March 21, 2013
We all love a good story. The good news is, so do our customers.
Guy Kawasaki – the honorably described “father of evangelism marketing” – has long been a proponent of effective storytelling from a marketing standpoint. While this hasn’t changed, the process for doing so has, in many ways.
To be customer-focused as a marketer is no longer an option as much as it is an absolute necessity in today’s world. A great starting point for building the resulting customer relationships is, naturally, your story — the story of you and the story of your company.
Here’s a roadmap for using effective marketing to tell your story and connect with your customers:
1. Answer the “Why”
Why does your company exist? What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Why should anyone use your product versus that of a competitor? Of course, you have these answers prepared for prospective investors – but how do you allow the answers to these questions to impact your marketing or branding? Simply doing so is a great first step.
2. Allow Your Worlds to Overlap
Transparency can be the difference between making a real connection with your customers and leaving them with the “used-car salesman feeling.” Using your experiences to make your story more relatable and meaningful can be an uncomfortable feeling at first, but it is nevertheless something you should embrace from the outset. Treat your company brand with the same care you would your personal brand.
3. Align Your Story and Your Messaging
Using the creativity that you possess (or that you invest in), build marketing campaigns designed to push forth the core message and idea of your story. Aim to leave the stamp of your story on every piece of marketing material – beginning first and foremost with your website, emails, and calls-to-action.
4. Add Color to Your Story with Content
Content should not be the end-all, be-all of your storytelling (it is, after all, quite simple to write a blog post on the “why” and be done with it). Rather, use the content you generate to compliment the core messaging of your business. The idea behind the story should reveal plenty of avenues to explore for creating compelling content.
5. Make Awesome Videos
No longer are we, as marketers, confined to print, text, and commercial ads to tell our stories. Tools ranging from YouTube to Wistia have made it extremely easy to integrate videos into our mainstream storytelling efforts. Since video quality and content varies greatly, focus on making your videos awesome in every way.
6. Get Personal with Social Media
Perhaps the greatest contribution of social media to business is that it has forced otherwise mundane companies to humanize on some level, else risk being sidelined in the game of Internet marketing. “Putting a face on it,” so to speak, is a great way to use social outlets for the purpose of perpetuating the story of your company.
All along, be cognizant of the fact that your story is a fluid, ever-evolving asset. Without losing sight of the original “why,” allow your story to grow, to become more ambitious, and to continue to be marketed in new and exciting ways.
Guest author Eddie Earnest is a big-thinking entrepreneur focused on staying ahead of the marketing curve and using that knowledge to help build awesome companies. Follow him on Twitter: @eddie_earnest.
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