Are You Selling by Telling?

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Did you know some of the most successful marketing pieces ever written told stories? It’s true. Storytelling has long been one of the most effective marketing tactics. It’s been used in direct mail sales letters, print ads, infomercials, and now landing pages. And it works almost every time.

Why is that?

The simple truth is we love hearing stories. It’s why we watch TV, go to the movies, and read books (yes, people still read books). It’s why we hover on infomercials for a moment, even though we know what they’re selling is garbage. We like to hear stories. It’s that simple.

People connect with stories. They always have. In fact, storytelling is as old as communication itself. That’s how history was documented and passed down, through storytelling.

Stories can be used to entertain, to educate, to brighten our mood, and to sell. There’s an old quote (I’m not sure who said it) that goes like this:

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn.

Tell me a truth and I’ll believe.

But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.

Stories add life to the message you’re trying to convey. Stories make facts more memorable and more engaging. They illustrate the value of what you’re selling by clearly explaining what it is that’s so special about it.

But the truth is most marketers are afraid to tell stories. They think they’re inappropriate or unprofessional. That’s why they mock so-called spammy, ugly landing pages that use the author’s personal success story to sell a product. But guess what? Those ugly landing pages get results because telling stories works.

The best stories in marketing:

  • Illustrate the value of your product or service
  • Feature a remarkable transformation (e.g. I was poor, now I’m rich. I was fat, now I’m skinny)
  • Have relevance to the customers you’re targeting
  • Contain facts, not hype
  • Are easy to understand and hard to forget

So what are you waiting for? Stop boring your customers, and start telling them stories.

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