Stories are fundamental elements in every society. They’re fundamental to life itself. We entertain ourselves with stories, inform ourselves with stories, and even find our significance in stories. Stories can be as simple as a funny experience you had last week at the grocery store or as sophisticated as the story of the universe’s origins. Consequently, the power of storytelling can help your business succeed.
Stories are also very powerful ways to communicate with business customers. Stories sell. Whether you’re sharing reviews and testimonials or building a brand, stories connect you with people. Humans engage with stories in a special way. For example, consider a company that sells amazing trucks. They’re powerful, well-designed, and fuel-efficient. Which is more likely to lead to more sales: an informational table containing the truck’s performance metrics and specifications or a commercial that displays the power and appeal of the truck? Most people would engage with the commercial more than the technical details.
Who’s the Hero?
When a business uses stories to help sell their products or services, the way they structure the story is important. Many businesses build their marketing stories around themselves. This is understandable. It makes sense that a business story should be about the business, right? In reality, people engage with stories that they can relate to. The key then, is to tell a story where your customer is the hero. If movies and theatre have taught us anything, it’s that being pulled into a story and experiencing it beats just listening to a story any day.
Where Do You Fit?
So if your customer is the hero, where does your business fit in? Donald Miller, creator of the Storybrand framework, suggests that businesses come alongside their hero customers as the “guide”. Every hero in every story has a character arc. They start out with a problem, an obstacle, or a challenge and must overcome it. In the same way, your customers have challenges and obstacles that your business can help them overcome. They may start out frustrated but through your help and guidance, they can triumph in the end.
Your role as the guide is to offer your hero customer the resources they need to overcome their challenges. This is where your product or service comes in.
Sell the Happy Ending
Most good stories have a happy ending: the tidy conclusion where the hero’s hopes are realized and victory is celebrated. Likewise, when marketing you should draw your customer’s attention to the happy ending. How will they feel after using your product? What value will they experience from using your service?
The focus of every story is the hero and your business story should be no different. The story is not about you, the guide, and it’s not about the resources and help you provide (your product or service). It’s about the hero customer and what benefits they will experience and what they will feel.
Make It Relatable
The whole point of storytelling in business is to help people make decisions by providing them with more context. Therefore, it’s important to tell a story that your customer will relate to. In the matter of reviews and testimonials, you’ll want to make sure that customers can relate to the people who are reviewing your product or service. If you’re trying to sell trucks to farmers in rural areas, find a story that they can relate to. On the other hand, if you’re marketing a sleek, fuel-efficient compact car to urban drivers, you’ll want to change the tone of your story to engage them.
After all, if your customer doesn’t relate to the hero in your story, they’ll disengage and find another story.
Put the Power of Storytelling to Work
Stories touch us in a way that technical specifications or logical arguments can’t. They are a special part of what makes us human. Use the power of storytelling to market your business and attract new customers. Just remember to clearly define who the hero is, what their happy ending will be, and how you can help them get there!
Do you understand the need for storytelling but aren’t sure how to translate your business value into a compelling story? IX Publishing offers inbound marketing services that can help you communicate your story in an engaging way! Reach out to us and learn how to tell your business story through your customer’s eyes!