What's Your Story?
Digital Marketing 101

What’s Your Story?

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Your business has a story. Trust me, it does. Every business does. Over the years, with the rise of content marketing, business owners and marketers have used stories to market brands in the hopes of becoming thought leaders in their space. The idea is the more educational content you can give people and the more familiar a potential customer becomes with your brand, the more likely they are to do business with you. Surely this can’t be a bad thing. After all, who doesn’t want to do more business?

Over the years, business owners and marketers, in the hopes of establishing themselves as experts in their space have overstepped the bounds of what potential customers can easily identify with. To put it simply, brands have made it all about them, making themselves out to be the hero in their story and falsely thinking this will establish them as the thought leader in their industry.

If there is only one thing you take from this article, remember this:

You are not the hero in your brand’s story. Your customer is.

If you don’t believe me, all you need to do is think of any box office smash movie you have ever watched. They all follow the same framework. There is a character that is experiencing problems. At the height of their problems, just when they think they are doomed, they are introduced to a guide that understands their troubles. This guide gives them a plan to solve their problems. They then give them a call to action. Once the character acts, they succeed and their life is improved.

If you think back to movies you’ve watched, this is the framework of every popular movie ever. Star Wars, Cinderella, and even silly movies like Tommy Boy all follow this framework. The reason Hollywood follows this framework is because it resonates wonderfully with the public. Independent films very rarely take advantage of this framework. This is why these movies may receive critical acclaim as being “different than the every day”, however they very rarely, if ever are successes in the box office. We as humans are just wired to relate to Hollywood’s popular storytelling framework.

Donald Miller wrote a book called “Building A StoryBrand” that beautifully illustrates this framework, how it works and why it’s important. The StoryBrand Framework is a popular marketing messaging tool among business leaders and marketers. It allows organizations to clarify their message using a seven-part process that leverages the power of story. If you take your time to properly construct this story, it becomes a script you can utilize to make your business a valuable asset in the lives of your ideal prospective customers.

Again, it’s important to point out. You are not the hero in this story. You are the guide. Your customer is the hero. This framework is a way of positioning your marketing message around your hero’s journey. Using this story-driven framework, your customer is the center of everything and in that process, your brand’s messaging becomes much more simple and understandable to your prospect.

According to Donald Miller, “When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as their guide, we will be recognized as a sought-after character to help them along their journey. In other words, your audience is Luke Skywalker. You get to be Yoda. It’s a small but powerful shift. This honors the journey and struggles of our audience, and it allows us to provide the product or service they need to succeed.” 

So as you can see, the StoryBrand framework still seeks to make you the thought leader that your ideal prospective clients need to work with. You are just shifting the frame to show empathy and more easily resonate with your prospective client because they will feel as if “you get them”.

How A StoryBrand Script Can Help You

It Helps You Clarify Your Message

Nobody knows your industry, your service offerings or your company better than you do. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you really are an expert at what you do. It’s a curse though because many times business owners cannot break down their offerings in simple terms that potential customers can understand. The StoryBrand Framework helps you tackle this issue. It helps you get to the core question every potential client wants to know. They want to know how your product or service will help them solve the problem they are facing in their life.

It Helps You Guide Potential Customers to Success

Again, as I’ve brought up twice now, historically, businesses have made their marketing all about them. Their story, their qualifications, and why they are the greatest option for a potential client. The problem is that your customer isn’t looking for another hero in their story. They are looking for a guide. The StoryBrand Framework does exactly this. It helps brands shift the focus from them and put their prospective customer smack dab in the center of the marketing experience. Simply put, if you establish yourself as a guide that can get your prospective customer to success, your message will resonate with them and you will win.

It Helps You Leverage Story And Drive Customer Engagement

Customers want their stories to reach a conclusion. Specifically, they want to find success. If you position yourself as the person that can help them do that, they will stay engaged with your brand message as they seek to resolve whatever problems or challenges they are facing. The StoryBrand Framework leverages this.

How To Take Advantage Of The StoryBrand Framework

As with all things in life, nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Building your StoryBrand using the framework laid out in this article will take some time. In order to maximize the impact your StoryBrand Script is going to have on your business, consider the following:

Put Yourself In the Customer’s Shoes

You absolutely have to be able to look at things from your prospective customer’s viewpoint. How do people feel when they engage with your brand? What might not be clear to them? What questions will do they have? What are their challenges and issues they are looking for guidance to solve? Thinking about all these things will help you give critical consideration to how your product or service will help your ideal prospective customers.

Make Certain Your Story Is Clear

Keep asking questions about your business, your customer, your product/service, and the path you will give prospective customers over and over. Keep going over this, revising it and clarifying it as long as it takes to ensure that your message will be overwhelmingly clear to anyone that comes into contact with your brand. 

Involve Your Entire Organization In This Process

Your team is a valuable resource when it comes to crafting your StoryBrand Script. After all, nobody is more intimately involved with your industry, your products, and your services than your team. Your team will also be able to give you amazing insights into questions your customers are most frequently asking when they engage with your brand. Lean on their experiences with customers to help clarify and optimize your StoryBrand Script.

Use Digital Channels To Build An Audience

The truth is you could build out the most amazing StoryBrand Script, but it’s all for nothing unless you actually get out there, get your brand in front of people and build an audience. Email marketing, content marketing, social media, and digital ads are fantastic ways to get in front of potential customers. Make sure all your marketing materials have direct calls to action, as well as opt-in additional items of value a prospective client can download to get more value (and enter your sales funnel).

Set Up Marketing And Sales Automation Tools

Especially if you are a small business, having a solid marketing and sales automation strategy is key to your ability to scale. You should have a multi-channel system set up to help make your marketing strategy easier and also help your sales team more efficiently nurture and delight leads, increasing the chances they will turn them into fanatic clients. Your system should be multi-channel. Putting together a well-rounded automation strategy, for instance, that includes phone calls, ringless voicemails, SMS messaging, email and ad retargeting are great ways to help build your brand more effectively in the minds of your leads.

Remember: It’s Not About Your Brand. It’s About Your Customer

One final time: Don’t forget. The story you tell needs to position your customer as the hero in the story. While I understand this is a pivot from what is likely your traditional thinking and may not immediately seem like a natural process, if you take your time and aren’t afraid to write, examine, revise and repeat until you get it boiled down to complete clarity, you will see that you generate more leads that are more likely to do business with you and will likely become your biggest brand advocates.

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