Storytelling & Persuasive Communications

by Blog, Marketing, Video

In this webinar, we take a look at the power of storytelling as the foundation of persuasive communications, the psychological and neurological impact of transportation in stories, and we outline three things that you can do to improve the quality of storytelling at your organization.

As an overview of those three action items, please use the outline below to get started in improving your own storytelling.

3 Practices To Improve Your Storytelling Today:

  1. Website Story Audit
  2. Case Studies and Customer Storytelling
  3. Equipping and Training Storytellers

Step 1: Website Story Audit

For most organizations, your website is the principal source your customers have to research and validate a buying decision. We consistently advise our clients that their websites are their most important marketing tools. Here are three questions you should ask and look for to ensure your website aligns with a compelling, narrative-based approach to representing your brand.

First, will your customers find their genre?

Back in the days when we got our movies from Blockbuster, the interior of every store was organized principally by genre. Why? Because it was the best way for customers to discover the types of stories they were looking for. Looking at your website, will your customers find their genre? Will they find words unique to their specific industry? Will they find a story that aligns with their seniority or title?

Second, will they find an example of someone like them getting their happily-ever-after?

If your customers can engage a story of someone like them (a similar industry, company size or core problem) finding success with your guidance, then it becomes easier for them to find a vision of their own success. If your website is void of customer stories or example use cases, it’s going to feel riskier to the prospect.

Last, does your site say you more than it does we?

The language of invitation is you, not we. Most websites consist primarily of statements about our capabilities and how we are different. This is important information, BUT it’s also important you find ways to invite your customers into the story. After all, they’re in it for themselves, not for your company.

e.g. “We offer innovative automation solutions to enable efficiency and cost savings.” BECOMES “Speed up your manufacturing and save money with automation.”

Step 2: Case Studies & Testimonials

Your customer is a better salesperson than you. Testimonials and the validation of a real, satisfied client with a story of their happily-ever-after is stronger evidence than a mountain of white papers and spec sheets.

Problem – Solution – Result. The reason nearly every case study has the same format is because it’s rooted in the classic narrative arc!

storytelling, the hero's journey
The narrative arc / hero’s journey

If it feels too stodgy, call each step whatever you want, but by setting up a challenge, presenting your guidance/product, and then demonstrating the results, you create an invitation into story, which will help your prospects find their own vision for success.

The takeaway here is to tell customer stories as often as you can, creating both value for them and the next customers who may benefit from a relationship with your organization.

Step 3: Equipping & Training Storytellers

Who are your storytellers? Everyone, but sometimes you have to ask.

Your Sales Team. Salespeople are natural storytellers – it’s what makes them awesome at bringing on new business. It’s the role of marketing communications to create an environment where sales take place, so the low hanging fruit is to package up stories as videos, case studies, quotes, or blogs and get them in the hands of the folks who can use them!

Your Whole Team. If your organization does not yet have a rhythm or process for sharing customer success stories internally, you’re missing out! Not only do you equip your employees to share these stories with their friends, churches, and families, but these stories also create a direct connection with the core purpose of your company.

Your Customers. As we covered previously, customers are your greatest advocates. The best way to get your customers to share your brand is by creating story-worthy experiences! However, the opportunity to engage your customers as ambassadors doesn’t stop after your service or product is delivered. There are many small ways to stay engaged, like creating value through educational materials or social communities. All of these touch points (so long as they’re not annoying) create reminders for your customers to share their experience. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to just come out and ask sometimes! e.g. asking for a Google review.

Tell Your Customers’ Stories

If there’s one piece of advice this all amounts to, it’s that finding, crafting and telling stories is the highest and best use of time for any communicator.

The end.

About the Author

Vince Boileau
Vince is a strategic thinker, communicator and leader. He is passionate about helping others to tell complex stories with nuance and authenticity. Vince is dedicated to growing a company that creates meaningful change for our clients, team and the communities where we work. He earned his bachelor's in communications from Grand Valley State University in 2008, served for three years as editor and assistant director at a media production company and joined Boileau & Co. in 2012. In his free time, Vince enjoys playing and recording music, socializing over nerdy board games, watching good sci-fi, and doubling as a jungle gym for his three kids.
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