Donna said something to me on the phone I hear a lot:
“We just don’t do a good job branding ourselves. . .”
And then she went on about how much their customers love them, how companies request her partner and husband as the lead on projects and how successful they’ve become via word-of-mouth.
BUT — and there’s always a but or they wouldn’t call me — NOW they want to grow faster than WOM will take them. So, the “We need branding” thinking.
While every small business has its own set of unique marketing challenges, I’ve seen one thing drive the success or failure of EVERY re-branding project: the presence or absence of storytelling. Simply put, branding, as practiced today, typically only embraces the visual:
You redesign your website, brochure, mailings, etc. You re-brand and everybody’s happy. And nothing happens.
Re-branding, without refreshing your story, isn’t re-branding. It’s redesigning.
Yet, when you get someone on the phone or in a demo or in a gotomeeting, nine times out of ten, they become a customer.
What’s Going On Here?? Hint. . .the answer is your story isn’t being told in the redesign, but it is on the phone or in the demo. YOUR story. Without your story, people aren’t sticking around long enough to understand what you can do for them — why they should buy from you. They aren’t engaged. And this is why you’re here.
The video tells the story:
Like Roger and Chris — they came to me after testing and patenting a new material to resurface the interior of swimming pools.
Except, we found a cool new material wasn’t the story people were interested in. It was a story of trust, a story of a contractor who really did care about quality and really did stand behind their work. A story we demonstrated, not just told. That story doubled sales. And doubled sales again. And again.
Storytelling is important to your marketing today because we’ve been telling each other stories since the beginning. On the walls of caves and around campfires, to the backs of traveling minstrels’ wagons, radio, TV and now to the internet.
Why Storytelling is the Ultimate Marketing Strategy:
Because you’re one click away from losing every prospect who lands on your website. If they don’t know and feel why you’re different they leave with a single click. And they can’t feel anything from your long list of features, functions and benefits. Human communication changes, human nature doesn’t. Storytelling is in our DNA. That’s why it’s the ultimate marketing strategy.
Have you looked at your competitors’ sites lately? They pretty much list the same things you list. Your STORY makes you different!!
This is why storytelling is the ultimate marketing strategy. Because it differentiates you (features don’t!). Because it keeps people around long enough to understand what you can do for them. You may think people buy from you because you are the biggest, oldest, have the brightest engineering department, the best quality or invest the most in technology or. . .
My experience is it’s so rare when a single feature or combination of features is the real reason people buy from a company. And I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of intimate, in-depth conversations with clients’ customers in my career. It’s a comfort level built up from many “little things” of what you say, how you say it and how you treat people on your website, email or presentation. It’s a feeling. And they can’t get that feeling from features, functions and benefits. They get it from your story.
Your story is that thing you can say nobody else can.
My world deals with the art AND the realities of business storytelling:
First you have to rediscover what your story is, and it’s probably not what you think it is.
It has to be true. Yeah, I know, small detail, the whole truth thing. But your real story is enough. And a cool new story slapped onto the same ole thing is an insult to your customer and just plain bad business (see next reality).
It has to be consistent with the customer experience that comes behind it. Little is accomplished by telling a great story that creates unrealistic expectations (see previous reality).
And you have to tell it quickly. You don’t have 20 minutes around a campfire anymore. Actually, you have about two minutes, based on the average online visitor session.
Make no mistake, story isn’t some esoteric “nice to have” thing. It’s creates a connection that catches and keeps people’s attention. It is the shortest path between where you are now and doubling or tripling your sales.
What I do:
I find your story in and among all the things you’re saying about who you are and what you do. Rediscover your story, actually, is more accurate. Your story launched your business. It’s just gotten lost a bit since. Then we both work at making sure the entire customer experience reflects your story. And then I help you tell it. Clearly. In ways and in places your customers expect to learn about what you sell.
This is what I do. It’s at the core of what I’ve done for the past 30+ years for small businesses in a wide range of industries, from the University of Phoenix and Jacoby & Meyers to many, many amazing companies you’ve never heard of.
It’s the thing that’s likely missing from that new website or new brochure or new email or new anything that doesn’t work. Because you’re one click away from losing each prospect, and if they don’t know and feel why you’re different – if they don’t “get” your story – they don’t stick around.
So, now what? You wouldn’t be this far into a page if what I’ve said didn’t strike a chord. Comfortable enough to talk? Send me an email.