Connect with your customers through storytelling

Connect with your customers through storytelling

People love to read stories. Stories can be inspiring, and they can fuel our imaginations. They can even invoke emotional responses. But what does that have to do with marketing your business?

Effective storytelling is a powerful tool for your business. Stories have an uncanny ability of creating connections between you and your customers. With those connections come trust and faith in your abilities. When you write an authentic story, your customers will be compelled to come back to you. Storytelling helps you stand out from the crowd, particularly your competition.

Let’s review the key elements that a good story needs in order to be effective.

Be relatable.

The primary “character” in your story needs to be someone to which your customers can relate. If you’re talking about yourself in the story, make sure that your customers can make a connection with you. Be sure to have a good understanding of your audience so that you can tailor your story in a way that resonates with them.

Identify a problem.

What problem or issue does your primary character face? Is it a problem that your audience can identify with? Be sure to thoroughly describe your character’s journey through the problem as they search for a solution.

How was the problem solved?

How did your protagonist overcome the problem? How did they fully resolve the issue? Does it coincide with the solution your potential customers are looking for?

Create an engaging story.

Now that you understand the key elements of a great story, let’s talk about how to keep your audience engaged and entertained. Use the following concepts to keep your audience interested and engaged.

Honesty.

As you are developing ideas for your story, be sure that you keep them real and honest. The last thing you want to do is try to fool your audience with a fake backstory. That’s what you might expect from a less-than-sincere company that just trying to appeal to their market. We’ve all seen those. Storytelling should never be used as a slimy tactic.

Identity.

Keep your customers engaged by helping them identify with your story. A relatable story guarantees a captive audience. Professional writers have a saying, “Make your reader the hero of the story.” This applies to the stories you tell your customers. Keep them involved and they will be eager to read more.

Emotion.

While emotions can be tricky, especially when it comes to business topics, storytelling allows you to express them. Emotions expressed in your story can help your readers better identify with you and understand your message. We are all humans and we can’t function without emotion — even business decisions. We can deny that all we want, but the truth is that many of our life decisions are based on emotion.

Connection.

It’s no secret that we all crave connections with other humans. Storytelling can help you express your own humanity. When a customer connects with your story, they are connecting with you, too. Those connections lead to trust.

Conversation.

Storytelling helps you establish common ground with your customers. When your stories resonate with your readers, they are far more likely to reach out and connect with you. This is due to the trust you’ve established with them. The greatest thing about this, is that the customer may also have a story of their own to share with you.

We all have stories to tell.

Whether you have interesting stories from your personal past or from running your business, you’re sure to have some great material to work with.

One way to get the creative juices flowing is to start writing down ideas on a piece of paper or in a Word document. Even if you just quickly jot down some keywords or phrases, that will get the gears turning. You can then expand those keywords into summaries of your story. At that point, you’ll likely have enough to write a full story and relate it to your customers.

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About the author

Wendell Harness grew up in Hemet, California but moved to Oregon in the early 1990's. He's been a retail worker, land surveyor and a web developer. He's also a coffee snob and loves bowling. Wendell spends his days working on websites, then enjoys his family, friends and cats on evenings and weekends.

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