In this episode of Actionable Marketing In Minutes we chat with Michelle Keyser about the importance of a compelling business story.
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Because digital marketing is constantly changing and evolving, all good marketers must constantly absorb and digest new information. The other day I read something by Kissmetrics, “Tell your story well, so your best customers can tell it, too.”
To have your best customers talk about you is a dream come true. Unfortunately, we’ve noticed that many business owners and managers do not develop their unique business story to its fullest, and therefore just do not capture the many benefits.
And I was just reading in The Challenger Sale that this problem actually affects MANY Fortune 500 and even Fortune 100 companies. We think that may be because they are not quite sure how important it is, how to capture it, or even how to use it. They may not realize how powerful a marketing and sales tool their story really is.
So let me just say definitively: Your business story is an extremely valuable marketing tool, and can be used both internally and externally. If created and used correctly, it will attract your best prospects, those folks who may most appreciate who you are, what offer, why you offer it, and how you offer it. Your message will resonate with the right audience if you develop it correctly.
Today, we’ll be talking with Michelle Keyser, Director of Social Media and Content Marketing here at DirectiveGroup. She often speaks to this topic and has much to contribute to the conversation.
Welcome, Michelle. Thanks for spending time with us today. Tell us, what is a business story?
A: Well, we all have a story. Who we are, where we’re from, how we got to where we are today. Your business has a story too. It’s the exciting journey of how you started to where you are today.
Why should people care about our company or its story?
Well, Lisa, when we think of standing in front of our customers, blasting them with ‘all about me’ messages, they don’t care. Why should they?
A business story is not an isolated, long-winded essay or a fragmented view of our company. Truth-be-told, it’s not even about our company. It’s about our customers. It’s about how they will benefit from a relationship with us. We don’t need to be stressed about crafting the perfect story and then figuring out how it fits into our marketing efforts.
How do we incorporate our story into our marketing efforts?
Our story is one of many relationship-building tools in our arsenal. Though it summarizes the reason our company came to be and what motivates our team to come to work inspired every day, it is more subtle than that. It is a concept. It is our values. It is our perspective.
Once the entire team understands our story, each individual can do his or her job communicating our message – whether that job be writing content, selling or serving customers. Now, our story is interwoven into every piece of copy, every client meeting, every customer service response.
Ok. What should our story include?
A good story – whether it’s a bedtime story for your kids or the story of your business – should always be told using sensory language. Use words that show your audience how hard you worked, describe things that your readers or listeners can hear, see, taste and touch.
One of the worst things you can do is tell a story that everyone has heard before. They will tune you out immediately. Try to tell your story by finding something that is familiar and merge it with something new. Finally, find conflict. It is a storyteller’s best friend. Conflict is a natural way to ignite emotion in the reader.
What do you mean ‘find conflict’?
The conflict of any story is the point in time when the hero (you) sees that there is something that needs to be done. And, if action is not taken, there could be serious repercussions. It is an element of suspense requiring a solution. And so it draws your reader into the story and makes them an active participant. And guess what? Active participation helps to retain memory!
How should our story be structured?
A good business story could be crafted to be no longer than 60 seconds. It should include: 1) how it began, or how it was 2) conflict 3) resolution. In other words: start with the problem and how you felt about it. Communicate it in a way the prospect can see you experienced exactly what they are going through right now. Then, the conflict explains that moment you knew something needed to be done. Finally, how you resolved the problem.
Your story should be benefits-based – highlighting the benefits that the user gets from choosing our product/service over the competition.
One way to do this is to create a value proposition. A value prop should be easy to understand, communicating the concrete results a prospect will get from selecting our business. It speaks to how you’re different or better than what the competitor has to offer. The value proposition should be no longer than 5 seconds.
So then what? What happens after the story has been created?
This is the exciting part. Your story can become part of every message about your company… You can include it in blogs, videos, brochures, emails, events, direct mail, and on your site’s About Us page. Get creative. Your entire team can weave your exclusive business story into everything they do – everywhere they go.
I see. Well, Michelle, you’ve certainly given us a lot of food for thought. Thanks so much for sharing your insight on this topic.
My pleasure, Lisa.
As we’ve discussed today, telling your business story will work for you because no one else has your story. No one else’s journey follows the same path. Nor has anyone else experienced the same conflict. And, you are the only one that resolved your unique challenge exactly the way you did.
Upon hearing your story, and understanding why you have the answer or solution they seek, people will remember you. Best of all, the people who remember you are the people you want to remember you.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please connect with us on Twitter @DirectiveGroup or on LinkedIn and be sure to share it with in your networks using hashtag #actionablemarketing. Join us next time for more actionable marketing in minutes.