Marketing is Not Sales, Marketing is Storytelling

Marketing is all about telling stories. Showing your customers how they will benefit from your product or service. By creating an image in their mind of them be successful with your product or service, you can help them take the mental step from considering to buying. Every small business has a story and telling your story is a great way to market your brand.

Everyone loves a good story and they like it when that story is personal. Your customers want to hear about what you went through to create your small business and develop your products and services.¬¨‚Ć Sure, you will have had setbacks and made some mistakes, but its how you ultimately persevered and succeeded that will capture them. In their mind, you have become the hero of the story and who doesn’t want to buy from a hero‚Äö√Ñ√Æespecially with one they can possible relate?

A great storyteller will take it a step further and make the customer the hero. You do this by showing how your products and services have brought success to your other customers. Case studies are a great way to do this. Your prospect will easily be able to see how they too will be able to benefit.

No one is interested in a list of boring features (that is a lecture, not a story), but they are interested in how you helped someone like them succeed. Highlighting your customers’ experiences and showing how they have been successful using your products and services adds a personal nature to your story while showing how your prospect can also be successful.

No every small business has customer successes immediately. You can still tell a story that will engage your prospect. The best way to do this is through a use case. Use cases simply describe a real world scenario of how your ideal customer would go about using your product successfully. Most people think a use cases need to be formal and boring. Far from it!

Start with a user story—what your ideal customer needs and wants—and then move into a use case—how your product or service fulfills those needs and wants. This is a great opportunity to really demonstrate success while engaging and exciting your customer at the same time. Simply take one of your personas and tell the story of how she used your product successfully.

Use cases can be as complex or simple as you need. Some small businesses will create a video use case with animation to not only show how to use a product or service, but also demonstrate its effectiveness. I’ve seen nice landing pages that show a simply flow chart. If you have a highly complex product or service, the use case is a great way to break it down into more digestive chunks to make it easier for your customer to understand.

When you tell your story, remember that the best stories have an emotional element to them—fear, desire or happiness. Alleviate fear by showing how your product or service will help your customer avoid a negative situation. Create desire by showing your customer can be beat their competition using your product. Tap into how your customer will be happy by using your product to be successful. Emotion is critical to any story.

What is important is that you tell a story in your marketing. Make it personal, show you a real person that your customers can relate to and understand. Ideally, make the customer the hero in the story. That is, take them on a journey of using your product or service and ultimately achieving success by using it. Finally, don’t forget you need to tap into the emotions that define all marketing. A great story is great marketing.