Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Many business owners have heard of brand storytelling, but they don’t know the importance of it or how to do it effectively. According to research by Headstream, 55% of consumers are more willing to buy from a brand if they connect with their story — and that’s why I employ this tactic in every company I own.
Understanding the audience
To understand your audience, you can utilize surveys, polls, Facebook groups and website and social media analytics to help you better understand what makes them buy.
There are various types of market research strategies you can use including asking both closed and open-ended questions and asking your current clients as well as potential ideal clients. We’ve employed these strategies in all my companies and asked these 10 critical questions to our business clients, which you can also use on your audience. Just adjust them to match your industry and whether you’re selling products or services.
- What’s your age and demographic?
- What’s your relationship status and if you have children, how many?
- What’s your highest level of education?
- How do you spend your free time?
- How much free time do you have per week? If you want more, how much more?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- What are your personal goals?
- What are your biggest business problems?
- What things have you tried to solve your business problems? Why do you think they didn’t work?
- What are the top things you look for when choosing a company to work with?
As you can see, we asked a mix of questions related not only to their business but their personal life as well to get a better picture of who the client is.
Related: 6 Powerful Brand Storytelling Tips For Marketers
Creating a compelling story
Creating relatable, engaging characters that your audience will care about is at the heart of any great story. Follow this guideline to create the ultimate hero’s journey in your marketing:
Follow this brief guideline for the hero’s journey:
- Introduce the hero and the challenges
- Show the hero taking action by choosing your brand
- Show the hero’s life becoming better, it could be both personal and business
- Go back to where the challenge started and show the positive changes your brand had
If you’re still not convinced a compelling story is the way to go, a study done by OneSpot shows 92% of consumers want ads to tell stories. So give the people what they want!
Introduce the hero and challenges
Let’s say a businessman filled out the 10 survey questions mentioned above. He’s 45 years old, has his own accounting firm, is married and has two children. Spending time with his family, going to his kids’ soccer games and taking family vacations are the most important things to him. His biggest business problem is task delegation.
You’re a recruitment firm and you create a short video with strong visuals and a soundtrack without dialogue. To evoke emotions, start your video off with a man who’s at his desk, tired and frustrated, who leaves his office around 10 p.m. to head home. He gets home, his whole family is already in bed and it’s another night of him eating his dinner alone. He’s visibly upset but notices a pile of mail on the table near him.
Show the hero taking action
He sees a mailout of your recruitment firm, stating you’ve been in business for 25 years and have helped thousands of accounting firms hire the right staff, grow the business and create more free time for the business owner.
He takes the ad with him, curious but skeptical, and the next morning calls the recruitment firm. The call goes well and you can see him become hopeful and smile for the first time. Next, your recruitment firm works with the man and conducts interviews. One of the interviews ends with everyone smiling and shaking hands to affirm they found their perfect hire.
Related: 5 Timeless Storytelling Strategies to Use in Your Next Marketing Campaign
Show the hero’s life becoming better
The next scene is the man delegating tasks to his new employee and leaving the office at 4 p.m. He stops at a florist to pick a bouquet for his wife and surprises her with them. She’s surprised and excited to see him home early and they hug. The next scene shows him at his kids’ soccer game with his wife. They’re holding hands, smiling, watching the kids play.
The man is at a travel agency, booking a family vacation to Greece. The family is seen on vacation and enjoying their time on a catamaran. The kids are jumping into the water and the man and his wife are enjoying their time together.
Go back to where the challenge started
The man goes back to the office. You can see his company has hired even more employees and it’s a lot busier. The man meets with your firm again — this time much happier — and another interview for a new employee starts. The scene slowly fades out and your branding shows up with the words, “It’s time to give you and your family the life you deserve,” and a strong call to action to click on the link.
By understanding your audience’s needs and wants and taking them on the hero’s journey through compelling storytelling, you can use this powerful tactic to sell more of your products/services and grow your business.