Outside of servicing an actual job, the greatest impact that you have on your customer is the story that you tell about your business.
If you aren’t telling a powerful story about who you are and what you have to offer, people will forget your service.
So keep reading. I’m going to teach you how to tell a powerful and unforgettable story.
The Power of a Good Story
Humans are emotional beings, and stories are tools that we use to convey emotional meaning.
All of the most impactful things in history (for good or ill) are a result of the stories that we have told.
Stories have built economies, influence our education system, determine the success of religions, and (in our situation) enable us to create great branding.
The Elements of a Good Story
A good story includes the following elements:
- Characters (Including a protagonist and maybe an antagonist)
- Memorable message
These elements of a powerful story are not just present in books and movies; they are identifiable in any piece of media and should be present in the stories that you use in your marketing.
Let’s define the elements of the story mentioned above as they relate to your business:
- Characters (Including a protagonist and maybe an antagonist)— In your business your characters are all of the stakeholders, but especially you and your customer. In the stories you tell about your business, your characters are active participants. Because of this, your customers are constantly evolving and as they evolve their challenges are as well.
- Conflict/Problem— In a business setting conflict is the problem that your customer needs help with solving. The customer pays you to solve this conflict because it is either too great to solve on their own (requires special knowledge, or skills that are beyond the customer’s ability), or is disadvantageous for a customer to solve on their own (the customer’s time can be better used elsewhere).
- Guide— The guide is you. You help the customer navigate their conflict by helping them understand what actions need to be taken in order for it to be solved.
- Morals— Morals are the values that you communicate to your customer in your story. These can be cleanliness, peace of mind, safety, respect, connection, etc.
- Resolution— This is the unique solution that you have and actions that you take to solve your customer’s problem.
An Example that Uses the Elements of Story:
If any of this sounds complicated, don’t worry… it takes a while to grasp. It’s easier to understand these principles when they are put into practice.
Here’s a perfect example of how you can use the power of story with everything that has been going on with Covid-19 to communicate a sense of protection and safety to your customers. I am going to show you where each of the above elements is included for easy reference.
**Heads up: If you want, you’re more than welcome to use this as a template that you build from.**
"At ABC Carpet Cleaning we understand that your home is your sanctuary (values). Cleanliness is essential to having peace of mind when you spend time with your loved ones (values). Covid-19 has caused all of us to make dramatic changes in how we live (Conflict).
You now spend more time at home than ever (Character/Protagonist) and have been dealing with more juice spills, more germs, and more dirt that you track into your house(Conflict).
We are equipped to help make any home environment safe for the challenges that you face during Covid-19 (Guide). When we clean your carpets we use a premium solution that breaks up all dirt and contaminants so that your home stays safe and that you can live with confidence (Solution).
Just imagine what it will be like playing with your kids on a clean carpet where you don’t have to worry about stains or getting sick (Solution).
Now is a better time than ever to have your carpet cleaned, and we guarantee you the home environment that you have always wanted at an affordable price (Solution).
A Quick Note
The story that you tell should not be complicated, nor does it need to be in order to be memorable. The story above quickly set the scene, identified the characters and problem, and gave a trusted solution.
Your stories should mostly follow the same format in order to have maximum effect.
Bringing Your Business Story to Life
Now that you have the story that you want to tell your customers, the most important thing that you can do is to deliver on it and actually follow through.
There is hardly anything more annoying or off-putting to a customer than a business that doesn’t deliver on its promise.
Make sure that you actually do what you say that you will. Remember—your customer is an active participant in your story; they have already imagined solving the problem that they are presented with. Don’t let them down!
It’s not enough to provide a great service to your customers if they forget that you exist.
If you want your business to mean something to your customers then you need to tell stories.
Stories are memorable and actively involve your customer in what it is you offer. When you tell a story your customer imagines what it is like to use your service, and if done correctly will make them want to use it.
I invite you to start telling stories today, even if you start small. As you start telling stories about your business through email, social media, and with your marketing materials, you will get better at communicating your purpose and earning more business.
Miller talks about the hero’s journey and how it relates to marketing and telling a story to your customers. The book presents all of the essential elements of what makes a good story.
In this book Seth Godin describes how marketing is about engaging your customers, building community, and taking them on a journey. Throughout the book, Godin gives practical advice on how to tell stories that will create connection and trust among your customers.
Sapiens isn’t a marketing book; it’s a book about how humans have told successful stories throughout their existence and have leveraged common belief in those stories to alter the course of history.
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