– Lisa Cron, Wired for Story
“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution — more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.”
The main focus of the webinar was how to use storytelling to improve a marketing website; however, you can use this process for anything! We find it especially helpful for unifying your brand message and telling a consistent story across all of your digital channels.
Are you ready to start your brand building journey? Read on to learn how to get started and don’t forget to download this handy guide for navigating the storytelling process.
You can watch the full webinar here.
Step 1: The Discover Phase
When starting any creative project, you’ll first want to do some research and discovery. During the discover phase, you’ll talk to users and spend time reflecting on the story you want to convey. This process helps to open your perspective and lay the foundation for your project.
Below we outline suggested steps for beginning the discovery phase of your project.
- Embrace the beginner’s mind:
- Let go of preconceptions and start with a fresh slate. Start to bring new ideas to the table and approach the business as if it was day 1.
- Listen to customers. Research and ideate.
- Start asking your customers questions. Most businesses know they should be talking to customers, but in practice it’s hard to do. During this phase, approach customers or potential customers if you’re just starting out. Their insights might surprise you and help you frame your messaging.
- Define your purpose
- Why does your business exist? Start to think about the things that get you up in the morning. Can you tell that story to your customers?
- Action steps during the discover phase:
- Use a tool like Typeform or SurveyMonkey to create a survey to send to customers. Use the Bottle scheduled message feature or email marketing to send out the survey. Follow up the survey with in person interviews.
- Make a list of brands and websites you love. Hone in on what you love and how you could use those elements.
Step 2: Think
The think phase pushes you to process the feedback from the discover phase. You’ll take the research you did and begin laying out the blueprint for your marketing website.
- Observe and reframe:
- What did your customers tell you? Did their feedback unearth any challenges?
- You can now look at any pain points discovered and reframe them.
- For example, if a customer tells you they encounter numerous challenges while viewing your current marketing site, you can see that as an opportunity to make a change.
- Define customer expectations and requirements:
- Here you’ll now start to think about the requirements for your site.
- For your website, that might mean the type of layout you want to have and the various features you’ll want to include. For example, you may want to have a strong call to action on your website or an easy way for customers to learn ‘how it works’.
- You’ll also want to make sure that the elements of your story are going to be represented on your marketing site:
- Who are you
- What’s your mission
- Create the blueprint:
- This is also the time you’ll start to think about the “how”. How will you build the site, what platform will you use etc.
- If you think about building a house, before you build anything an architect draws up the plans. The same is true for design.
- When you craft your site blueprint, you’ll want to make sure all the elements of your site are accounted for and you’ve got a good plan in place for executing.
- Pick a platform or designer
- Thinking about building the platform yourself? We like Squarespace and Wix for DIY website builders.
- You may also want to hire a design firm to help with process. Not sure how to pick a design firm? Feel free to contact us at Bottle and we can point you in the right direction.
- Action items:
- Decide if you are going to build the site yourself or use a designer.
- Create a site map – an inventory of the pages you want to build.
- Here is a good article on how to setup a site map.
- Put together wireframes, i.e. your blueprints for the site design
- We recommend keeping these paper and pen. The important thing is to create the blueprint for the site you want to build before you jump into actually building.
Step 3: Create
This is one of the more fun phases! Here you’ll start to breathe life into what you’re doing!
- Breathe life into your ideas. Create a connection to your brand through messaging, photography and videography.
- Here you’ll start to think about the colors you want to use, the fonts that will represent your brand, etc.
- You may want to consider a logo refresh, new brand colors, updating your photography and even a new name.
- Copy and content:
- Take some time to write out copy for the site.
- When writing copy, do your best to be relatable, as if you were talking to customers face to face.
- Personable, authentic copy can set people over the edge and make them decide to purchase.
- Action steps:
- Think about your brand – does anything need a refresh? New logo, colors, even your name are on the table.
- Start thinking about the visual elements you will use on your website: photography, videos, fonts, colors etc.
- Write the copy for your updated site. Do your best to stay relatable and write as if you were talking to your customer face to face.
Step 4: Build
This is the phase where the rubber meets the road. You’ll take all your work from the first three phases and put together your marketing website.
- Take action: finalize your plans and start building
- This is where you dig in and start building out your project
- Test and iterate
- Once you’ve got a draft of your site built, you’ll want to move into the testing phase. It’s helpful to have several groups of customers that can give feedback during the initial stages of the build phase.
- Action steps:
- Build your site
- Get feedback from a subset of customers.
- Make adjustments based on the feedback.
Step 5: Launch and Tend
- Gut check
- Before your ready to launch, it’s helpful to do a gut check. Spend a few days running through the site.
- Do all the links work? Are there any errors? Have you tested the site on different browsers and on mobile devices?
- Once you’ve done your gut check and another round of user testing, it’s time to launch (eek!).
- Nurture relationships
- Once launched, it’s a great idea to connect with your customers. What do they think about the site? Is everything clear?
- Whether it’s through Bottle Chat, via email or good old texting on your personal phone; do your best to connect with your customers and nurture those relationships.
- Listen, evolve and begin again
- The design process is ever evolving. Be sure to listen to your customers. Adjust as necessary and know that the story you are telling and the way it is represented will constantly evolve.