Starting to design your brand, build your website, or begin posting on social media can be overwhelming. When I first start working with my clients to help build their brand strategy they almost always say, “I have no idea where to begin and I don’t feel like I will ever make a sale”. I wrote this blog for them. I’m hoping that through this thought exercise you can rewire how you think of the “structure” of your business so it doesn’t feel overwhelming when you go to post. And that you will have the beginnings of a brand strategy/structure of your very own.
First I want to break down how we think about “business or brand structure” as a new small business owner, because I don’t know about you, but I hear the word structure and it makes my brain bleed…
For the purposes of this exercise I want you to think of your business as a story you are telling your ideal clients instead of what you have to sell to them.
1. Create a labyrinth not a maze for your ideal clients:
Let’s use Ikea as an example of how we can lead our ideal clients to buying what we want to sell them.
Ikea gives every customer a guided journey that ALWAYS ends in sales.
+ When you enter the store you know the product you want
+ to get to said product you have to travel through a labyrinth of couches/desks/kitchen cabinets and storage solutions
+ as you travel you are gathering info of the desired product you came for, but you’re also making mental notes of products that could make your life better down the road as well
(you are suddenly solving problems you didn’t realize you had)
+ Suddenly you notice you have lost track of time gathering info about all of these other awesome things that would make your life better
+ You head to the warehouse to buy the item you originally intended to purchase
+ You have to pass through the Marketplace to get there
+ Now you’re quickly grabbing little things that would make your life better (because they cost so little, add value to your life, and their easy to grab)
+ Finally you make it to the warehouse
+ You pick up the desired item yourself (which makes you feel like you had the choice in your buying journey. We’ll get more into this in a sec)
+ You make it to the cash, you have the item you desired, you feel accomplished, you made it through the (guided) labyrinth successfully and with a few goodies to boot. Why not reward yourself with a hot dog?
So why am I making you relive the Ikea process?
Because we learned that through a guided process you can make more sales. Especially if we make our customers feel like they held the keys and had a choice in their their journey to purchase and we thought of ways that could make their lives better along the way.
What is a clear path you can take your customer on that will keep them engaged, gathering information, making them feel like they are a part of the journey, and inviting them to invest in your business with the feeling of investing in themselves?
How can you make them a hero just by purchasing your product? (Too often we forget that it is our responsibility to build a brand and a website that guides our customers where we want them to go.)
I urge you to always check that you are creating clear content or designing a website that is not a maze ( a place that has confusing and blocked off paths), but instead a guided labyrinth that makes your customer feel like a hero, like they have been a part of the decision making (hello, interactive websites) and that they always know how to get to purchasing your product (hello, big CTA at the bottom of your screen).
2. Eat. Pay. Love. *
To build this guided journey for your customer I want you to go back to grade 4 english class. Yeah, yeah, you remember Miss Grant standing at the front of the class drawing a big arch and explaining the breakdown of story telling.
“in every story there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.” she says.
“The beginning starts with the protagonist having a problem, and heading out on a journey to solve that problem. The middle is the journey that they go on. On the journey they gather information, make friends, they become the best version of themselves. In the end they face the conflict in their lives and become the hero of their story.”
Start by getting in your ideal customers brain. What is their problem? What do they need to resolve? And how can YOU transform them?
How can you simplify the path to purchase for your client so that it happens in only three steps?
Take for example on your website, where is it you need them to get to? Purchasing your product? Contacting you? Setting up an appointment? Great. That’s the final step, the end. Now what is your middle? Gathering information (the breakdown of your product, your testimonials, why your product is good) and adding your product to their cart. And what is your beginning? Creating the idea for them that your product is what they have been missing in their lives and what can help them be their own hero (hint: what is your hook, or your tagline*?)
So now your path looks like this:
When you’re building your website make sure there is ALWAYS a clear path that follows your rule of 3 (ahem, leads to path of purchase).
Now grab your pencil and start writing your story.
Have more questions about breaking down the structure of your brand/website? Leave a comment, I’d love to help 🙂
* article inspired by Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton
* reference from Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton
* need help creating a tagline? Try this structure: Who exactly is it for (be specific), what is it that you do or what is the product you are selling, and why is your product/service unique?