People have loved to read and listen to good stories for as long as humans have existed. Our world is built on stories.
Your business has a story. It started from an idea or experience. It was born through challenges and hurdles. More than just the setting up and running of your business, all viable business models are established on helping customers overcome hurdles in their own lives. The world is erupting with stories.
Sharing powerful stories about who you are and what you do to help your customers makes to stand out from your competitors. Harnessing the marketing power of your story can take your existing business to a whole new level of success. It is as essential to your digital marketing as a logo and customer service.
Seth Godin, successful entrepreneur and marketer said that marketing is no longer about what you make, it’s about the story you tell. Your digital marketing is all about the stories you tell.
How do you tell a good story? Here are some basics you need to cover when telling your story.
1. Start With Your Business Heritage
To give a sense of being part of a larger story, begin with how it started. You may even tell the story of your own personal past. What or who inspires you? For example, if you had a grandfather who inspired you because he worked his way through severe poverty by opening up his own business.
- Ask yourself questions like these to get started:
- When and how did my business begin?
- What hurdles did my business overcome?
- Did my business emerge strong from those hurdles?
- Who are my business heroes and why do they inspire me?
- What was the first service or product I sold?
- Who was my very first customer?
- How did I feel and what did I learn from that initial sale?
2. It Has to Be Memorable
People do not remember boring stories. If movies were boring no one would watch them and if books were boring no one would read them. There is no exception to that rule for your business story either.
For your story to be memorable it needs to be exciting. If the idea for your business happened while you were rock climbing, surfing in Costa Rica, going through an agonizing break-up, flying home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, or visiting castles in Ireland your followers want to know about it. This is memorable stuff.
In fact, even if your great idea came to mind while wading home through rush hour traffic, you can turn what seemed like a humdrum day into the day that changed your life.
3. It Needs to Show Purpose and Values
Every story told has a purpose, a lesson, and/or an “ah ha” moment. Your business story needs a driving force, like an engine, to push it forward and keep it going. This would be the main drive or purpose of your business. What it does and what goals it aims to reach. How is your business making a difference? How does it rise above your competitors?
The additional forward momentum for your story will be driven by your business goals. They are like the hurdles that shape your story.
Your goals are to drive your business forward while your values keep it grounded in a greater purpose, giving your work meaning and importance. Including your values in your story is essential. Your audience wants to see how the hero will overcome the hurdles he faces while staying true to his values.
4. It Needs A Hero
Whether you are marketing a product or service, you need to have a hero. The best hero is the person you are marketing to. You want them to see themselves in your business story.
Utilizing your service or using your product makes the world better, saves lives, or changes lives in a remarkable way. Help them to see themselves in your story’s narrative.
5. Include A Transformative Action
In every powerful story there is a hero that makes all the difference affecting lives. In your marketing story you want to be sure that your potential customers know you are inviting them to make this transformation with you.
You are the tool and the goal to get them what they desire out of life. Transformative action can be buying a service or product, sharing your information on social channels, or signing up for a class or webinar.
6. It Must Be Shareable
Can you tell your story in less than 20 seconds? It may take you longer than that to get in all the details, however it is those first 15 seconds that will hook the listener. This is why news headlines say things like “Drivers stop to grab flying money on highway”, “Stray dog rescues man from powerful landslide”, or “Teen hikers found alive after 2 weeks in Wilderness without food”.
The headline captures your interest and makes you eager for more details. Your shareable story needs to be like that. When a visitor sees your blog title, you want them to hunger for more information. When they read it, you hope they’ll tell their friend, “Oh man, I read the best article about a woman who overcame breast cancer and started an amazing charity organization.” People want to share the things that inspire, impress, and even frustrate them.
7. Provide A Dragon to Slay
Steve Jobs once said something to the effect that many times, people aren’t sure what they really want until you show them. While this comment sounds like you can decide what your customers want, that is not the case. What is does suggest is that you need to show your audience why they need what you are offering.
If it is swords that you are selling, show them a dragon they need to slay. If you are selling a service, they must see what they will lose if they don’t utilize your service.
8. A Mentor with a Moral
With few exceptions, most stories have a moral attached to them. They share a warning, show a behavior, teach a truth, or provide a solution to a human problem.
Since you are the storyteller for your business, you are a mentor with the “moral of the story”. You must share your experience and wisdom without coming across pompous. You provide your expertise in making a choice that leads to positive results, good health, happiness, and so forth.
Storytelling is likely the best method to achieve the feat of getting people to support your business, cause, or platform. If you tell your story well, people will hear your name or brand and relate it with progress and triumph.
Practice telling your business story. Try it out on family, friends, and people who have inspired you. Listen to their feedback and hone it until it becomes shareable, lights a spark, and is filled with the enthusiasm of a heroic journey. Your customers will react with loyalty and an increase to your bottom line.
Every business has a story, what’s yours?