Telling stories has been the fundamental human activity even when we talk to ourselves! Clearly, it’s so much more than marketing and communications for businesses.
As someone once said - "People who tell awesome stories, win customers."
Don’t you agree?
According to contently, 70% of consumers always make some research about a brand or a company before they initiate making contact to ask for further information, or before making a buying decision.
Today, even before any consumer interaction happens with a business, the 'decision' element of the buying process is very much available on the internet. So, any story that your customer or prospect reads about your brand or company must be consistent and convincing as it one of the most important factors in deciding whether your customer will buy from you or not.
Why 'storytelling' is important
There is always a difference between soul-less writing that doesn't grab the attention and engages the audience and soulful writing that instantly does so. You need a strong focus to learn what people want to hear and share and what shifts their eyes from traditional ways of corporate messaging to a patterned cognitive play.
Don't worry if your product is simple or complex, if you can manage to come up with a story that would weave your product or service into it, you will be enhancing the chances of gaining enough attention from everyone. And attention is what is required to make a ‘sale', right?
Use your brand insights
'Storytelling' is indeed an art. You need to have amazing, informative and groundbreaking insights about your brand to tell a story in the first place.
A typical consumer processes about 100,000 words each day along with tons of images, videos, and graphics.
The online user behaviour is quite simple. They skim through information while ignoring most data as unwanted instead of reading through each and every piece of content available. In a scenario like this, it gets even more difficult for you to make a connect with them.
Just another content marketing trick?
Storytelling goes beyond content marketing. Content marketing just engages the audience with specific content, to bring about a particular action, whereas stories are well-crafted and make it easy for the prospect to connect and communicate in a more meaningful, engaging, yet informative ways with your brand.
You story needs to trigger something that makes a connection with the target audience’s lives; it must make them pay 'attention'. It needs to be clear to the prospect as to what makes your brand, product or service worth their attention.
So, go ahead, tell them a great story!
But, when do you call it great? When it hits a nerve!
If it is relevant, inspiring, memorable, genuine, and heartfelt, then you have got a great story and it will never fail to make a sale.
Creating a great story in three simple steps:
Address the problem they have. Or do they?
Any story begins with an introduction to a issue or a problem that you will be solving in the later part. The issue isn't always something that the readers are consciously aware of but aim to show what problems you can help them solve. This is where you look for the triggers, remember? They need to be able to relate to the problem you are offering to solve for them. Otherwise, like we said, they are just going to skim through you.
Do they trust you enough?
Here, you will go on to address any consumer’s conflict. You’ve already established an area or an issue that could benefit them from your solution, but to get them to accept it, you need to establish trust and confidence in your audience about your product or service. So, bring out all the conflicts and address them clearly, so they know you are pretty serious about resolving their issues firsthand.
Wrap everything up nicely with a sales ribbon
This is the stage where you put all the points out to the consumer as to why they need what you’re offering. Make your benefits irresistible by justifying your cost. They will not buy your your products and services or even your story if they don’t think it’s worth the price. Reveal how and why your offering makes their lives better and ensure that you aren't being “sale”sy! Don’t forget about the sales ribbon though.
The challenge is always with figuring out how to align the story with the needs and priorities of prospects and customers. It’s just not about storytelling, it is about making your story so compelling that it changes perceptions of value and urgency, and results in quality leads and more conversions. In the end it is all about you being yourself while you tell the story, as being yourself establishes 'Credibility' and 'Authenticity'.