Do you ever feel like you're banging your head against the wall when it comes to marketing your small business? In today's always connected world, the fact is all brands have to be smarter in the way they look at marketing. There's not a day that goes by that a new marketing technique or tip is dropped in your lap promising you a “revolutionary way to market your small business”. Excited by the possibilities you try it out only to find out your business struggles to reach its marketing goals. It's time to stop over- thinking the process & start doing something that's all too natural.
"Approximately 65% of our conversation consist of stories” estimates scientist & writer Jeremy Hsu. Everyday we tell stories about ourselves & others. Stories are in our blood as we've been telling them since the caveman days. We remember & learn subjects best through stories. When it comes down to it, human beings are storytelling animals. Our natural strength is your marketing secret weapon.
The greatest equalizer for your small business to garner attention away from all your competition is through storytelling. In today's crowded marketing world it's more important than ever to brush up on this skills so your brand will be heard by your target market. The best place to start is with by understanding the fundamentals & building from that solid foundation.
At this point it's important to take a step back and define what a story is. The best definition of story I've found comes from the book Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story by Kendall Haven that states a story is:
“A narrative about a character overcoming some obstacle to achieve some important goal.”
With this definition in mind, we can take those elements and break them down to apply them to branding like so:
- The Character: Your Prospective Customers. Always the star of the show in your marketing efforts your prospects should be the center of attention in your story.
- The Obstacle: Their Problem. This is why they are likely online searching because the have a problem that needs solved.
- The Goal: The Solution. This is where your product/service comes enters the story. The knight in shining armor, so to speak, that will solve your customer's problem.
Marketing shouldn't be difficult which is why the above-mentioned formula works to simplify the process. Now, to simplify it even more, we can talk about the infamous Three-Act-Structure. When it comes to fiction everybody follows this structure but for some reason we forget about it once we enter the marketing arena.
A break down of the three-act-structure looks something like this:
- The beginning
- The middle
- The end.
A more specific way of looking at for the purposes of marketing is:
- The Setup (Beginning – Act I): This is the part where we introduce the main character, the world she lives in & what's missing in that world.
- The Problem (Middle – Act II): The portion of the story where she tries to solve the problem only to fail. Her attempt fails because she doesn't have that missing ingredient that only your company can give her.
- The Solution (End – Act III): The hero of our story finally gets her problem solved by your product/service.
The three-act-structure should be used as a guide for your marketing efforts. It makes sense to use it for blog posts, business videos, podcast format & general marketing collateral. When it doesn't make sense to use in other scenarios such as social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter post. Still plan the story out in your head with the beginning, middle & end but only give your audience the conclusion. Remember, the solution is what is being searched for.
Now that we understand those fundamentals, we can take things a step further and make a storytelling plan. It'll all start by looking at your number one marketing goal & determining the problem you're trying to solve. It could be more website traffic, email sign-ups, or more purchases. Whatever it is choose one & work on it. In the storytelling plan you're small business is the main character, the problem you're trying to solve is the chosen marketing goal, & the solution is the marketing itself.
If you have a measurable goal you can them start to connect the dots of your larger marketing story. Every smaller story (i.e. blog post, video, or tweet) will have its own three acts to it & its sole purpose is to move you closer to solving that specific marketing goal.
When you plan your marketing in this way, you'll quickly find that your message will be on point. Your focus on the bigger picture will drive more focus on the smaller messages so they are building towards that number one goal. You're not only spreading your message but building your brand through the empathy storytelling provides. You'll instantly position your business as human which represents a breath of fresh air to you prospective customers.
Marketing experts estimate that we are exposed to around 4,000 to 10, 000 advertisements each day. This statistic doesn't include emails, text or instant messages that are all coming in and vying for your prospect's attention. With so many brand yelling for their customer's attention, storytelling gives you the edge to cut through that noise & reach your prospect in the most natural way you know how.
Contributed by business writer and marketer Jason Thurlow of JasonThurlow.com
I hope you enjoyed this article about storytelling and natural marketing solutions for your bootstrapped small business.
Interested in more articles about storytelling?
Read My Posts:
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Published by Michael J Schiemer
Owner of Bootstrap Business
Money - Marketing - Motivation
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