The Power of Story in Marketing

If you could do one thing to fuel inject power into your marketing there is one idea that I want you to strongly consider. Telling a story.

Why?

Well for starters, as human beings we relate to stories better than just about anything else. Where a lot of marketing falls flat is with simply listing features and benefits. If you truly want to connect with your potential or current customers, push a story that resonates with what they crave.

This article will outline what you need to consider and how to frame the story idea to help construct a marketing strategy that focuses on using stories.

Why It Works

Stories work because in our brains we can relate. We want to know what comes next.

There is tremendous power in pushing emotion into your marketing. Not convinced?

Think about how in your own life you connect with the brands that make you laugh or cry. What about ones that trigger anger or fear? Those feeling resonate deep into your soul because you are not a robot. (wait, are you?)

Following a well-written story marketing piece, you are going to feel differently about that brand. There is a firmer connection. It’s relatable. As consumers, we even talk about these marketing efforts to other people and share that message. I know you’ve done that the day after the Super Bowl, or when some commercial makes your heart sing.

In your brain, when you listen to a story a few interesting things happen. First, the brain releases a compound called dopamine. This charges the brain and makes that story easier to remember when there is an emotional connection. A fantastic story can trigger responses in several areas of the brain such as the motor cortex, frontal cortex, and the sensory cortex. The more interesting and emotional the story, the bigger the response inside your head.

It’s like fireworks.

If the story resonates with the listener, that person can reframe that idea into something they can use and understand with a process called neural coupling. This means that the person hears or understands the story and processes it into their own narrative. You’ve done this a million times when you have imagined yourself eating that pizza or driving that car, after hearing a good story that connected with you. This makes you want to do something.

How many times in your life have you heard a story and made the connection immediately or an idea popped into your head that drove you to start something?

What It Isn’t

Skip over to the features and benefits. It’s red. It’s $12.99. On sale until Friday. It’s size large.

That’s not what drives the action.

The story you want to deliver is one where the person can envision themselves somehow with what you are marketing. Consumers buy more often on an emotional response, rather than logic.

When your marketing is focused on that connection, that’s what delivers.

Getting Started with Stories

First, jot down a few ideas. Here are a few ideas:

Teaching Stories

This is a story about a transition. The story is about growth and learning. Success is at the end of the road. For you and your shop, how many times has someone come into your shop confused or with a huge problem? They didn’t know what to do next.

But, your shop solved that problem. Your expertise guided them to the correct answer and knocked it out of the park!

Tell that story.

Teach your customer how they could win if they have a similar challenge.

Visual Stories

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words might be in a video?

You can talk about yourself all you want, but nobody really ever listens. Power comes from when your customers do the talking for you. That’s called social proof.

Get a video of your customers holding up their shirts and smiling! A short 30-second testimonial or clips of your work in action is better than anything that comes from you.

Remember to ask for that when your customers pick up their orders or think ahead to shoot you something after the event.

Horror Stories

No, not stories that make up blood-curdling tales of sinister deeds. But stories that describe what failure looks like if they don’t use you.

“Last year, I used another vendor and the shirts were horrible and delivered after the event. I’m so glad that I switched and this year’s event shirts rocked!”

Describe the action and what happened. How did your involvement guarantee success?

Your Story

Here’s where brand authenticity comes in.

Why are you in business anyway? Talk about your journey and growth. Where were the speedbumps? Describe the victories and who has helped you along the way.

Stories like this are relatable because people are interested in the background or behind the scenes of things.

Be human and open.

Story Tips

These days most people don’t read every word. Online we skim.

In fact, have you read every word of this article? (just checking)

Your goal should be to create content that is relatable and is unique. It needs to be entertaining, and grab the reader or viewer right from the start. Sadly, most folks have an impatient attention span.

If you have enough time to build video content, one thing to remember is that blogs that are produced with a video embedded in the article have three times the engagement than text-only posts.

So include that video, but also consider some other sort of graphic. A photo, infographic, chart, illustration or other types of visual elements have a huge impact on readership. Eyeballs are drawn to that graphic more than the headline.

Headlines

Speaking of headlines, word choices matter. I’ve found that using numbers in the headlines increases open rates, as well as other words such as “video” or “podcast”. When you describe more accurately what the content is about, that drives a positive result.

For stories, a video is one of the top methods to demonstrate how a consumer should engage with your product or service. For example, if you want to educate people on how to use the design lab on your website include a short video with a few best practice tips.

Story Formula

When thinking about what to put together to tell your tale there are a few things that consumers have proven to want.

Start with quality.

Taking ten minutes and throwing something together will give you about the results that are proportional to the effort put into it. People will always respond to quality. Do things right.

Be on point.

Don’t talk about things that don’t matter. The relevance of your material is crucial to engagement. Is what you are sharing the answer to a huge problem for the customer? If so, that’s a winner.

Your customer is the hero.

Have you ever been to a party and met someone that just went on and on about themselves? Don’t be the company version of that. Your customer is the hero. Show how you can help them with achieving victory.

Metrics

You need to measure everything. Maybe you have created some killer content, but it was posted on the wrong day or time. Without digging into data, how would you know?

Failure

Learn from your mistakes. The secret to many successes is being willing to take the shot. What happened? Make an adjustment and move on.

 

“Nobody is the villain in their own story. We are all heroes of our own stories.” – George R. R. Martin

“Be unpredictable, be real, be interesting. Tell a good story.” – James Dashner

“Every great brand is like a great story.” – Kevin Plank

 

Production Manager Tool

From day one, we’ve been devoted to making InkSoft the most useful tool for printing and customization professionals across the industry. While thousands of users are growing their businesses with InkSoft Stores and the Design Studio, we know we still have a lot of work to do to help print shops run more efficiently.

The next big step is a production management tool. We want to bring InkSoft full circle by providing a powerful way for you to streamline production and communication, ultimately boosting profitability and reducing costly mistakes. Not to mention, solving the challenges outlined in this article.