In my marketing training I talk about storytelling being one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy – for me it’s an essential way to reach out and connect with our audiences and customers.
Best of all, it is something that comes more easily to small micro business owners. You are your story and not a complex brand that needs multiple board meetings to work out.
But there is a flip side to that. Storytelling about your own precious baby, the business that is in your very heart is hard. It’s hard to fully see where the magic lies and it’s a challenge to tell a story that is likely to be so personal.
So how to tell an effective story in your business to gain more customers, bigger footfall or more sales?
Here are 8 tips to help you step back and find the magic nugget that will be an open armed invitation toy our customers.
- Be brave and be open. I’m not talking about oversharing your life story or inner most secrets but I am talking about being honest, authentic, vulnerable, real. Audiences don’t really want the polished version of your story, they will connect more if they can resonate with your experiences, journey or ideas.
- Keep the ‘why’ at the forefront of all your storytelling. It’s all too easy to focus on what our products and services are BUT the magic is why you do it. Why are your products or services special. What experiences will your customers feel. This might mean sharing your values, your turning points in life or your family inspirations. [Watch Simon Sinek’s Youtube video about why people always buy Why not What].
- Like any great story, place the key characters at the centre. In most cases this might be you. What led you to this point, how does it make you feel to run the business, what are the biggest rewards or dreams for the future. What mistakes have you made? [head to British Boxers for an example of an inspiring story told again and again in a small business brand]
- Treat your story like a movie you love. There will be starting point, progress, failure or crisis, a comeback, the moment everything changed and an ending that’s happy or keeps us on the edge of our seats. Can you map this quickly on a piece of paper?
- Use parts of your story to illustrate the values and magic moments in your business – all the time! For example, when selling a product – instead of describing the product and the price, share the part of the story that inspired the product, the moment you first nailed making it or sourced from your favourite place. Perhaps you can share why you love this product because it relates to a chapter in your story. This brings alive you and your product or service in a truly human and connecting way.
- Make your customers part of your story. Let them know what part they play and how they are part of this exciting journey. This kind of inclusion helps your customer invest in your brand and want to know what happens in the next episode. They will follow you for much longer and much further.
- Use lots of different ways to tell your chapters – video, the written word, images, reviews, quotes, blogs and more. Use these content types to create both short and long lived chapters too. For example there are the snippets and little previews and teasers in your Instagram stories perhaps & then some longer lived content in a Youtube video or a blog.
- Make sure you help your customers directly connect the story with their purchasing. This might be that they feel they are helping something lovely grow or that they are contributing to great ethical sourcing. They may buy because you made them laugh or because your skills have been passed down through generations. They may buy because they think you really ‘get it’. They may buy because they feel they’d be your friend in another life.
As always – let’s dive into this topic in the Facebook Group or Slack space. This isn’t a quick fix but a journey we can help you travel.