ConnectThe2 S7, E2: Storyology, Websites, Digital Oh My
Lars Dabney, Founder and Anti-CEO of Lightning Fruit
How does a business’ website tell a story? On today’s episode of Storyology, hosts Richard Williams and Taylor O’Brien are joined by special guest Lars Dabney, Founder and Anti-CEO of Lightning Fruit, a web design company. Lars joins ConnectThe2 to talk about how to create an impactful website and get the most out of your digital presence. If you like what you are reading, be sure to listen to the entire episode linked at the bottom of this page.
What’s In A Name…
Lars tells us two stories about how Lightning Fruit got its name. The first story is a fantastical tale of a retired pirate hunter in Madagascar who has a lemon tree growing on the roof of his house. The second story, the actual truth behind the name, involves positive word associations about the ‘fruit’ of their labor. Lars explains he uses the fake story to entertain people because the true reason behind the name is less exciting.
The Narrative Structure…
Crafting a website is a lot like crafting a story. There must be clear goals and a chronological structure that leads site visitors to the answers they are looking for. Each web page contributes to another part of the story. Any ads and follow-up emails should reflect back on the same narrative to maintain consistency.
A Living Organism…
Once the website is up and running, it’s not just over and done with. To truly maximize the impact of your investment into your company’s digital presence, your website needs to grow and change alongside your business. It requires constant effort to track the flow of traffic and continually tweak the design to ensure it’s working as efficiently as possible for your users.
If you've enjoyed these takeaways, be sure to listen to the full Storyology episode linked below. Also, be sure to listen to, rate, and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeartRadio, or Soundcloud.
“The name Lightning Fruit. There is a story version of why Lightning Fruit is called Lightning Fruit and it’s fairly elaborate. It involves a grandfather of mine who was a pirate hunter who retired to Madagascar and a lemon tree that grew on the roof of his house. That story is not true. But I get asked a lot about why Lightning Fruit is called Lightning Fruit and the real answer is boring. So, I often make something up like that just to entertain people.” (7:44-8:17)
“When we start to think about the objectives for the site, we always want to start with the objectives for the organization. What is your mission? As a business, as a nonprofit, as a social entrepreneurship, whatever it might be, the objectives are always going to vary. ” (13:19-14:03)
“Your users don’t just absorb everything you throw at them simultaneously. It’s chronological. So, that order needs to be tailored like a story. It needs to establish the basic foundations of what you’re trying to discuss and then move along toward the more climactic moments when you’re trying to actually make the conversion point that you might be looking for. Those big events become part of the story as well. We need to keep thinking about what follows from that? What’s the followup, what’s the next step in the story that we’re telling? Each page on the website is a part of that story and each email they send and each ad that they see. All of those are part of that digital story that we’re trying to craft.” (14:20-15:40)
“Consistency is critical. Without it, you’re going to have a fraction of the impact or the success that you would otherwise have.” (16:47-16:56)
“Narrative design is a question and answer structure. The visitor has a question and you need to answer it as effectively and quickly as possible before they get bored and go somewhere else. And in that answer, hopefully guide them to the next step which is going to be another question that they have.” (20:50-21:29)
“We want to be able to show the numbers going up in the data and that only happens if you’re constantly working on the messaging and constantly working on the process. In that sense, it’s getting clients to understand that a website is a living organism. It is a living part of your marketing ecosystem and requires constant effort if you really want it to be effective. If you’re going to invest in your digital presence and make it work, we need to be analyzing all the traffic that’s coming in from LinkedIn and from social, and from emails, from external publicity work and looking at where that traffic is landing, looking at what’s happening to it, tweaking the user flows. It’s that constant sharpening of the site that you’re just continuously refining it and refining it and looking at all the different inputs and adjusting it so that it’s making the most of all of them.” (23:03-24:34)
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