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Q&A: The Art of Storytelling for Your Business

There’s a good story behind every business. Behind every customer, too.

 

Creating engaging, visual stories for your website can communicate far more than text alone. It helps explain why you’re in business and why your product is special. Even better, it can help illustrate why your customers are special and how your business helps them.

 

How to use digital storytelling for your business
In this Q&A, we talked to Kerstin Ebert, Jimdo’s video maven and the woman behind our Jimdo Stories series, about the art of digital storytelling for your business. She’s created short videos about Jimdo customers around the world, and learned some lessons along the way about how to capture the best kinds of stories for your website.

 

How did you get into video storytelling yourself?


Kerstin Ebert "With video, you can show people how you run your business, what’s important to you and what keeps you going," says Kerstin Ebert.

Even when I was a kid I loved making videos with my old DV camera. I would film funny moments when friends came over, during concerts, or I would even record the TV screen when a cool music video was on. Then I would take this footage and edit it into funny montages.

 

After studying Multimedia Production in school, I started working in a small ad agency but pretty quickly ended up working at Jimdo. That was in 2010, and Jimdo had just started to add videos and tutorials to our Support Center. We quickly realized that with videos we could offer so much more than just “how-tos”, so I started doing more stories about our customers and about what makes our company unique.

 

What are some ways that people can use similar video marketing on their own websites?


You can do a story about yourself, showing how you run your business, what’s important to you and what keeps you going. This helps new customers understand you and connect with you. You can interview your own employees or people you work with, and show visuals of your office or work process–that’s a great way to illustrate your unique culture and attitude. Something like that could go on your About Page, or even right on your homepage, like the one we did below about working at Jimdo:

 


 

You can also share stories about your customers, and show how your product contributes to their goals and aspirations. That's the basis of the Jimdo Stories series. You can interview customers and feature their stories on your product pages, with photos or video clips that show them using the product in real life.

 

How do these kinds of videos contribute to a website?


I love this format because it can deliver a lot of important information, but also trigger emotions with strong, beautiful pictures that support what people say in their interviews. It gives the whole story much more depth and a more personal note. You really see the people, how they talk, work, laugh. For me it’s the best way to tell a business or a customer story because you can highlight so many different things. And everybody loves to watch a good story!

 

How is a customer story different from a customer review?


Customer reviews are really useful for introducing your business and establishing trust, but they tend to be very product-focused. You’re asking people what they think of your product, why they like it, or why they like working with you.

 

Digital storytelling can also focus on your customers
A customer story goes a bit deeper. You’re asking a customer about their own goals, and sharing more about them. Your product might play a role in their story, but it’s a supporting role. It’s a way of showing how your product contributes to someone’s lifestyle. Like in the video below, Allison is so passionate about her business and her jewelry. Her Jimdo website and online store play a part in that, but the true topic of the video is this amazing entreprenuer and what she's built:

 


 

What do you look for in people who are good candidates for storytelling?


For Jimdo, I’m looking for people that have something unique behind their website. Ideas that you don’t find at every corner, like someone who restores old bikes from the early 1900’s, or who’s on a mission to help the kids in their neighborhood. I browse through a lot of interesting Jimdo websites, and I pretty quickly get an idea when someone puts their passion in their project. That’s always the heart of the story. If you’re thinking about something similar for your own business, you might look for people who are using your product to help them achieve something really special.

 

Example of customer storytelling
For my videos, it’s also important that the business idea can easily be shown in front of the camera. Anything that’s creative, handcrafted or self-made—like a designer or cook—or that’s physical, like a yoga teacher or singer, is perfect for that.

 

If you can’t afford to hire a professional videographer just yet, are there some other ways to use digital storytelling?


Yes! You can do a lot with customers just by interviewing people and writing down their answers. Combine some nice photographs of them with some quotes in text, and you could put together a beautiful page on your website. All the better if the photos can show people in action, looking natural and “doing their thing.” You can also share people’s stories on social media, with a photograph or a brief quote from them. Whenever I do interviews, I take still photos as well so that we can share them in different formats, like the ones below from Bonaventura Gelato Lounge:

 

Jimdo User Bonaventura Gelato Lounge
Jimdo User Bonaventura Gelato Lounge

There are also a lot of tools available online that can help you put together your own videos with voice-overs, music, and cutaways.

 

If a professional is within your budget, I really think it’s worth the expense. But if that’s not in the cards for you right now, there’s still a lot you can do yourself to communicate your customers’ stories, and tell your own.

 

Tell us more about how each story comes together.


For the interview I basically let people tell their whole story. I prepare interview questions beforehand, but some stories just come up once we’re sitting there and talking. When people have time to tell their story, you can feel their enthusiasm growing and growing, and you see the sparkle in their eyes when they’re talking about their life and business. That’s always fascinating to see and to capture on camera. Then it feels very natural when they start talking about Jimdo. It’s just a natural flow because Jimdo is a part of their story, but not the main force. The main force it their aspiration, passion, and excitement. And that’s really the heart of each Jimdo story.

 

Paul and Anthony Ramirez "Jimdo users Paul and Anthony Ramirez were so much fun to interview. We couldn't stop laughing!"

During the interview I get a feeling of what’s important to the people and what they’re most proud of. I try to highlight those things with strong video images to really showcase what they do.

 

I also really enjoy the editing process because that’s where I pick the most interesting parts of the whole interview. Sometimes it’s really hard to cut it down since the interviewees are saying so many cool and inspiring things. For example, in the video below, I had so much fun talking to Anthony and Paul Ramirez about their businesses in the Bronx. I could have made a 10-minute video instead of three minute one because I wanted the world to hear their whole story.

 


 

What do you personally take away from creating Jimdo Stories?


I’m not in contact with our Jimdo users on a daily basis like our Support Team is, so I really enjoy meeting them in the real world. When I get to see what they have achieved, how they followed their ideas and built something great, and that Jimdo helps them do it—it feels very inspiring. Then you really know why you do what you do.

 

Some of the stories inspired me so much that I took something home with me. For example after shooting a video with a yoga instructor, I started doing yoga much more often. I also started learning the ukulele after meeting a very talented musician from Hawaii (Mahalo Ben!). That really is the best part. Other people inspire you with their stories to be better, to do more with the time that you have.

 

To see more of Kerstin's work, check out our full playlist of Jimdo Stories.