Today’s customers are inundated with marketing messages, news updates, goofy memes and personal social media threads. All but the most urgent have become easy-to-ignore white noise. How can your message stand out in all that cacophony? What’s more, your customers don’t respond to out-and-out advertisements in the positive way people used to. In fact, they don’t trust it. So again we ask: how do you break through their armor-plated message filters? Storytelling is the answer!
“Neuroscience tells us that humans are hardwired to learn better if someone’s words have meaning and emotion to them.”
Engage with stories
If you pay attention to marketing trends at all, you’ve probably heard at least a bit about storytelling.
“The art of storytelling is a rising trend that engages users and keeps them coming back for more,” says Carolanne Manges, writing for Smart Insights. When you start looking for them, stories are everywhere, told in words and images. “Visuals are great, but simply not enough,” adds Manges.
When marketers encourage you to tell your story, they don’t mean the “Once upon a time. . .” kind. And we emphatically don’t want you to “tell stories” in the lying sense. Ever.
A good story is creative, human, and real. People connect to people. Neuroscience tells us that humans are “hardwired to learn better if someone’s words have meaning and emotion to them,” writes Paul Jarvis in an article titled “5 Common Elements of Good Storytelling” published by Inc. Master teachers and motivational speakers alike use this knowledge.
“As the trusted advisor, help the customer find the solution to their problem — make them the hero.”
Storytelling tips from a copywriter
Keep it short and concise. Ernest Hemingway was a master story teller from whom marketers can learn a few things. He is known to have penned this story, complete in six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Something this simple, this powerful, this heavy with emotion, takes a lot of work to get right. Every word matters. Even the punctuation. Translate this skill to a tagline, and — boom.
Open with a hook. Remember, you haveonly seconds to engage customers before they decide to leave your page. A hook might be a quote, a succinct pain point, a question, or an image. Curiosity and surprise will create interest.
Use specific, sensory language. This is not the time to throw around business jargon like collaborative or visibility or innovate. Your goal is to engage your customers as humans, not impress them with your vocabulary.
Get personal. Guidelines for formal business writing don’t apply here, and your English teacher’s red pen is far away. Go ahead and use personal pronouns like I and you. Yes, a story is casual and subjective. That’s what makes it work so beautifully.
Give your story a hero and a challenge. In the best marketing stories, you are not the hero. If this were Star Wars, you would be Obi Wan Kenobi. As the trusted advisor, you help the customer find the solution to their problem — make them the hero. Sometimes the solution to the challenge at hand will be your product or service — sometimes it won’t.
Find an entertaining and engaging way to add to your customer’s hero journey, and your stories will intertwine. Talk about epic.
Other ways to engage customers
Give your customers an experience they’ll welcome instead of interrupting them with more intrusive words. As Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Use images strategically. Professional photographers and graphic artists know how to create images that tell stories. These could be photos, sketches, computer-generated animation, or even infographics. Check out our previous post about creating an infographic that gets results.
- Ask for their help. People will feel valued if you ask for their help. You could send a survey or seek feedback on a new product or line of service.
- Limit the time. Create some urgency with a limited-time offer. People may feel like they don’t want to miss out on something good.
- Include them in a select group. When the invitation to participate is exclusive in some way, people feel special. Chosen. Respected. Honored.
What is your quest, the big-picture measure of your business success?
How can we help you get there? We want to help you break through the prevailing message noise and engage your customers in memorably positive ways. Let’s talk. Contact us at 720-722-2987 or click the blue button below to request a meeting with our team.
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