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Small Business Advice & Tips

Stories Stick! Using Storytelling to Attract Customers

The other day, I read something that shocked me into taking action.

In 2009 my husband was killed in an accident. In the following hours, weeks, and months I was shocked by the number of things we had left disorganized or ignored. Critical documents you can spend a fraction of the time doing now…

That excerpt came from a website I happened to stumble across, and those few sentences really made me sit up and take notice.

The title was equally arresting: GetYourShitTogether.org.

It’s a website that helps people gather important legal documents such as a will, living will, and power of attorney, before disaster strikes.

I signed up for the mailing list immediately, which something I don’t do lightly these days. (It’s all about inbox control.) So what was it about that website that got me to break the email-abstinence habit?

It’s something I’ve been pondering lately, why some copywriting sticks with you while others just fade away into a cloud of internet marketing white noise.

…It’s the power of storytelling.

In this example, I first felt a wave of compassion for the storyteller. Then I couldn’t help but wonder, “What if that happened to me?”

By doing this, it completely bypassed this jaded consumer’s natural defense against being sold to.

Even if you aren’t selling, telling a poignant story helps your message stand out.

Here’s another example of how using the right words makes all the difference:

I think storytelling is powerful because it taps into the human side of marketing. It frames your message in a way that people can understand and relate to. This video is a perfect example of that.

So how do you craft a story that will get into the minds and hearts of your customers?

 over at CrazyEgg had some insights into how to pack an emotional punch into a few short sentences through storytelling. He lists some examples of one-sentence stories from onesentence.org, a website where people share true stories from their lives in just one sentence. It’s a goldmine of copywriting inspiration!

Try this copywriting exercise: sit down and picture your ideal customer. Imagine they are sitting right in front of you, and that you can ask them questions: What are you looking for? What would make your life easier? What problems are you trying to overcome? Write down their answers.

Or, if you have access to a customer list, why not take a survey and get the answers directly from them.

Then, take these answers and try to write their story in one sentence.

What do you come up with?

 

Need help crafting a story that will appeal to your audience? Contact me to discuss copywriting  for your business.

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