7 Ways of Storytelling for Effective Marketing
Storytelling is an essential part of marketing.
I’m Irish so I’m no stranger to story-telling. It’s in our DNA. You can’t take us anywhere without any of us telling you a story about something or other. However, that doesn’t mean that it comes easy in marketing. I’ve spent a good part of the last year rediscovering, shall I say, about the art of story-telling.
You see, I started my career in Corporate America and we didn’t use the power of story to sell our service. However, this is one aspect that has changed in marketing over the past number of years.
Story-telling is an influential key to making people trust you and your business. And not just that, but it prompts your reader to take action too. And isn’t that what you want people to do with your marketing? Take some sort of action.
Strategies that work
The first thing that I asked myself was where do I start? And a lot of my clients are the same…where do you start?
How do you incorporate stories into your marketing? Well like everything, it’s with the first step. You see, as a marketer you have a responsibility to make your marketing engaging, make it emotional, make it connect.
And how do you do that? Tell a story.
Here are 7 great strategies that work. You don’t have to be expert in the field for all of these tactics to be effective. Read on!
1. Remember the stories your customers share with you.
Listening is a fundamental part of becoming a compelling and good storyteller as it will allow you to know more intimately what your clients love, hate, get irritated with, need, find awkward, cherish and feel. To do this, you should initiate and develop active listening channels such as allowing comments on social media, in webinars and blogs.
2. Develop characters you can connect with and root for.
When a person is talked about or referred to as if he is a total stranger, you won’t find any connection at all. Create personas by thinking of characters embodying the your ideal audience. This is a particular step preceding the creation of characters in your very own story as it lets you better develop stories from the perspective of your audience. Be sure to know the people you are communicating with, then give them a mentor, a hero, or even a villain already familiar to them, or they can identify in your story.
3. Have a unique skill and personality.
There certainly is nothing worse than seeing service or product marketed exclusively with specifications and features. Yawn! If you’ve read anything that I’ve written, you’ll know I always say features tell and benefits sell!
Never be boring. You certainly have no reason to become one. You are unique…show it off. Customers do not buy a product because it is made from a hand-dyed fabric. Instead, they buy one because of the benefits they can get from it. Don’t describe the product through what it is made of—describe it through its promise. Say, a fruit shake is not just a mere beverage blended in a blender. It is a drink that offers a lot of health benefits.
4. Be sure to give your customer a reason.
When storytelling, don’t just instruct your audience what to do. Give them the reasons for doing so. When telling a story of reason in each interaction, channel, video, tweet, you are making it clear who or what your brand or label is and why you believe it is compelling.
5. Tell the appropriate story.
At times, it takes a lot of tests to finally find the appropriate story (which is usually a perfect idea for new ventures into storytelling!). However, an ideal rule to follow is the one taught in a Journalism class—finding out what makes a particular story newsworthy and interesting? Sometimes tying a story about your client, your product or service with something that is presently happening is a great way to create a stronger story.
6. Be honest and authentic
Today we are surrounded by influencers. We hear stories from influential people like spiritual leaders, teachers, and community peeps, to name a few. We put our trust in them, specifically in what they say. And, in the world today, anyone has the potential to become influencers, and so, each interaction matters.
When you communicate with your audience, in any channel, be honest and genuine. The main goal here is to have a real conversation and interaction. Be honest, responsive, and open to any feedback. Two-Way communication between your audience and you are undeniably worth it.
Same thing in PR. Even when something or someone is ugly, it’s always better to tell the truth. I always advise this to my clients. This is also something that we all learn each time we go through a PR crisis. In reality, as well as in reality, being honest can frequently give you the freedom – and this makes a big difference.
7. Set a clear goal the characters you developed are working to.
Every person has a problem he or she’d like to solve. There certainly is something he or she would like to achieve too, an organization to join, or a particular movement they aspire to grow. It is the reason why an individual wants to buy something from you – you can make their life easier or better.
You must identify and define what this is. Even more so, you should design the story around that particular want. CTAs or calls to actions are typically the things most taken for granted and forgotten in every story.
Don’t be afraid to talk to that desire in a story. After all, you are here to serve your clients – you know you can make a difference in their lives. So talk to it, talk about it. And have some sort of CTA – the last thing you want is someone to invest in the story and then they say ‘oh that was a lovely story’.
No, you want them to take an action based on your story.
In summary, there are so many ways to start a story. You have all the tools within you. Give any of these seven tips a go.
If you need help with writing your stories, then get in touch with me. Your stories are experiences that’s worthy of telling. Tell them, share them. Do not hold back.