Most business owners say the hardest part of marketing is they don’t know where to begin. They don’t know what to talk about, and they don’t know how to create engagement. Well, why do we sit and read a 600-page book or watch a three-hour movie? It’s simple: They tell stories.
Telling stories is especially important in business because it helps build your “know, like, trust” factor with customers and validates why they choose to shop with you. The purpose of storytelling is to evoke an emotion, which results in a decision ... the decision to buy from you.
In my last Pets+ column, “Who Are You?” I shared the importance of telling your customers exactly who are you through stories. The same rings true for A) copy in social media posts and emails; and B) the words you choose in videos and sales conversations.
Use this simple framework to guide you through the storytelling process. To uncover potential topics, refer back to my previous article (ppmag.us/3182) with questions to get you started.
Start with the bare bones: who, why, what, how and where. It’s only by understanding the who and the why that we are able to get to HOW we should tell a story. Ask yourself, who is this story for? Write the story as if you’re speaking to one person, the exact person who, when hearing this story, takes action. Why are you telling it? The words you use should complement the purpose of your why. What’s the message you’d like to convey?
How should you tell it? The elements you use (video, copy, images and music) along with the tone (humor or seriousness) make an impact to the effectiveness of delivery. Where will you share it? Cross as many marketing platforms as you can, and pull out elements from it to repurpose in multiple ways, maximizing your time and effort.
THE MEAT & POTATOS
All great movies and shows, amazing experiences and genius online marketers understand that all business is show business. So, let’s take their lead and create a show of our own! Every story needs a plot, characters, a setting, a climax, an ending and in business ... a call to action.
The solution your character is searching for is the plot of your story. The characters can be you, your customers, pets, family, friends and even fictional profiles. The setting is the place where the story unfolds. And don’t forget the most interesting part of all: the climax! This is the point at which the problem becomes too much and the solution is found. The solution is your product or services effecting a positive ending result. Before it can all end though, you absolutely need a call to action. Where do you want to lead your customers? Hopefully, you’re leaving them wanting more.
THE SECRET SAUCE
Think back to your high school English class when you piece it all together. Just like those narrative essays, it will need a captivating beginning, three points in the middle and an ending that ties it all together.
Do one big brain dump of capturing all your thoughts. Then figure out where each piece fits into the structural outline. Rearrange the sections if you need to until you find the most interesting story. Add description where you can, painting a picture that taps into all their senses. Read back through your story one last time, and trim away the unnecessary bulky bits to uncover a concise yet interesting story.
Stories are the most effective way to push past someone’s logical thinking of why they shouldn’t buy something, and instead appeal to their hearts, so they DO buy. Once you master the art of sharing a good story, they’ll never shop anywhere else.
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of PETS+.