StoryBrand Marketing: A Proven Path to Growing Your Business
VP of Integro HR and Integro Marketing
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
StoryBrand Marketing: A Proven Path to Growing Your Business
A steady stream of leads, happy customers, consistently growing revenue and profits – it's the stuff that business dreams are made of.
Unfortunately, many business owners see it as just that – a dream. A storybook fantasy that has nothing to do with the harsh reality of keeping your real-world business afloat.
However, transforming your business into a successful and thriving organization may be easier than you think. And while a consistent stream of new and repeat customers can at times feel like pure imagination, they're simply the results of a solid and effective marketing strategy.
The problem is that most companies' marketing efforts are anything but effective (and they tend to waste a lot of money along the way). However, turning those efforts around can be rather simple. All it takes is clarifying the words you use to position your products and services in the minds of your customers.
Doing that requires a more than just proper spelling and good grammar. What's needed is a shift in perspective – the way you view your business and customers. Then, approaching your marketing from the proper angle, you'll find yourself attracting new customers that are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
The Method that Gets Customers to Buy
First thing's first: if you want to sell, it sure helps to have an understanding of what makes people tick. Fortunately for you and your business, humans can be pretty predictable.
Often referred to as "human nature," there seem to be certain traits hardwired into us all. And try as we might, we can't seem to break free from those things that connect us. That's good (at least for your company), because as you begin to discover and use these truths in your marketing, you're going to move a lot more product.
One of these truths is mankind's innate love of story. Think about it. People will sit and read a novel (or binge watch Netflix) for hours – all in complete rapture and without needing so much as a bathroom break. There's just something undeniably compelling about following a character through the trials of their journey and all the way to their successful or tragic ending.
Interestingly, when you begin breaking down the elements of good storytelling, an underlying framework begins to emerge. It's a kind of pattern – a repeated plot. And one that has been used time and again through the ages, captivating audiences across every culture on Earth.
It's exactly this love of story – and people's desire to engage with that plot – that Donald Miller leverages in his StoryBrand method of marketing. Miller's promise is that seriously improving your bottom line is the relatively simple matter of using the elements of story to communicate your products and services – and it works.
That means that effective marketing clearly invites your customers into a story – their story. As a result, they'll naturally begin to envision themselves in that tale, waiting in anticipation to see what role your brand plays in their life. And that's when you're in business.
The Framework of Good Storytelling
Miller's basic framework for a captivating story is this:
A character – the hero – is introduced. That hero wants something. But the thing is, there's some problem getting in the way. And that makes them feel . . . uneasy. They're not sure they have what it takes to succeed.
However, all is not lost and the hero soon meets a guide. Someone who understands what they're going through and can help them get through this mess. That guide gives them a plan and call them to act. If the hero successfully carries through their mission, everyone rejoices.
But if they fail . . .
The plot is simple. It's also very powerful. And by communicating your brand's products and services through that lens, you stand to radically transform your business and the lives of your clients.
The Mindset Shift that Leads to Sales
When using the elements of story to communicate your business's offerings you need to position customer – not your company – as the hero.
This is where a lot of businesses get mixed up. They think of themselves as the hero, going on and on about how great their products and services are. But the thing is, people don't really care about how great your company is. They're more interested in providing for themselves and the people they love. They wish to solve their problems and desire to learn and grow into something greater.
That means being mindful of the fact that everyone is the center of their own story. Because of this, you stand the best chance of capturing their attention by speaking directly to the problems that they themselves wish to resolve.
Not how great you think your company is.
Who Your Customer Is Actually Seeking
As you begin to see things from your customer's point of view, it becomes clear that you fit into their story not as another hero, but as their guide – a helping hand along the way that lets them know what they need to do.
That means that when potential customers come across your marketing materials, they need to recognize you as that guide. So, to position your company as their helping hand, you need to do two things: prove that you understand exactly what they're going through, and that you've got what it takes to help them solve their problems.
The Power of Empathy in Marketing
When searching for a guide, your customer wants to feel heard. They want to know you understand exactly where they're coming from. So, pay attention to what those potential clients say. Because the more intimately you know them, the better.
Miller explains that there is not just one, but three different types of problems your customer faces when coming to your business.
For example, a parent (the hero) needs to pick up their children from school (what they want). But, the minivan broke down (external problem) – and that's stressing them out (internal problem). Which is unfortunate, because they're just trying to do their best for their family (philosophical problem).
The key to good marketing is understanding that while businesses generally sell solutions to external problems (the broken down vehicle), customers are most motivated to resolve their internal discomforts. And when you begin speaking to those pains in your marketing, your customers are going to pay attention.
The Easy Way to Prove You've Got What it Takes
Once your potential client knows you understand the problems they face, you've still got to prove you can actually perform the work.
Fortunately, doing so is rather simple. All it takes is including a few testimonials or statistics proving customer satisfaction. Then, once new leads see the reality of your work, they'll check the box in the back of their mind that allows them to trust you with their time, money, and resources.
The Stepping Stones of Doing Good Business
Having established yourself as the guide in your customer's story, your client is now looking to you for the plan – their next steps. So, now's the time to take them by the hand and let them know exactly how to do business with you.
When laying out the path for your customers to take, keep it simple. Something like "give us a call, we'll tow your car for free and have you road ready within 24 hours" is just what a potential customer needs to know to confidently complete the transaction.
How Does Your Customer's Story End?
One of the most potent ingredients in a story is suspense. Suspense is what holds the audience's attention all the way until the climactic ending.
So, your brand needs to build a bit of suspense as well, because a certain amount of discomfort is what's needed to propel customers into action. To do that, your marketing material must communicate exactly what your potential clients have to lose by not doing business with you. Because if they have nothing to lose, there's no real problem – and therefore no real reason to employ your services.
In other words, if the busy parent doesn't get the car fixed (or keeps driving it with that funny sound), ferrying the kids around town is going to be a lot more difficult. Not only that, but they could end up with more expensive repairs down the road.
When calling out what your customers have to lose, the point is to give them just enough of a kick in the pants to take action – so, don't overdo it. Too much negativity in your marketing will turn customers off for the same reason they're seeking a solution in the first place: humans want to avoid pain.
Therefore, to counterbalance the potential risks, be sure to let your customers know what they have to gain by engaging with your services. In fact, do it over and over again. Let them know they'll be able to get their kids soccer practice, keep their family happy and all the while feeling confident they have a safe and reliable means of transportation.
Your New Secret Weapon for Growing Your Business
People want to live a story. And by inviting your customers into one – where they are the hero and your company simply guides them to a better version of themselves – you'll captivate their imaginations and leave them wondering how their lives can be improved by doing business with you.
At Integro, we're passionate about helping businesses create effective marketing strategies that improve their bottom lines. We also know that engaging with a marketing company can be confusing and overwhelming, so we've created a StoryBrand marketing assessment to help you discover which parts of your marketing strategy need the most work.
It only takes a few minutes and, (unlike bad marketing campaigns) is absolutely free.