StoryBrand Website Examples
What Is A StoryBrand Website?
A StoryBrand website provides clear messaging by leveraging the 7-part framework of story, turning visitors into customers. In order to effectively create a StoryBrand, you need to understand the framework really well. In this post I’m going to show you some great StoryBrand website examples, give you a short checklist and share with you common pitfalls most people make when creating their website.
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Above the fold
You don’t just want a nice-looking website, you need a website that actually makes you money! Your website needs to pass what StoryBrand refers to as the “Grunt Test”. Imagine a cave man looking at your website above the fold for five seconds before smashing the screen shut with a barbaric YALP. When he stares at you, drooling, over the scrap of metal that was your laptop, he should be able to grunt out answers to the following questions.
What do you do?
How does this make my life better?
How do they buy or work with you?
I like to ask my clients, “could a 5th grader look at the first page of your website (above the fold) and answer those three questions?” If a 5th grader can’t explain those three answers back to you, you’re losing sales.
Why is this, you might ask? It’s because of two reasons:
The curse of knowledge
You’re asking them to burn too many calories
Because you’re an expert in your field, you’re a 9 or 10 out of 10 when it comes to your knowledge about your particular industry. When you feel like you’re trying to be clear and make things simple you’re most likely communicating at a level 5 or 6. This is a problem because people make buying decisions at a level 1 and 2. If you don’t communicate what you do in a way a 5th grader would be able to understand, you’re essentially throwing money out the window.
The second reason the test matters is that processing complex information burns more calories, which makes it harder for someone to buy from you. That’s because exerting brain energy goes in direct opposition of our brains constantly trying to conserve calories. The longer it takes to process information, the more calories we spend trying to navigate a complex website, the more calories we burn. The best StoryBrand websites are easy to process, clear and simple.
Though great design is a minimum for businesses online, people just don’t buy from what looks the best. They buy what they can understand the quickest.
Using the StoryBrand Framework on your website clarifies your message so your audience easily understands what you do and how it makes their life better.
Here is a website we built for a client that does a great job of answering those questions.
Bowman Fly Fishing is as clear as it is visually appealing. You immediately know 1) they are a Fly Fishing Guide Service, 2) you’ll have a trip you’ll love, and 3) all you need to do is click that button to work with them. Another great thing about this website is the video that is playing in the background. The screen-grab is just one of many “hero shot” moments. It features a target customer with a smile on their face, loving their experience catching fish.
Your website should be clear on what your offer even if it doesn’t have words on it. Pictures of mountains or skylines are not going to cut it. You need to show what the benefits of working with you are - even in your background photo or video.
My other personal favorite is that we’re already positioning Bowman as the guide (pun intended) in the story by establishing authority with those little pop-ups in the bottom left. Want those too? Click here
Depending on the device you are using, you might see what we refer to as the “value stack” above the fold as well. What these statements do is help paint a picture of success for clients in what it’s like to work with you. The copy for these value stacks is directly pulled from the success bucket of your StoryBrand BrandScript.
One thing that is common among great websites is a very simple navigation. You’ll notice that there are only four options at the top and one of them is the call to action. I highly suggest you simplify your header navigation and put everything else you can’t get rid of in the footer, like the about page.
Check Out Our Blog Post > Branding Vs Marketing
Checklist form the examples above
Are you communicating what you offer?
Is it clear how your product or service will make your customer’s life better?
Is it clear to your customer how to buy your product or service?
People don’t read websites, they scan them. Is the text minimal?
Do photos/video in your header display an aspirational success of your character?
Below the fold
This is where the real fun starts and most people go off the rails. Let’s keep you from going off the rails. Below the fold is whatever is past what people initially see on screen when your website loads without scrolling. Now that people are scrolling we know they are at least moderately interested in seeing what you offer and if it will work for them. This is your chance to invite your customers into a story.
I’m going to continue to use Bowman’s site here for the next few points, but don’t worry. I’ll show you others and why they work as well.
In this section we introduce the problem that Fly Fishing can be frustrating. If you pay close attention, you’ll see we are not actually addressing the external problem that Fly Fishing alone can be difficult. We’re skipping right to the internal feeling people get when they are having a hard time.
After we’ve introduced the problem and how they solve it, we establish them as the authority again by showcasing testimonials from their clients and pictures of past trips.
Then, we do a little “about section”, but the key here is that we’re not making Bowman the hero of the story. What we’re doing here is a actually a short elevator pitch using the StoryBrand Framework. We’re making sure it’s short enough someone could read while they are in line at Starbucks with a friend. Can your about section be understood by someone while they order a latte and chat with a friend?
One of the best parts about a great BrandScript is that it has a super simple three (or four) step process in order for customer to work with you. When you have a three step process it makes it easy to understand how to work with you and doesn’t require your customer to burn a lot of calories.
Checklist form the examples above
Display a plan that will lift the fog for your customer (“3 Easy Steps” with descriptions of each step and a title)
Three or four things your customer will get as a result of engaging with your brand
Use icons/graphics and a bold title above the descriptions
Communicate success - explain the value or success you will deliver to your customers
What is it going to cost the customer if they don’t do business with you?
Lessons from our StoryBrand Website
Pictured below are three screenshots of our current website homepage and here is what makes great StoryBrand examples. First, they all keep the customer as the hero of the story. This is essential for anything StoryBrand. The headers are all packed with value. We could have said “how we’re different”, but instead we painted a picture of success and established us as people who can help our clients grow their company. Each header should be exceptionally thoughtful because most people will simply skim your website. The other thing that should be considered is your on-page SEO. How effectively you do that can add value.
This might be our secret sauce, so don’t tell anyone else. We try and get our customers to “imagine” or have our readers think about how awesome it would be to work with us. This again pulls from the success bucket of the StoryBrand BrandScript. If you think of the 7-parts of the StoryBrand frameworks as ingredients in baking something, painting a clear picture of success is like flour. You can almost not get enough of it.
We have what’s called a transitional call to action on the first page of our website. This is a chance for customers to get someone of value from us even if they are not ready to work with us. This is for the vast majority of people who for whatever reason might want to work with you, but are not sure if it’s the best time or if you’re the right fit. Want that E-Book? Click here
In our “about section” we do a longer version of a sales letter. A sales letter is a really effective way to hit all the points of the StoryBrand Framework. It walks the reader from their desires all the way through what’s at risk if they don’t work with you. This is your chance to talk more and fit in all the other keywords you want (tastefully). Adding in the necessary keywords helps both those who are seriously considering you and Google have all the info their hearts desire. What you’ll notice though is that it’s expandable such that people can still skim the whole website if they want.
Checklist form the examples Below
Do your headers aid your story that you’re trying to tell?
Do you have a transitional call to action?
Is your website also SEO friendly?
Is your about section expandable?
A Classic StoryBrand Example
Shultz Photo School is a legacy example of a StoryBranded website. The first thing you see is a beautiful image of a child, which is what parents are looking to create. Everything from their header to their logo is cohesive in their messaging and branding. The logo is clear and appealing with the letter S for Shultz disguised as a camera. When you look at this logo you automatically know this brand has something to do with photography.
The second thing that really stands out on the website is the “Get a Free Course” button. This is the direct call to action. The button is strategically placed on the cover page twice and is the only thing that is colored on the homepage. This enables that button to pop and be the center of attention. Additionally, if you’re a real StoryBrand pro, you’ll notice that they have a “learn more” button as the transitional call to action.
The header establishes them as an authority and the sub header shows the customer what’s in it for them. Look at the text that reads: “Join 102,000 parents who are taking priceless pics of their kids, not just snapshots”. This also builds trust with the customer and lets them feel as though they are part of something bigger.
Check Out Our Blog Post > Digtial Marketing 101
Unofficial StoryBranded Websites
I’m going to share with you three companies I love using and why what they did on their website made me want to work with them.
This quickly might turn into a love letter for Bench, but they are that great. First off, it’s incredibly clear what they do, how it makes your life better, and how you can work with them. This alone sets them apart from the competition. (You too can be clearer than your competition.) I really like their use of negative space ascetically, but to each their own. I do think that minimalism in design and StoryBrand go hand in hand.
Next, I want to point your attention to how they creatively show you what’s in it for you as a potential customer. They simply tell you that tax season is going to be less stressful and you’re going to get more hours in your day. What small business owner doesn’t want that?
Introducing HoneyBook, this one I use as well. Tough the website isn’t perfect, it does have some great stuff I want to point out to you that I think you can learn from. This screenshot is below the fold. See if you can find elements we have already talked about here.
At the top they are establishing themselves as the guide by positioning themselves with authority next to those well known brand names. This is something you can incorporate on your website if you’ve worked with well-known or local brands. You can also do this if you’ve been featured by any media outlets. They are also doing the same thing by showcasing a customer testimonial.
The statement “End-to-end project management tracking keeps you in total control” clearly communicates what the product is and how it makes the customer feel when they use their product.
This is awful, but I will try out products just because I appreciate how well they did with their marketing. Crazy, I know. That being said Whoop, is one of my favorite products and they live up to all of their marketing promises. A key for you to know is that you can promise as much success as you like, as long as you deliver. Below you’ll find a benefits or success section regarding what is in it for people who buy their product. I love that icons enable people to understand what’s in it for them even if they are in line ordering that latte we talked about.