Story Marketing: Leveraging Your Personal Journey
An honest, relatable, and direct personal narrative is the most powerful combination when marketing your story, particularly if your goals are to sell more products, extend your brand recognition, and improve your engagement with customers. Figuring out where to start, however, isn’t always so simple.
“People can spot a fake a million miles away and will eventually see it if you are pretending to be something that you are not,” says Scott Abel, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based content marketing company The Content Wrangler Inc. “They may disagree with your message, but they’ll respect you for your authenticity.”
Personal Marketing from the Heart
Whether it’s on Facebook Live or via blog posts, entrepreneurs should get comfortable discussing their personal journeys. After all, at some point, you may have to convince investors, a loan officer, or several employees to believe in the legitimacy of your vision. Here are tips to craft the kind of narrative that people won’t forget.
Let descriptive words guide you. Instead of starting off sitting at your computer, Abel suggests entrepreneurs brainstorm with a slew of index cards, a big red marker, and lots of desk space. “Begin writing words down that describe you and your story,” he says. “You can lay them out, move them around and eventually it becomes the story you want to tell.”
Start with the emotional connection. Is there something about the products or service you provide that evoke a special feeling? Did you open your bakery using your grandmother’s recipes or is your financial advisory service a testament to the monetary lessons imparted by your parents? “Think about subjects that can get your customers to where you want them to go,” says Abel.
Make the story memorable. Use repetition in your storytelling so that the most important parts of your story stay top of mind with potential customers. “The idea is to make them remember the thing that you want them to remember,” says Abel.
Keep it relevant to the customer. Personality is important in business storytelling, but don’t forget to use specific data to target your marketing message. Instead of only relying on the usual demographics, use your rapport as a small business owner to personalize your content marketing. “Personalization is tailoring your content to the experience or to the customer,” explains Abel.
Find that Connection
Small business owners should remember that “sharing is caring” when it comes to marketing your story. Be passionate, be real, and be deliberate about your message. Think of it less as a vulnerability and more as building a bridge between you and your customers. “Businesses don’t always realize they don’t get to choose the customer,” says Abel. “The customer is there to choose you.”