So far we’ve been focusing on what storytelling is and the history behind it.
We’ve also established that this is something we can use to grow our online business.
Storytelling is such a powerful way to connect with your audience, keep them engaged, and share your content in a way that’s easy to remember.
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Now let’s go a little deeper into the power of storytelling and how it can help with business.
In particular, we’re going to look at how storytelling can help us establish and strengthen a brand, how it can help us sell, and how it can help us keep the people around us motivated.
How Storytelling Can Help With Branding
Before you can make a sale, before you can grow your mailing list, before you can get more people to read your blog, people have to be aware of you.
That’s where branding comes in. It doesn’t matter if you have a website or business name you want people to remember or if you and your name are the brand.
The basic idea is the same.
You grow your brand and your reach by telling your story.
Think about why you got into this business and what your goal is aside from making a decent income.
- What can you offer your audience?
- How are you helping them?
- Why did you choose this particular niche?
- Who do you want to help?
- Who are the people that you are providing solutions for?
- What’s driving your passion for the business?
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Let’s look at an example.
Joe has a website that helps people figure out what types of financial aid, grants, and student loans are available for college students.
His site has lots of free information, as well as a paid member’s area where he offers more personalized help. He also sells a course that walks customers through the process of applying for financial aid and grants.
His brand is “The Shoestring College Student” and his brand story is about his own journey as a college student who had to pay his own way with the help of financial aid, grants, scholarships, and part-time jobs.
- Passion is to make it possible for anyone to go to college.
- Mission is to help his audience navigate the complicated world of financial help for college students.
- Goal is to save them time and effort so they can get to college sooner and focus on schoolwork instead of wading through form after form.
What Is Your Back Story?
Why did you pick a particular niche and what is your personal connection to it?
Simply put, why did you get into the business you’re in? Once you answer those questions, you will have plenty of material to share on your website, in your emails, and in your sales materials that will build your brand.
These personal bits of information will also allow your readers to get a glimpse of the person behind the website and the brand.
It allows them to get to know you and that builds trust.
Strengthen Your Brand
Telling your story strengthens your brand and it gives your audience something to share.
They will be able to retell the stories and since they have a good grasp of what you and your brand are about, it is easy for them to send more traffic your way.
Let’s say Grandma Marie comes across your website via a Facebook post.
With your brand and your mission clearly established (let’s use the college loan example again), it’s easy for her to share the “Shoestring College Student” brand with her grandson who’s a freshman in College.
Showcase Your An Expert
Storytelling can also showcase your expertise and establish you as the expert in your field.
Let’s say you’re blogging about personal finance. You share how you were able to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt and student loans over the course of 2 years.
Part of your story is also how you’ve helped hundreds of other people get out of debt over the past few years.
Through these stories, you are establishing your expertise. You’re showing your audience that you know what you are talking about and that they can trust your advice.
Storytelling is a great tool to help establish rapport and trust with your target audience.
Stories give your readers a little glimpse into your life and who you (the person behind the brand) are.
And as you know, you need that trust if you’re planning on making money with your website and your mailing list. Use those stories to give your audience a glimpse into your life and work on establishing that trust.
Last but not least, let’s talk about how we can use storytelling to grow brand loyalty.
Sticking to the same basic story, along with a quality product can help you build a brand with a large loyal following.
Think about Tide Laundry Detergent. Their brand strategy is that they are the best at getting out stains and cleaning your clothes really well.
When you think back on the commercials over the years, that’s the story they’ve been telling over and over.
Now go to the store and look at the laundry detergent section. If yours looks anything like mine, half that isle is filled with Tide products.
They have a huge share of the market and loyal customers like my mother-in-law who would never even consider buying a different brand.
How Storytelling Can Help You Sell
We’ve touched a little bit on how storytelling can help you sell your products as a result of growing a loyal and trusting audience. Now let’s go into a little more detail on how storytelling itself can help you close those sales.
Capture Their Attention
First and foremost storytelling will help you grab and keep your readers attention.
A good story will hook them in with the headline or the first couple of sentences.
As long as you keep your story interesting, valuable, and to the point, you will keep their interest until you’ve had plenty of time to work in the benefits of buying and are ready to ask for the sale.
Think about it. If you’re looking at just the facts or even a list of benefits, it’s fairly easy to quit and move on as you start to lose interest.
With a story on the other hand, we’re a lot more likely to make it to the end.
We’ve been conditioned from childhood to wait for the end of the story. It’s hard to give up on a book, a movie, or a TV show episode halfway through once we’ve gotten hooked.
That’s exactly why stories work to our advantage when it comes to closing the sale. They help us keep the reader engaged, allow us a chance to make some valuable points, and show what our product can do for him or her.
Evoke Strong Emotions
We can use those to our advantage when it comes to closing the sale.
Let’s go back to the “getting out of debt” example. As you tell the story,
- Share how often you were lying in bed at night worrying about how you would pay the power bill or make sure there was enough money for groceries for the week.
- Explain how desperate things got when you were living paycheck to paycheck and suddenly your car stopped working and the washing machine gave out a week later.
- Play on those emotions and use them to connect with your readers who are in similar situations now.
- Show them that there’s a way out of this desperate financial situation, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And then close the sale.
Before and After
Another strong way to use storytelling when you’re trying to make a sale is “before and after” stories and strong testimonials from your customers.
Share their stories and give your readers a chance to identify with those customers. Show them that you can help them as well.
There’s a reason testimonials and case studies work so well … and it goes beyond the simple facts that are shared. It’s the story behind it that speaks to us.
How Storytelling Can Help You Train And Motivate Your Employees and Independent Contractors
Let’s wrap this up by looking at how storytelling can help motivate employees and independent contractors.
While we’ve focused on our customers and target audience so far in this series, it’s also a great internal management tool.
As with your customers, you can build a lot of trust and loyalty with storytelling. Share a little about yourself, what this business means to you and how it will affect your loved ones.
Storytelling is also one of the best management techniques when it comes to relying information. Stories will stick.
More than a handout, a list of facts or a PowerPoint presentation, they will help your employees and independent contractors remember core facts and information about your business.
Think about core values that you want to impart on your co-workers.
What do you want to make sure stays on their mind as they work through their assignments or take care of your customer support?
Those are the things you want to share via stories to make sure they are remembered and implemented day in and day out.
The power in storytelling lies in the fact that they are entertaining, inspiring, and most importantly memorable.
It’s a great tool to have in your content creation and copywriting toolbox.
I’m sure by now you are convinced that storytelling is a worthwhile technique to check out and I hope you will give it a try as you move forward with building and growing your online business.
This post is part of a three-part series:
- In the previous post, we learned more about what it means to use Storytelling In Business. In part, what makes a good story and how we can apply those lessons to our online business, and how to tell stories with a purpose.
- The final and biggest post of this series is looking at various ways of How To Incorporate Storytelling in Your Business. All it takes is a little thinking and focusing on what the purpose of your stories are.
Interested in more ways to balance your life and your business? Get a reminder with my HappyBot for my free Facebook Live trainings every Friday! happinessmatters.com/fblive