What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term “digital marketing”?
Most people probably think of online ads and aggressive marketing campaigns.
Marketing to your audience doesn’t have to be off-putting or intimidating. You can connect with potential customers by using the art of storytelling.
And we’re not talking “once upon a time” here!
Storytelling as part of a digital marketing strategy involves sharing a story to elicit an emotional connection to your brand and product.
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So if you’re ready to create a connection with your audience and convert them into customers, here’s all you need to know about storytelling in digital marketing.
What is Storytelling in Digital Marketing?
Storytelling in digital marketing is a means of connecting with your audience that strays away from typically aggressive marketing language.
Consumerism has changed and customers have a vast array of products, services and companies to choose from.
One quick Google search can bring up thousands of relevant products to fulfill their needs.
What customers are seeking is closeness and trust with the companies they purchase from.
So storytelling, when it comes to digital marketing, is a technique that uses new ways to communicate with customers in order to highlight the benefits of a product or service.
The great thing about this form of digital marketing is that there are countless platforms on which it can be used!
For instance, you can tell your story through emails, newsletters, landing pages and social networks.
This creates an opportunity to stay away from the “I have something to sell to you” approach and move more towards a “I have something to tell you” approach.
Basically, in a world where audiences feel saturated with advertising and marketing, this new way of communicating is breaking the typical marketing trend and gaining more attention.
How Can Storytelling Improve Digital Marketing?
Marketing in the digital age is all about grabbing the attention of your customers. With so much information for them to browse and choose from, it’s important to stand out.
When you use storytelling in your digital marketing, you create a story that makes your brand more interesting and personable.
Having a purpose, mission and story when marketing isn’t a new concept but most people aren’t aware of just how powerful storytelling can be.
Telling a story makes your brand relatable and connects with readers more so than generic and impersonal advertising.
Here are some specific reasons as to how storytelling can improve your digital marketing:
Have you ever heard of the term “nose blind”? It refers to the phenomenon in which you get so used to a smell, such as your laundry detergent or pets, that you don’t even notice it anymore.
The same goes for marketing jargon. You get used to seeing the same language throughout advertisements that you don’t even notice that you are being advertised to.
You simply scroll along and ignore it. Your brain has been trained to tune out standard marketing copy.
But when faced with a creative narrative, you are more likely to pay attention. The information is relevant and piques your attention.
Telling your story of how the product or service you are offering solved a problem through a generic explanation of your brand’s values and missions is often not enough.
You need to delve deeper by presenting a story that defines a specific subject, their specific challenge and their specific resolution.
One of the most sought after skills in any industry nowadays is empathy.
Empathy means being able to internalize the feelings and struggles of others.
This doesn’t mean that you should be spending sleepless nights mulling the problems of others. It means that you can understand someone else’s struggles because you can relate to them.
When it comes to digital marketing, it means putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and customers and seeing things from their perspective.
Storytelling employs empathy because it values the needs of the audience more than making a sale.
It makes them feel more like a human and less like a dollar sign. When you approach your audience with empathy, they are more likely to buy what you’re selling, share your content and respond directly to you.
This is exactly how your audience becomes your customers.
People work hard for their money, so they are less likely to mindlessly hand it over.
Most individuals put a lot of thought into purchasing decisions and the main factor is whether or not they trust who is selling to them.
Building trust involves connecting your audience to the information you are presenting in some way.
You can do this by sharing your story, your own pain points and showing empathy. This helps audiences connect with your brand and understand what your company, product or service is about.
Overall, your audience wants to feel that your product or service values their best interests and that you’re not just trying to squeeze a sale out of them.
Most marketers come at their audience with aggressive sales pitches and advertising. This can create a bad impression.
Storytelling in your digital marketing strategy gives you an amazing opportunity to make a good first impression.
Imagine meeting someone for the first time. Would you immediately start pitching them your product or service? Or would you take time to get to know them first?
And how do you get to know someone? By asking them questions about themselves and then sharing your own story. This creates a connection on a personal level.
Storytelling does the same thing. Sure, it’s kind of a one-sided conversation because you are the one “speaking”, but people reading words on the internet understand that they are not an active participant in the conversation.
What they want, though, is to be talked to instead of talked at.
How to Use Storytelling for Digital Marketing Success
The Elements of a Good Story
With so many stories being told in the digital environment, there are common features that make them successful:
● They are entertaining.
● They are educational.
● They are universal.
● They are organized.
● They are memorable.
Good stories keep the reader engaged while sparking their curiosity. They are also relatable, easy to read and inspirational.
These are all important features your story should encompass — but how do you actually write the story?
The key to using storytelling in your digital marketing strategy is to give your audience all of the necessary information while keeping the content short and sweet.
To do this, you need a process. Otherwise, you risk creating a word-soup ramble that audiences will not take the time to read.
Here are 6 steps you can take to write the perfect story for digital marketing:
1. Know Your Audience
Before you can create a connection and sense of empathy through your story, you need to know exactly who you are writing for.
If you’ve established your brand, you’ve likely already determined who your audience is.
If not, you can easily create an “audience avatar” by researching your target market and determining exactly who is most likely to buy your product.
2. Your Core Message
Before you start telling your story, you need to know what the point of your story is.
What message do you want the reader to walk away with?
Being able to summarize your story in a sentence or two will help you stay on track when trying to convey your message.
3. What Do You Want Your Audience To Do?
There’s no cookie-cutter way to create a story.
Every story told is unique and knowing what kind of story you want to tell starts with figuring out how you want your audience to react and feel.
Do you want them to jump into action? Feel a connection to you? Learn something?
While you can incorporate all of these things into your story, you need to be careful that the story doesn’t become disorganized and hard to follow.
By sticking to one objective when it comes to the audience’s reaction to your story, you can more easily stay on point and convey your message clearly and concisely.
Ever important is the call-to-action (CTA), which directly establishes the action you want your audience to take after reading your story.
Do you want them to purchase your product? Subscribe to your email list? Take a course?
The end of your story is the perfect time to ask your audience to do something. You don’t have to beat around the bush either.
For example, you can come right out and ask for them to sign up to your email list or click a button to learn more about your product.
Remember that you are not “asking for a sale”. You are merely asking for an action.
5. The Medium
Up until now, you’ve probably been picturing your story as a written form of content. However, stories can take any shape and form — especially on the internet.
Yes, you can write your story as a social media post, landing page or blog post, but you can also create videos, audio clips, infographics, animations or Instagram stories to get your story told!
How you decide to tell your story will depend on your resources, namely time and money.
Visual mediums, such as videos and animations, tend to be more attention-grabbing but can take some time to create (and money to buy the proper software).
However, written stories can be just as effective and cost nothing to produce!
Digital marketing is so diverse that you can play around with different mediums to find one that works for you.
6. Tell Your Story
Now that you have the previous steps down pat, it’s time to start telling your story!
Remember to keep it simple and honest as you include your objectives and call-to-action.
And don’t forget to share your story — no matter the medium you choose, you can always share your story on social media or through email.
Written stories can be posted on your blog or through guest posting, while digital stories can be uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo.
There’s no doubt how valuable storytelling can be in your digital marketing strategy.
Reaching out and talking to your audience is a sure way to find success when marketing your product or service.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and tell your story!
Elna Cain is a freelance writer, blogger, and course creator. She’s also a mom to twins. She’s regarded as an expert in the field of freelancing and has been featured in Entrepreneur, The Ladders, The Penny Hoarder, and Keap by Infusionsoft. She mentors new writers on her award-winning freelance writing blog.
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