Using Story To Engage Customers
Humans are naturally attracted to narratives.
From ages, people have developed a keen interest in storytelling, making it a medium of information exchange for centuries. If a piece of information is hidden in a story, it increases people’s retention. They will always remember the story without forgetting the moral of the story, the hidden information in it. This has made storytelling to rank among the best tools for marketing purposes for engaging customers. In recent years, the astronomical growth of content marketing and social media has made storytelling a good brand marketing strategy despite the fact that the concept of storytelling is not new.
When you tell a story, your audience will put themselves in the shoes of your character, regardless of whether the character is fictional or not. This has proved useful in influencing customers to patronize a product or hire a service because they identify with the story behind the product.
Types of effective marketing story
A variety of stories have been used by marketers and companies to connect with their customers in recent years as there is an influx of different mediums of information exchange. You can adopt any of these storytelling types to convey your message:
A story about how a customer tried your product with life-changing effect on him or her. People will readily identify with such a captivating story since some people are struggling with a similar challenge.
A story about two people. One is your customer and patronizes you regularly because he or she is happy with your products. The other is about another consumer who is not your customer and is unhappy with the product he or she bought from your competitor. With this storyline, your audience will have a mental picture of the impact of the different decisions of the people involved in their lives. That will be useful while deciding whether to go for your product or not.
Personal stories about yourself. This should include why you started the brand and your personal experience from using the product. Seeing a living proof of the efficiency of your brand will appeal to them more than anything else. They will believe that if it can work for you, they don’t see any reason why they should feel differently.
Your stories can also include testimonials from different people. Draw testimonials from people from different walks of life. You can get more favourable responses from your audience if the testimonials include people they are familiar with, perhaps a celebrity, or a respected person in the community. That will motivate them to want to tow the path of such people.
How to craft captivating marketing stories
These are five secrets that have been used by brand storytellers to engage, intrigue, and connect with their consumers emotionally. These secrets, if properly incorporated into your storytelling, will help you craft brand stories that consumers will find appealing. They are:
1. Do a background research:
Marketers need to identify the needs of their potential clients so that they can provide practical solutions to them. If possible, this should be done before the client raises the question. How can you do that successfully? You must take out time to do a background check on your customers. This involves determining the market trend and using data analytics to understand their needs. When you have a good understanding of what your audience needs, it becomes very easy for you to tailor your story to meet their needs. Without understanding their problems, it is nearly impossible for you to make any practical recommendation for them.
2. Know where to tell your stories:
The global community has different mediums of storytelling. Of course, narratives themselves are very pervasive because of their efficiency in passing important messages to the audience. Whether you use text, podcast, or video, storytelling remains a very effective tool for reaching the hearts and minds of potential customers.
However, if you plan to use storytelling as an effective tool, consider using videos to tell your stories. The internet community appreciates videos. The number of monthly users of YouTube and the sheer volume of videos shared on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a good proof of the increasing popularity of videos as a marketing technique in recent years.
When it comes to sending effective messages, there is no medium with the efficiency of videos. Both on your landing page or other social media sites, make appealing videos for your narratives and the result will surprise you. Series of researches have proved that using videos for content marketing have a more profound impact on consumers than any other content marketing technique.
3. Know how to tell your stories:
You shouldn’t limit yourself to telling just any story that appeals to you, you are not the audience. Your goal should be telling a story that will connect with your audience, encouraging them to make the right decision. In essence, create a narrative with the potential to sell. Forbes suggested creating stories “that your clients will root for.” That’s exactly what you need to do. Let your character has some issues that your audience will readily identify with.
You can spread the message in your story across the three parts of a story: the beginning, the middle, and the end. At the beginning of your story, present your audience with an ideal situation. Let the situation deteriorate as an unexpected problem arises. Towards the end of the story, let your product be the ideal solution for the problem. That will resonate with them as most of them may identify with such circle. That may eventually encourage them to patronize you.
According to a business consultant, Melinda Emerson, “It may be the most ordinary thing, but if you’ve solved someone else’s pain, that’s the story people want to hear.” People have the natural tendency to want to experience the same positive impact that a product reportedly have on some other people. That increases their curiosity and their willingness to purchase and use the product too.
4. Be honest:
Your story will become more enticing if you are honest with the narratives and the efficacy of your product. Brand storytelling needs both transparency and honesty to thrive. Even if you are crafting stories, they must be connected with your products, brand, and industry. This simply means that your story must adhere strictly to the ethics of storytelling: persistence, consistency, and restraint. Any inconsistency in your story will end up confusing your consumers and this may lead to shifting their loyalty to other brands.
For instance, if you have a real-life experience you can make the subject of your story, that’s a good start. Use it. It is also pertinent that you don’t raise the expectations of your audience too highly. Be honest with what your solution is, how long before they will feel the effect of the product, and other information. If you are not honest with them, it may have a negative impact on your brand if they later find out that you are building your brand on deceit.
Advantages of storytelling as a marketing tool
Storytelling has some unique advantages that are responsible for its soaring popularity among Internet marketers. Let’s consider some of these benefits:
It connects you with your audience: A captivating story will reach the heart of your audience, thereby connecting with them. They will understand the moral of the story and that will spur them to action. Tania Garbe, an entrepreneur said that “Telling an absorbing story creates a connection with your customers.” With a good story, you can describe wonderful feelings, scenes, and emotions in such a way that it will create a vivid image in the minds of your audience. You can take advantage of this to use your storytelling ability to connect with your consumers when promoting your brand.
It differentiates you: Remember that you are not alone in your line of business. There are competitors too. With a good story, you can differentiate your brand from the others. You can achieve this by focusing on your brand and how it can benefit the consumers. Highlighting the benefits and strengths of your brand is one of the best ways to show your consumers that you are different from the rest.
It shows why you matter: The importance of your product or service is further highlighted by your story. It is all about you. Let your story include what you offer them that others don’t. This will show them why you matter and they should continue to root for your product or service. According to Damien Dally of Jeep UK, “Storytelling in the automobile industry has been essential in marketing campaigns for some time, particularly since the arrival of interactive/social media. This could be something metaphoric, yet simple, similar to a journey, to a bit more in-depth, with the use of a plot and roles for the more adventurous. Portraying the brand as the leading role, in either case, is vital.” That should be the goal of your story: you are the leading name in that industry, the perfect solution to their problems.
It keeps your content interesting: You can spice up your storytelling with infographics and charts. This is a good way to increase its appeal to the consumers. With the information explained via these mediums, you will give your consumers a valuable proof that you have a legitimate claim about your brand. Nevertheless, you have to use the infographics and charts with caution. This is because using them excessively will turn out to be boring without achieving the desired result. So, you need to figure out what you should include in your storytelling without boring your consumers with irrelevant facts.
It boosts your page ranking: You need a good page ranking to be available to potential customers from different parts of the world. Most consumers consult Google when searching for a product or service. Naturally, the brands that come up on Search Engine Result Pages are firstly seen before others. This implies that the higher you are ranked on search engines, the more traffic you will attract. If you include a well-crafted marketing story on your page, they will naturally find it convenient to come to your page, search for your products or services, and spend some time on the page, thereby reducing bounce rate. Regardless of the information, you want to use to attract them, support it with the right stories and your traffic will increase as your ranking is boosted too.
The good news about this marketing strategy is that the brand with the best story that can speak to the audience will have the best success story to tell, not the riches brand.
Qualities of good company stories
The effectiveness, or otherwise, of your story depends on whether they have the right qualities or not. These six characteristics should be present before you can count on your story to be successful:
They must be true and relevant. In addition to being honest with your story, it must also be relevant to your audience. This increases customer engagement that may also lead to them rooting for your brand.
It should feature a wide variety of media such as video, images, and audio. Presenting your stories in different formats will make them appeal to different people.
They should also show the impact of the story on real people. This corresponds with one of the points discussed above. When real people are involved, the connection becomes stronger as people with a similar experience may find it easy to identify with the character, leading to increased engagement.
Good stories must deepen your relationship with your customers. After they are fully engaged by your stories, they will see the need to establish and maintain a good relationship with your brand.
Don’t forget that the objective of your story is not to sell. Rather, it is designed to address the needs of your customers and help them find a practical solution to them.
If you are a seasoned marketer, you can improve your success rate by including storytelling in your marketing plans. As a brand, this is also a marketing technique you should consider incorporating into your marketing plans too.