Story telling is a very effective way to market as the human brain is conditioned to stop and listen when someone starts to tell a story. It starts as a small child and continues into adulthood.
Story marketing is powerful, compelling and emotionally involving and cuts through much of the mental resistance to a sales pitch.
Stories Are Very Effectively Used In The Chic Entrepreneur
I have recently read and reviewed "The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business In Higher Heels" by Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams (see my Chic Entrepreneur review) which is a step by step guide for female entrepreneurs. It is a very good book but what really hit home was the power of the stories which Elizabeth and Leanna make to illustrate their key points.
Each story is beautifully crafted and presents a comparison between a business success and business failure and mediocrity.
I do recommend that you buy "The Chic Entrepreneur" book but I really want to talk about the power of marketing stories to connect with your prospective customers and to pull them in and involve them.
The Power of Story Marketing
Too much marketing is dull, boring and misses out any emotional involvement and connection with the reader, the listener or the watcher.
Even worse, a lot of marketing screams out HYPE when it tries to press the emotional triggers in the wrong way and you know what happens as soon as you hit the overloaded claims. You want to get out of there.
But there is a balance and that's based on building stories that are interesting to read and involve the reader.
The Basics of Story Marketing
In the book Beyond Buzz, Lois Kelly identifies nine types of stories that people like to talk about:
- Aspirations and beliefs.
- David vs. Goliath.
- Avalanche about to roll.
- Contrarian/counterintuitive/challenging assumptions.
- Personalities and personal stories.
- How-to stories and advice.
- Glitz and glam.
For more details I recommend that you see Guy Kawasaki's blog "The Nine Best Story Lines For Marketing".
Putting Your Marketing Story Together
David Grey on the Communication Nation blog gives the tips that your marketing story has to be relevant, unique and memorable.
Certainly it has to be relevant. In any form of communication, there is no getting away from the question "what's in it for me". People don't have time to waste so if your story doesn't strike them as meaningful to them in the first few lines, they will be gone.
Memorable is also important but that';s the great thing about stories. They are interesting. they have a clear beginning, middle and end and they are often memorable.
Strangely I'm not so sure that stories have to be unique but you do need to be first. Copywriting legend Claude Hopkins tells the story of Schlitz beer where he explains all the steps necessary to make a great beer and turned an also-ran brand into a major success by being the first one to tell the story. Other beer makers could come out and say "we do that too" but the impact was lost.
Do the stories have to be true?
If they are testimonial type stories then yes but, I found the stories in "The Chic Entrepreneur" powerful and they gave no pretence that they were true.
What Is Your Company Story?
Can you explain who your business is, what it stands for and what it does using stories.
Can you use stories in your marketing to show the benefits of your services? Can you turn your case studies and testimonials into stories that people will find interesting to read.
I remember I was asked to review someone's website who provided life coaching and I wrote a sample transformational story that could be used and if I can find it, I will post it (suitably disguised) so that you can see what I mean.