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Once Upon a—Business—Time . . .

Adding ‘story’ to your marketing message, is the next level for “upgrading” your “Secret Sauce.”
What does “story” have to do with business . . .? Everything!

  • Writing your marketing content as a story, speaking to your target audience through story, helps your customer, or prospective customer, identify with what’s being said in your marketing message.
  • It translates into “your company has what they need.”
  • It improves how your prospect “bonds” with you. Additionally, story multiplies the possibility that your prospect will remember your marketing message!

Your customers and potential customers want to hear that someone cares about them and what they need. They want to hear from someone who has ‘walked a mile in their shoes; or just know that they are listening to someone who knows what it is that they (the target audience) want.

If you want your message to do more than get through that ‘white noise’ of 30,000 per day marketing messages, if you want your message to really resonate, or ‘ring true,’ for your target audience, then ‘story’ is the tool to use. Story can ensure your message stands apart from the ‘marketing din’ that your target audience is exposed to on a daily basis.

As humans, we want stories. Humans LOVE stories.

  • Even if you don’t watch television, how much time do most of the people you know spend watching television? Television is full of story.
  • Do you enjoy reading books—novels, biographies, autobiographies, science fiction? Whatever kind of reading you prefer, there is an element of story.
  • Do you enjoy magazines or newspapers—online or offline? Lots of story there. The same with movies.
  • Movies, dramas, comedies, talk shows, even sports commentaries and news shows—all full of story.

 

Why is ‘Story’ so Important?

Let’s say you are re-crafting your marketing messages:

  • You have written a new article/blog post and published it to the blog on your business Website.
  • This new article has been on your site for a couple of weeks now and you’re a little excited about it because it is already attracting more readers than any of your previous posts. So, something new is happening on your Website—more visitors. Maybe some of these visitors are looking through your blog, or even your Website, to see if there’s anything else there that will help them.
  • Now, more people are finding the information which you have re- crafted to ‘speak’ from the perspective of your target audience. Score one for you! But getting “eyeballs” to come and see your Website isn’t all that is needed. Now that more people are finding your Website information, how long will they stay once they arrive? If they haven’t found what they’re looking for in 6-8 seconds, they will move on to the next search result!
  • Statistically speaking, that’s all you get—6-8seconds of “eyeball time” before a Website visitor moves on to the next result, if they haven’t found what they were looking for in your Website. The new article you wrote had to have sounded like information they needed for them to go to your Website.

Will that article deliver on the ‘promise’ it implied? What happens next? Will they:

  • start to read and find that it falls short of their expectations, moving on to another search result before they even finish your information?
  • Read the entire piece but then move on because it doesn’t really answer their question, solve their problem or direct them to the solution to their problem (which may be somewhere else on your Website)?
  • Read the entire piece, maybe look at something else on your Website and then move on to do some “comparison shopping” before deciding which business/source to choose?
  • Read your information piece and stop in their tracks, thinking—this is IT. This is exactly what I was looking for, exactly what I need. Then purchase your product from your Website or engage in a live chat to clarify some specification; maybe even hop into their Vespa and motor downtown to your storefront to purchase the item or service in question?

In this instance, suppose the person reads the entire piece, found some specification details elsewhere on your Website, then moved on to do some “comparison shopping” before making their decision. You might be thinking that such a scenario is still a “win!” After all, they found you, they visited your Website. They see that your information is speaking from their perspective. However, they left your site and continued to shop. Now say their comparison shopping resulted in their wanting to come back to your site to make their purchase. They have browsed about 34 sites, 19 of which were possibilities and 8 of which were good candidates. Even though they’ve determined they want to go back to your Website, they may no longer remember which one was yours. They are suffering from ‘search overwhelm’.

If only there had been something else included in your article. Something, in addition to your information, which showed that prospective customer that you have what they need. If only there had been something about that information which made it stand out strongly enough that it resonated with their thinking and ‘took seed’ in their memory, allowing them to remember which Website was yours. If your article had also included a story element, that ‘sticky’ factor could have triggered their memory of your Website.

If your information not only speaks from the perspective of your target audience but also includes ‘story’ that information’s, source is easier to remember. This is because, unlike most of what they will have seen and read—even the good, on-target information—the information with ‘story’ will mean something to them. It’s one thing to provide information that makes sense. It is another thing to produce the information customers are looking for. It is yet another thing, and at a higher level, to create something that will resonate and have meaning for your potential customers—your target audience.

If your information isn’t developed as a story they’re going to remember, then: twenty minutes, ten minutes, even five minutes later as they continue their Internet search, the information they read on your Website will already be forgotten, like vapor in the wind.

We attach to stories. We identify with stories. Stories speak to us differently than just statistics and information devoid of any ‘dressing.’ To be powerful, information should connect to an individual.

If you phrase your marketing message such that you’re actually speaking to an individual, that individual is going to hear your message quite differently than, again, just information. Even if it’s the information they’re looking for. You don’t only want to satisfy them with the information they want; you want the message and the information to be remembered! ‘Story’ adds some “sticky” value to your marketing message.

If a message has some “sticky” value to it, an individual is more likely to remember the message as well as its source. A good story written TO your target audience will resonate with them. That resonance is a factor of “sticky-ness.” A story that resonates in their memory will cause them to remember you! That you are where that ‘great information piece’ came from. Instead of the response . . . “Where did I find that information? . . . No idea. Okay, now I have to start over. I have to go look for this information again. I’ll try searching again. Maybe that piece will show up again in my new search.” Do you really want to leave to chance whether that prospect can, again, find your Website?

Having ‘story’ in your marketing messages magnifies the recognition of your business in your target audience. Having ‘story’ woven into your messages can also shorten the timeline for a prospective customer to develop a relationship with you/your business and so, has the potential to move them towards trusting you sooner.

In this series, 12 steps to effective online marketing, we are presenting a step-by-step re-structuring of your marketing strategies. Designed to be taken step-by-step. Do not drive yourself crazy, or stress your finances, trying to implement too many factions at once. Burning out your convictions OR your business finances will not give you the desired effect you want to target . . . “take it to the BANK results!

 

12 Steps to Effective Online Marketing
Step 1 – Why Social Media Is YOUR Most Powerful Marketing Tool
Step 2 – Human Nature And Negative Word of MOUSE Marketing
Step 3 – Great Examples of the Power of Social Media Marketing
Step 4 – What’s Missing From Traditional Marketing Advertising
Step 5 – Anatomy of a Customer-Focused Marketing Message
Step 6 – Be Clear Exactly Who You’re Marketing To
Step 7 – Adding “Story” To Make YOUR Marketing Memorable
Step 8 – Boost Your Business Providing 1 or 2 Resources WITHOUT Selling
Step 9 – YOUR “Business Voice” What it is; why it’s important
Step 10 – A Sampler of Social Media Types/Channels
Step 11 – Which Social Media Will Work for Your Business
Step 12 – Working Social Media Into YOUR Regular Business Operations

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