Writing a great story is not something made just for the entertainment industry. It’s also a powerful tool to boost your brand awareness and sales. Brand storytelling will help you create a real connection with your audience, for both B2B and B2C markets.
Every business has a great story behind it! In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know to master the art of storytelling, what is its goal, what makes a great story, and how to apply that in your sales funnel!
The Storytelling in Marketing
It is the art of telling a story in an interactive way, instigating the listener’s imagination. A good story requires creativity, vision, and a lot of practice! In marketing, it makes part of the Inbound strategy, helping to strengthen the relationship between brand and consumer along the sales funnel.
Effective storytelling is based on the brand platform, which includes values, mission, motivation, brand voice, and buyer persona, among other elements. The point here is to convince your audience by establishing an emotional engagement with them. That’s how you demonstrate how much you know and understand their pains and concerns.
Storytelling is not an opportunity for sales-oriented communication and advertising. It’s an interaction between brand and consumers, finding common ground and convergence in other levels other than products and services. A story can help to explain complex messages, making them tangible to the audience.
Identifying a great story
A great story is compelling, and for that, it must also be:
- Organized: it is well structured and drive the readers to the final message;
- Entertaining: it keeps the audience interested in what’s going to happen next;
- Universal: it is relatable by a wide audience;
- Memorable: it must stick to people’s minds.
The three elements that will help you write a great story are:
- Characters: based on the buyer persona, the connector between brand and consumer;
- Conflict: it’s the relatable experience that spark emotions in the audience;
- Resolution: that’s the grand finale when you wrap up the story and leave your call-to-action (CTA).
Now that you know what is the function of the storytelling in your marketing strategy, and what makes a great story, let’s talk about how it fits in your inbound strategy and which are the common frameworks to build your brand storytelling.
Mastering the brand storytelling
The process of writing a successful brand storytelling campaign is much simpler than it looks.
1.Know your audience
Have your target market and buyer persona very clear, as they will determine the next steps to build the foundation of the story. You need to speak with real people about real-world issues.
Answer the following question with a max of 10 words: Why are you writing this? If you can’t synthesize your message in one line, then you don’t have your core message well-defined.
3.The kind of story
Determine how you want the audience to feel or react after. This is how you are going to structure your message and should be aligned with the objective you are pursuing. Here are a few examples:
- Educate: tell them about a complicated problem situation and how a solution was found.
- Share values: share situations relatable to the audience, demonstrating familiar emotions, and characters.
- Present yourself: look for a humanized story, with ups and downs, vulnerability, and doubts.
- Take action: avoid complex explanations. Describe the benefits of an action, illustrate with success cases, and say how the audience can do that too.
- Build a community: focus on global characters and situations, where most of the people can identify themselves, friends, and relatives.
The content format is determined by two factors: your audience habits and the available resources. It can be video, image, audio, games, text. Most platforms support all of these kinds of content, and of course, you can always use more than one, as you’ll probably find more than one preference among your buyer personas.
The CTA is a short and mandatory sentence that translates the objective of your story. “Click here!”, “Share this!”, “Buy now!”, “Subscribe!”, “Leave a comment!”, and many more.
6. Show and promote
The way you’ll promote your story depends on the format you chose to produce it. Social Media is by far the most popular way, and the best one to reach a broader audience and gain new fans. Your content will be shown in the timeline according to the algorithm, or you can promote it with paid ads.
For videos, there’s Youtube and Vimeo, or even TikTok. For text, you can share it on your own website, or even a Medium blog. If you already have consumers, you can prepare a nice email to the story directly, so they don’t have to dig other platforms to see it.
Applying the storytelling in the sales funnel
The role of storytelling in the sales funnel is to deliver the right message at the right time, to the right person. In the Expert Secrets book, Russell Brunson walks you through the storyselling framework and teaches you all the steps to create the perfect story for your sales funnel.
The three key points of successful storyselling are not much different than creating great storytelling: the hook, the story, and the offer. You get someone’s attention, tell them a story that builds belief, emotion, and trust, and offer them something irresistible.
It has probably happened to you: while scrolling your Facebook or Instagram feed, you saw an ad that called your attention and you took the time to check further on it, purchased something at the end. If your sales funnel is not working, it’s because one of these factors has a problem.
Without an impactful and catchy introduction, you’ll hardly instigate the prospect to continue reading, watching, or listening to your story. It should be the most relatable and intriguing possible to arouse curiosity in your content.
This is when you give your prospect the reasons to buy your product, giving context to the hook. So, remember to connect emotionally with them! A great story must tell:
- Backstory: What motivates you/the brand
- Desire: What you want to accomplish
- Wall: Which were the problems faced
- Epiphany: The epiphany moment when you realized there was a better way
- Plan: How you planned yourself
- Conflict: The difficulties along the way and how you overcame them
- Achievement: How you succeed
- Transformation: How it changed your life
All of these steps must create a desire in your prospect to achieve the same success and transformation that you did.
These are the solutions tailor-made for the prospect’s needs. But because the offer is perfect to solve all the pains, the perceived value is much higher than the price. To make that clear, you must focus on the competitive differential of your solution, excluding competitors from the decision-making process.
The basic sales funnel consists of:
And for each part of the funnel, you should create three different categories of stories:
The storytelling is how you address the buyer persona’s pains and needs, attracting them to your website. Then, you educate them about the possible solutions, without selling yourself. In the end, you’ll share more in detail about your offer and why it’s perfect to solve their problems.
It’s important to remark that prospects will not necessarily follow a linear path through your sales funnel, as they can access every piece of content offered that is considered relevant to them. So, even someone at the bottom of the funnel can access content directed to the top of it.
To determine at which stage of the funnel the consumer is, you must establish what is a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) for your company based on customer behavior and interaction with the brand.
Brand Storytelling for B2B
Even B2B companies can take advantage of storytelling to market their solutions more efficiently. As most businesses in this sector use an Account-Based Marketing (ABM), it is even more important to be persuasive.
Storytelling can help you create more focused campaigns to your prospects, and strengthen the brand-customer relationship. In this case, the focus should be on the real-world challenges faced by companies, how your solution can help to solve it, the positive impact, and advantages.
Companies are not faceless, they are made of real people solving real problems. It’s important to target their pains as well, and how your solution can make it easier and more profitable, productive, and efficient.
Inform your audience about how your solution can increase their connection to consumer usage, for example. Showcase other businesses’ success stories. Make a complex solution a simple and easy to use one, by skipping the technical details if you are not targeting a technical audience.
Details are the key
Any great story is rich in details, sparks emotions, and creates a real connection to consumers. Although it’s essential to an effective Inbound strategy, to attract and retain customers, it should also be used in every part of your sales funnel, as we mentioned previously. By adding great storytelling to your sales-oriented content, it’ll become more persuasive and compelling to customers, generating more sales and customer loyalty.
The storytelling should translate the brand platform to ensure a consistent and authentic message, crafted specifically to your buyer persona, and delivered at the right time. But of course, practicing is the best way to master the art of storytelling.
Start crafting your brand story now! Grab pen and paper and write down all your great ideas to convince your audience, and share it with us. We’d love to know more about your business. Follow us on our social media to become an expert in tech and startup management!