Telling Your Story

Many people see websites as a practical way to sell their products, ideas, courses or seminars. This is a perfectly reasonable use for websites, but today I want to add telling your story into the mix. While your product has definite value, it is unlikely to attract raving fans if you, the creator of that thing try to hide behind it.

What do I mean? I mean clients who struggle over giving me a photo of themselves to use on the site, and then produce on from 30 years ago, or solo-preneurs who hide behind the use of “we” in all their information. So why are these things a problem? People buy online because they relate to the person behind the product. They want to identify with your story, the struggles that gave rise to your eBook, the path you took to get your grandchild to be less shy. In the olden days, say 1995, people went into shops and talked to the person behind the counter (mostly) and in the process saw the marketing materials around the shop that told the story of the grocery store, the independent bookshop, the person care products. Part of the buying experience came from entering the shop and interacting with the owner or staff.

Fast forward 20 years, and you are much more likely to buy products online, and more often from people who you have never met – and who may live a continent away from you. The website gives a taste of what the product is, and a bit about the seller, but it is still a long way from meeting the seller in person and having a conversation with them. To overcome that lack of contact, it is vital that as the site owner, you allow more of yourself and your story to appear. I may love your eBook about traveling to England, but if I can find no evidence of your ever having been to England, or any travel philosophy tucked into the page, I have no idea whether your experience of traveling to England might match my expectations. I need to know whether you, as the author, have things in common with me in order to feel I can trust what you are saying.

I know this can feel scary, but it is an important part of getting your product bought. If you are uncomfortable with a ‘warts and all’ view of yourself, then craft your story from just the relevant parts of your past – you don’t need to go into gory detail, just hit the crucial spots that put together explain what caused you to create what you did, who you designed it for, and the problem it solves. It also helps to explain how it has helped you (or the recipient) so the reader can get a sense of whether this product is for them. If they want a quick fix and your system takes 90 days to work, then they will be disgruntled, and disgruntled customers go online and complain…

So think about your story when you come to write your “About Me” page. Write it offline so you can edit and never inadvertently allow something you would regret go online. Remember, this is in part your sales pitch, so it can be a tidied up version of a life event, it doesn’t need to be the version your sister or best friend might hear. Do make sure that the story has a a beginning to set the scene, a middle where you describe the problem and early attempts to resolve it, then a conclusion where you give the final result and how well it works. (Yes, that is what you were taught in school, and I ma a former teacher!)

So, what is the story behind your product?