Almost everyone has a website these days. Chances are you have one, too. But have you taken the time to really think about the purpose or goal of your website? Without purpose, your website is simply an electronic brochure. Giving your website a purpose, a goal you are striving toward, brings focus to your online marketing. You can better streamline your messaging, clarify your USPs, and stand out from your competition by providing value to your customers. A mission statement can transform your website from an unread electronic brochure into the fruits of your company’s mission and vision.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Back to the mission statement
A mission statement is nothing more than a summary of the aims and values of an organization. Sounds simple enough, right? Your website should be a natural extension of your business’ mission statement. It should help you accomplish your main goal as a business. Not just to sell more products, but to truly overcome a challenge or solve a problem your customers have.
Unfortunately, not all companies have a mission statement. And for those that do, most of their mission statements don’t really accomplish anything for their business. So, let’s take a look at what makes a great mission statement and learn how to write one.
What makes a great mission statement?
A great mission statement should be both exciting and memorable. It should establish buy-in from your employees, as well as potential customers and/or investors. It should inspire them to take action, whether that means buying a product, donating money, etc. This may sound counterintuitive, but the best way to inspire people is through conflict.
Think about all your favorite stories and movies. What was it about those stories that roped you in? The conflict! The challenge the main character faced intrigued you, and you stuck around to see if he/she would succeed. With your mission statement, you are telling a story. And if you want that story to inspire people, it needs to introduce conflict and explain the problem you need to overcome. If there is nothing to overcome, there is no story. And if there is no story, people simply will not care.
Cast a vision
Secondly, your written mission statement should create a vision of the future. People need to know where you’re going to take them, otherwise they won’t get on board. Ask yourself what the world will look like if (and hopefully when) you accomplish your mission. What kind of better world will you create? For example, if you sell organic cat food, maybe you envision a world where all cats get proper nutrition from food sourced from organic farms.
Casting this vision in your mission statement helps align your team toward a common goal. It defines the direction in which you want your organization to move. So, if you have disagreements among employees, stakeholders, or team members who want to go in different directions, remind them of the true destination, and the best way to get there.
Explain the stakes
The final component to a great mission statement for your organization is foreshadowing the stakes. People need to know what could be won (or lost) if you succeed (or fail) at your mission. If nothing bad will happen if you fail at your mission, then there is really no reason to go on a mission in the first place! You have to be saving people from something. This part of the mission statement defines what that something is.
When you tell your audience what’s at stake, you create a sense of necessity and urgency. It tells your team what they should be doing each day, and why it is so important. It creates that buy-in we mentioned earlier, and locks in their interest.
Writing your mission statement
With your leadership team, sit down and literally write out a mission statement. Play around with phrasing until you get it just right. And once you have a solid mission statement with all the necessary components we described above, take it to the rest of your team. Ask for their feedback, incorporate useful suggestions, and finalize your mission statement.
When sitting down to formulate your mission, though, remember: while making more money might be a goal for your business, it is not the reason you exist. Focus instead on overcoming a challenge or solving a problem for your audience. If you’re having trouble defining the conflict, vision, or stakes, try asking yourself some of these questions:
- What problem are your customers facing?
- How do your products/services solve that problem?
- Why are you offering these products/services to the world, besides making money?
- What kind of world do you want your business to help create?
Communicating your mission
Once you have a compelling mission statement, you need to communicate it to the world. There are so many ways you can go about this, so our list here is not exhaustive. If you can think of other ways to communicate your mission, go for it!
- Feature your mission on the About page of your website
- Create another page to showcase the full story behind your mission
- Use action-oriented language to reflect your mission statement throughout your website (headings, tagline, any content “above the fold”, etc.)
- Keep your mission in mind any time you create something, whether it’s an email, social media post, print ad, or business card
- Use images that reflect your mission and vision throughout your website
The goal here is to create consistency. No matter where a customer comes into contact with your brand, she should have a consistent experience. Whether she’s stepping into your physical store, browsing on your website, or calling your customer service line, she should experience the same mission and vision.
Take time to flesh out an awesome mission statement for your organization. One that will naturally extend to your website and give you focus as you move forward. Keep your messaging clear, concise, and consistent. Make it exciting and memorable by introducing conflict, casting a vision, and explaining what’s at stake. So many businesses make the mistake of trying to be cute and clever here. Don’t do this! Otherwise you risk losing potential customers to your competition.