Storytelling has long been a practice in all types of marketing, even before we invented the term”marketing.” People who had something to sell others sometimes invented stories, some were realistic, some weren’t. Time and again the concept of storytelling to market a business has been shown to work better than any other method of marketing. If you can tap into the stories your audience needs and wants to hear, you create a situation where they feel like they know you. When you know them, it follows you understand them and that they want to buy from you. Don’t overlook The Power Of Stories.
The Power Of Stories
When you think about it, stories are part of our lives from birth through to death. We literally live stories every single day of our lives. It’s how we communicate; it’s how we relax after a long day. Storytelling is in our DNA. Successful writers and businesses tap into our storytelling DNA in a way that resonates with their audience. Helping them see themselves in the stories receiving the results, and solving their problems, just like the characters in the story.
Today and tomorrow you’ll learn what type of stories your audience wants to read and how to tell them. Our ultimate goal is that you’ll know how to make your stories so compelling that you’ll get more shares, more sign ups, and more responses than ever before.
As Annette Simmons, author of The Story Factor, once said: “If you wish to influence an individual or a group to embrace a particular value in their daily lives, tell them a compelling story.”
Storytelling is a powerful tool for marketing your business. However, be aware, but marketing with stories is not license to lie or trick your audience, even though it happens out there.
To understand the power of storytelling in marketing, you might remember when in the 90’s The sitcom, Seinfeld, George Costanza purchased a car based on a story.
Here is the scene. George is so proud of himself because was going to buy a 1989 Volvo Sedan, but instead, the salesman convinces George to get the 1989 Lebaron Convertible.
The salesman told him the car used to be owned by Jon Voight, so George jumped on this opportunity to own a status symbol and a piece of history.
But then this happens.
Of course, in this case, George was duped.The owner of the car WAS a “John Voight,” just not the actor, Jon Voight. Still, this shows the real power of storytelling in selling.
You Don’t have to Dupe your Audience
When you think of stories, instead of imagining fiction, or a used car salesman try to imagine family stories. The stories your Mom, Dad or favorite uncle told you about their young life. Sure, often the story was designed to keep you from making their mistakes, but they were true, honest, and actually did the job.
Marketing with stories isn’t that different. It’s about crafting realistic stories that impart the knowledge to your audience. The knowledge that they need to make a decision to solve their problems.
It’s also about creating relatable content, surprising and delighting your audience, all while being realistic and truthful. It’s about letting your audience get to know you on a whole new level. Breaking down boundaries, and creating brand loyalty with your audience. No other method is as successful as stories in this respect.
You want your audience to laugh, cry or jump for joy that they’ve finally found what they need and your story should easily accomplish that. Your marketing stories can be the difference between your brand and another brand that promises two for one if you buy widget A.
Your story can compel your audience to take the leap to solve their problems without any false sales tactics or emotional blackmail.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter with Stories
At its core, marketing with stories is about making a connection with your audience. After all, the stories you create are about them. That’s right, the stories you write will be about your audience and will address their concerns, their needs, their pain points, and how your product or service will fix those issues.
Remember nothing has changed about basic marketing. It’s still about your audience, and it still writes the benefits over features. As harsh as it may sound to you, no one cares about anything other than what’s in it for them, and how your product or service solves their problem. Price is far down on the list, as are the many features you are excited to tell them about.
Marketing with Stories gives you a good way to make it about your audience, focusing on benefits over features by telling your audience’s story in a new, exciting and compelling way.
People don’t buy anything because they need it, they buy because they have bene compelled to feel an emotion.
Tell the Story In the Way Your Audience wants to connect with It
By telling stories about your audience and customers you tell your audience exactly what they want to hear, and don’t make the mistake of telling them things they don’t want to hear.
To study the power of stories, a project called Significant Objects was born. According to the Significant Objects web page:
Significant Objects Project
“A talented, creative writer invents a story about an object. Invested with new significance by this fiction, the object should — according to our hypothesis — acquire not merely subjective but objective value. How to test our theory? Via eBay!”
What they do is buy very inexpensive items from local thrift stores or garage sales. Then, a writer creates a story to go with the objects, and they sell them on eBay. Now, before you get concerned, they say they make it clear the story is fiction and the writer’s byline is in the eBay listing. But time after time, these objects sell for many times their actual value.
They’ve even raised money for charities in their experiments.
Ordinary Birthday Candles Sell for $21.50
You can also go to their website and find many of the stories. For example, ready about this ordinary package of candles that sold for $21.50. The proceeds actually went to an interesting organization called Girls Write Now, a writing and mentoring program for at-risk girls from New York City high schools. Pretty cool, huh?
“When people are finding meaning in things — beware.” — Edward Gorey
How Does This Apply Your Writing Business?
But bringing this back to your business, how can use this valuable insight? Can you make up stories to sell stuff? Well, that may or may not be a good idea for you (it might be if you’re selling fiction), everything and everybody has a story and the more you can draw that out, the better you can sell your products and services.
In general, every marketing story needs to let your audience know that you understand them,that they matter, that they’re not alone, that there is hope, and that their problems can be solved. If you can craft a story that covers those elements in a personal way, you’ll create a successful marketing campaign centered on that marketing story. A story like that will be shared, commented on, and get results.
How to Reach Your Audience with Stories
Start with Your Audience’s Problems: Pinpoint a specific problem that a member of your target audience has. Craft a story around that one problem with the solution to that problem being part of the moral of the story always remembering to tell your audience what to do next.
Define your audience
- Give them a gender
- An age
- A place to live
- The job
- A Salary
Ask Your Audience What They Want: Talk to them and form open communication paths with your audience. You can do this with email, social media, or through your website’s blog.But, however, you do it, your audience must always be at the center of every story, every product, every service, and every thought in order to be successful.
Give Them Examples of Success in Stories
Give Your Audience Solid Examples of Success: Using feedback from your customers and solid statistical research show your audience what success looks like.Infographics, images that help tell the story and other visual elements will help make it more readable and interesting.
Entertain Your Audience with a Twist: No one is going to read your stories if they’reboring. Create a hook and carefully craft a story that will entertain your audience on their level using marketing stories that they will want.
Successful stories have several hooks going at once. Look at your favorite sitcoms for examples
Audiences who read, relate and engage with your marketing story are a lot more likely to answer your calls to action whether that is to sign up, buy now, or call. Stories are in our DNA, tell a compelling one that resonates and you will win over more customers that you did before.
Remember, it’s not about selling, it’s about telling your story in an interesting and engaging manner that your audience wants to read. You can’t do that if you have not taken the time to get to know your audience.