Storytelling is the most powerful tool in your toolbox whether you want to touch a heart, motivate or inspire someone, build a new audience, or boost your sales. People love a good story, and when it resonates with them it can drive them to take action like nothing else can.
Consider this… Would you rather read an interesting story or a typical sales pitch? Are you more likely to remember a compelling tale or the features and benefits of a product or service? And when you come to the point of making a decision about a purchase, are you more likely to buy when you can picture yourself in the story or when all you know is that the product is purported to work? Both things are important in evaluating products and services, but it’s usually the story that is the deciding factor.
Think about your most significant purchases, from the business coach you hired to the kitten you brought home from the shelter to the stunning dress you bought for the night you thought your boyfriend would propose to you. Chances are it was a story that motivated you take out your wallet.
Stories About Yourself
People buy from those they know, like, and trust, and part of getting to know you is hearing stories about you, your background, and your business. Potential customers and clients want to know how your business started, your experiences, and what lessons you learned along the way. Your stories don’t have to be directly related to your business to be powerful either.
What about the class reunion you attended where you told your former crush how nice it was that he brought his mother along only to learn it was his wife? It’s a great lesson on the importance of not jumping to conclusions. Or what about the time you welcomed someone to the neighborhood at the annual block party only to discover they’ve lived next door to you for the last five years? That story may be just what’s needed to make a point about the importance of building relationships.
Stories About Your Customers or Clients
Stories about satisfied customers are extremely helpful in marketing your business. Testimonials from clients, case studies, and customer reviews are really just mini-dramas about how their lives were made better by using your service or product.
Did your all-natural, homemade cream or salve help someone with their hemorrhoids? No more embarrassing scratching in public! The bottom line is that there was a happy ending.
Maybe someone hired you for housecleaning and you were so thorough that it made the homeowner look good at her mother-in-law’s next visit. Since you’ve been doing such a great job every week, Mrs. Smith’s MIL stopped calling her lazy and disorganized. Your service helped build a relationship!
Or what about the time it was discovered that the lacy panties accidentally left in your client’s bathroom were yours? (It was a long, convoluted story, but the good news is that your confession saved a marriage.)
Whatever your stories or testimonials are, they showcase how you and your products have changed a life or a business for the better.
Stories About Your Services or Products
Even your products have stories to tell. Why did you decide to create that new course? What will it help your customers achieve? What made you decide to take your “brick and mortar” store online? What is the benefit for someone to buy your product and have it shipped rather than running up to Walmart?
Stories—funny, embarrassing, sad, or dramatic—can show potential customers more about your products and services than any sales page ever will. When you’re open and honest about your thought processes and methods as you were creating your program, buyers will know if it’s something that will work for them or not.
While stories have a lot of power when it comes to marketing your brand, you have to use good judgment. Even if the story didn’t directly involve your business, it needs to tie into it somehow; otherwise, it appears to be just a gimmick. The point of your story should be to help potential customers feel good about buying from you.
Everyone loves good stories, so don’t be afraid to share yours!