The research is in, the data continues to confirm that people like Marketing Stories, not Ads. Because of this, stories are very effective for small business in particular. Humans are wired for story; it’s how we have communicated since the dawn of civilization. Things shouldn’t be any different when it comes to communicating our business to new prospects.
We default to running ads for a couple of reasons; it’s how we’ve always done it, it’s how our competition has been doing it and it’s what the ad sales guy has to sell us. We don’t have to do this anymore! Those three reasons are exactly why ads don’t work as well as they once did. People filter them out and the ads that get through are treated with a fair level of disbelief or distrust. Big companies can play that game, they can throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at “Branding” and call it a win – with no evidence.
Small Business Marketing Can’t Afford Waste
We SMB’s can’t afford that level of waste; we can’t spend enough to beat our prospects into submission so they buy (come on, don’t so many ads feel like that?). The great news is not only can’t we do it, but we shouldn’t even try because we have a gift; we are real people serving real people with real stories to tell about it and done well, a story about you and what you do is far more effective as marketing than any ad your rep can pull off the shelf. Marketing stories for the foundation of how you communicate – and they carry the message.
You can tell the marketing stories of your business in a way that is real, attractive and effective. Here are a dozen story ideas to “prime the pump” and get you into the Storytelling Mode. Just play with them, mix and match, let one idea spark another and then start telling and posting. Furthermore, the good thing about a story is you never get perfect because it’s always evolving – and that takes all the stress off the ‘concept’.
Marketing Stories About People; You, Your Customers, Your Staff
The Customer Spotlight:
Nothing speaks louder than the words someone else says about you, so to get that story rolling; just ask. You know your good customers, they shop with you for a bunch of reasons (some you may not even know) if you ask them to share what they like about your store for blog post or video, they will be flattered and feel good about themselves and you. Even if they demure because of shyness, they will always remember how you made them feel.
The Employee Spotlight Story:
Your front line of prospect and customer interaction id often your front line staff – we may like what you “do” but we often love the folks who “do it”. Since people work for you for many reasons (some you might not even realize) ask them about that, about what they bring to the table and about the satisfaction of a job well done and a customer well cared for. The credibility in prospects minds goes up – and your employees feel good, get acknowledgement and often double down on commitment and excitement at work.
The “Insider” Marketing Stories:
Tell us the Tips and Recommendations that we wouldn’t otherwise know about. California burger chain “In ’n Out” has a fairly famous ‘secret menu’ – you can order an entire meal custom made and off-menu. Is it better? Sure, I guess so. What really makes the difference the insider status of those “in the know”. You can do that for your customers by offering tips and special things from your staff (they are in the know) and your customers (they are in the know – and they paid you to get there). This could be favorite items used or consumed in different ways. They feel important, prospects feel included and inspired. An easy win!
Classic Marketing Tales; The Story of the Stuff
You offer specific things, often in a unique way, that create results for your customers; solve a problem, fill a need, open up a new opportunity. Tell those stories!
Your Unique Offer:
What is it that you do better, faster stronger than the others? What are you great at? Tell us about that. How is it done? How is it made? This may be similar to the Insider Info stories or totally different.
The Quality and Craftsmanship:
How are those things made? Who are the creators? What goes into the thing you sell? Restaurants may highlight where they source the food – or how it’s prepared. This story let’s you brag a little, back it up and entice folks to try it.
What problem do you solve? What pain do you alleviate? Doctors tend to fix a pain, restaurants tend to fill a need (hunger/food) take a moment and shine a light on the various “needs” that your customers have and the various ways you fill the needs and satisfy the desires.
That was a Half Dozen Marketing Stories – not quite 12.
Don’t get caught up in overwhelm, try a couple of these a couple of times and then next week, I’ll share a Half Dozen more. Small business marketing stories are the huge win for us; big corporations make up stories and fit them into :30 ads that cost a fortune. We don’t have that luxury – or curse. We do have a nearly limitless supply of good old honest stories, marketing stories, that are so useful and effective combined with social media because they are real, fascinating and very attractive – way better than another “ad”