Back to Learning Center
Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our weekly insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center
Close
The IMPACT Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center
learning_center_grey__What is They Ask, You Answer-v2-black

What is They Ask, You Answer

What is <span>They Ask, You Answer</span>
Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, <span>& Updates</span>
Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & <span>Certifications</span>
On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand <span>Keynotes & Sessions</span>
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Services
Services
Close
Navigation_8_2021_taya

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop
Navigation_8_2021_workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales
Training

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
Close
Website Redesign

5 ways you can use the StoryBrand framework to make a better website

Donald Miller's StoryBrand framework can help you build the website your customers really want: Clear, helpful, organized, and exciting.

By John Becker

5 ways you can use the StoryBrand framework to make a better website Blog Feature

When we work with clients to design their new websites, we repeat the same mantra over and over: Your website is never finished. 

It’s true. Just as your business grows and changes, your website must too. All too often, we talk with business leaders who are stuck with a website they can’t update that keeps becoming less and less accurate — and harder to explain to customers.

And it is your customers, in the end, that your site is really for. That bears repeating: Your website is for your customers, not for you. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, or can’t understand how you can help them, they’ll go elsewhere — and you’ll be left wondering what you could have done differently. 

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand framework provides helpful guidance so you can build the exact website your customers need. Here’s how.

Using the StoryBrand framework to build a better website

The principles Donald Miller lays out in his books — especially Building a StoryBrand (2016) and Marketing Made Simple (2020) — help businesses distill and optimize their language to best connect with customers. 

Each time we work with clients to redesign their websites, we utilize Miller’s advice to keep their customers front and center. These five principles guide our work. 

1. Build a relationship with your buyer

We buy from those we trust. At IMPACT, we’ve long believed that trust is the true currency of business, and we know it doesn’t develop overnight. It takes time for customers to feel comfortable enough to trust you — and to trust your products and services. 

In Marketing Made Simple, Miller advises you to “invite people into a trusted relationship with your brand,” which is a critical step in winning customers. 

The most important building block of trust is honesty. Be honest with your customers by openly addressing their questions on your website (something we call They Ask, You Answer), even about uncomfortable topics like cost, your competition, and the drawbacks of your products or services. 

Make this trust-building content easy to find. We advise having a “learning center” that allows your customers to browse the content that helps get them ready to make a purchase. 

Remember, your website is for your customers. It’s not for you. 

2. Remember: “It’s words that sell things”

When business leaders think of website redesigns, they picture flashy animation, sleek images, videos, and more. Much more important is your language. 

We’re always testing and adjusting our own website, too, which means we're always tinkering with the copy, making sure we get it just right. 

After all, according to Miller in Marketing Made Simple, “colors and images and ‘feel’ are fine, [but] it’s words that sell things.” 

Website copy is notoriously difficult to write. How do you say enough to explain your complex offerings without gumming up a page with too much text?

The more economical and simple, the better. Being able to explain your business in easy-to-understand terms is essential. 

This applies to calls-to-action, too.

Your CTAs need to be precise, specific, and actionable. Says Miller, “Calls-to-action like ‘Learn more,’ ‘Find out about us,’ ‘Curious?’ or ‘Our Process’ are weak and confusing." 

“In your marketing copy,” Miller writes, “don’t be cute, be clear.”

With this in mind, trim your copy to the basics, and match your CTA language to your customers’ needs. Then test.

There is data that can help you evaluate any copy decision you make. If your buttons are not getting clicked, change the copy and see how the numbers respond over the next two weeks. 

When it comes to websites, you should see everything as a test. Try it, gather data, and make it better.

3. Be sure your site can pass “the grunt test”

As you simplify and trim language, you should always use “the grunt test” to make sure your visitors can quickly and easily understand exactly what you offer and how you can help them. 

In Building a StoryBrand, Miller writes: “Thousands of companies every year shut their doors, not because they don’t have a great product, but because their potential customers can’t figure out how that product will make their lives better.”

The grunt test is simple: Could a caveman who looks at your website for 10 seconds, then grunt and comprehend your offerings? If not, you’d better get to work ridding your site of fluffy, meaningless words.

You want to make sure visitors can quickly answer three questions:

  1. What does your company offer?
  2. How can it make their life better?
  3. How can they get it?

If you get bogged down with marketing-speak, you can confuse your customer and miss the opportunity.

If you’re spending ad dollars to bring people to a site or landing page that doesn’t resonate or is hard to understand, you’re wasting your money. 

Be clear and direct, and use the language your customers use, not industry jargon or buzzwords.

4. Demonstrate empathy and authority

Your customers come to you because they need your help. They have a problem; they face a challenge. You can help them through it and make their lives better. You can lead them to whatever they’re looking for: prosperity, efficiency, leisure, or happiness. 

To guide them there, says Miller, you need to convey two characteristics: “The two things a brand must communicate to position themselves as the guide are empathy and authority.” 

  • Empathy shows that you understand where your customers are and what they struggle with. This is the bedside manner of a physician, who needs to see the humanity of a patient, not just the sickness. For a business, this means truly knowing your customers and empathizing with the challenges they face.
  • Authority shows that you have the competence and vision to guide them to a solution. You’ve done this before, and your expertise is well established. 

Social proof and testimonials are particularly helpful to demonstrate empathy and authority. If past customers can speak to how your help has led to their growth, new customers can see themselves in those stories and move forward. 

5. Appeal to your customer’s aspirational identity

It never hurts to remind your customers of what beliefs they hold dear and who they aspire to be. If you sell fitness equipment, you can appeal to their desire to live a long and healthy life for loved ones. If you sell product management software, you can appeal to their desire to lead a highly productive and organized team that enjoys working together. 

Miller asks us to think about this: “Who does your customer want to become? What is their aspirational identity?” Once you truly understand this, you can “place a gap between [your customer] and what they want.” 

Your product fills in that gap.

Your offerings are what can get them from where they are to where they aspire to be. It is your guidance that allows them to become who they most want to become.

This aspirational language must be present on your webpage and should influence the way you write CTAs and service descriptions. 

Building the site your customers want

IMPACT is StoryBrand-certified, and we use Donald Miller’s principles in our work with clients.

We’ve chosen to follow Miller’s teachings because they focus on clarity and candor — the same things that are at the center of They Ask, You Answer. In fact, we believe the two frameworks complement each other perfectly.

When you put your customers’ needs before your own, you deliver the buying experience that sets you apart from the rest of the market. 

A website is never finished, and that’s how it should be. You must always look for new opportunities to use messaging that resonates with your customers. 

In Marketing Made Simple, Miller writes, “We are always inviting our customers on a journey in which their lives are made better through the use of our products.” Your website is the most critical part of that invitation. 

Never miss an opportunity to make it better.

Topics:

Website Redesign
Customer Satisfaction
Creative Inspiration
Published on June 14, 2021

Recent Articles

5 ways you can use the StoryBrand framework to make a better website

By John Becker on June 14, 2021
5 min read

Every website agency talks about strategy; How is IMPACT different?

By John Becker on April 19, 2021
5 min read

Strategy-driven website redesign: 5 IMPACT-built websites that solve client challenges

By John Becker on April 7, 2021
4 min read

Website Performance Mastery: A better redesign process for your business website

By John Becker on March 24, 2021
6 min read

6 red flags to watch for when you’re hiring a website redesign agency

By John Becker on February 3, 2021
5 min read

30-day website redesign: 6 questions to ask an agency that’s making big promises

By John Becker on January 6, 2021
6 min read

Website redesign agency: 15 must-ask questions before you hire for your next project

By Mary Brown on December 30, 2020
8 min read

How does IMPACT's website strategy blueprint process work? (schedule and outcomes)

By John Becker on December 18, 2020
5 min read

What can we expect in working with IMPACT on a website redesign?

By John Becker on December 7, 2020
5 min read

Business website redesign vs. facelift: Which do you need? (+ video)

By Melanie Collins on November 12, 2020
5 min read

Will a website redesign solve our marketing problems?

By John Becker on November 10, 2020
5 min read

How long does it take to complete a website redesign?

By John Becker on November 3, 2020
4 min read

Pros and cons: A short-term website project vs. a 12-month website project

By John Becker on November 2, 2020
5 min read

What is growth-driven design?

By Tom DiScipio on October 29, 2020
6 min read

Website redesign cost: 5 factors that drive the price tag up and down

By Melanie Moore on October 27, 2020
10 min read

Which costs more: A retainer-based website redesign or a short-term website redesign project?

By John Becker on October 21, 2020
4 min read

Website strategy cost: How much should we budget for our business? (+ video)

By Erica Pierce on August 20, 2020
8 min read

Website strategy vs website design: What’s the real difference?

By Tim Ostheimer on August 17, 2020
3 min read

13 best website copywriting tips for digital marketers

By Brian Casey on June 18, 2020
10 min read

Why does the IMPACT website strategy blueprint cost $7,500?

By Brian Casey on June 17, 2020
5 min read

How should you be spending your website redesign budget? [Interview]

By John Becker on June 5, 2020
7 min read

What should a website redesign process look like?

By Stacy Willis on January 6, 2020
12 min read

Your 2020 website strategy must include these 5 things

By Stacy Willis on December 16, 2019
7 min read

9 business website trends that ruled in 2019

By Joe Rinaldi on December 16, 2019
5 min read

How to give constructive feedback to website developers

By Melissa Smith on December 11, 2019
4 min read