Telling Stories In Your Emails

We were talking last week about telling stories, and how to nurture people in your ‘waiting market’.

Storytelling is a hot topic in marketing, almost to the point of becoming a gimmick…

telling stories

There was a time a few years back when every ad in my Facebook newsfeed was some guy (or occasionally girl), sharing some sob story of how broke they once were. And for the mere exchange of my email address, they’ll share the 5-step secret of their path to riches!

How gracious of them! Not.

That is NOT the type of story I suggest you tell to promote your business.

To begin with, stories should mostly be shared with people who already know you. I suggest you tell stories to communicate your mission and values, not to merely grab somebody’s fleeting attention.

There are four types of stories you can tell in your marketing:

1. Product stories

These are stories about how your product came to exist, the development work that went into it, and the setbacks you’ve overcome. Product stories are the easiest to write, because we’re all used to talking about our products.

Product stories are only effective to people who are already considering buying. Send these to your ‘buyer’s market’, not your ‘waiting market’.

2. Customer stories

Customer stories usually manifest as testimonials or case studies. Most customer stories are dull, or overly perfect.

good customer story will illustrate the full customer journey, including pre-sales concerns, hiccups and setbacks. We all know that setbacks happen; it’s how you respond to them that counts. Your response is most powerful when it comes in the words of the customer who suffered the setback.

Again, customer stories are only of interest to your buyer’s market.

3. Personal stories

Personal stories are about you rather than your product. On the face of it, a personal story may bear no relevance to your business at all. Instead, the story should demonstrate one of your core values; one of the values you still live by in your business today.

Personal stories allow people to see and get to know the real you. If you sell based on trust and expertise, you absolutely have to tell personal stories in your marketing. A personal story transforms you from a faceless commodity to a trustworthy expert.

After all, how can people trust you if they can’t get a feel for the ‘real you?

Personal stories are most effective when told to your ‘waiting market’. People who might be ready to buy one day, but aren’t ready to buy right now.

4. Other stories

Not every story you tell has to be about you, your products, or your customers. You can tell stories about anything, as long as it illustrates your values and message.

The challenge with ‘other’ stories is to capture them when you see them. Evernote and OneNote are good options.

We’re at the end of this mini-tour of storytelling. Would you like help to tell your story in your marketing? I suggest contacting my copywriter Rob Drummond, who provided the input for this series.

Rob also has a book on Amazon about telling stories, called Simple Story Selling.

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