Our stories compel us to do What We Do. They are what we are made of. Our stories are not “about us”, they are who we are.
Story Marketing is powerful because our stories inspire us and they inspire others to become our customers, they inspire customers to become more frequent and loyal and they inspire others to become our advocates; recommending us to their friends and vouching for us by sharing our stories.
People are drawn to our story because it offers a more complex and layered look at who we are and what makes us tick. They speak to our drives, our motivations, our beliefs that what we do makes our customers lives better.
Story marketing is more of a mindset than a ‘technique’ – as you begin to embrace it, ask yourself these questions to help shape what you share.
1) How has my story shaped my business?
As you realize how your business decisions have been influenced by your inner dialogue and stories, you’ll notice the the key elements, the bright spots worth sharing. If it’s important to you, it’s likely important to your customers.
2) How Clearly Do I Express My Story?
Our brains are busy places, of course our stories are banging around in there – the question is; how well are you being understood? Get out of your head an onto some paper (or video). Layout your story and then share it with friends, family, staff. How does it make them feel? What do they hear and what do they think abut that?Do they have observations and feedback that you find useful? How can you incorporate that into the telling of your tale?
Tony Robbins often says ‘the value of your communication is how it is received, not how it’s meant’.
3) How Well Am I Telling My Story?
You know it, your friends can help you refine it. Now ask “Where am I telling it and who is hearing it?” You’ve got a great story – all entrepreneurs and small business owners have great stories – you want to have it heard by as many receptive folks as possible, inside and outside.
Inside Stories are told to, with and by your staff (and ultimately your customers). Does your front line know your story? Do they understand the ‘why’? Have you told them that story in such a way they can then share it, giving your customers a fuller, richer, juicier understanding of your business?
Outside Stories are about marketing but story marketing is not advertising, it’s about sharing your story in ways and places where it reaches and resonates with the most people. Outside stories are told face to face, in a video, on your website, though email, on Facebook and social media. These stories engage people – and (when done well) give them something useful to share with their friends.
4) Where are the Other Stories in My Business?
Your story drives you – and attracts others. How do you tell their stories? How do your team’s stories matter to your customers? How do your customer’s stories matter to your prospects? The possibilities are nearly endless and the flow of storytelling becomes more natural (and easier) over time.
The Most Important Story of All…
…is the one we tell ourselves. As you tell the tale of your inspiration, dedication and certainty to others, you are telling it to yourself, again and again. This process makes you more inspired, more dedicated and more certain.
As you tell the story of why you believe your customers lives are better because of what you do, your belief becomes stronger and stronger.
Sometimes the only thing holding us back from our dreams are the stories we tell ourselves in our heads. With a little care and feeding, those stories in your head can be told clearly and positively inside to yourself and outside to others, driving you forward, adding wind beneath your wings, continuing to propel you forward in business and life.
Go tell some stories – inside and outside – and continue to do your thing; making the world a better place.