When it comes to marketing your services effectively, there is no substitute for story. This is because story done right appeals to your customers like nothing else.
People are hardwired to love and pay attention to stories.
So, how do you effectively use story in your marketing?
First, know that when you tell a story it’s really about your ideal customer resolving a set of issues that will make their world better.
Second, you need to understand a basic “hero versus nemesis” storytelling framework that will make it easier to sell.
The following 1-2-3 story framework will help you effectively incorporate storytelling into your marketing and bring in more customers.
1. Let’s start with the obvious. Your customer has a surface problem that needs to be resolved.
In a typical Hollywood movie this surface problem could be a hostage situation. The bad guys have botched a robbery and are now holding many scared hostages at gun point.
What is the surface problem in this situation? This hostage crisis has to be resolved without anyone getting hurt.
What does this have to do with your branding?
Say you’re a chiropractor. What is the surface problem you are trying to solve for your patient? To fix their back. Or maybe you’re a plumber. The surface problem is to unclog a drain or fix a leak.
Fixing a surface problem is what most business owners focus on when marketing their products and/or services.
But many business owners miss out on sales because they are not taking a few extra steps.
So, don’t stop here, move onto #2…
2. Your customer also has an inner problem. Understanding and properly framing this problem is how you can create a marketing message that resonates.
The surface issue, if you dig a bit deeper, is simply there to reveal an inner problem. In a story context, this inner problem needs to be presented in a way that engages your customer.
If our movie is simply about the NYPD trying to resolve a hostage crisis, viewers might lose interest or give the movie a big splat on Rotten Tomatoes.
You’ve watched enough tightly-scripted movies to understand that an effective story built to captivate an audience needs more, a backstory.
With our hostage situation the backstory is this: The chief hostage negotiator (our protagonist) did this before but several innocent people were lost in the process. Your chief negotiator is now in a similar situation and wonders if he can pull this off without getting anyone hurt or killed.
This is really the core of the movie. The inner struggles of our protagonist.
And wrapping your head around your customer’s inner problem is where the marketing magic happens. As I mentioned above, most businesses sell solutions to surface problems, but prospects buy solutions to their inner problems.
When it comes to marketing your business, how do you do this?
Let’s get back to our chiropractor. The surface problem he is trying to solve is fixing someone’s back. If our doctor is fairly savvy at marketing, he knows that simply fixing someone’s back isn’t the the only problem. A patient might want to get her lifestyle back. To get relief but also a lifetime of healthy living. To feel like she is working with a doctor who has the compassionate, caring approach she is looking for.
You see what I’m getting at? To stand out from the noise, you need to simply dig a bit deeper.
It’s also about engaging with the customer on a deeper level. To understand that yes, they want to fix their surface problem but they want to end this inner frustration even more. And if you position your marketing to focus on this “deeper issue” you’ll be bringing in more customers.
3. Your customer has a deeper struggle. One you need to understand to complete the story and ramp-up your marketing.
Let’s get back to our movie.
The surface issue: Our protagonist has to sort out this hostage crisis without getting anyone hurt.
The inner problem: He’s wondering if he has what it takes to do it right this time.
The deeper struggle: He’s dealing with bad guys. So in essence this is about good versus evil.
Our hero is trying to settle three issues. A good screenwriter knows that he has to resolve these three things in one fell swoop, the climax.
When something — like a movie or piece of music — reaches its most important or exciting part, that’s the climax. A climax is a high point.
1. The surface problem needs to be dealt with effectively: Yay, he saved the day. The hostages are all safe and our bad guys are in cuffs.
2. The inner issue has been resolved too. Our hero’s still got it! He’s the man.
3. The larger struggle has been resolved. Good has prevailed over evil.
Your marketing will benefit immensely by using this formula…
Make it 100% clear to your customers that when they buy from you they are fixing…
1. A surface problem, but also…
2. Fixing an inner issue.
3. And a larger struggle that is more abstract in nature.
The climax of their story is when they make the decision to buy from you.
Do you want to bring your brand to life? Taking a few minutes to complete our brand audit will help you think about your current marketing efforts and what might need to change. It will also help me suggest several ways to improve your branding and marketing now: Brand audit.
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