The Power of Storytelling

What's your story?

By Jessica Alex

You have an amazing product or service that you know people will love, so your strategy is to go out there and sell-sell-sell. Sales is an important part of any business — after all if you don't have sales, then you don't have a business.

However, how you approach sales really depends on the method being used. A more in-your-face sales approach may work in certain sales environments, but when it comes to certain strategies, such as the use of social media and digital marketing in general it's a totally different beast. Author and online business strategist Kim Garst, said it best, "Sell-sell-sell sales methods simply do not work on social media." Social media is about socializing and creating connections.

That doesn't mean that you never try to make a sale through your social media outlets, but it does mean that not every post should be "buy this product now." The most success that you will gain from promoting your products through social media and other digital marketing channels comes from the ability to become a storyteller.

Why is it important to become a storyteller? Although technology has divided us in some ways (how often do you see people out for dinner, spending more time scrolling on their phones than talking to each other), in other ways it has made us crave social connections even more. Although there is distance (you can have a follower in a different town or country), there is still a need to connect with you or your brand. People want to get to know your brand and the people behind your brand; they want the why. Why did you start your company? Why did you create this product? (Hint: "to make money" is not the answer the people want to hear). People want to hear something that is authentic, and something deeper beyond the superficial, like "I'm doing it for the money." Is your why that you want a better planet for your grandchildren? Is your why that you want to help people regain their self-esteem after you learned to regain your own self-esteem?

And storytelling isn’t just for online. Storytelling can come in handy with in-person interactions, too. When someone asks you at a networking event, why you do what you do, storytelling can make all the difference when it comes to leaving a lasting impression. Storytelling can also come in handy when you are pitching your product or service.

Here's an example of storytelling in an elevator pitch from an episode of Dragons’ Den:

When Natalie Dusome, the founder of Poppies & Peonies was asked by one of the Dragons how she got into this, her why wasn't “to make money,” her why was the birth of her daughter, and realizing a need for “functional fashion that fit her new lifestyle.” She also mentions her passion for “building female entrepreneurs and empowering women,” which explains her company’s “social-selling” model. (And she also mentioned, “building girl bosses” again at the end when she chose a female investor over a male investor.)

Here's an example of storytelling on Instagram from one of my clients, Robina Abramson-Walling:

Robina really gave her followers a story about her personal journey — one that was relatable and could resonate with her followers. Not only did she open up, but she gave a tip to help her followers, and this story fits within her brand of being a health and life coach.

Here's an example of storytelling on my Instagram page:

This is another example that telling a story doesn't just have to be your overarching why, but it could be about your day-to-day operations, or lessons that you have learned, something you want to pass on to your audience — people love realness, honesty and authenticity. The comments under the post shows that people connected with my story.

So now the question is, what’s your story? Do you have a why or a story that you can share with your audience? Think about adding this practice of storytelling to your repertoire as we enter into the new year.

I love quotes, so I couldn't end this post without sharing five of my favourite quotes on storytelling.

“Nothing sticks in your head better than a story. Stories can express the most complicated ideas in the most digestible ways.” — Sam Balter, Senior Marketing Manager of Podcasts, HubSpot

“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” — Jonah Sachs, Author

“And do you know what is the most-often missing ingredient in a sales message? It’s the sales message that doesn’t tell an interesting story. Storytelling … good storytelling … is a vital component of a marketing campaign.” — Gary Halbert, Author

“An awful lot of storytelling isn’t really about making people understand — it’s about making people care.” — Steven Moffat, Writer & Producer

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” — Seth Godin, Author & Entrepreneur

As you go forward into the new year, allow your story to unfold so that you too can connect with your audience and create a loyal and engaged customer-base.

If you need help crafting your story or would like to discuss how we can help you tell your story, you can reach out to us at: hello[at]jessicaalexmarketing[dot]com.

NOTE: Next up in the "The Power Of" series will be "The Power of Goal-Setting."

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