Something catches your eye. You stop. Go back a bit.
Closer inspection reveals something curious: a mirror set cleverly into the surface. Despite your reservations you can’t help but touch the image and it swings inward: a gateway to a passage lined with etchings telling a familiar story.
The hallway leads to a set of doors. Choose wisely.
You choose and the door swings open on a path stretching through the distance, dotted with villains to vanquish and treasures to unearth. Just like the story promised.
But before you go any further, arm yourself with knowledge from the library shelves set into the walls; packed with wisdom to enrich and enhance your journey toward a better you.
That’s the feeling you get from a good customer’s journey website.
There are over 1.5 billion websites registered. Some 400 million of them vying for your attention. Most of them will fail. Why?
They’re boring as hell!
So what makes a website effective?
An effective website takes visitors on a journey
All human beings are attuned to story. Story is the best (maybe only) way to forge an emotional connection—which is one of the 3 best ways to open wallets.
One of the most prevalent story archetypes is the hero’s journey. We all see ourselves as the main character of a living, breathing, all-singing, all-dancing first-person biopic filled with low-angle and high-angle moments, plot arcs and twists, leitmotifs and callbacks, soundtracks and special effects, foreshadowing and flashback character development.
If you’re hoping to market your stuff, your best bet is to tap into that natural inclination and offer a version of that hero’s journey story that includes your product/service as a helpful upgrade.
When it comes to formatting your customer’s journey into a website, there are a few ways to go about that, depending how much time and effort you want to invest.
First things first, remember that you’re telling a story. But it’s a brand story. Told in your brand voice. Stay consistent with style and vocab across all your online wordwork. Not only will it keep readers engaged, but it will lend professional credence to your potential customer’s experience.
Customer’s journey defined
All together your webpages form a loose conversion funnel (or sales funnel, marketing funnel, purchase funnel, and so forth). The underlying goal is to convert a visitor from phase to phase, funneling to a decision point that results in a sale.
And like all types of conversion funnels, your website pages must obey the fundamental structure of marketing material: AIDA.
AIDA stands for:
Turns out people don’t buy things that are thrust in their faces. Much like seduction, there’s an art of give & take and push & pull. It’s a dance that may or may not end in action—consent is required (not only by law but also by any moral code).
Marketing is about demonstrating enough value to build interest into desire, to the point that the customer is not just willing, but eager to fork over the dough to get the value and enhanced new life.
5 essential basic website pages
Every website is made up of pages, which serve different functions. Some of them act as a hallway of doors. Some of them build trust and demonstrate expertise. Some of them explain the value of what you offer. And some of them arm your visitors with knowledge for the journey.
The best websites are arranged around an overall conversion strategy. More on that later, but for now understand that every page should only include the relevant information that leads to its call to action (CTA).
1. Home page
Often the first page a visitor sees of your website, whether through Google search, clicking a link, or however they arrived.
Keep it brief and to the point:
Introduce the company with a tagline
Brief explanation of what you do and for whom
Portals to other parts of your website
2. About page
One of the most-clicked pages on any website, the About page is no place for your resume. Instead it’s where you build trust and declare your mission statement:
We help _______ achieve _______ by _______ because _______.
You can tell a brief origin story and timeline and introduce the humans who will guide your customer’s journey to a better life. Include face pictures and short profiles for staff who will interface with customers.
It’s also a good idea to include a character testimonial or two. And if you have a brand-centric social media you can include a feed at the bottom.
3. Value proposition page
This is your products/services page. Where you go into detail about the problem you’re solving and the solution you offer.
Remember, it’s all about the value they get:
Detail the problem (pain points)
Detail the solution and how you developed it
Benefits and features
4. Content/resources/blog/portfolio page
Whatever form it takes, content has 2 purposes: Persuade, inform, and/or entertain your audience...and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for driving traffic to your website.
SEO simply means you include keywords and phrases that people use when searching the internet for solutions they need. Publishing regular content lets you connect more of those keywords to your website, while keeping your foundation pages simple simple and clear.
Types of content and blog posts:
Success stories & case studies
Process, tools, materials
Customer/staff spotlight profiles
Instructionals & technical deep-dives
Reviews & personal stories
Definitions & explanations
Portfolio pieces & work examples
Pro tip: Longform content also provides pull-out quotes for social media content.
5. Landing/splash/sales page
A landing page is the door to a specific conversion funnel. It’s usually found at the end of a social media link or paid ad. It has only one CTA and enough information to persuade the reader to follow that CTA to a better life.
Each webpage also has opportunities for SEO. Page titles, meta descriptions, image metadata, and so forth. All of it designed to make your website more clearly organized in the eyes of the Google bots who crawl your website. Read more about that here.
How to write a brand story website
The first step is knowing who you’re writing to. Knowing your audience. The more you know about the people who might buy your stuff, the more effectively you can target and persuade them.
You need to know:
Fears & pain points
Goals & desires
Doubts & hesitations
Successes & defeats
What they spend money on
What makes them click
In marketing the character who goes on your customer’s journey is called your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA). You can build that profile through surveys, research, interviews, and so forth—but the more detailed and specific the better.
Then once you know your ICA, it’s time to start writing.
Need help? Click here for a FREE printable Ideal Customer Avatar template