A Surefire Way to Write Engaging Stories for Your Customers
People love stories because they help them make sense of the world. Our customers are no different, so here is how good storytelling will convince them to buy.
As an entrepreneur, you have likely spent a lot of time and energy developing your product or service. You know that it can solve a real problem for your target audience, and you’re excited to start selling it.
But how do you get your potential customers just as excited about your product as you are? How do you convince them to take action and buy what you’re selling?
One powerful tool at your disposal is storytelling. By crafting a compelling story around your product, you can engage your customers and help them see how your offering can transform their lives for the better.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the popular StoryBrand framework for crafting a compelling brand story, step by step. I have a weakness for methods and frameworks that break a (perceived) huge task into small, manageable steps, so I was intrigued when I read Donald Miller’s Book “Building a Story Brand”.
Use his 7-part formula for a good story. It works like this:
- A Character
- Has a Problem
- And Meets a Guide
- Who Gives Them a Plan
- And Calls Them to Action
- That Helps Them Avoid Failure
- And Ends in a Success.
Nice and easy to understand, like a movie, right? That's the whole point: Let your customers save some braincells! Make the benefits of your product and the job it helps to get done both totally easy to get!
Here's how you fill in the blanks, step by step:
First, a story needs a hero who must go through an adventure. In this case, your customer is the hero. Think about them and jot down some notes: Who is your ideal customer? What do they like? What do they want to achieve?
By answering these questions, you can paint a clear picture of your target audience’s current situation and the transformation they’re seeking.
Has a Problem…
As entrepreneurs, we tend to sell people a solution to an external problem. However, customers buy things to solve internal problems. This distinction made me think.
Let’s collect our customers problems and distill them into a relatable villain, for example like “taxes”. Speak about what the villain makes the hero feel, i.e. taxes lead to paperwork which is time-consuming and frustrating. And if you delay it for too long, you get an external problem with the tax administration because you don’t submit your tax declaration in time.
So, if you make tax software, don’t sell a “tax program” but sell “the fastest way to get taxes done” and “peace of mind afterwards”.
And Meets a Guide…
After you talked about how bad the customer’s problem is, position yourself as a guide who can liberate them from their deep prison, from darkness into light.
To connect with your target audience, you need to show empathy and authority. Empathy means understanding your target persona’s pain and frustration. Authority means establishing why you are the guide and what makes you qualified to help them. By doing this, you’ll create a sense of trust and credibility that’s essential for selling your product.
As the guide, it’s your job to lead your future customer towards their desired future state. Your product is the magic wand that enables them to help themselves.
Who Gives Them a Plan...
Your product is the solution to your target persona’s problem, and it’s your job to show them how to use it. Be the Yoda for your customer who will gladly play the role of Luke Skywalker for you.
Create a process plan for them, some easy steps to take to reap the benefits of the transformation they want.
Start by explaining why your product is essential and what it can do for them. Then describe how they can get it and what will happen, once they begin to use it.
Now customers will trust you enough so they will likely be doing business with you. But they still need a nudge so they decide to buy:
And Calls them to Action...
Now that you’ve provided a plan, it’s time to call your target audience to action. Tell them what they need to do right now and why it’s essential to act now, not later. By creating a sense of urgency, you’ll motivate your target audience to take action, start their adventure and move towards transformation.
However, there are two different kinds of call to action: the direct one, and the transitional one.
The direct one sounds like “buy now”, “register today”, etc. A customer might say no because it’s too early for them to do so.
The transitional call to action can solve this. It is designed to move the relationship between customer and guide (i.e. your brand) forward towards more trust. Good examples for this: free information, testimonials, samples, or a free trial.
That Helps Them Avoid Failure...
Customers might remain inactive, in spite of the promises you make with positioning yourself as a guide for your customer, and with the plan you give them. Sometimes these two are not strong enough because your customer doesn’t know what the “stakes of doing nothing” truly are.
So give them a clear picture of what can happen when they do nothing. I remember a famous coach’s marketing copy here: “Get my advice and take action – or stay in the same place for the another decade.”
Shocking, isn’t it? 😳 Sometimes, we need to make sure our customers understand what’s at stake.
A good question for you is: What are you helping your customer avoid? Describe that in your story, too!
And Ends in Success.
Finally, show your target audience what success looks like, i.e. how your product or service can change their lives. Or as Donald Miller puts it: “People want to be taken somewhere!”
The ending of the story should be specific and clear. Describe exactly what customers will get, and more importantly, what their lives will feel like when they solve their problem by using your product and your guidance.
Customers want a happy ending. Make sure you describe it in vivid colors: Will they experience less pain, gain more status, save time, or reduce costs? Whatever the outcome, make sure it’s clear, compelling, and emotionally resonant.
Start Storytelling Now!
Crafting a story that sells isn’t easy, but by following the StoryBrand framework, you can create stories that engage your target audience and guide them towards transformation.
Remember to identify your target persona and their problem, be their guide, give them a plan, call them to action, help them avoid failure and show them success.
By doing this, you’ll create stories that sell, build trust with your target audience, and ultimately, drive business success.
You can do this in any format: On your landing page, in your emails, your social media posts, blog posts, videos, audios – whatever you use to tell your brand's stories.
To make this a lot easier, especially if marketing doesn't come naturally to you, sign up for 2Quiet2Market.com. It helps you structure your thoughts to create a strong position for your brand, craft compelling copy and ultimately form a sustainable marketing habit that makes your business thrive.
Here’s to your success! Matthias.