As humans we’ve become psychologically responsive to stories. It goes way back to an age where stories were used to pass information from one generation to another. And the structure of stories has barely changed in all this time.
So, as humans we respond well to stories as we can relate to them in some way. Storytelling in marketing is nothing new, but it’s a skill and an art form that is sometimes over looked when writing sales copy.
Whether you’re outsourcing your content writing or do it yourself, here’s a basic formula to help you structure your content so that it resonates with your target audience and converts them into a buyer, or at the very least an enquiry.
- Create your characters / heroes (your customers)
- Define the problem to be solved (the villain)
- The guide (your company)
- Build the plan (show them the way)
- Call to action
- Failure and success
I’ll explain these steps in more detail for you below.
1. Create your characters / heroes (your customers)
Every great story needs great characters. The best stories have the best heroes. And the heroes should be your customers. Your story should be all about your customer, not about you! So when you’re creating your story, think about your customer and what matters to them.
The common mistake business owners make is listing all their products and services. But, this is of little value to the customer if you’re not communicating how these will be of use to them. Instead, focus on what problems the customer has and how your products and services will help them.
2. Every story needs a villain (the problem)
Just like our story needs a hero (the customer), we also need a villain too. And in our story the villain is the problem our customer has. Start talking about their problems and you’ll already start to engage with them.
So what do I mean by villain? Let’s say you run a graphic design agency, the villain (or problem) would be shoddy design that’s reflecting badly on your customers image to their customers. This would be a good villain to start with.
Remember, your customers won’t choose you simply because of the products and services you offer. They will choose you because of the problems you solve for them. So articulating this in your story will mean more customers.
3. Your story needs a guide (your business)
So in our story we have our hero (the customer), our villain (the problem) and now we need an enabler, or a guide. And that guide is you. We’ve identified the problems that the customer has in our story and now we need to position your company as the one to show them the light!
To do this, you need to be credible and have empathy with the customer and their problem. We’ll take empathy as a given, as I trust you know what it’s like to be in their position. Credibility on the other hand needs to be demonstrated by testimonials, case studies and other market data such as the number of people you have helped or subscribers to your business.
4. Build the plan (show them the way)
Now we’re well on our way to creating the story we need to effectively sell our products or services. One of the final components as part of this story is helping to build the plan for the customer.
Helping customers over the line by showing them the way is critical in our story. You explain precisely the process of buying from you. Make it as simple and straightforward a process as possible. Identify clearly the steps they need to take to buy your products or services. With this in place, it’s time to move on to the all important call to action.
5. Call to action
You should now have a well crafted story page made up of the components above. Your call to action should be distinct and use positive language such as ‘Enquire now’ ‘Contact us today’ ‘Request your quote now’ or other similar affirmative action orientated language.
Another way to prompt positive action is offer something for free such as a time limited consultation or downloadable pdf. In this instance you could use language such as ‘Book your free appointment’ or ‘Download your free guide’.
6. and 7. Failure and success
The final two components that make up your brand story relate to failure and success.
It’s important in your story to highlight the feeling of failure as much as the emotion of success that your customer will feel by using your product, or in the case of failure, by NOT using your product or service.
No one wants to focus on the negatives but it’s important you spell out in your story what might happen if they don’t buy your product or service. This is why you’ll often find insurance companies highlighting what can happen if you don’t have insurance.
Similarly, you need to paint a picture in your story of what success looks like. How will they feel after they use your product or service, what will the outcome look like? As an example in the sportswear industry you will find lots of examples of brands selling the outcome of a happy, healthy life by using their products.
By following these 7 components to create your brand story you will immediately resonate with your target audience and be far more attractive than your competitors who will mostly be using the language of us and our, not you and yours.
Good luck! And if you need help creating your brand story drop me line and i’d be delighted to help you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07849 020558