Storytelling is not just for bedtime any more. It is now a strong marketing tool that can help you connect with your customers in powerful ways.
Storytelling is as old as mankind. From cave paintings to oral transmission to books, there is nothing quite like a good story to entertain, teach and give examples. Stories provide a context for a journey of discovery and lessons learned, of solving problems and discovering knowledge that can transform.
A good marketing story can do this too in relation to any product or service you are selling.
The Structure of a Good Story
Every story has a beginning, middle and end. We can also say before, actions taken, and after. This can be a powerful structure for illustrating exactly how useful your product is to your customers as they share their stories through reviews and testimonials.
The Ring of Truth
Customer stories are so powerful because they have a real ring of truth to them. Studies have shown that people on social media are far more likely to accept the word of a relative stranger in their network compared to marketing material produced by a company. Simply put, stories sell.
Stories Reveal a Struggle and a Journey
As a marketer and product creator, you should be offering products you know speak to the needs of your target audience. How can you know this is the case? By researching their “pain points” – the things they commonly struggle with in relation to a particular topic within your niche. This is the “before” part of the story.
Then they try your product, get results, and live happily ever after (you hope). That is the “after” part of the story. And of course, we all enjoy a story with a good ending.
Your target audience should be able to identify with the struggle. The solution you offer should be an effective one that will really work. The ending will help your target customer imagine a life free from the thing that has been challenging them. And you can accomplish all this without any media “hype” or any hard sell.
Your Business Journey
Your own company’s story can also be a powerful marketing tool. For example, if you were a teacher but decided you could reach even more students via the internet so you could help them gain the skills they need to succeed through the books and courses you publish, that is a positive journey that a lot of people would get behind. It is a lot more compelling than starting an online business just to make money.
If a percentage of your profits go to a certain charity, like animal rescue, that can be a compelling story as well. Telling your story gives your business a more human side and can be related to more easily. Customers have a choice about where to spend their money. They might choose you because they support your mission.
Stories Are Full of Action
Stories are interesting because the main character takes action and gets a result. Even if it isn’t the one they intended, they have still tried something and learned from it. They have come through their journey older and wiser.
In the case of products purchased, they may have had to try more than one until they found a solution that really worked. This too can be a powerful part of a customer story — looking for the right solution several times until they finally found your product.
Be sure to ask for reviews and testimonials and you should soon see a change for the better in your marketing results.