6 Tips to Engage Your Customers with Business Storytelling
In this article, we'll show you tips that will help marketers tell storytelling to engage their business customers and drive results
Storytelling. It’s as old as man. From hieroglyphics on cave walls to verbal tales of heritage, myths, and down through the printed word, storytelling has been a major part of cultural heritage. It is also how authors tell real or made-up tales and express their thoughts, beliefs, and values. Companies didn’t think of storytelling as a marketing tool until recently, but that has changed. In this article, we’ll show you tips that will help marketers tell storytelling to engage their business customers and drive results.
And everyone likes stories. Until recently, businesses did not think of stories as a marketing tool. But the new consumer has changed all of that. Today’s consumer wants more than a “pitch” for a product or service. He wants an “experience” with a business; he wants to know a business personally and the people behind it. It’s all about relationships today.
And one way to personalize your business and develop those relationships is to tell stories.
Here’s Your Motivation for Storytelling Engage Customers
Let this statistic sink in for a minute: Every 24 hours, 4 million blog posts are published. If you are a content marketer, you should be feeling pretty overwhelmed. How much does your current content stand out in this environment? It probably doesn’t. But if you can begin to experiment with storytelling in many forms, you will become a master. And as you become a master, your stories will resonate with your audience, they will be shared, and your name will be spread.
So, exactly how do you tell storytelling to engage customers?
The Basics of Business Storytelling
You have probably seen the Progressive Insurance Company’s Flo if you watch television. Each commercial tells a short story, always humorous and engaging. Flo also has her own Facebook page, by the way.
Companies with a digital presence can also use storytelling – in engaging and compelling ways. Their stories will probably not be fiction, but they can use great narratives to personalize their brands and develop the kinds of relationships that consumers now demand. These narratives will relate to the business’s people, the value of products and services, customer stories, and the business’s place in the larger social responsibility environment.
Business storytelling is certainly somewhat like classical formats – a small plot, characters, setting, and a theme or points to be made. The difference is in how that story is delivered. Given our technology, stories can be produced using fantastic visuals and media – even more appealing to consumers, who are now more on their mobile devices than their PCs and who tire of reading walls of small text.
Business Storytelling and Customer Engage Tips
How many of us have viewed the video of “Chewbacca Mom?” And how many of us wish that we could create content that went viral? She told a story – she went to a store, found a Chewbacca mask on sale, bought it, and then had a wonderful time playing with it. Within five days, the video received more than 140 million views.
Candace Payne, the video’s star, was not out to sell this Hasbro toy mask, but they were “gobbled” up from any on- or offline retailer who carried them. Hasbro had a storyteller. As a result, it didn’t hire or sell out of a product.
You may not create a story that goes viral, but you can create many that will resonate with the audience that will, educate, entertain, or inspire them and bring them into a much closer relationship with you. We continue with some storytelling tips of your own to engage customers in your business:
Tell Your Own Story
Who are you? How did you come to start this company? What do you value about the product or service you have brought to the market? What do you do when not working? When consumers can put a “face” to a business and understand that the owner is just like them, they develop trust in that business. And consumers today will not patronize any brand they don’t trust.
Telling your own story should be part of your customer retention program. Note that the business arena is saturated with countless companies, so you must find ways to ensure your company stands out. You can quickly achieve this goal if you tell your story to the public.
Even if other companies are offering your products and services, telling your own stories can attract the public, and, in some cases, it can also become the reason they’ll choose to transact with your business. This is especially true if your company’s core values match their values.
Tell Stories About Your Team
You have great people working for you who are committed to serving the brand and its customers. Feature these great people and tell their stories too. Present visuals of your team at work or at a special event, such as “Bring your pet to the workday.”
These are factual human-interest tales that people enjoy seeing. As Leighton White, content editor for Supreme Dissertations puts it: “We have an amazing team of writers, and we feature them and their stories as often as we can. We know that this brings customers “closer” to us.
Tell the Value of Your Product or Service Via Storytelling
In January 2011, Mark Levine and Michael Dubin were at a party. Somehow the conversation turned to the high cost of razors. The ultimate result of this conversation was the launch of Dollar Shave Club. This subscription-based razor blade company solved a big problem for many men – razors at low cost, delivered to the door once a month – no more running out of razors or paying high retail prices.
To tell their brand’s story, they created an “explainer video” (they spent a total of $2500 to make it). It is hilarious and went viral quite quickly. Within hours of the video launch, the website crashed and ran out of products almost immediately.
The point is this: they told how they began and the problems their company solves for consumers. Today, Dollar Shave Club is a vast company that has expanded into many other products and making a profit.
Let Your Customers Tell Their Stories
This can be one of the most potent storytelling engage customers tools you can access. And you don’t have to do much more than ask you’re happy customers for their stories. They can submit photos or videos, which you can publish on your website, blog, and social media pages. Consumers will establish an emotional connection to others just like them who have solved problems using your product or service.
Use Visuals and Media
As children, their illustrations were one of the big “draws” of storybooks. Actually, according to researchers, we are not much different from adults. Our brains prefer visuals, and we tend to focus and retain visual content better.
Research at 3M Corporation showed that we process visuals 60,000 faster. And presenters who used visuals were 43% more effective in getting an audience to follow a CTA than those who did not. You can tell a story without any words at all. And that’s why social media platforms like Instagram are so popular.
An important note here: Do not discount the use of text. Pictures need captions; videos need scripts; some stories require creative writing supported by visuals. For both, you have access to any number of tools and services.
Writing services, such as Essay Service, have creative writing departments; or you can check out reviews of several of them at My Essay; freelancer sites, like Elance, all have creative writers for hire; use Canva to create terrific visuals. And free and easy tools to create animation and videos are plentiful.
More than ever, today’s consumer wants to see social responsibility in the companies he chooses to do business with. And your support or participation in social conduct will make a great story to tell anywhere. If you have supported a charitable event, post photos or videos of your participation. So, you promote sustainability through using resources in your production, then say so and how you do that; if you have a long-term commitment to a cause, tell stories of the results.
Toms Shoes are the obvious example here. The company began by giving away a pair to a needy child for every team purchased. This one-for-one idea has caught on, and now many brands suit, either with in-kind or dollar donations when purchases are made.
An important note about these storytelling tips for your business is to tell your stories about good due to your customers’ support – most of us need to feel like we are “doing good.”
Concluding About Storytelling Engage Customers
Storytelling is so compelling because consumers can relate emotionally and socially to them. They see others just like them providing information, entertainment, and inspiration, and they feel much more comfortable doing business with those others.
You be the “other” your audience wants to do business with. Fill your publishing calendar with great stories, get help if needed, and you will see growth. We hope this article with storytelling business tips for you to reach and engage more customers has helped you!