Storytelling is a crucial marketing element for small businesses.
A good story can capture your attention, make you emotional, teach you something new, change your mind and stay with you for life. You might not have realized it before, but if you want to sell a product or market your services, you need to be a good storyteller to do so effectively.
Consumers don’t want to listen to you talk about the details of your product endlessly – that’s boring and lifeless – they want to hear a story. They want to know why you care, how you can help them or how you’ve gotten to be where you are. Telling good stories can have endless benefits for your business. Not only can it capture attention, but telling stories can help you truly connect with customers, drive more growth and boost your sales. Start telling stories that captivate people and they’ll become captivated with your business.
But how do you become a good brand storyteller? Here are five tips to improve your storytelling.
1. Be authentic.
An important part of being a good storyteller is to always be authentic. You’ll never gain the trust of your audience if you aren’t being true to yourself. People will be able to see right through the lies you tell or exaggerations you make, and losing the trust of your customers can spell disaster for your business.
In fact, admitting to your failures or talking about your hardships promotes transparency within your brand, and customers appreciate authentic marketing. Sharing your hardships helps people relate to you and shows that your company has great qualities such as perseverance. People want to get to know the real you, so make sure the stories you tell are personal and honest.
2. Show, don’t tell.
When you’re telling a story with the goal of trying to sell your product or service, you can’t just tell people how great it is, you have to show them. No one will be convinced if you make claims about how awesome you are and don’t have anything to back it up, plus it comes across like bragging. Show your audience the great aspects of your company instead of just listing off reasons.
You can show, not tell, by giving real-life instances of how people have benefitted from your product. Instead of saying “our product is the best,” instead say something like, “Our customers have shared with us that our product has drastically improved their life,” and give examples of how. Show your value in stories by giving detailed examples, instead of just telling people how they should feel. This makes you a much more effective storyteller.
3. Solve a need.
Humans search out stories for many reasons, but a lot of time the reason they search out and connect to a story is because it solves a need. We know good products fulfill needs and the same goes for telling a good story.
Business-to-consumer companies have long been telling stories that solve the needs of their customers, and business-to-business companies can do it, too. Identify the needs of your audience and how you can solve those needs. Craft your stories around those findings. Everyone thinks about how a product will make their lives better before they decide to buy, so make them aware of the needs you solve through your storytelling.
4. Stick to what matters.
A good storyteller never wants to bore their audience, so don’t bog your story down with needless details. Get to the point of your story quickly so you won’t lose the attention of your audience. When telling the story about the history of your company, for example, no one needs to know what time of day it was when you thought up your great idea or how many times you changed the name of your business. If it’s not important or relevant to the point of your story, leave it out.
Another trick is to start your story in the middle. Many times when people tell a story, they tell it in chronological order, but when you do it this way, you’ll have way too many details that aren’t necessary. Plus all the exciting stuff happens in the middle, so start there and you won’t put your audience to sleep.
5. Spark some emotion.
Nobody likes a dry play-by-play of events, you need to inject emotion into the stories you tell. Provoking emotion in your audience will make them more likely to form a strong connection with your brand and remember you for a long time. Think about the emotions you feel when you watch a good movie, whether you cry or laugh, you’re immersed in the story because it’s making you feel something.
Think about what emotions you want your audience to feel when they listen to your story. Do you want them to feel inspired, sympathetic or empowered? Include details, information and scenarios in your storytelling that will encourage your audience to feel the way you want them to.
We’ve all been consuming stories for as long as we can remember, whether it’s films, books, newspapers or stories that are passed on around a campfire. Your company’s story can be just as moving and memorable as any of those mediums if you use these tips to become a better storyteller. Telling a good story allows you to stand out from the competition and connect with consumers on a level you never thought possible.