So, it’s not Tamsen saying hi today, but Emily Hansel, Tamsen’s content coordinator and walking Red Thread Content Index. Today I’m dusting off my long-form writing skills to weave a Red Thread of how your Core Message, Core Case, and Core Story connect with the best practices in web design. Let’s do this!
You’ve built a message with the words needed to get the investment you want in your approach or offering, and you’re ready to pitch to investors, talk it up at networking events, and explain it to anyone you meet.
But what about when you’re not right in front of them? When you’re not there to draw and keep the attention of potential investors or buyers, you probably send them to your website, right? Since the website acts as your stand-in, you need to make sure it’s also built for buy-in.
And many websites really aren’t. They fall into the category of promotional, rather than persuasive. Persuasion secures a new position in someone else’s mind, and it requires an argument for why your proposed offering or initiative makes the most sense, based on elements they already agree with. If you want a website that gets people invested in your idea, you need to create that argument in their minds, based on shared beliefs and desired outcomes. Using your Buy-in Building Blocks helps build a website primed for persuasion and ready for buy-in. Why?
It’s the ultimate user-friendly design.
There’s plenty of information out there on how to design a website that’s user-friendly. But the design of your message, and the words on the page, are just as important for guiding visitors to where you want them to be. When you include your Core Message, Core Case, and Core Story in your website copy—which are all built with the user’s perspective in mind—you create a website that:
Catches and holds attention
When someone lands on your page, they immediately want to know if they should stay—“What is this offering, and why should I care?” As your Core Message is a single sentence, it makes an incredibly strong tagline. It both answers the question your audience is already asking and introduces your offering or approach. With that one sentence, visitors know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.
And as Tamsen always says, never sacrifice clarity for cleverness. With a Core Message that contains an unexpectedly obvious answer to an urgent need or question, you don’t need to worry about using gimmicks to create a memorable written explanation of your approach.
Is plainly written for maximum reach
It’s pretty important in the start-up stage for your website to make your approach accessible to any potential investors. You’ve crafted a Core Message that’s the simplest articulation of the fundamental principles that connect how you do what you do with what your audience truly cares about. It doesn’t rely on jargon, so it’s scan-friendly and can be understood by anyone who might want to buy in. You won’t be limiting your potential investors with industry-speak, and, since you’ve honed in on exactly how to say what you need to say—with clarity and without fluff—you have space to define any complicated terms (and you should!).
Has an intuitive flow
Information architecture is a key aspect of user experience—it maps out the content of your site. Your Core Story also creates a map—a mind map—for the audience, telling them what they need to know exactly when they want to know it. By including your Core Story, your plan for the site’s information architecture is practically already laid out, with a clear path to follow through the page, plus a clear spot for your CTA.
Builds understanding for your idea
An audience that doesn’t understand or feel connected can’t buy in. The three major elements you need to for buy-in build understanding of and connection for your approach or offering in their own specific ways:
- By including both what your approach or offering is and the problem it solves (your “Why”) in the single sentence of your Core Message.
- By explicitly stating the bedrock beliefs you and your audience share in your Core Case. Anyone looking at it can be sure that your approach or offering is rooted in something you and they already agree is needed, helping to build an argument based on something they’ve already bought into—the most effective way to position a change.
- With beliefs, problems, and elements all spelled out in your Core Story, showing how you do what you do the way you do it. To get buy-in, you need an understanding of all aspects of your approach.
Once they understand, they’re on the path to agreement, and it’s only with agreement that they’ll be emotionally and intellectually invested and ready to take action.
With a website on the same foundation as your message, which is the foundation of your whole idea, you ensure consistent brand voice between them, and with any other adjacent content—videos, bios, whitepapers—as well.
So have a look at your current website and see how user-friendly it is!
And in a bit of serendipity (seriously, it wasn’t coordinated on purpose!) I have a great example of using the foundational elements of Core Message, Core Case, and Core Story to design a user-friendly website—Tamsen’s new homepage is live! If you head over and take a look, you’ll see our Core Message and Core Case visually laid out with the beliefs that back them up. If you scroll further, there’s language describing what we do, who we do it for, and what they get. There’s no jargon or industry-specific language, it’s a simple, clear explanation to start. The Core Story comes next, and after the reader develops a deeper understanding for why you need to build the argument for change, our offerings are introduced. It’s intuitive, and better yet, not gimmicky. Particular thanks to Michelle Martello of Minima Designs for her amazing work!
Please note that many of the links are affiliate links, which means if you buy a thing I link to, I get a percentage of the cost, and then donate it to charity.
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