Alec Mountain

Alec Mountain is an internet entrepreneur based out of Seattle WA. His work specializes in marketing and brand development.

Storytelling Mastery: Skyrocket Your Revenue Through Effective Messaging

It is absolutely critical to be seen, heard, and understood by prospective customers to generate revenue growth. In the midst of all the marketing messaging & advertisements consumers are hit with on a consistent basis, it has never been more important for brands to stand out and position themselves as a surefire solution to a relevant problem their target customer is facing. Whether the sales cycle of your particular business is short or long, the need to captivate attention by creating a positive impression in the consumer’s mind from the moment they find out about you is mandatory if you want to close deals. The objective is to be the brand with messaging that makes it about helping the customer survive and thrive, while doing so in a way that doesn’t fatigue them (for fear of losing their attention). This is how you’ll cut through the noise of your competition and surely garner engagement of prospective customers with your brand.

Creating effective messaging to showcase a brand’s value to customers is what I’ll refer to as storytelling. When you think of a story (whether a movie, book, etc.), their plots typically have a consistent framework. There’s a character that is destined for greatness, yet there is a problem that stands in their way that serves as an obstacle. A guide will come around serving as a resource to overcome this challenge by offering a plan, while also demonstrating empathy for the character, but also competence in helping her. The guide will have a clear call to action towards helping the character achieve greatness, which essentially helps them avoid failure and achieve success. Does this sound familiar? Though not a perfect match, we can replicate this storytelling framework in our branding to create very engaging content for our prospective customers. At a high level, this essentially means positioning our customers as heroes in the story looking to solve a fantastic feat, with our business serving as the guide with the expertise to help them become victorious.

To be effective in storytelling in the business context, we’ll want to include the following in our messaging.

 

Understand the desires of your customer

If you can successfully define what your customer wants, it gives them an initial sense of hope that you can help them because you know what it is they’re looking for. Not only that, but it also creates curiosity in the customer’s mind as to how you’re going to help them achieve that desire. To make the desire intriguing, you’ll want to relate it to the customer’s sense of survival. You have to make this desire appear important, so the customer actually cares about achieving it! When referring to survival, I’m referring to anything that either helps us eat, drink, reproduce, fend off foes, or just in general make us safer. The desires you pick will obviously have to relate to what your brand creates, but examples could include saving money, conserving financial resources, or achieving status.

 

Communicate to your customers what their problems are

What is getting in the way of your customer achieving this very desire? Properly identifying the hardships of a customer’s business will create more interest in us because we’re recognized as a brand that understands them. The problems our prospective customer’s face could be referred to as the villains that are in every movie. The worse they are, the more people want them to be defeated. We can use this to our advantage in a storytelling context for our business by making our customer’s problems appear very intimidating. The worse we can make their problems appear, the more excited they’ll get once we propose our business solution. Keep in mind businesses face problems externally, internally, and philosophically and you’ll want to include all three in your messaging. Companies sell solutions to external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems. In other words, a customer is frustrated (internally) in their job and an external solution will solve that. People also want to solve problems bigger than themselves (to create meaning in their lives), so additionally present the issues at a grander scale that affect the world which the customer is faced with. It makes everything much more epic.

 

Demonstrate yourself as a guide to help them through your solution

Now that you understand the desires of your customer and the problems that stand in their way, you can now position as yourself as the guide to lead them to victory. You’ve already demonstrated empathy by realizing their problems as it relates to them externally, internally, and philosophically. We’ve showed an understanding of their pains, which has established a bond of trust. Now we need to demonstrate authority by letting them know we’re competent of fixing their problems through the products or services we offer. There are two different kinds of ways we can demonstrate competence, both of which are important. They are reputation and an actual representation of what our business does as it relates to solving the customer’s problems.

A showcasing of your business: You’ve already identified the desires of the customer and the problems getting in the way. What is your solution and how is it going to save the day? How does it specifically solve the problems and issues facing your customer?  What are the key benefits that it provides? If a product is being presented, a visual demonstration of how it works along with a showcasing of the feature set that solves specific problems of your target customer is a clear way to demonstrate authority. If it’s a service, then explain it in a way that expresses value towards solving your customers pain points.

Reputation: As a brand, you need to clearly demonstrate you can be trusted if you want to achieve authority with your customer towards helping them cure their problems. Testimonials of your brand, logos of other businesses you’ve worked with, and awards you’ve won are all great ways to generate respect with those you’re trying to do business with. 

 

Create strong calls to action

After demonstrating how your products will help them achieve success by alleviating their problems, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to how they can do business with you. And it’s also worth noting that they won’t take action unless you challenge them to do so in a clear manner. When we sell passively, it communicates a lack of belief in our product and senses weaknesses. Since we’re storytelling as a method to change the customer’s life for the better, we need to be bold about communicating with them. Whether that means offering a free piece of content for them or asking them to make a purchase will depend on what point in the sales cycle they’re in. Customers cannot read your mind, so be absolutely clear when you want people to take action and label how that’s specifically done.

 

Motivate your customers by loss aversion

In most stories, storytellers will hint at a successful ending for the character, but also a tragic ending as well. It makes the story much more entertaining when there is suspense as to whether the hero will achieve success or failure in end. If there’s not a clear indicator as to what awful thing could happen if the hero doesn’t overcome their challenge, then there’s no stakes in the story, which makes it less entertaining. Warning customers about what the negative impacts of not doing business with you are can eliminate the “so what?” question they might be asking and create greater perceived value for your business. This is meant to be subtle though, so we don’t turn customers off by intimidating them too much. Think of it as the salt in the recipe. People are two to three times more motivated to make a change to avoid loss than to achieve gain. Make it evident what you’re helping customers avoid in a matter of a few points to get yourself across to them.

 

Demonstrate the positive implications of the ending

People want to be taken somewhere and it’s your mission as a brand to realize the positive life changes of your customer’s life once they do business with you. For example, Apple shows you’ll reach your creative potential, while Nike brings inspiration and innovation to athletes to help them achieve athletic success. Similar to the end of almost any story, the character is transformed in some way. A really great exercise to get copy for your marketing collateral on this subject is to create a table with the columns ‘before your brand’ and ‘after your brand’ and fill in the blanks on what your customer’s life is like in both cases. To increase the motivation for our customers to buy our products, we must tell them specifically how their live is going to be so much better after they engage with our business. They might achieve a certain kind of status or power, become more whole as a person, or maybe become more accepting of themselves. What is addressed here will depend on the implications of your business and could work hand-in-hand with the benefits you showcased, which address the specific problems of the customer.

 

Make it a priority to transform your customer’s life

The overall foundation of the bolded statements prior is to create lasting change in people’s lives. Focusing your brand on demonstrating itself as helping people become better versions of themselves is a championship mindset to have. Whether you’re helping people become more fit (financially or physically), better equipped, more accepted, or others, you’re participating in their transformation, which is what they really want. Through this, you’re going to create lots of brand evangelists who are passionate about your brand. Ask yourself who your customer wants to become and what identity they aspire to achieve. Once we know this, we can pave the way for powerful language to use in all our marketing materials. The best brands obsess about the transformation of their customers.

 

In conclusion

Creating a powerful narrative for your business as it relates to the transformation of your customers is a very powerful way to garner attention and stand out. While what I listed might not be the exhaustive recipe of everything you need to have, incorporating all those objectives into your messaging touches on the essentials for sure. This is what makes brands come to life and differentiate themselves from just another product because this method of storytelling is so relatable for the customer with an incredible amount of perceived value.  

If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading! If we’re not connected already, send me a LinkedIn request letting me know you read the article. Also, if you have any thoughts to share on the article, I’d love to hear them!