Now that you've identified your hero's problems and how to earn their trust, you need to tell them exactly how you'll help them succeed. This is when you eliminate any confusion by clearly laying out a plan that explains how your hero should be doing business with you (Tip: Lay it out as a process with a few easy steps). You should also help your hero overcome fears by stating the agreements, or guarantees, you'll make with them (an example of this would be a quality guarantee).
5. And Inspires Them to Take Action
If you've done your job above, your messaging should make your hero feel compelled to take action. They should be looking to "buy now" or "schedule an appointment" (depending on the plan you've already laid out for them). The reality is, not all customers will be ready to do business with you. But they still should be inspired to take action. This is why it's important to provide customers options to conduct additional research, whether that be to download educational whitepapers and case studies or to sign up to receive free product samples and trials.
For those of you who are visual, here's what this corporate story script framework looks like:
Using Content Marketing to Bring Your Corporate Story Script to Life
Before you start creating content marketing campaigns, you need to make sure your corporate story script framework is locked down. A well-thought-out script can easily be rolled out into an effective content marketing campaign.
Here's an example of what that could look like.
Say you're a transportation and logistics company that has a less-than-truckload (LTL) ecommerce solution that's innovative in the space. You:
- Have an ideal customer/hero: You're looking to target professionals at middle-market companies who are responsible for delighting their ecommerce customers with LTL shipping needs. These individuals want to show their customers competitive LTL pricing at point of purchase.
- Who needs help: Your customer's primary source of conflict may be "people who abandon their shopping carts because they lack visibility into LTL shipping rates at time of purchase." The external problem associated with this primary conflict is that your customer's customers aren't receiving the Amazon-like online shopping experiences people expect today. The internal problem may be that your customer is embarrassed that their company will be seen as outdated or incompetent if they can't provide their ecommerce customers competitive LTL shipping rates at time of purchase. And the philosophical problem may be that people who want competitive LTL shipping rates at time of purchase should be able to receive them—individuals shouldn't be running into this major sale-preventing hurdle in 2019. When writing marketing content, you need to keep all of this in mind.
- But finds a solution provider: You identify yourself as being a transportation and logistics ecommerce solution provider with flexible, transparent shipping solutions in the LTL space. You empathize with your ideal customer/hero by understanding that poor LTL online shipping experiences make the difference between sale and abandoned shopping cart. Your authority comes from the fact that you have the strongest, longest-term relationships with carriers and the industry-leading software that will ensure competitive LTL rates appear in shopping carts at time of purchase. Your marketing messaging needs to convey all of this clearly.
- Who tells them how to succeed: You have an established three-step process that you explain on a "Proven Process" website page. You also include a summarized version on a "Schedule a Consultation" landing page that kicks off the entire process.
- And inspires them to take action: You put impactful calls-to-action (CTAs) in strategic spots on your website that urge people to schedule a consultation. You also add CTAs that target people who aren't ready to start the purchase process in your social channels and on your website. These CTAs tell people to download various case studies that show how you've delivered successful results in the past.
In the above example, you can start to see how easily a corporate story script can be integrated into your content and marketing efforts. It can serve as the foundation you need to develop a content marketing strategy that delivers tangible benefits.