Opening Act: Storytelling
Consumers are distracted. They’re busy. They’re drowning in a relentless stream of content.
As content marketing grows, there’s a key element many brands continue to miss. In order to stand above the noise, you must master the art of telling a captivating and compelling story.
The human brain is wired for stories. It’s how we’ve passed along history for generations. Stories are how we learn, communicate and entertain. We love finding new heroes, going on an adventure, surprises, tragedies and happy endings.
Stories aren’t just for bedtime. They establish a strong emotional connection by immersing readers in an experience they relate to in their own life.
A solid brand story has real benefits: a deeper connection and more engagement with your audience. It also builds trust and authenticity, establishing you as a credible resource.
When your story creates tension, it’s more likely that your readers will feel an emotional connection. They’ll be pulling for your main character. If they feel empathy, they’re more likely to share the same feelings and behaviors.
Marketing is Storytelling. The Story of your product, built into your product. The ad might be part of it; the copy might be part of it. But mostly, your product and your service and your people all are part of the story. Tell it on purpose. ~ Seth Godin
Storytelling isn’t about telling your audience what you want them to hear. It’s showing them enough to get them to want to be involved in a way that carries over into their own personal and professional lives.
Brands love to tell stories about themselves. Many in a way that alienates or excludes the very customers they’re trying to reach.
A good storyteller gets in the head of the reader. It creates a world around them. Your brand story must let your customers be the narrator, director, and hero of their own story.
If you’re ready to motivate readers, it’s time to tell your story.
In the Hero With a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell details a fundamental structure shared among myths across civilizations that span thousands of years. Campbell’s identification of this “Monomyth” has inspired modern storytellers to work the pattern into their stories as well.
It’s also known as the “Hero’s Journey”. In this adventure, our reluctant hero is compelled to action, must overcome a great challenge, and returns home changed or transformed by what he’s accomplished.
The most common mistake is casting your business as the hero. Your protagonist might be you, it might be a past customer, but it’s always your buyer because they are the one going on the journey.
By making your customer the hero, your brand becomes a hero in the customer’s story.
Whether you want to make a sale, gain an email subscription, or motivate a change in behavior, your dramatic story will fail if it doesn’t have one thing: A relatable protagonist. In other words, your story needs to be about someone we care about. ~ Sonia Simone
The point of view an author chooses tells the reader who’s telling the story. “I” may be speaking to a general audience, or directly to “you”. The narrator may also be removed from the story they’re telling. This approach is more formal and objective, which can make it harder for your audience to feel like they’re part of the story.
So how does a startup tell their story?
The actual process of writing a brand story isn’t easy. For some entrepreneurs, their story will be obvious. Others will have to dig a deeper. It’s about what you do, and why what you’re doing matters to your audience. The purpose your brand serves is central to your brand’s story.
Kickstart your story by sharing the positive experiences your customers have had with your business. Talk about how you got where you are today, and where you’re going in the future.
How are you integrating the story of your brand in your marketing? Are you just telling a story, or are you making your customer the hero of their own adventure?
Read This: How To Tell A Story – Donald Miller
Listen to this: Introducing the Business of Story: Why Story? Why Now?
- Master This Storytelling Technique to Create an Irresistible Content Series
- 8 Classic storytelling techniques for engaging presentations
- 5 Elements of Great Storytelling
Second Stage: Conversion Rate Optimization
We make thousands of decisions every day. It would be impossible to weigh the pros and cons of each option and still get anything done. We use heuristics, or a mental shortcut, for many other decisions that are routine or that we need to make quickly. One way to keep users on your site is using heuristics to increase use of your product.
Usability testing is used to optimize aspects of a website design, including the user’s ability to learn the design, perform tasks, make decisions, and to remember the design after leaving. Usability testing your website content will give you a solid understanding of the revisions and refinements you may need to optimize your content to keep visitors on your site.
Many websites lose a large percentage of their traffic before they’ve had a chance for converting those visits into leads. You can boost engagement and cut your bounce rate in half with interactive content.
Design best practices and conversion rate optimization can sometimes be at odds with each other. A beautiful website will impress the user with its visual appeal, but it must also bring a user closer to purchasing. Using these three design best practices for web design and conversion rate optimization will move the user further down the funnel by making them more receptive to the experience because of the visual appeal.