Effective storytelling is an essential skill for small business owners to understand and practice in marketing themselves and their companies. Building a business is about consistently creating satisfied customers through getting them in the door and bringing them back as repeat customers. Storytelling helps in customer acquisition and retention in that they make our brands relatable and connect us to our customers. Capturing the hearts and minds of customers is easier through good storytelling, and establishing an emotional connection with customers makes them inherently more loyal.
From a communication standpoint having a strong story helps refine marketing messages in writing copy for marketing materials and advertising. It keeps the brand message clear and consistent. Additionally, having a good story gives the customer something of value to bring to their social circles to share and gives a reason to spread word about your brand. Why storytelling is important: Another contributor wrote recently about the value of storytelling and why it’s important, but how does one hone their storytelling skills?
How do I find my story?
Half the battle is finding your story and giving it a unique voice. Questions to ask yourself when finding your story include the following:
- What’s driving our unique value proposition to our customers?
- Is it company driven? Does the story of how your company came into existence include obstacles and adversity that were overcome? Were the events that took you from point A to point B happy accidents? Does the location of your company hold any significance?
- Is it individual driven? Are the founding individuals of the company unexpected heroes? Did they hear their passion calling from a young age? Are you continuing a family legacy?
- Is it product driven? How did you think up your products? Was there a definitive “A-HA” moment where a lightbulb illuminated? Are your products a result of your frustration with available alternatives?
- Is your story relatable? Emotionally evocative?
- Does the way you’re framing your story speak to the audience you want to walk through the door in tone and voice?
Once I’ve found my story, then what?
Once you’ve identified your story or stories it is important to share them. Write them down and keep them among your marketing assets for easy sharing and teaching about your brand. Your story should permeate all points of communication where the customer can learn more, and should be easily sharable so they can share with their social circles as well.
Make sure employees are also invested in the story. Whether they are a part of your story, or not, your employees are a vital asset in getting face time with customers. They are the mouthpiece for sharing the story, and having employees know and understand why the story is important is crucial to success.
Lastly, remember that storytelling is an ongoing process. As your company grows and develops so should your stories.
Honing your Storytelling Skills
Need to brush up on your storytelling skills? One of the biggest things you can do to boost your storytelling capabilities is to read more and practice storytelling. Reading helps in identifying and mastering a tone and style of storytelling. Additionally, joining organizations such as Toastmasters is an excellent way to boost communication and storytelling skills.
Written by Heather Wied, the marketing director for Pubsoft.