I recently came across a „new“ concept for selling products online. Basically, the claim was, that the age of information products was over, and the age of experience products was starting.
While I think that people still want or need information, there is certainly truth to the fact that in times where there is soooooo much information to get online and the competition is fierce, the way you present that information is key to winning the race to success.
One reason „experience“ is going to win against pure „information“ is that it captures the attention, plays with emotions and builds trust.
All these serve to lead interested people into converting and actually buying from you at a much higher rate than simple information could ever do. It is the HOW you sell that is making all the difference.
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But that does not only apply to information products and it certainly is not a new concept. It is part of successful content marketing no matter what you are trying to sell.
And that is why (brand) storytelling should be a major part of your online content.
What is brand storytelling?
Let’s start with what brand storytelling is not: Endless chit chat about your products or long listings of features and what you can do with them. Also, most of the time storytelling is not one-time content like a single blog post, a disconnected story about your business or a single about page.
Brand storytelling is all about the picture you want your brand to present to the outside and ALL the stories that help you paint that picture.
That includes the background story of why your company exists, stories about your team and why they love working with your company and working for your customers. It should also include stories about some of your customers working with your products and how they found success through it or solve common problems with it – and the experiences they make while using your products.
Does that sound reasonable? Or do you still want to talk about your product? No problem, storytelling is also about your products – only you stop focusing on YOUR side of the product.
Brand storytelling is not about your brand and products; it is about the impact your brand and product can have on your customers and the experience they make.
Brand storytelling is a more subtle way of marketing; it relates to the benefits of getting into a relationship with your brand rather than focusing too much on putting the product into the center of the stories.
Confused? Do not be!
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Most of the time we all are telling stories anyway. Only when it comes to marketing, we think too much about creating the perfect product descriptions and the witty slogans about our products when we should much more focus on the customer or experience and solution side of things.
Why brand storytelling works
The reasons why storytelling works is that it caters for some psychological aspects of the human mind. And to know about them can help you tell the right stories.
Did you know that content and social media are an awesome match for traffic generation? And the best content is stories you can tell. Stories from your business life. Stories from your brand. Stories for your customers. Stories for your audience.
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Grab the attention and keep it
You have probably experienced it yourself. Simple facts presented in bullet lists or feature descriptions often read like the manual of your TV – yawn! Stories have the power to attract and keep the attention of your audience. The reason for this is that facts only activate one region of your brain, while stories and emotions can easily keep the whole brain busy.
In reality, with a good story, our brain builds a connection between the story and emotions we read or hear and experiences and emotions we already experienced. Thus a good story can work as a mind game to help you note and remember the most important facts.
Image Source: LifeHacker
Build a Relationship
With storytelling, you can keep in touch with your potential customers for a longer time without annoying them and chase them away with endless sales messages and boring product talk. It is up to you to find stories, that your customers are interested in and like to consume – and keep them coming back for more.
With keeping in touch with your prospects, you have the chance to build trust and convince where people’s first reaction may well have been „no,“ „not now“ or even „I don’t know.“
Image Source: Neil Patel
In other words, you have to sell yourself and make people willing to connect to you – only then can you expect them to connect to your products.
Now we are back to the introductory story: People do not buy products or features. They buy solutions or experiences. And it is up to you (or your copywriter) to use your storytelling to convince your prospects of the experience they will make with your products.
Influencer marketing is the talk of the town right now. And there is a reason for it: People do not like to miss out on something everybody else uses or has, and they trust their influencers.
Image Source: Adweek
You can show your own influence and build your credibility by giving a voice to your happy customers in your storytelling. Building influence takes time but telling the right stories can tremendously help it.
Examples to learn from
To illustrate what I told you before here are two examples of storytelling, both strongly focusing on the experience of their customers instead of the features and products they are selling.
Salesforce featuring customer stories
Salesforce let their customers speak for them. By featuring their customers with stories around their business, they create realistic scenarios of what a great experience you can get when you use Salesforce products – without any need for Salesforce to talk about and praise themselves.
Airbnb gives a voice to people using their service, telling stories about the experiences they make, travels the did and reasons for opening their homes to guests.
Reading these stories, you are sucked into a new world. You do not get the feeling to read marketing content – but you are easily infested with the wanderlust syndrome and long to visit all these places and homes.
Of course, there is much more to brand storytelling than customer stories. Every successful blogger or Instagramer tells a story. And these stories have a central role in the success of the blog or Instagram account.
And while there may be a competition for attention for content out there, there still is a lot of room for some great stories!
Just keep in mind that before you start you need to be fairly sure about the story you want to tell – and the emotions and experiences you want to relate.