When it comes to marketing, all roads begin and end with one question – What message do we want to share with our audience? Marketing is more than peddling your products or service by using phrases and visuals that’ll entice consumers to make a purchase. Marketing is also about making long-lasting connections. One of the best ways to make a connection with your target audience and keep them invested in your brand is through storytelling.
The most successful businesses and brands have used storytelling as the foundation to build loyalty and return customers. Effective stories stir emotions, create empathy and resonate with individuals’ personal experiences.
Today’s consumer wants to be more than a transaction; they desire to be understood on a deeper level. A study featured by Stanford’s VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab revealed people remember stories 22 times more than facts and figures, and can increase your conversion rates by 30%.
Components Of a Good Story
Whether it’s Steven Spielberg, August Wilson, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou or a commercial for Apple, all good stories have the same components. All good stories are:
Storytelling is hardwired to our brains; it boosts levels of Oxytocin, aka the love hormone, that promotes feelings of love, bonding and well-being. Oxytocin is released when people hug or bond socially. So, storytelling isn’t just about emotion, it’s science.
Benefits Of Storytelling
With so much content for consumers to absorb, it has become significantly difficult to capture their attention. But a good story can cut through the noise by making your messages more memorable and unique. Connecting with your audience in a deeper way is just the tip of the iceberg. Below are some additional benefits that storytelling can bring to your content marketing efforts.
- Storytelling humanizes your business and brand.
- Storytelling establishes trust between you and your customers.
- Storytelling can help you in putting together various types of content.
- Storytelling helps you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Storytelling can assist you in solidifying a loyal following.
Tips To Improve Your Storytelling
The idea of telling stories to your audience shouldn’t be intimidating. After all, every ad, post, blog, infographic or video you’ve produced has told some version of a story. And since storytelling already appears in your content marketing, begin utilizing these tips to improve your storytelling efforts.
- Authenticity is key
Truth always resonates and lies can be exposed and tarnish the reputation of your brand, which leads to a loss of sales and customers. Customers want to see the personality of your brand. Showing the humanness of your business by sharing real tales, or even mistakes, can go a long way in showing who you are is a business and why a customer should choose to purchase your products and services over your competitors.
- Share your story
Everyone knows that Facebook began in a dorm room in Harvard. In fact, a movie was made about it. What is the genesis story of your business or brand? What are the obstacles you had to overcome to bring your product and services to the market? One way to show your authenticity is to share your origin story. Another added benefit to your origin story is that it can differentiate you from your competitors. And like with Facebook, a good origin story can add to the mystique of your brand.
- Highlight the stories of your customers
Testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal of content. The stories your customers share about their experience with your products or services are far more relatable to potential customers than those thought up in a conference room. Who doesn’t like looking at a beautiful model in an ad? Just think of how many bottles of CK One Calvin Klein sold because of Kate Moss, but when customers see real people, they know the stories are real and can see themselves in the people in the ads. Even Victoria’s Secret has retired their seductive angels for a campaign and women who are more inclusive and diverse. Although these women aren’t regular Jane’s, they are more representative of what Victoria’s Secret customer base looks like.
- Conflict Leads to the best stories
Every great story has conflict. The hero couldn’t become the hero without it. The young adult couldn’t discover who they are and come of age without it. It’s the same with storytelling in marketing. Highlighting your customers’ challenges, showing empathy and how your product or service resolves their issue will not only develop brand trust, but also can boost conversions.
- Leverage the power of influencers
Around 80% of consumers have made a purchase after having seen it recommended by an influencer. Did you know that the influencer marketing industry is set to hit $15 billion by 2022 and 9 out of 10 marketers believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing? Influencers have the ear of the buying public and when an influencer endorses your product or service your business benefits from the credibility that the influencer garners as well as their followers.
- Don’t be afraid to step out of the box
Question, what does a dog have to do with canned beans? Some might say nothing, but don’t tell Duke, Bush’s Best Baked Beans beloved dog, that. For over 30 years, Duke and his human companion Jay have been the faces of the canned bean brand, but it’s Duke that is the star of this duo. By doing something unexpected Bush’s Best created an iconic campaign and set themselves apart from their competitors.
- Make sure your story is shareable
An article that appeared in the Association for Psychological Science stated that people are more likely to share content when it evokes certain emotions, such as amusement or awe. A good story will increase the likelihood that your content will be shared on your consumers’ social media channels.
- Don’t forget the visuals
Visuals are as important as the written copy and can greatly affect the way your story is understood. Whether it’s photos, videos or a GIF, visuals make your story more compelling.
Storytelling is the future of content marketing. Using these tips will help you to effectively tell stories about your business that will hook your consumers emotionally and help you to stand out from the crowd.