There is so much content out there that it is becoming more difficult to break through all the endless noise. Storytelling is key to captivate and resonate with your audience so that they remember your brand and it doesn’t just pass them by like any other. Take your customers on a journey that they are yearning to experience, evoke emotional reactions, and provide them the ability to personally connect. Stories are more deeply affecting and motivate much more than anecdotes.
With that in mind, it’s clear that storytelling in marketing is more important than ever. Here are some key considerations that will help you get started.
1. A Compelling Hero's Journey
The best stories are shared and stay in our memories long after we experience them. They help us gain knowledge and learn, understand how to overcome challenges, and inspire and motivate us to take action through emotions and experiences based on needs.
A classic hero’s journey sets up a situation, unveils a conflict, and then reaches a resolution. And often in business, can end up with a related call to action.
While it’s important to master your business’ “elevator pitch”, detailing what your business does, you also need to be able to articulate its own hero’s journey -- which is telling the story of not only what your business does, but why. This type of story will resonate with listeners in a way that a quick elevator pitch will not -- the hero’s journey helps to make the story of your company interesting, personal, and will allow your brand personality to truly shine through.
2. Connect With Your Audience
Buyer personas are an important way for companies to learn to relate to their audience. Personas are a fictional representation of a business’ ideal customer, and can help sales and marketing teams better understand who they are selling to, what challenges they may be facing, and how their product or service can help them.
Understanding the actual people your customers are will only help you in your storytelling efforts. For example, if your typical customer is a new mother, you’ll want to appeal to the emotions of a parent, and make sure your content, branding and marketing are authentic and genuine -- if a new mom is going to use your product for herself or her new baby, she’s going to need to be able to trust you.
3. Show, Don't Tell
Case studies or testimonials of how your product or service helped overcome a challenge are one of the most reliable ways to promote your product.
Customer testimonials can tend to be a bit more “dry”, so it’s a good idea to combine a testimonial and case study in-one, which can showcase a more in-depth story of an average customer’s challenge, and your solution to that challenge. Stories are not as forgettable as a one-sentence quote, and the positive outcome of a story will linger with the reader long after they’ve absorbed it.
4. Reflect Human Values
Ultimately, our customers are human beings, and humans are social and crave validation and relationships with others. It can be challenging for a business to humanize itself to its audience. But being able to tell authentic, relatable stories of challenges and accomplishments can help to bridge this gap.
People connect with others who have gone through similar situations, and have found a way to overcome similar challenges. This connection helps them to validate their experiences and allows them to feel more satisfied and involved emotionally.
The most important tip I can give you here is to be genuine and honest with your communication and branding. Just as you wouldn’t enjoy interacting with a dishonest human, you wouldn’t enjoy interacting with a dishonest business. A credible company is one who has earned the trust of its audience, and that audience will in turn reward that trust by becoming a champion.
5. Cultivate Trust: Both Inside & Out
A good story starts with listening, and then evolves to capture attention and trust, and to inspire. Be a thought leader in your industry, and share your values and mission. Ensure that your message and story resonate with your audience, whether that means internally to your employees, or externally to potential customers. This will cultivate brand trust over time.
And if you need some additional help? Seth Godin shares How To Tell A Great Story.
To focus on the power of storytelling in your marketing strategy, you need to remember:
- A Compelling Hero's Journey
- Connect With Your Audience
- Show, Don't Tell
- Reflect Human Values
- Cultivate Trust: Both Inside & Out
Now that you know more about why storytelling is important for your marketing, please check out our recent blog posts covering useful Inbound Marketing tips.