Selling a product is easier when you have authority in your niche.
And authority comes from being able to articulate your brand, personality, promise in a story.
Humans love story. Your customers love story.
Paying attention to a compelling narrative is hardwired into our DNA.
This was how we learned from the elders of the tribe about the dangers outside the cave, while natural selection took care of those not listening and messing around at the back.
Myths, legends, dreamtime and fables became the medium for conveying life lessons and learning through time.
Telling your own unique and interesting story taps this powerful human trait, your audience remembers you and when the time comes for them to buy what you’re selling, your business will reap the rewards.
You’re a business owner, an entrepreneur and a creative professional and while your ear is tuned to how the pointy end of your business works, you’ll have noticed how your customers tend to pay a little more attention when you talk about why you do what you do, adventures along the way, victories and defeats, the mud you had to wade through and the chasm you had to cross in order to be right here right now with something to sell.
Marketers carry on about your brand story as if it’s a power point slide. It’s not. It’s personal. And it’s critical to the future of your ecommerce business.
It answers the important question: why should your customer care about you? Your customers will come to care because they will know you.
Your story is the anchor to base all your marketing activities around.
Creative entrepreneurs can be the best Storytellers
Take a look behind every successful company or endeavour and you’ll discover a great storyteller.
Steve Jobs is dragged out all too often as an example but he remains a compelling one. Apple’s story, products and brand are so tightly woven together it’s hard to think of one element without the other.
We all know the garage startup history, design philosophy and the battle of the Titan’s, Apple Vs Microsoft story of the ’80s and ‘90s. Why does it work? Because it’s authentic and compelling.
Whether we admit it or not, we’re drawn to watch a fight. We can’t help ourselves. And Apple’s famous 1984 advertising campaign took their story and their fight and turbocharged it. Their audience cheered on the under dog, the ‘Freedom fighter’. That was the story.
Be a little strange
The stranger your story, the more compelling your brand will be among your audience, standing out from your competitors.
We all have the ability to tap a rich source of material for sharing your values, showcasing your skills and your offer. Injecting a little backstory into the mix will set you apart. Let your customers into a few little known secrets about your past, present and future.
Tell them something that creates a bond between you.
As a business owner keeping your P&L in the black and fighting daily fires, your time to reflect on story is limited. But you’ve got one. Everyone has. It doesn’t need to be a grand tale. It just needs to be real, explain why you’re here and include one or two dramatic events along the way. As a business startup, the little guy, your best story to take to your audience on a ‘David & Goliath’ path.
Vulnerability is power.
Confiding in your audience and revealing a side of yourself that is naturally human and imperfect is a powerful way to nurture your relationship.
Not everyone will care. But your story will hit the right note with the right people who will become the only ones who matter.
Summarise your story in 140 characters. Make it Tweetable and memorable.
Pick a hero – usually you, the founder.
Have an Antagonist – your arch enemy! If you don’t have one, get out there and find one.
Why should your audience care? Basically, what does your story mean for them – does it lead to a better product? Better experience?
Use the power of 3: three distinct events, chapters, parts, ideas – no more, they won’t remember them.
Structure your story:
in the beginning – where it all started, why you started;
the middle – the dip, your lowest point;
into the uplift – reveal your ‘ah hah’ moment, the point after everything turned to custard and you came out of it thinking ‘ah, now I’ve got it!’. This makes for a good climax as everyone’s been through one and will relate.
Your story sells you and your dream and the ‘why’ – not the ‘what’ (your product).