At some point in our lives, we have all heard the phrase traditionally used in storytelling, “Once upon a time.” From a very young age in life, the way we learn has been through the use of stories. Stories are an embedded part of our lives as a way of communicating ideas and concepts. They can also have a profound impact in people’s lives. Simply look at the number of people today who are engineers because of watching TV shows such as Star Trek.
In business, one simply has to look at a commercial to see the effective use of stories to sell a product. How many times have you watched a commercial and thought “I absolutely must have that product!” Often this is the result of an emotional connection that was generated. As a society, we tend to make buying decisions based on our emotions. It’s the reason that when you look at commercials aimed at children, they are full of fun and excitement.
When utilized properly, a story can influence a buying decision. On a larger scale, simply look at the various products that are produced to go along with various television shows and movies. The products allow consumers to feel as if they are part of the story. For instance, simply look at the sheer number of products on the market today as part of the Star Wars universe.
For business owners, learning how to leverage stories as part of a marketing campaign can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Traditionally, most ads used by business owners tend to focus on promoting either the features or the benefits of their products or services. While this is a great start, it is missing a key ingredient. By incorporating a story, it allows prospects to become part of your world and feel a connection to it.
How to Incorporate Storytelling into Promoting Your Products and Services
Below are 5 key components that every story must have to compel your audience to want to know more about you, and ultimately buy from you.
1. Social Value: When people think of your product, what value does it add to their life? Because there are a multitude of choices consumers can make in today’s world, it’s vital for it to stand out. The product you are promoting should have enough value that it compels people to want to talk about it. If the product lacks value, or it’s not something people want to share, you have to look at ways to change its packaging so people will. Connection: Does the story connect with your audience? Does it remind them of something they are currently experiencing in their life?
2. Emotional: Because people buy with their emotions, how does your product or service make someone feel after they use it? The stronger the emotional ties people have with it, the more likely a person will be to purchase it, as well as to influence the buying decisions of their friends. It is vital to know what emotion triggers buying for your industry. Because people will move towards pleasure or away from pain, you must carefully consider how to position your product or service to utilize one of these core emotions.
3. Social Proof: Social proof can come in many forms. For example, in commercials promoting toys children are often seen having a great time playing with the advertised products. Because of this, children watching want to have the same type of fun because they see others doing it. Social proof can take on many forms, but often it’s a display of how the product works or reviews from consumers who have utilized the product or service.
4. Practicality: A product must be practical in today’s world. If it is too complicated people will not want to invest in it. People want to utilize the simplest of solutions to achieve a specific result they are looking for. This provides the answers to two questions most consumers have: Does it work? And, can I do it or use it? When these two questions have been answered as part of a story, a consumer is one step closer to making a buying decision.
5. Hero’s Journey: Everybody loves a hero. The most compelling stories people relate to having a hero or heroine as part of it. It can be as simple as someone buying flowers to win the heart of a woman, or a child being able to see clearly for the first time thanks to wearing glasses. Regardless of your product or service, it’s vital to look at ways you can create a hero because it becomes a symbol people can rally behind. When this takes place people can truly feel an emotional connection to your brand.
Storytelling Builds Relationships
Each of the above is a vital component in developing a story that sells. When you start using stories to invite people into your world, they will be more compelled to buy from you versus the competition. The more you leverage stories in your business, the stronger the bond you will build with your existing clients as well as prospective customers.
Do you use storytelling to promote your products and services? Share with us your experiences.