In the age of smartphones, social media, and being virtually connected to everyone all of the time, the dynamics of marketing have changed. Intrusive, selfish, and egocentric marketing tactics no longer work in the way they used to. Clients see through gimmicks and turn their back away from companies that push unwanted products and services on them. So, what can the creative business owner do to replace this outdated form of marketing?
As one of my personal mentors and guest expert in my Build Your Brand Online group program, Kylie Slavik mentions that the last level of awareness in the marketplace is now storytelling and creating a movement. There’s a deep psychology attached to great stories as they speak directly to you. You can use them to relate to the ups and downs in business and life, and also explain things that people don’t yet understand. The emotional connection created when hearing or telling a story can be applied to business. Here are a few ways you can add storytelling to your business so you can thrive going forward.
Connect With Your Audience.
Being a business owner, you’re in love with the products you’ve designed and the services you offer. You’re proud because you’ve worked so hard to get where you are. But when a client buys something from your business, it’s not just the product or service they’re buying. It’s the story of how that product or service came to life and why you created it in the first place. People need stories to feel related to and understood. To know that there are others that have the same problems as them.
Rather than just dishing out information about your product or service, storytelling speaks directly to your client’s heart, guiding them on an emotional journey of how your company came to fruition. Storytelling becomes the only viable option to entice people to buy in a world full of uninteresting promotional material.
Differentiate You and Your Business.
The world’s a really small place with information at your fingertips. A simple Google search can show a single service or product offered by many businesses across the globe. Because of this, consumers have an abundance of choices when it comes to where they make their purchases. What makes your business the choice for them? A great story of course. Most consumers wouldn’t mind spending a little extra on something that makes them feel good. Nobody wants to go to a coffee shop that just sells coffee. They want to go to the coffee shop that supports small family farmers from Kenya who’ve been cultivating coffee beans for generations. When someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes in the US, for instance, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in a poor country. Another example is The Body Shop (where I worked as a retoucher for 2-years in the London head office!) who care deeply about where their ingredients are sourced and ensure that the workers are paid fairly.
For a personal brand and smaller business, you can share more intimately with your audience. If you’re a coach, consultant or online trainer share your transformations. A great example of a before and after transformation story is the one of Dave Ramsey who now has a net worth of an estimated $55 million and shares money advice in the form of a free show as well as paid programs and books. Starting from nothing, by the time he was 26 he had a net worth of $1 million. He played in the property game and accumulated huge amounts of debt by obtaining mortgages and ended up losing everything. Slowly but surely he clawed his way out of debt, paid cash for his properties and now teaches the population how to live debt-free and how to invest money wisely.
Help Establish Reliability.
When a client engages with your business, it’s more than simply buying a product or using a service. They want to connect with the person leading the business. People lean toward others who are a bit like them. This means if you’re able to form a stronger connection with your clients, they’ll see you as the go-to person when they need help. As a business leader, you can use your story to demonstrate that you’re similar in some way to your clients, you’ve been where they are and against all odds you’ve triumphed – so they can too! Even a simple story of how you stubbed your toe when you got out of bed this morning can make you more relatable and garner a bit of a giggle because you’re revealing that you too are human.
“But I Don’t Have a Story”
Yes, you do! Even though your life might seem quite ordinary, everyone has their own unique story. Here’s what you have to do to find your story. Ask yourself “Why did I choose to start my business?”. There were probably less stressful alternatives that didn’t involve the rollercoaster of high-income months vs low ones that can tend to be common with entrepreneurship. So why choose this? When you have your answer, ask why again. Keep asking why until you have 8 deep reasons. This becomes your story. No matter how weird you think it is, you’ll start finding people who share the same values and those that are attracted, will become your loyal clients.
Help take your personal brand, storytelling, and marketing to the next level with me and guest experts like Kyle Slavik in the Build Your Brand Online group program.