This is the first post in a three-part series on using storytelling to market your business with video.
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are the online community is a big part of your business strategy. However, connecting online with customers to develop leads and drive sales means you’ll need to have a handle on your story.
Finding your story and sharing it through video is a great way to stand out in a commercial environment with limited elbow room.
Imagine for a moment a company offering financial services to small businesses. Sounds pretty straightforward—you need it, we’ve got it. Well, it’s not that simple.
There are probably dozens of companies in the same area offering similar services. So, how does such a company standout? That’s where storytelling comes in.
Unfortunately, storytelling seems to have become one of those marketing buzzwords kicked around a lot. What is it? Where do you start? How do you even find a story?
In your mind, nothing you do is really the stuff of a campfire yarn.
‘I own a business. I sell a product. The end.’
Does that sound like the sum total of your business story?
In business terms, storytelling is all about appealing to the inbuilt interest we humans have in stories. This is done by weaving a narrative about your company that connects with people on a personal level.
Let’s take at some ways you can determine your story.
There is no single story
First things first, there is no one answer to the question, “What is your story?”
Boiling your business down to a single story is both an oversimplification and over-complication.
As a business owner, you’re going to be telling several stories to engage customers over the long haul. That’s the incubation process that delivers a devoted following.
Additionally, your business is dynamic and ever-changing. You have to keep up with a rapidly evolving world to stay relevant with customers and clients whose tastes and buying patterns do not remain static. That means your stories too will have to change if you want continued engagement with your audiences.
Determine who you are
When trying to figure out what stories you can tell, it first pays to work out who you are.
What is the raison d’etre of your business? Why does your company do what it does? What is your business philosophy?
If you’re thinking the answer is, “To make money, silly rabbit!”, that’s the wrong answer. Making money is a byproduct or goal of an action or sustained activity. It’s not a reason for being. It’s certainly not a reason that should find its way into any marketing video.
Of course, you are in business to make money, but it’s important to get at the heart and soul of your business. Perhaps you sell eco-friendly cutlery and food storage containers. In this case, the heart of your business isn’t so much the eco-friendly products you provide. The main driving force is a passion for the environment.
Drilling down to the core of your business is the perfect lead up to your next step: determining who you are to your customer.
Zero in on what you do for customers and clients
Your audience will more likely be interested in what you can do for them, or how you can fix a problem or meet a need they have. Putting your audience first in your video storytelling is key.
Your stories should give customers and clients a feeling in their bones for why you’re the one to help them.
It’s important to let your audience or target market know what your business can mean to them.
How was your business idea born?
Have you ever seen that old commercial for The Hair Club for Men? It promised a solution for men facing male pattern baldness in the prime of their lives.
That commercial campaign produced one of the most memorable lines: “Not only am I the president of The Hair Club, I’m also a client.” In that line, men with rapidly retreating hairlines felt assured this wasn’t merely a talking head (albeit well-coiffed) in a commercial. This was also a guy who lived the struggle.
The commercial established a bond between businessman and viewer through a shared experience.
Maybe you identified a need in the marketplace through personal experience. Many people are motivated to start businesses because they had a tough time finding certain services themselves.
Let’s examine a daycare for kids. Everyone wants to feel assured that their children are being left in the hands of someone who won’t abandon their precious young ones to play with matches or rusty razors.
A young mom starting her own daycare services inspired by her struggles would certainly want to share that story.
Remember, not only have you found a solution for your customers, you made the discovery because you were exactly where they are now. That’s a compelling story right there.
Think of your early days
You may be thinking to yourself you’ve travelled a straight, rather uninteresting line to establishing your business.
Believe it or not, every business, no matter how humdrum it may seem, has stories to share.
What you may think is a mundane tale about your path to growing a business will always find perked-up ears.
People are always fascinated in the stories of entrepreneurs. How did they muster the courage to strike out on their own? What were the challenges they faced? How did they become profitable or manage their time?
These may all be questions you’ve answered in the course of growing your business. They are also the foundations of video stories that will fill the seats with eager viewers.
Writing the story of your success
Storytelling is one of the more effective methods of persuasion any entrepreneur or small business can use. As such, stories are important building blocks in a dynamic video marketing strategy.
You aren’t expected to invent stories. Customers will always be able to sniff out when you’re being creative with the truth.
As has been demonstrated in this blog, however, there’s no need to hire a Hollywood screenwriter to script the story of your business. There are interesting nuggets to be found everywhere in the life of your company or along your path to success.
Yes, you have enough on your plate worrying about what it takes to keep a business in the black. You accept, though, that strong marketing is crucial for business success. As it happens, video marketing infused with storytelling is a proven marketing performer. It’s something you should embrace, not dread.
So, what’s your story?
Read the other blogs in this series: