Hey hey, small business owner. I’m sure this is the 1000th piece of advice you find on how to do marketing for your cafe, hair salon or online shop. But I promise you it’ll be one of those that you’ll actually want to bookmark.
If you’ve dug around online a bit, you’ve surely stumbled upon the much talked about brand storytelling. Yes, it’s the new kid on the block in marketing. Except that it’s not really new.
But I can understand your frustration if you’re thinking what the heck is this new fad now. First it was SEO, then it was all about content and inbound marketing, and now this storytelling.
Well, I’m here to explain how storytelling has been here all along. And how you can make the best of it to share your passion and your business with the world.
The brand story, or why you do what you do
For most small business owners, the incentive to create a company is their genuine passion for their trade. There is nothing sweeter than turning the thing you love to do in your profession. In the same time, there is nothing more difficult than this too.
Precisely because you love what you do, you want to make it work in the best possible way. Naturally, trying out affordable marketing solutions is a part of the game, as you need to constantly find the best ways to communicate with your clients. And telling the story of your brand is a powerful tool to do that.
The brand story is the narrative of why you do what you do. It ties together your personal history with your business goals. Say, you own a local bookstore. But how did you end up doing that? All the little steps on the way – and the twists and turns – make an engaging story that, if told in a clear way, will make your clients like your brand more and talk about it.
And once you’ve thought it through, the brand story becomes the powerhorse behind your business. It’s the mirror that reflects your passion for your trade and shows it to people. It goes into every little detail of how you operate your business. From the posters and flyers and the customer service you offer to your social media activity and website. Then people instantly know the raison d’etre of your business. And when people understand and sympathize with it, they’ll love what you do. Because you love what you do – and you show it.
Why you need storytelling, even if you count on word of mouth
— Edgar (@edgartells) January 20, 2015
Many small businesses don’t get to do any marketing and advertising, either because they don’t think they need it or because they can’t afford it. And even if they do, the owners or dedicated employees don’t manage to stay on top of all the possible tools and trends that appear daily. This means they can’t make the best of what’s out there.
The result is that often small business owners resort to relying completely on word of mouth references. While it is indeed a very powerful way to get people to use your product or service, it takes a lot of efforts to build a network of faithful fans. Whether it’s online or offline, developing strong relationships with people requires time and engagement. And a little bit of magic.
So even if you use only word of mouth to communicate your business, storytelling can help you out to boost these efforts. Especially with adding the teaspoon of magic.
How, you might wonder. Well, if we continue the bookstore example, once you’ve found and elaborated your story, you just have to start sharing it with people. Next time you strike a conversation with a client, just tell them a bit of that story. You’ll be surprised how hungry we all are for a good narrative. Why? Because, you see, storytelling is a psychological mechanism that people have developed for a variety of purposes, from making sense of the world to not getting bored to death. When you grab your audience with a story they can’t resist, they simply can’t resist. And they’ll share it.
As long as you do business, you’ll have a story
It’s easy to understand that many small business owners see every new marketing trend as a passing fancy. Well, your story certainly is not one of those. The truth is, as long as you’re loving what you do, and doing it, you’ll have a story to tell. And the more you develop it, the more it will attract people.
The brand story is one of the few techniques used in marketing that won’t disappear in a few weeks or months, with every new tool you try or campaign that you test. That’s because it’s truly central to what you do. It’s also because storytelling was not invented yesterday. It has kinda proven the test of time.
In a way, the story of your brand is the narrative of how you came to be who you are, how you’re making other people’s lives better with what you do and how all of this ties together and changes the world – only a little bit, but every day.
So, what will your story be? And how will you tell it? We’d love to hear your experience with your own small business and its heartwarming story. Please share – the comment section is all yours!
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