STORYTELLING IN MARKETING – HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY

The best marketing tells a story. People love stories, and they relate well to them. Like a movie or book, a good marketing story has a plot, characters, and movement toward a climax. It keeps people reading to see what’s going to happen next.

 

THE SSS STORY STRUCTURE

If you look at almost any story, you’ll see a common structure. This structure consists of three S’s: setting, situation, and solution. The setting gives a background for the story. The situation is the challenge that the characters must overcome. In marketing, it’s some kind of pain or frustration that your product solves for them. The solution is the happy ending where that problem is solved.

 

PERSONAL STORIES

Personal stories work well to sell products and services. A personal story relates how you struggled with the same problem your reader has, and you figured out a solution, which is the product you’re offering. The great thing about personal stories is that they can be completely true. No embellishment is necessary. Products that were made to solve a problem all have personal stories behind them.

 

EXPERT STORIES

A variation on the personal story is one in which you didn’t solve the problem yourself, but met an expert who helped you solve the problem. The story is the same, but in this case you’re passing on the expert’s own story and their knowledge rather than your own. This type of story is particularly effective because of the air of mystery surrounding the expert. The expert may be inaccessible to your audience, but you’re not.

Alternatively, you can actually introduce your prospects to the expert and let them tell their story themselves. This approach is particularly effective via webinars or teleseminars.

 

HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL STORIES

You can add a bit of history or culture to your product in order to reframe it. This is very common with natural health products that are based on indigenous traditional medicine. The setting of an herb’s use for thousands of years among the people of the Amazon Basin helps to explain to the customer where it’s coming from and why they should try it. The product doesn’t just appear out of the blue.

 

YOUR STORY AS A MARKETER

In addition to the story of your products, it also helps to have a story about yourself and what you do. Celebrity-like marketers with strong followings always have a good back story. A few common Internet marketing stories include the single mother who built an online business while raising her kids; the slacker or surfer who never achieved anything much in life but discovered an easy way to make money online; the stressed executive who leaves the rat race to make real change in the world. Just remember, your story needs to be real in order to be effective. Don’t make up a common sob story just to appeal to your prospects’ feelings.

 

WRITING YOUR STORY

There’s never any need to fabricate your story. Every person and every product has a story behind it, whether you realize it or not. Instead of creating a history out of thin air, look for the one that’s already there waiting to be discovered. Start by looking at the obstacles you sought to overcome and how you did it.

 

Activity: 

  1. Identify the type of story that will connect best with your customers – Personal, Expert, or Historical
  2. Use the Worksheet for Writing Your Story to create an outline for your story, making sure you include the setting, situation, and solution.
  3. Write a draft of your story and share it with someone to get feedback.