When you talk to new customers, do they immediately understand how you can help them? If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time to tweak your marketing message.
One of my favorite marketing books is StoryBrand, written in 2017 by Donald Miller. I love it because it’s all about communicating effectively — using the right words and messages to connect with customers.
I’ve read the book, listened to the podcast and learned a lot from StoryBrand’s approach. So, when the chance came up in December to head to Nashville and spend time learning from Don and the StoryBrand team, we jumped at it.
Here are some key takeaways from my StoryBrand certified guide training. If you’re looking to make more sales and get people to talk about your company, maybe it’s time to try StoryBrand’s approach! – Lindsay
What’s the Problem with Marketing?
Most of the time in marketing, we share about our business. We tell others our story — how we started our company, how we’re qualified, why we’re great at what we do. It makes sense to explain or even justify ourselves, doesn’t it?
After all, we really want people to understand that we’re great at what we do!
There are two things at stake when you use this “me, me, me” (or we, we, we) approach to marketing, though.
1 – Your customers forget it. We absorb well over 3,000 marketing messages each day. If your marketing doesn’t make our lives better we forget it.
2 – Customers may miss the connection between your business and our needs. Most marketing doesn’t make customers realize they need us. It simply hopes they’ll make the connection. If your business doesn’t show the customer how you can solve their problems in a way that makes sense, they’ll talk to the next business.
Instead, story-based marketing gets around these two hurdles. It helps customers understand and remember why they need us. It’s a great tool to help companies zero in on the words they need to say to connect with what their customers need.
What Does StoryBrand Marketing Look Like?
“The Customer is the Hero of Our Brand’s Story — Not Us.” – Donald Miller, StoryBrand
StoryBrand starts with the premise that the customer is the hero of the story. From that point of view, everything in your story — your entire marketing message — is about the customer’s journey.
StoryBrand’s framework helps companies talk about their brand without sounding like “me, me, me.” Instead, your company comes alongside the customer and shows them a plan to reach their goals. “Your customer gets to play Luke Skywalker. You get to be Yoda,” says Don.
In order to do that, you need to develop a strong understanding of your customers’ struggles on a practical — and emotional — level. When you show you understand your customers’ struggle, you can then explain how you can support them in making the change they want.
The story part comes in when you show how the customer will change, achieving what they desire, with your help. Your company will guide your customers through a journey, avoiding pitfalls and finding success.
Once you’ve established your customer as the Hero, and your company as the Guide, the rest of the story is about the journey you can take them on. The StoryBrand framework identifies 7 elements to this journey — building a story that’s similar to the plot line in a great movie or book.
StoryBrand Guide Training — the “SB7 Framework”
Why Story-Based Marketing is Effective
A story-based framework can help with your marketing for two big reasons.
1 – Customers will remember you. Our brains are programmed to remember stories, especially great stories — the same structure that gets us all emotionally invested in a great movie or book can be used to make our marketing far more memorable.
One great goal is to come up with “simple, repeatable soundbites” that your customers easily relate to, remember, and tell others about. (I love this idea, as creating memorable soundbites is something we regularly do with our clients quite naturally!)
2 – Customers will care about you. Story-based marketing paints a clear picture of how we fit into our customers’ needs. They see what we can do for them, and even what’s at stake if they don’t work with us. So they care! As Don says, “Consumers like brands that help them make sense of their lives.” Telling the story clearly shows how you fit into your customers’ needs and desires.
Of course, we still want you to show up on social media, share your pictures and talk about your business — we’re all about being YOU and engaging! Just double-check that when you show up, you’re showing up as the guide, not the full story.
If you look at this from the mindset of service, you’ll quickly see how you can bring value and serve beautifully from this position.
Points to Remember
If your marketing makes YOU look great… maybe it’s time to turn it around!
The most important thing your marketing can do is help the customer visualize how they can reach their goals — how THEY can be great, with your help of course.
Start with the customer and what they desire to achieve. Really get into their shoes and understand their struggles to achieve this, and what they’re concerned about avoiding.
Once you’ve built your brand story, it becomes the foundation of all your sales and marketing pieces — from your websites and social media to your sales calls and presentations.
Pick up a copy of the StoryBrand book today — it will change the way you communicate in business. I’d love to hear your thoughts — and if you’d like help implementing StoryBrand, book a call with our team and let’s craft your story.
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