When our team meets with a client for the first time, we spend a good deal of time listening and learning the story of our new client’s business … these meetings are always enjoyable, as we get to hear their whole story right from the source.
When I step up to the plate to help our clients create their web content, one of the things that never fails to surprise me is that their authentic, fascinating stories are nowhere to be found in their web content or marketing materials.
Why the heck not?
Your story is pretty much the only content you will ever struggle NOT to create. And it is always the first content others will want to read. There’s a reason the About Us and Our Story pages are always one of the most frequently visited pages of a company website (including ours).
Sometimes smaller companies are afraid that storytelling will come across as unprofessional or boring. I disagree. A story is not only a powerful way of illustrating the value of your product, it is also the best way you can explain what you do to others.
If you want people to remember you and your products, try turning your marketing messages into stories. Wonder why the emerging social networking sites are so popular? The answer is because people crave the emotional and powerful connection that comes through telling a story.
The Head vs. The Heart
The art of great storytelling comes down to this: it is a unique opportunity to make a real, lasting connection with your target audience. You’ve heard it before: people buy with their heart and justify their purchase with their head.
The reason why storytelling works so well is that it accesses both the head and the heart: stories reach us emotionally while logically making sense to us. When your messages stimulate both the right (emotional) and the left (rational) side, you have the greatest potential to succeed.
Think You Don’t Have A Story? Yes You Do.
No matter what your business, whether you’ve been around for one year or one hundred, you do indeed have stories to tell. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Customer Success
Tell about a time when you really were able to help a customer. What sticks out in your memory? What have your past customers told you? One coherent, compelling story is far more valuable than paragraph after paragraph or page after page of sleepy, ho-hum “why we are better” and “our mission” copy.
2. Competitive Win
What are your biggest accomplishments? What do you do better than anyone? Such stories help show how you are better than your competitors. They also tend to be memorable because there is a bit of drama built into the “us vs. them” storyline. After all, everyone wants to work with a winner, right?
3. Product Creation
Do you have a better way of working or a trademarked process? Such stories let you showcase your knowledge of the segment and how you identified an unmet customer need. It also gives you a chance to show how your company works with customers and your company values.
4. How We Started
“Where are you from?” is one of the first questions we ask when we meet someone new. Every company was started somewhere, somehow, by someone. Your origin is not only important to prospective customers; it’s important to your employees, vendors, partners and lenders. It is crucial for everyone to have an understanding of who you are and where you come from; it is the foundation of trust. If people don’t know where you came from, they are likely to lose interest and turn away.
Storytelling is a very powerful tool that can help you deepen brand impression, connect with customers, improve customer service, inspire employees and bolster your business. If you need some guidance finding and telling your story, we are always here to help. So really … what’s stopping you from telling some stories of your own?