7 Questions to Ask Your Customers to Get Great Testimonials

7 Questions to Ask Your Customers to Get Great Testimonials

7 Questions to Ask Your

Customers to Get Great Testimonials

 

Reviews and testimonials cause stress for many people.

You never know what someone might say when they post a review. Even if they had a great experience.

And the nice folks who do post reviews or send you testimonials, they’re not copywriters. Even with all the goodness in their hearts, the testimonials fall flat. 

“Jenny is great! We always laughed at her jokes!” 

Do you think this testimonial is helping Jenny land new real estate clients? Nope.

I believe every word on your website has a purpose. Including testimonials.

Testimonials exist to build your authority. To help your potential customers trust you. They see that you helped someone like them solve their problem. And now they’re happy!

Most testimonials don’t accomplish any of those things!

What if you could get great testimonials, every time?

You can. It just takes a little intentionality.

Here are three steps you can take to get great testimonials (with a couple examples at the end of this post).

 

1. Send your customers a survey

The biggest paradigm shift I want you to take away from this article is that you’re not going to wait for your customers to write whatever they feel anymore.

You’re going to write their testimonials for them. 

Gasp! But that’s dishonest! We don’t know what they’d say!

The truth is, most people don’t know what to say. They write a testimonial to help you out, but they don’t really know how. They don’t feel confident.

When you create a well-written testimonial that your customer agrees with and is proud to put their name on, you help them avoid feeling awkward.

To accomplish this, you start by sending them a survey. This survey will give you the details and insight you need to write a testimonial your customer is proud of.

The goal is to capture the most meaningful parts of their experience. Not only what’s meaningful to the person you’re sending the survey to. But also what’s meaningful to your potential customers. 

How do you know what’s meaningful to your potential customers? Read on, friend.

 

2. Ask your customers these 7 questions

Helping your potential customers trust you is the goal of each of your testimonials. But what do they need to know to trust you? To understand this, let’s look at the journey each person goes through as they do business with you.

Every person on your website is there because they have a problem. You’re in business because you help them solve their problem, which means they can go on and live happy lives.

This is the foundation of the Hero’s Journey. It’s the story formula that many movies follow. And it’s the story you help your customers live.

Your potential customers intuitively know that they want to move forward in their journey. To do so, they need someone to help them solve their problem so they can win the day.

The questions in your survey must uncover the specific experiences your customers had as you helped them solve their problem in their Hero’s Journey.

Here are the seven questions you can ask to discover your customer’s experiences. If you’re familiar with the StoryBrand Framework, you’ll notice they line up with each of the seven aspects of a clear story.

1. What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to purchasing/joining/attending?

2. How did that challenge make you feel?

3. What changed after purchasing/joining/attending?

4. What specific results can you share?

5. What would you say to somebody on the fence about purchasing/joining/attending?

6. Anything else to add?

7. Do you grant permission for us to feature your company and this testimonial in our marketing materials?

Click here to download these questions.

Once you ask these seven questions, you’ll know the most important aspects of your customer’s experience. And you’re ready to write a testimonial that helps your future customers trust you.

 

3. Write their testimonials (and send to them for feedback and approval)

At this point, the problem you’re facing is the same as when your customers write their own testimonials. It’s so easy to write a bad one! Writing happy thoughts that mean nothing to your future customers is not your goal.

To understand how to write a great testimonial, let’s step into the world of music.

Have you ever played an instrument? One of the first things most people learn is that it’s not as easy as it looks. Just because it’s built to sound beautiful does not mean that it sounds beautiful in the hands of an amateur. 

Hand your three-year-old nephew a guitar and you might find yourself grabbing your handy-dandy earplugs.

Why? What makes some sounds that guitar makes “music” and other sounds it makes “noise”?

There’s a secret here that every musician is keenly aware of: music is simply sounds subjected to rules.

There are keys you must play in, certain notes that pair well with other notes, a rhythm that must be maintained, and many more.

That guitar only makes music when the musician follows the rules.

And the same is true of words. This is why so many testimonials are just plain bad. Everyone has access to words, but not everyone knows the rules to follow to make them beautiful.

Here’s a simple 3-step formula you can use to write incredible testimonials:

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Success

Look at the survey you sent your customer. We’ll walk through it to craft your beautiful, authority-building testimonial. 

1. Start with the problem.

Use the first two questions from the survey to identify your customer’s external problem and their internal problem (the way it made them feel).

Click here to read more about external and internal problems (and the whole StoryBrand Framework).

You don’t have to include both the external and internal problems, but you do need to make sure the problem is clear—i.e., can a bystander, someone who hasn’t bought your product, understand what problem this person was experiencing? 

Don’t move forward until that’s a solid YES.

2. Move to the solution.

The solution is your product or service, so you already have a pretty good idea of how it works. But look at question three to gain some insight into your customer’s experience of your solution.

Remember, you’re going to send this to them for feedback and approval, so lean on their experience. We want them to feel like this testimonial represents their experience.

3. Finish with success.

This last part is all about painting a picture of what their life looks like now. What success did your product or service help them achieve?

For my customers, the main success I look for is their business grew. This is primarily seen in its revenue stream. So the best success I can include in a testimonial is that revenue went up.

What is it for your customers? Look at question four. It’s okay to double-back and ask some follow up questions if their answer isn’t clear enough. 

Look at these examples of great testimonials:

 

“When I initially hired Miriam, our company was struggling with interpersonal conflicts and poor communication across teams. With Miriam’s help, we instituted changes that improved our communication and enabled us to collaboratively develop a global-leading simulation product. Recently, we were acquired by ANSYS and are on the path toward even greater success.”

“Before working with Patty, I’d felt so stagnant and had no vision for the future I wanted. Patty had me take a personal inventory and helped me create clear steps toward my goals. Within a few weeks, I not only discovered that I want to start a business, but I also created my LLC and started drafting a business plan. I have the clarity I always wanted!”

And that is it! Now you have the tools to create great testimonials that build trust with your customers and clearly demonstrate how your company helps your customers solve their problems.

Good luck as you go about getting great testimonials for your website!

To your success,


Ryan

P.S. If you want your testimonial to be short, you can skip the first two parts, problem and solution, and only include success. This is the most important aspect of the testimonial.

 

 

Make more money with a website that sells

Most business owners waste money on websites that don’t work.

Download our free PDF, The Ultimate Guide to Money-Making Websites, to see how easy it is to get your website working for you.

 

5 Tips for Creating or Improving an Awesome About Page—Can You Guess What They Are?

5 Tips for Creating or Improving an Awesome About Page—Can You Guess What They Are?

5 Tips for Creating or Improving an Awesome About Page—Can You Guess What They Are?

So you want to make an excellent About page?

When you Google articles on the “how to” of About pages, there are so many ideas—many of these contradicting—and now you are frustrated and more confused than ever as to how to begin or improve an existing About page.

This confusion can lead to a poor page—one where it meanders and rambles in such a way that your customer loses respect for your product/service—or worse, loses interest and leaves your site entirely.

One of the best reasons for an About page on your website is the opportunity to showcase your product/service and the culture/feel of your company.

Here is your chance to engage with your customers in such a way that causes them to want to pursue you more. And this pursuit can then develop into brand loyalty and revenue. When people feel like they can connect to you on your About page, something magical happens: they begin to think of you as a friend.

RELATED: How to StoryBrand Your Website

Here are five ideas—four do’s and one don’t that will make your About page both clear and stand out and help your customers fall in love with your company.

1. DO give the information that will help your customers see you are a real company made up of real people.  

“Users seek reassurance … Subconsciously, they’re asking:

Who are you?

Where are you?

What do you do?

How are you doing it?

When did you start?

A good About page answers these questions directly by providing contact information (including a physical address), displaying photos of real people, and explaining what the organization is currently doing.” (UX Booth)

Answering these questions creates a real difference— like the difference between hearing about someone, versus actually meeting them. The About page gives other people the opportunity to meet you. And your job is to provide enough information so they can tell if they like you and can see you in a position to help them.

2. DO Share stories of how your company helped someone else.

It is all too easy to use your About page to brag on your company and its people.  A little of this is okay, however, too much of it, and it leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Instead of spending too much time talking about you, you, you, you, brag on your customers that you have helped.

“When you have a great story about how your product or service was built to change lives, share it. The ‘About Us’ page is an excellent place for it to live, too. Good stories humanize your brand, providing context and meaning for your product. What’s more, good stories are sticky — which means people are more likely to connect with them and pass them on.” (Hubspot)

If you look at MailChimp’s About page (listed as “Why MailChimp”) they start with a quote about who they are and what they do—in service of YOU.

At ClearBrand, we will wholeheartedly agree that your customer always needs to be the hero, not you—even on your About page.

3. DON’T drown us in graphics and information.  

We are all overwhelmed.

In a world where we are overrun with visual noise (digital and actual), sometimes the way to get someone’s attention is by doing less. Look at this website called Alfred:

 

They do a great job of introducing themselves, keeping it clean and simple and clearly telling you how they help you, without being braggy. This isn’t on their main page—this is their “Our Story” page. You can never say too often, “We are around to help you.”

4. DO pay attention to your graphics, typeface and color palate—Make sure they are consistent with your overall website.

Don’t get so excited about your About page that you start introducing cool graphics and typefaces which don’t show up anywhere else in your website. It will give your site a disjointed look and distress (at an unconscious level) your potential customers.

As I looked at numerous posts on typeface, graphics and color schemes,  it seems clear the real issue is in keeping consistent with your overall look and being thoughtful about what this graphic communicates and what that typeface symbolizes.

Maybe this is common sense, but then again, we all get excited with new and novel colors and graphics.

5. DO use your “About page” to tell a story.

Shopify has an excellent post on creating your About page. They state, “The best About Us pages accomplish their goals by telling a story about a brand.”

Here is an opportunity to share where you came from, how working with the people you love (your team and your customers) has brought you to this place where you are even better at serving your people.

I’m sure there were struggles along the way—it’s okay to share those. Just don’t let it get too wordy and cumbersome.

Some About pages make me want to leave the site immediately due to the sheer amount of words. I feel like if they say this much on the page, they’re probably not interested in me and my concerns. It’s like being at a party where someone monopolizes the conversation—we all get anxious when we feel trapped. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but it can feel that way sometimes.

However, when people tell a story, I can get caught up in it. And, strangely, if it is written well, I feel like I can become part of it.

In Conclusion

Of course, these five items are not an exhaustive list. However, I do think a good About page engages with these five ideas.

I think it is a bit like cooking. There’s an art to it! There are many different ways to make an apple pie, but it does actually require apples. There are many different ways to construct an About page, however, if you make sure you include…

  1. Answers to the basic questions of who, what, where, how, & when
  2. How your customer was helped
  3. Minimal elements
  4. Consistency with your graphics and colors on your website
  5. Elements of story

…well, then you are on your way to a great About page.

Do this correctly, and you have added a powerful asset to your website.

Do a poor About page, and you may end up having people leave without really giving your product or service a fair chance.

And this would be a shame, now, wouldn’t it—because you have something really great to bring to the world, don’t you?

To your success,

Miriam

Make more money with a website that sells

StoryBranding your website can be hard! That’s why we created this Ultimate Guide to Money-Making Websites. 

In this guide, you learn:

– 6 things every website should include
– the first thing your website should display
– 3 ways to boost your ranking on Google

Plus, gain confidence that you’re doing what you need to to create a website that makes you money.

 

StoryBrand Guide: 3 Ways to Make Your Customer the Hero

StoryBrand Guide: 3 Ways to Make Your Customer the Hero

StoryBrand How-To: 3 Ways to Make Your Customer the Hero

man reading a guide to seo for storybrand websites on his phone

Most marketing doesn’t work.

It’s tragic, but it’s true. Most businesses don’t see the return on investment they’re hoping for.

One of the primary reasons for this is that these businesses — or the marketing teams they hired — think they’re the star of the show. They wrongly believe people are buying their products because of how amazing the company is.

So they launch ad campaigns that set the company as the hero coming to save the day.

And they lose millions.

The problem with this is that your customers aren’t living that story. They’re living their own story.

In your customer’s story, they’re the hero.

Think about your own life. You wake up and you have goals you want to accomplish, problems to solve, issues to fix. You live your story through your own eyes. You’re the main character.

The same is true in your customers’ lives.

When you talk about how great you and your company are and how difficult your journey has been or how you’re moving up in the world, they check out. That’s not the story they’re living so they have no reason to be interested.

Instead of competing with our customers for the role of hero, it is our responsibility to empower them to be the best hero they can be.

This is what sets great companies apart. They do not engage with their customers to see how much money they can make. Great companies know their primary responsibility is to help their customers win the day.

Check out how Beats by Dre illustrated this in a 2013 ad:

They could have talked about how cool their headphones are. They could have shown images of their headphones at all sorts of different angles and described the incredible noise-canceling technology. But they didn’t.

They simply showed you how you can “hear what you want.” You can drown out the haters and get motivated to conquer your challenges.

 

Help your customers win the day

In a story, the character that helps the hero win the day is called the Guide. This is Yoda and Obi-Wan in Star Wars. It’s Morpheus in The Matrix and in Black Panther and Thor it’s T’Challa and Thor’s fathers.

I believe it is the responsibility of leaders and brands to be Guides. It is our responsibility to help our customers win the day.

That’s where your products and services come in. They’re like Batman’s utility belt. It doesn’t make him a hero, it provides him with the tools he needs to win the day.

Your customers already know they are the heroes. They live every day as the main character of their life. You don’t have to tell them.

What they don’t know is if you know what they’re going through.

Every hero has a deep desire, something they want. But some problem is getting in their way. It’s preventing them from getting what they want.

That’s why they’re on your website. They’re looking for a solution. The quickest way to their heart is to tell them you know what they’re going through. You can do this in two ways.

Here are three strategies from a StoryBrand Guide you can use to help your customers feel like heroes. And, ultimately, grow your business.

RELATED: How to StoryBrand Your Website

1. Tell them you know what they want

Think about the life your customers will have after they use your product or services. That’s what they’re really after. Do you sell a drill? Help your customers imagine the things they can build. Do you sell a wasp killer? Help your customers see how safe their yard will be.

When people see that you understand their deepest desires—the reason they’re seeking a solution to their problem, the life they want to live—they connect with you and trust you to help them solve their problem.

 

2. Talk about the problem they’re experiencing

The only reason anyone comes to your website is that they’re looking for a solution to a problem.

Most companies don’t talk about the problem they solve. This leaves their customers without context and without a connection.

Solutions don’t simply exist. They exist to solve something. A solution without a problem isn’t a solution. It’s meaningless.

However, when you talk about the problem your product or service solves, it has context. And your customers bond with you. They say, “Wow! They know what I want! And they know what I’m going through! They understand my problem, so they must know how to solve it.”

When you talk about the problem your customers are living with (and looking for a solution to) they connect with you and trust you to solve their problem.

 

3. Tell them how you help them solve their problem, through their eyes

Every business has a sob story about how hard it was to get started or how many hours it took to design the perfect product.

Your customers don’t care about your story.

When it comes to you, your customers want to know if they can trust you. That’s it. Do they care about all the tears you cried developing your product? Nope.  It doesn’t matter to them.

What matters is this: can you solve their problem?

Most companies talk about their products as if it’s the customer’s job to solve the company’s problem—increased revenue. This kind of thinking leads to product descriptions that do nothing more than tell the customer how cool the company is.

We want to avoid that.

Change your mindset to change your marketing.

To begin, we need a different mindset. Your customers don’t come to you to help you solve your revenue problem. Instead, you offer a valuable solution to your customers that helps them solve their problem.

Your product descriptions should talk about your products as solutions to your customers’ problems. Here’s an example:

“Do you struggle to keep your breath smelling great throughout the day? Our all-natural mouthwash distributes enzymes throughout your mouth that eat bad-breath bacteria and keep your breath smelling great for 36 hours!”

See how the focus stays on the user? It tells them what they get rather than telling them how cool the product is. (FYI, I made this product up. I don’t know if this is possible, but it sounds good!)

Focus on what the user gets, not on what you provide.

It might feel like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction. When you tell your readers what they get, how it helps them solve their problem, and how it makes their life better, they buy more.

 

It is so easy to fall into the trap of marketing ourselves and our companies as the hero. After all, we live as the hero in our own story!

But when pull our head out of our story and consider the story our customers are living, we create an opportunity to build a relationship with them we would otherwise miss out on.

When we take on the role of the guide we are able to lift up our customers as heroes. And they welcome it! They feel supported and empowered to conquer the problems they’re experiencing. Which means they engage with you more and you grow your business.

To your success,

Ryan

 

 

Make more money with a website that sells

StoryBranding your website can be hard! That’s why we created this Ultimate Guide to Money-Making Websites. 

In this guide, you learn:

– 6 things every website should include
– the first thing your website should display
– 3 ways to boost your ranking on Google

Plus, gain confidence that you’re doing what you need to to create a website that makes you money.

 

Say More with Less (How to Write Engaging Website Copy)

Say More with Less (How to Write Engaging Website Copy)

Say More With Less (How to Write Engaging Website Copy)

man reading a guide to seo for storybrand websites on his phone

If you are like most business owners, you own a product you love and you are proud of it.

You know people will become loyal customers for life—if they will only try your product. And so you talk it up and down and give lots of testimonials and 150 reasons why this product or service is the next best thing since sliced bread.

Blogs, email sequences, website copy (FYI, “copy” is another way of saying “content” or “words”). Words, words, words. —All in an effort to get your potential customer to realize their need for your product or service.

Meanwhile, people are leaving your site in droves. Leaving your emails unopened. Leaving your blogs unread.

Why?

As someone who is both a therapist and an Executive Coach, I listen to a lot of people. Do you know what the vast majority of them do in terms of their communication?

They ramble.

They use 1000 words, where 100 would do.

And, honestly, when I’m listening to a client in a therapy session, this is just fine. Even in a coaching session, it’s not a problem, other than time = money. But in advertising and communication about your product? Not good.

Instead of reading 100 words, your web viewers have to wade through 1000 while they try to figure out what you’re saying. This requires your readers’ brains to burn more calories to get your meaning.

The problem is, our brains don’t want to burn calories. So they check out.

Which means those 1000 words you wrote aren’t getting through to your readers and aren’t helping you sell your product.

My question to you is this: Can you say more in your website copy with less?

Keep what you need, get rid of the rest

I think the “say more with less” idea can take a lesson from simple minimalism. Basically, it says: keep what you need, get rid of what you don’t.

Erik Deckers, in his blog post Fewer Words, Greater Impact: How to Write Like a Minimalist, wrote:

“One myth people have about minimalism is that it means going without. A minimalist washes dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher. A minimalist owns four dishes, instead of 12 full place settings, plus a set of China. A minimalist has very little furniture, and their rooms are nearly empty.

“That’s not minimalism. That’s spartan living. There’s a difference.

“A minimalist doesn’t have very much stuff, but they make sure that what they have does the most and is the best they get.

“Just like a minimalist chooses the things that mean the most to him or her, minimalist writers choose the best words laden with the deepest, richest meaning they can find.”

What I am encouraging you to do here in reference to your business, website copy and email sequences is to use the best words (and fewest) you can find.

For a website, we can narrow that down to three things:

1. What is the problem your product or service solves?

2. How does it solve that problem?

3. How does it make your customers’ lives better?

I feel like (perhaps due to SEO) everyone has created so much blah, blah blah in their marketing. We are tired of it. This is what has created (or at least contributed to) skimming.

According to High-Level Marketing: “A popular rumor floating around is that blog posts & web pages need to be at least 300 words long to appeal to search engines. This is not true.”

High-Level Marketing gives a list of 14 things which are important for SEO, but excessive word length is not one of them.

When my kids were little, I used to play this game with them (which drove them CRAZY). I used to ask them to tell me about the movie they had just seen or a dream they had in 2-3 sentences.

I think this came about because years prior to me having children, I was trapped once by a 12-year-old who spent forty-five minutes telling me the plot of a movie. He never took a breath, but just kept talking. I was miserable and felt trapped.

I would never listen that long for a product.

There is this rude, impatient person inside me who is saying: Get to the point!

I don’t think I’m so different from most people.

So how do we get to the “less”?

Edit. Trim. Remove.

Stephen King, in his book On Writing, says between draft one and two, you should remove about 10% of your writing. This is a good rule for copy-writing as well.

With your website copy, you should remove close to 50%.

Remove (and replace) long gangly sentences with shorter ones. Get rid of larger words. Remove extemporaneous “that’s,” “very’s,” “like’s.”

If I were to go back and edit the previous sentence, I’d get rid of “extemporaneous.” I can say exactly the same thing by just saying “remove the …” It doesn’t change the meaning and it makes the sentence more readable. Just because you may possess a good vocabulary, doesn’t mean your reader does.

Having a good vocabulary or proving your intelligence has nothing to do with purchasing your product or service. It doesn’t make people more likely to buy. It makes them more likely to check out.

Here’s another tip: When you read through your writing, whether website copy, an email sequence or blog, look for superfluous and verbose words to remove.

Again, if I were to trim the last sentence I would get rid of both “superfluous” and “verbose” and I would replace them with ”extra.” I don’t need to be redundant—both words mean “extra.”

Another way to remove copy is to get rid of “weak” words.

Neil Patel, in his article Words You Need to Edit Out of Your Blogpost, says there are some weak words, such as “very/really”, “Think/believe/feel” “better/ almost” “amazing”, “maybe/perhaps/always” and “just/ literally” He also advises against the passive voice of “is/am/are/was.”

I literally struggle with this all the time. I think it is almost (well, perhaps always) a way to get really cumbersome in your efforts to be awesome. In the end, using these words just maybe takes your message from better to bad.  : )

Rambling is a copywriting sin

A couple of days ago, I was in a company working with one of the employees who spent an hour telling me something which could have been expressed in 15 minutes.

I let him ramble, partly, because I needed to be able to use his own behavior to illustrate to him how he talks on and on and on. I know most people would not be able to follow his train of thought without a huge effort on their part. Even I was pretty tired listening to all this.

This is what we do in our marketing efforts and in our website copy. We get lost in what we’re saying and go on and on. And, in the process, we lose our readers (and their business).

In one sentence, what does your product do?

In my therapy practice: I help people overcome trauma.

In my coaching practice: I help executives/companies realize their greatness.

At ClearBrand: we help people implement StoryBrand correctly so they make more money.

What does your company do? In one sentence.

It’s difficult to get it trimmed down, but the clarity is enormously useful to your clients.

It is important to be brief.

Our businesses are too important to risk losing people with our boring monologues. Your customers will leave your website without buying. They’ll put your emails in the trash. They won’t buy from you.

But when you say more with less, people stick with you and understand what you do. They give you the opportunity to talk to them. And they buy from you.

In Brief

If you look at the word count of this blog, I’ve already topped well over 1000 words.

How could I say this in less than 100?

People’s time and attention are valuable. If you truly want to serve them:

  • Be clear
  • Be concise
  • Show them how you can serve them in your website copy and email sequences
  • Make it easy for them to buy from you

 

Keep them engaged, but don’t blah blah blah them. That’s it.

To your success,

Miriam

Make more money with a website that sells

StoryBranding your website can be hard! That’s why we host a quarterly How to StoryBrand Your Website Masterclass.

Join StoryBrand Certified Guide, Ryan Toth, and dozens of business leaders as we go through the ins and outs of confidently creating a StoryBrand website that makes you money.

 

Guide to SEO for StoryBrand Websites (2019 Update!)

Guide to SEO for StoryBrand Websites (2019 Update!)

Guide to SEO for StoryBrand Websites (2019 Update!)

Many business leaders are uncertain about SEO for StoryBrand websites. There is a lot of mystery around how to show up higher in Google searches and if the principles are the same for StoryBrand websites.

This uncertainty means these business leaders don’t do anything. They don’t know what they should do!

Today, I’m going to reveal the man behind the curtain. Just like with Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, what seems like magic really isn’t.

Here are 5 simple principles to boost SEO for StoryBrand websites. You can use these tips to make your site rank better on Google — and gain more visitors and more sales.

man reading a guide to seo for storybrand websites on his phone

1. Write For Humans

Many people (falsely) believe that their primary goal is to create content Google likes. All their content exists to help Google understand them so Google will boost their search ranking. This was true ten years ago, but not anymore.

Google gets smarter with every update to its search engine. It can tell what content is about even if it hasn’t been properly keyworded or optimized. And each new update is putting more and more value on the viewer’s experience.

Google’s main goal is to provide search results that its users want. When people are happy with the results Google provides, they use Google more, and Google can advertise to them.

Because of this, Google is putting more value on signs that users engage with the websites Google sends them to, such as average time on page and conversions. “SEO” is no longer about stuffing as many keywords into a website as you can. Google is smarter than that now.

While some amount of optimization helps Google understand your website, it does not replace the boost you’ll get when you create content that humans like. When you write compellingly (so the people Google sends to you engage and buy), Google notices and boosts your content.

StoryBrand is the best method to create a clear message. Many marketers provide theory and ideas but Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller and the StoryBrand Marketing Workshop teach you how to do it.

Writing clear, compelling content that increases average time on site and increases conversions has never been easier. Pick up your copy of Building a StoryBrand to clarify your message or head over to this article on how to StoryBrand your website.

(Disclaimer: The above links include affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage commission of your purchases. It doesn’t cost you any extra to use those links. If you’d prefer to not use my affiliate links, I won’t be mad. You do you!)

Your primary goal is to create engaging content for your website viewers — content that solves their problems and makes them want to buy from you. This is why I love SEO for StoryBrand websites. Nothing you do should sacrifice the experience you create for humans and StoryBrand makes sure you keep their experience front and center.

Use the following tips to optimize your great content so Google better understands it, but always prioritize humans over search engines.

 

2. On-Site SEO

This is the ground floor of your SEO for StoryBrand websites strategy (the foundation is the experience you create for humans). If your content isn’t optimized for Google to read and understand it, nothing else will work as well as it could.

Google’s primary goal is to help searchers find what they’re looking for. So it wants to put the best options at the top of the list. As a business, Google gets more users when its users are happy with the search results it shows. So that’s what it tries to do.

If Google doesn’t understand your website, it doesn’t know when to put it in search results. It doesn’t know which searchers are looking for what you offer.

As an aside, I’m not going to get into website code here. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you’re using a website builder, like Squarespace or Divi with WordPress, not hand-coding your website.

Here are a few ways to help Google understand your website (and yes, these are necessary for SEO for StoryBrand Websites, too).

Title Tag

This is the first place Google and searchers look. It’s what shows up as your title in search results. Most website builders let you customize the title of your page. For your homepage, look in the general settings for something like, “Site Identity”. For other pages, it should be in the settings for that specific page. Here it is in WordPress:

title tag of blog post about seo for storybrand websites

You want it to be 70 characters or less and include your business name and one or two keywords that relate to that page.

But remember, it’s not only for Google. This is also what your searchers see. So don’t cram nonsensical terms in there just because you want to rank for them. When it comes to SEO for StoryBrand websites, your goal is to keep everything clear and simple so searchers want to click.

Meta Description

This is the small text that displays beneath your title and URL in search results. You can find it near the setting for your Title Tag.

Provide some extra information about what your site is about. There is some debate about how much meta descriptions help your ranking, but they definitely get seen by searchers. So make it clear and compelling.

Here’s what your meta description and Title Tag look like in search results:

google search results showing title tag and meta description

If you’re using WordPress you get an extra benefit: SEO plugins! There are plugins you can use, like All in One SEO, Platinum SEO, and SEO by Yoast that will help you add and optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. Some plugins also give you feedback on your content and provide other suggestions to help boost your SEO. My team installs Yoast on every website we build for clients.

Writing Tips for On-Site SEO for StoryBrand Websites

When you’re writing content, there are some basic guidelines you should keep in mind that help both humans and robots (Google) read your text.

  • Headers: This is the first place to start. When humans read your content, they don’t start by reading it. They start by skimming your content, which means they glance through it to get the basic idea of the content, then the scan it, which means they read through the content quickly to find facts and see if they like it. Then, if they like it, they read it.

    Break your content down into small, bite-sized pieces with headers to make it easier on people when they’re skimming and scanning. This will also help them decide to read it, which means they engage longer. Google likes to see people stay on your page longer and will reward you.Headers are also helpful for SEO for StoryBrand websites because it helps Google understand which ideas are important.

    Don’t forget that Google reads the rest of your content, too, but specifying headers helps. Note: make sure you use HTML or built-in header selections (which write the HTML) so Google knows. Simply adjusting the text size or bolding the text won’t work.

  • Bold text: Similar to headers, bold text helps both humans and search engines understand your content. Don’t overdo it, because that will increase confusion. Use bold text to highlight main ideas and help humans better understand your content. This will also help search engines.  
  • Internal links: Linking to other pages on your website helps Google understand what each page is about. This works best when you’re intentional. Don’t just link to random pages to build your internal links. Categorize your pages and blog posts and link to other pages and blog posts within the same category (HubSpot has a great article on internal links, look at #10).
  • Optimize images: Search engines don’t know what images look like. Image titles and alt-text are used to tell the search engine what the image is. SEO experts have known to add alt-text to images for awhile, but now Google is adding extra preference to websites with alt-text because it helps people with vision impairment engage with your website. When someone with vision impairment comes to your website they might not be able to see the images or read the text.

     

    Thankfully, phones and computers can read the text on the website to them. Just like search engines, the apps that read websites can’t describe an image, so they read the alt-text to the user instead.

    Google wants everyone to have a great experience on your website, including people who are visually impaired. Add image titles and alt-text to your images with the human in mind. Remember that they can’t see it, so give a nice description of what it is. If it’s possible to include a keyword, include it. But remember to write for the human first and the search engine second. Don’t over-saturate your image alt-text with keywords just for Google.

    As an example, the alt-text for the first image in this post is this: “man reading a guide to seo for storybrand websites on his phone.”

When you optimize your awesome content, it makes it easier for Google to read and understand what it is and when to show it to searchers.

 

3. Create Incredible Content

Want more people on your website? Everything you’ve read so far is just the rules of the game. This is how to move the ball down the field.

Creating great content is how you boost your SEO.

If you don’t play by the rules, you’re not going to see the results you want. When you play by the rules, your content can help you reach your goal of more people on your website and more people buying your product.

Both humans and search engines love content. In fact, it’s the cornerstone of SEO for StoryBrand websites.

But not just any content. Content for the sake of content doesn’t help anyone. Good, valuable content. Remember, Google likes to see people spend more time on your site. So create content worth reading. Your human viewers will love it—and they might even share it! That’s another benefit of useful content.

Start small with a weekly blog post or video. Whatever fits you best. I love reading blogs and articles, so creating blog posts makes sense. Whenever I write one, I make sure it’s something I would read and find valuable.

After you create your content, let everyone know about it. Post on social media, send to your email list, etc. Google notices the traffic.

After you get into a content-creation rhythm, step up your game by creating content on multiple platforms. Google loves this. Do you have a blog? Awesome, film a video for each blog post, upload it to YouTube then embed it in your blog post.

When Google sees your activity on multiple platforms it starts to see you as a brand rather than a person. This is good because Google isn’t always sure if it can trust (and should boost the ranking for) a person. Brands are more trustworthy to Google, so you’ll see a boost in your search ranking.

Here are some avenues for your content:

  • Blogs and articles
  • YouTube videos
  • Podcasts

Here are some ideas for content:

  • How-to guides
  • Infographics
  • Tutorials
  • Industry articles

For more info, check out Neil Patel’s guide to content marketing.

 

4. Link Building

Google is a popularity contest. We’re all trying to win the crown of Prom King or Prom Queen. Ugh, just thinking about that brings back bad memories! But it’s true. And it’s necessary for SEO for StoryBrand websites.

One of Google’s hardest tasks is figuring out who’s trustworthy and what content people want. Determining who’s popular helps Google figure this out. If other people think your site is good, Google can assume it is trustworthy and helpful to searchers, too.

How do you convince Google you’re popular?

Links.

When you share a blog post, video, or article with a friend, you’re implying, “I like this and trust it.” When you put a link to a blog, article, product, etc. on your website you’re saying the same thing.

Google believes you’re popular when it sees other people linking to your website. One link from someone else’s website isn’t really going to help you. You want to start getting links regularly. Quantity and quality both matter. The more links to your website, the better. But it doesn’t help if the websites linking to you are small or un-trafficked. The best links are from websites with authority.

There are three main ways to do build links:

  • Organic links: This is when your content is so good that people link to it without you asking them. These are the best!
  • Whitehat: Good, quality links from good, quality websites. Find some tips on how to build these links below.
  • Blackhat: Dishonest and unhelpful. Spamming people’s comment boxes, creating fake websites to link to you. Low quality links from low quality sources. Don’t do this.

Here are some ideas on how to build good links:

  • Link to others in a quality post or article, then email them to let them know about the link and tell them why you think they’re awesome and ask them to link back to you.
  • Write guest blog posts for popular blogs in your industry and put a link to your website in the author’s box.
  • Ask people in your industry or who you work with if they’ll add a link to your website on their website. Sometimes people list partners or vendors and you can get a link there.
  • Create great content that people want to link to.
  • Create online profiles. Social media, Google My Business, etc. Not all of these links count, but it’s a good practice and might attract people to your website anyway.
  • List your website in directories in your industry or pay to have it listed. Some cities have lists of the “best local companies that do _____”.

 

5. Monitor Your Progress

Often, when we don’t know how something is going we assume the worst. We think it must not be going well. In addition, I’m a firm believer that what gets measured gets done.

For those two reasons, I always measure my progress. I want to see what’s going well and what’s not. This lets me fix things that aren’t going well and celebrate the things that are.

Here are my favorite ways to track search results:

  • Google Search Console: This is where you can tell Google to look at your site if you made updates and monitor the searches that you’re ranking for.
  • Google Analytics: The best free analytics platform out there. You can track pretty much everything! It can take some learning, but it’s worth it.
  • Authority Labs: These kind folks track how your search ranking changes over time and lets you know what search engines think your page is about.

There are many great tools to track and improve your search presence, but these are good to start with. Especially if you’re just getting into all this.

 

If you follow these SEO for StoryBrand website principles outlined in this article, you’ll start ranking higher in search results. But remember, search results don’t change overnight. This is a long game. Do this for six months before truly evaluating how it’s going. It takes at least that long to see a solid boost in your search results.

Stick with it! You make great things and you deserve to be found, not buried beneath everyone else in Google.

Follow these SEO for StoryBrand website tips and watch your search ranking increase.

Good luck!

To your success,

Ryan

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