Storyselling: How Writing Can Increase Your Business

There’s one essential skill a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with: writing. I’m not talking about writing essays or articles. I’m talking about the ability to write copy that moves people. I’m talking about the copy on your website, sales brochures, social media, and marketing emails. I’m talking about storyselling.

We’ve all heard the phrase “facts tell, stories sell.” That’s because stories convey information in ways that cause people to respond and remember more consistently than information alone. When we tell stories, we’re more relatable. The same is true for companies. When brands use storytelling, they seem more authentic and make human and emotional connections. Stories have the power to get people to listen, care and act. And that’s good for us as individuals and businesses.

Businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs have to consistently persuade others with the power of their ideas, perspectives, and personalities (a.k.a. brand). I call that storySELLING, a term to describe any storytelling for the purpose of moving a prospect to action. Storyselling is the process of blending storytelling and copywriting to acquire new customers. Simply put, it’s stories that sell.

Let’s be honest. The economy has shifted; people are taking longer to decide on investing in services in nearly every category. Your business needs to stand out; storyselling is the best way to do that.

Three people sitting on a couch talking

When you share business information through a story, whether it’s an aspirational story that shows what your business can help people achieve, a story about you and why you created your business, or a story about a product and what inspired it, you created a connection that goes beyond the information you’re sharing.

We know our brains connect better with storytelling, so think about how to use it in every stage of developing relationships with your customers. Use storyselling on your website, where you should at least share your founder’s story. What inspired you to start your business? What’s the impact you want to make? Sharing that through a story is very impactful. It helps people get to know you better and builds the know, like, and trust factor they need before investing with you.

Stories can excite people. They can open them up to new ideas and concepts, provide a personal connection, and inspire people to want to learn more from you. Every industry can use storytelling. Nonprofits and ad agencies have done it for a long time. If you watched Mad Men, you probably remember some of the stories the agency told to get clients like Hershey’s, Kodak and Coca-Cola. They didn’t sell you on the product’s qualities alone; they sold the story.

The fact that storytelling has been part of our way to connect with one another from the beginning of time gives us a lot of insight into how it works. It connects us to a different part of our brain and reduces our barriers. It builds the know, like, and trust factor, making people more open to what you want to share next.

Woman presenting to three people at a tableIf you’re thinking, “Great, I’m not a writer,” don’t worry — you can be! You can learn to write compelling copy that tells a story to connect with your audience. You can learn to capture someone’s attention and invite them into your world. You can do this at any point in the sales cycle, from attraction and education to consideration and conversion and throughout your customer’s experience WITH you.

The sales cycle may look slightly different depending on whether you’re a service- or product-based business. What you’re doing during the cycle is making people aware of services or products and then drawing them into your sphere of influence. That may invite them to visit your website, follow you on social media or sign up for your email. These are all places where you can utilize stories. Tell short stories on social media about why you’re posting a particular offering. Put yourself out in the world with some version of a story, whether it’s your story or a new product or service, and then you invite people in to learn more by directing them to your website. There, you can tell a fuller story, and they can make a purchase.

If you’re a service provider, you want to take people from awareness to giving them the information that would make them consider working with you to overcoming their obstacles to working with you to converting into a customer. In this instance, attraction stories work best. You could tell your story as a founder, but when you want to get people to choose to start working with you, that’s where stories of people that you’ve worked with before come into play. So, at some point in the process, convert from telling your story to telling the story of your clients. Testimonials can be powerful if they tell even a snippet of a story.

When telling stories about clients you’ve worked with, you want to talk about how they overcome the objections or obstacles that your ideal client may have. Is it the cost? Is it quality assurance? Is it flexibility? Roughly 95% of the time, when someone tells you the reason for not working with you, the answer is the price point. So, talk about how working with you is an investment that will return value.

Two men looking at computer analyticsTake a look at your website, your emails and your media channels. How often are you using the art of storytelling to connect with readers? How often do you get engagement? How does the amount of engagement you get correspond with how often you tell stories? Hopefully, you see that the more you share stories, the more engagement you get.

The best way to build your brand is to tell authentic stories in CLEAR, CONCISE and COMPELLING copy. So don’t wait to improve your storyselling skills through every stage of your customer’s journey. Your business depends on it.

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