25 Dec 2020
If you’re a marketer or a business selling products and or services, then you might have heard of storytelling. If not, then no worries. In this article, we’ll talk about why storytelling is important in selling products and services. Then, we’ll give you some tips on how to make storytelling part of your marketing strategy.
In hindsight, storytelling is a common method that you see in advertising, marketing, branding, and sales. Everyone loves to hear stories, especially those with challenges and redemption. And, with a good story, not only will your customers most likely buy from you, but they’ll also be emotionally stirred by your accompanying story.
Why Storytelling Is Important
- Storytelling Is Fun. This is actually your time to shine with an entertaining and or inspiring story about your product. Be real. Be creative. Find ways to get through to your audience and allow them to take away anything from the story and, eventually, buy from you. In fact, telling a story is more fun than showing consumers “boring” numbers and statistics.
A great way to explain this is to imagine a sports ad, like Nike’s. You see a child running at sports day, being cheered on by parents and the scene cuts and the athlete is at an event like the Olympics. Even in such a vast progression of story, you know what is happening and you connect to the character and their journey in a fun and meaningful way.
- It’s Supported By Science. “Storytelling, despite being a form of art, is also something that many scientists and experts have considered good for the brain,” says Sarah Manning, a business writer at Writinity and Draft Beyond. “The human brain is designed to love reading and listening to good stories. Therefore, many marketers have used the power of stories to grab consumers’ attention and have them emotionally invested in a product or service.”
A very powerful form of this can be seen with charity advertisements and fundraising appeals. When you see the child, or the pet, or the elephant, and you see the story of what this being has gone through, you connect with that story and character (which doesn’t necessarily have to be human), and the story has impact.
- It’s Easy To Implement. Yes, you can actually implement storytelling in 3 easy steps.
- First, get to the Point. The Point is simply stating the lesson. Let’s go back to the Nike ad example. If you don’t show the child wearing the trainers at the beginning, nobody knows what the ad is going to be about. Make it very clear what someone is about to watch. When it comes to your product, you don’t want anyone to be playing guessing games.
- Next, tell your product’s Story. The Story must show the negative consequences of not following the Point. And then, show off the positive outcome of following the Point.
You need to have characters and you need a basic plot line. Take any painkiller advertisement. The main character goes about having a normal day, but period pains or headaches are making the day unbearable. Then, they choose to use the product and it makes everything better. A very simple example with very powerful results.
- Then, take consumers to the Metaphor. The Metaphor will demonstrate the Point once again, but this time, from a different angle.
Metaphors can be complicated because you don’t want to confuse anyone, but you need to think about what message you’re sending and how you can portray this.
For example, and you know already we love using the Nike ad example, if you have trainers and you see someone winning a race, you’re relating the product with success. If the runner is out in the cold and wet but still running determined, you associate the product with being hard-wearing.
Helpful Tips On Storytelling
If you want to implement storytelling in your marketing strategy, then consider these three helpful tips.
- Don’t Waste Time On Explaining Features
As much as they might note some of your product’s or service’s features, the truth is, potential customers aren’t always going to care about the product or service itself. That means, while your product might be technically impressive to consumers, it’s still not good to simply call out the features, because they won’t tell prospects why they should invest in your product. In fact, sending consumers into a feature matrix sometimes makes them turn and leave rather than invites them to a conversation.
Therefore, get to the point, and let them figure out the features on their own. Rather than educate them on something that they might possibly know already, point them out to only the things that might be new to them. More specifically, show off your product by explaining in a story on how the product can solve one’s problem.
Take a look at most electrical stores. They used to run ads saying things like ‘Look at this TV. It has this many pixels, and this surround system, and then colour coding thing. Now only this price.’ This kind of marketing doesn’t work because people are bored of such ads. They think ‘Yeah, yeah. We get it. It’s a product.’
On the other hand, look at a proper IKEA ad, like this one. While this ad displays the features of products on screen, they are coupled with funny stories that really tell you everything you need to know. No fluff. Just straight to the point.
- Tell Your Story With Context
As with many regular stories, all great product stories must start with context. If you want to grab and hold prospects’ attention, you must establish what’s at stake. In other words, why should consumers buy your product or service?
Using Samsung ad, this one showcases how the company is helping everyday people in India stay connected and do more in their lives, as well as staying connected with who matters. The classic Samsung imagery coupled with powerful storytelling immediately looks the audience into wanting to stick around and find out more. It’s like a miniature movie!
In addition, your story must answer the question, “Why now?” Create urgency by connecting the stakes to highly positive outcomes that your prospects may achieve by using your product. When you put things into context, consumers are most likely going to buy your product or service.
In the painkiller ads, it’s about stopping the pain as quickly as possible. In the Nike ads, it’s about having the right sports gear to help you succeed no matter what. In the Samsung ads, it’s all about staying connected or having the very best technological experience that’s currently possible now. Have your message and set the core of it that makes your audience want it now.
- Be Repetitive
“The secret to good storytelling, according to most marketing experts, is consistency,” says Christopher Jennings, a marketing blogger at Last minute writing and Research papers UK. “When telling your product story, don’t derail to different scenarios; stick with what you already know. As you tell the same story over and over again, you’ll then notice the power of repetition working for you as part of your set of marketing principles.”
If you look at Apple ads, for example, they have a very set artistic and creative style. They have lively music and funky visuals, well known slogan, and it doesn’t matter if you’re looking at their ads now or from ten years ago, the experience remains the same. Sure, it’s slightly tweaked to be modernized, but you can see an Apple ad and instantly recognize it through what they have achieved through repetition.
While it’s not easy to formulate a product story the first time, marketing experts understand that telling a good story takes a lot of thought and research. So, to ensure that you create a good product story, take your time in knowing the following:
- The market. Understand the market, what does well, what your competitors are doing, and how market trends are at the time.
- Your product or service. Understanding your product is essential, including what it can do, what it’s used for, what problems it can solve, and what benefits it can bring to your target audience.
- Your target audience. Who are they and where do they live? What’s their income? Notice how you never see Ferrari or Lamborghini ads on TV. It’s because their target audience doesn’t watch TV. What language do your ads need to speak, and what demographics are you connecting with? You need to know all this in order to create effective ad stories.
Storytelling is an effective marketing strategy, and we’d like you to share some examples of using it with us!