We’re dealing with marketing story-telling in this week’s episode of Content Marketing… Stripped!
I’ve skipped a couple of weeks of filming, but as you’ll see at 0:18 I have been very busy…
How do you tell a marketing story?
As you see in the video, simply giving the facts of an event makes for a very dull experience. Not only that but there’s a whole heap of science behind the fact that if you tell a story, it’s more likely people will remember it.
Telling a story in your marketing doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, I’ll bet just looking through your web copy, leaflet copy or sales page right now, you have a chance to turn your facts into a story.
For example instead of writing:
We can work with you on your web design…
We can extend it into a story about:
When you sign us as your web design company we’ll meet with you to listen to your ideas and goals. You’ll get friendly advice and then our designers will create a draft website so you can see your dream coming to life.
Now this is just an example, but the aim is to extend the facts into an event or picture that your customer can visualise.
As you discovered at 3:40 in episode 4 of AmyTV, customers are shy creatures but you can make them more comfortable doing business with you if you take the time to tell a short marketing story.
1. Gather the facts first
If you want to frame your content marketing into a story, make it easy on yourself and gather the facts first. Facing a blank screen puts a lot of pressure on you. If you’re trying to remember the details of your offer, and weave it into an interesting story, you might just tear your hair out.
Let’s say you’re a leisure centre promoting a new weekend fun session in your swimming pool. You sit down to write an email newsletter to your customers encouraging them to check it out.
- From 11am-2pm
- Large inflatable and floats
- Separate area for young children
- Special offers in the poolside cafe
This gives you a quick, practical checklist you can review after writing your copy to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
2. Picture the customer experience
Now the facts alone are okay, but customers don’t always make the connection between the details you’re giving them and the great experience they would have.
That’s what copywriting is for.
So next, imagine you are your customer. What does their little sales adventure look like?
Taking this step is what moves us from fact-sharing to story-telling as we see things through our customer’s eyes. You might just surprise yourself with some extra little details that will make great selling points.
In the above example, imagine a family arriving at the leisure centre with excitable children. Maybe grandma wants to sit it out and relax in the cafe as mum and dad take in the children. Having mixed ages, it’s perfect that the older boy can have fun on the big inflatable, while his younger sister plays with mum in a quieter area of the pool. Grandma can watch from the poolside and afterwards they can take advantage of the special offers in the cafe and find something tasty for the appetite they’ve worked up.
Can you see how we’ve moved from the facts to bring the experience to life? This is much easier for us to imagine and remember than a list of bullet points.
3. Add in a dash of emotion
Now that you have your experience, think about the emotions your customer might experience in the story. In the above example, these might be:
- Excitement and anticipation for the children
- Peace of mind for grandma
- Nostalgia for dad as he remembers his own fun days
- Joy for mum as memories are made
Jotting them down reminds you to think about how the experience is going to make your customer feel, and emotion is a very powerful selling tool.
What might it look like?
So now that we have our facts, our experience and emotion, we can start to piece together our marketing story which might look something like this:
Join us this Saturday for a family pool adventure everyone can enjoy, even non-swimmers! From 11am-2pm the pool will have a large inflatable, perfect for excitable youngsters and ‘big’ kids alike (yes dad, that means you). Not quite ready for the rough and tumble? Take your little ones to the quiet pool area: just right for making those ‘first splash’ memories. And if you have friends and family who wants to sit out on the swimming, the poolside cafe will be serving discounted teas, coffees and cakes so they can be part of all the excitement without getting wet.
Of course, this is just an example, but you can see how we’re building a story that is easy-to-read, easy-to-visualise, and more evocative than facts.
What about you? How do you use story telling in your marketing? Let me know in the comments below!