Don’t you wish there was an easier way to decide the core elements of your website? Especially when you are building a cause related business?
Social entrepreneurs, cause-based businesses, and difference-makers face different challenges than their for-profit counterparts when it comes to building websites that convert.
The goal is to not be seen as transactional, but as an entity whose mission is to not only sell a fantastic offer, but to make a true difference and an impact in the world.
So what do you need to make this happen? Simple. The foundation and strength of a blueprint that will align your business for success.
Who better to provide a blueprint than someone who already built a socially conscious business themselves?
Adam Fairhead, founder of BuiltForImpact put together these 10 steps (what they call a “Mission Narrative”) for cause-driven organizations and social entrepreneurs to base their websites around:
1. Pattern Interruption.
When someone lands on your site, they expect to see a pitch. You need to interrupt their pattern by disarming their buying defenses.
When you're channeling attention into an emotional hook rather than just going straight into the sales pitch as a first point of entry on a conversation, it massively increases decision making ability, the chance they'll respond to your vision of the world and it'll make your visitor feel like they aren’t being sold.
Adam says, “Social enterprises really are different. They’re invested in a higher purpose: sales are a byproduct of making a difference. This is a strategic marketplace advantage that we can leverage.”
2. Tell them what you do.
When your visitor doesn’t have the pressure of feeling sold, they buying defenses go down. Now they become curious. But the visitor needs to know that they are in the right place.
What you need to do now is piggy-back on the attention. You do this by stating what you do and how it solves their problem at hand.
On one of Adam’s websites, his team does this by saying, "Your company was founded on an ideal, not a product, yet somewhere along the way your company's marketing became more about your product than your mission. You started convincing instead of convicting, selling not serving, worrying about sales, not impact. BuiltForImpact by Fairhead helps companies win the hearts of their web visitors with meaningful marketing that works."
3. Proven Impact.
At this stage in the BuiltForImpact Mission Narrative, your visitor has put their guard down. They know what you do and how you can help. Now you need to prove that you have gotten results.
The easiest way to do this is to put a thin ribbon of social proof on your site, whether it be a publication you’ve been featured in or how many five star reviews you’ve received. This allows your visitor to trust you so much more than if you rave about how great your own product is.
4. Define the Problem
Now your reader trusts you and knows what you do. Now you need to tell your visitor about their problem. But you can’t just tell them. You need to paint the picture for them.
To do this, you need to get into the mind of your reader. You need to put yourself in their shoes, feel what it is like to have that problem and recognize how your services would solve it.
Adam explains: “People buy ‘things’. Instead, people buy a different version of themselves… a version where the problem they have no longer exists… or a version where they’re perceived differently by their peers, for instance. The more aware they are about their current situation, the more desirable that future version of themselves will become.”
5. Showing of the Solution.
The Mission Narrative blueprint draws an important distinction between an offer and a solution. The solution isn’t the offer. Rather, the solution is what the world looks like as a result of the offer. What does the world look life for the target audience after the problem has been solved? What does it feel like? What do they have that they didn't have before? What can they do now that they previously couldn't?
“With a better understanding of problem and a well-painted picture of the solution, the perceived value of the proposed offer becomes more valuable. The offer value increases.” says Adam.
When his team builds BuiltForImpact sites for their clients, they prefer to write out the narrative in text form, unpacking the Problem and Solution vividly. After, they add a visual design to bring that narrative to life like you’d expect to see see in storybooks. The story is written, and then the pictures and things are added to help tell the story, help keep somebody engaged in the story, immersed in the story, so that you don't stop midway.
6. The Product or Service.
With the criteria for an ideal solution clearly defined, then you can segue into the offer. Adam advocates avoiding a hard sell at this stage:
“There’s no need for trickery or ‘hacks’, forced scarcity or ‘massaged’ statistics. What we need here is an honest account of how an offer is literally a bridge between the problem and the solution. Can you help people move from Problem to Solution, or not? Is the bridge stable, well constructed, and affordable? It should feel natural to share the bridge at this point.”
When put this way, selling hardly feels like selling at all, does it? The groundwork in the Mission Narrative blueprint has prepared the visitor for your company’s offer, making it feel entirely trustworthy and appropriate as a next step.
7. Communicate the Mission
The mission is what makes the social enterprise a social enterprise. For example, Fairhead’s mission is to “Help difference-makers make a difference.” TOMS Shoes’ mission is “To make life more comfortable.” This mission can be a company’s strategic advantage.
Whether it’s giving underprivileged children shoes (like TOMS), or it’s fighting to end sex slavery (like Fairhead), it’s something site visitors can get behind. At this point, a purchase becomes more about the purchase, but about making a difference, too.
8. Easy Enrollment
This section is where you need to make it really easy for visitors to take their first baby-step with you. Easy enrollment is effectively a lead magnet or foot-in-the-door offer by another name.
What’s the first thing your site visitors need to (or want to) do with you, so that they can get on your radar? How does the relationship progress from site visitor to something more? What could help them further at this stage?
9. Supporting Content
If your visitor didn't bite on the Easy Enrollment, or if it feels premature for them to take your free offer for whatever reason, this is the time to provide some supporting content to get them onboard with your offer.
Share something like popular or recent blog posts, or case studies, to help address any outstanding questions, concerns, objections, etc. All of those resources should then lead back into the Easy Enrollment offer.
10. Certification, endorsement, and social share
The Mission Narrative blueprint closes out with a focus on legitimacy.
Anyone who arrives at the very bottom of the page, below the Easy Enrollment and Supporting Content, is assumed in this blueprint to be either curious or uncertain. Adam says “scrolling is for the curious and clicking is for the committed.” This is the space to help those still uncertain to feel confident enough to click on something.
Use these 10 elements to build the foundation of your cause related website. These building blocks is based on the fact that you're in business to serve. The more your site focuses on the people you want to help, the more opportunities you will have to help them.
If you want to download the Mission Narrative blueprint to follow along with, Adam’s team has it available for download here.