What is Storytelling and how do we use this resource to sell online?

What is Storytelling and how do we use this resource to sell online?

To create content with which people identify themselves is not always an easy task. Learn now how to use Storytelling to sell your product on the Internet!

In the market of digital products as important as having a good product, is to create an involving communication able to attract users to your page and keep them engaged until they feel secure to make the purchase. One of the best ways to help grow your audience and improve your conversions is by telling stories, or storytelling, as the practice has become known in digital marketing.

Do you want to know what storytelling is and how you can use it to attract buyers for your digital product?

Keep on reading this post!

But after all, what is storytelling?

Storytelling is the basic art of communicating an idea through words and other visual resources.

But in practice, storytelling goes far beyond this definition, becoming a powerful tool to establish a long-term relationship with your leads, as long as it is used the right way.

You must be wondering now “but why do I need to tell a story for people to buy my product?”.

And the answer to this question is very simple: it’s easier for the human brain to retain stories than to retain data.

To illustrate with a practical example, let’s suppose you are searching for insomnia products. It is likely that you will identify more with an ad that tells the story of someone who suffers from the same problem as you, than with an ad featuring demographic data about insomnia.

The difference between the two ads is the approach: while the demographics call your attention to alarming numbers, the storytelling humanizes the product/service and brings brand and persona closer together.

When your narrative is not thought-provoking, the duration of the visit on your page will be low, which will directly impact your sales.

In a few words, the sooner you master the art to tell stories to your audience, the better will be the results of your business.

An example of storytelling in an ad.

An example of storytelling in ads. Source: Pinterest.

Storytelling is not just about good texts

Surely you have already heard the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of storytelling is more like “a picture is worth as much as a thousand words”. That is, text and image have the same weight and should play complementary roles.

Tip: In a sales page, the user tends to focus on the Visual elements, so they must complement the text information rather than upstage it.

In the post The importance of Design in Digital Marketing we explain that when you put a lot of images or icons on a page, everything draws attention and the visitor ends up confused.  

So, be very careful with the images you use on your page!  

So, we know that good images and videos are just as important as a good copy.

All it takes is a quick look around on Facebook to realize that posts with images generate more engagement than text-only posts.

Another data that validates this fact is that after watching a video the majority of visitors are more likely to purchase the product.

So, you can (and should!) use images and other media to enrich your story and improve the user’s experience within your page.

Use infographics, video tutorials or any other features that help your audience understand what your product is.

The more information your page contains, the greater are your chances of conversion.

A poorly told story is just a story

According to Simon Mainwaring, founder of We First, “In order for a brand to market itself effectively and to connect deeply with its community, it must tell a story that captures the attention of that audience and allows them to become emotionally invested in”.

But to be able to do all of this, your story should lend credibility to your audience.

How does one do that?

An alternative is to use data from research which proves your narrative.

Example:

Product: Meditation coach

Data: A study carried out by Harvard University shows that stress can increase the chances of having a heart attack by up to 60%.

In this case, you can talk about how meditation helps reduce stress levels and, consequently, to stay healthy.

Linking your story to a research study is better than subjectively suggesting that stress can cause diseases.

Another alternative is to tell stories of real people on your page. It could be yours, a satisfied customer’s or even your mother’s, as long as it is a part of the promotion context of your product.

People tend to identify more with a true history than with a fictitious narrative, especially, when the person shares the same problem as them.

We are all storytellers  

Since the earliest beginning man has been a born storyteller.

Just think of the cave paintings, which allowed people to register their daily lives, even before the development of writing.

Storytelling in cave paintings (with aliens).

Storytelling in cave paintings. Source: www.semprequestione.com

If you fast forward a few thousand years, you’ll see that writing played a major role in the transmission of traditions from generation to generation, like in the case of philosophy and religious books, for example.

Therefore, all of us are gifted with the ability to tell stories and conveying knowledge.

The difference between telling a story in a circle of friends from telling a story in order to increase your sales is the use of some mental triggers that we will better explain in the next topics.

The power of storytelling to influence minds

Most people believe that the choices we make depend on a rational analysis, which considers the pros and cons. But in fact, our decisions are much more based on emotion, especially regarding our consumer buying behavior.

When we face a situation where we have to choose between two or more options, other people’s experiences with a particular product weigh in on our decision.

Emotions are the main reason why consumers prefer one product to the other, even if they solve the same problem or that the product chosen is the most expensive.

But why does this happen?

Emotions influence consumer behavior is explained by Psychology.

The research shows that when evaluating brands, consumers use more emotion (feelings and personal experiences) than reason (product description and features).

That ratio was proven through a neuroimage, where the brain areas that are triggered at the time of purchase light up.

If the scientific proof wasn’t enough, research carried out by advertising agencies and the Advertising Research Foundation showed that:

  • The emotional connection that people create with an ad has much more influence on the buying decision than the content of the ad itself. That happens up to three times more in the case of TV ads, and twice more in the case of print ads or on the Internet.
  • The positive perception of a brand is what influences the most on consumer loyalty.
  • Consumers understand the same type of people’s personality traits in products. And that’s exactly how we choose a friend. We feel more attracted to certain profiles.

See how reason does not affect your consumer choices as much?

To have a successful promotion you need to create an emotional connection with your lead to the point she is loyal to you.

If you focus only on the characteristics of your product, it’s harder to convince your audience that your product is different from the competition’s.

How to create a good storytelling: Killer Tips  

It is estimated that Google carries out 700,000 searches every 60 seconds. In this scenario, storytelling is a way to make your message different and prospect new customers.

Follow our tips and start creating stories to sell your idea:

1 – Know your audience

We’ve talked several times here in the blog about the importance of knowing your target audience well.

And when I say knowing them well means going beyond general representative aspects such as gender, age, and the city of origin, you must analyze their consumer buying behavior, get to know where these people look for information, what problems they face every day, and how your product can solve these problems.

By creating stories that are in tune with the interests of your persona, you will attract the right traffic to your page and be more assertive on your offer.

Below, there’s a list with some information that you should know about your buyer persona.

Cultural factors: represent the values that identify and characterize a group of buyers, what they like to do, what kind of information they like, share, etc.

Social factors: reference groups, families, roles and social positions.

Personal factors: age, occupation, financial status, personality, and lifestyle.

Psychological factors: motivation, perception, learning and beliefs.

2 – Have a measurable objective

In the post about how to set goals, we taught a method to separate your goals into components: objective and key results.

The objective is where you want to reach, and key results are the set of metrics that you will measure to see if your actions are generating any results.

With this separation, you can identify if the storytelling is bringing results for your product.

A tip is to use Google Analytics to identify the keywords of your page that are performing better, before and after applying the storytelling in your promotion.

3 – Look for information from different sources

To talk about a subject with authority, you need to know as much as possible about it.

Read books and blogs, watch videos related to your product. Talk to people, take part in groups on the theme on social networking sites and see what the most common questions from users are.

Everything that makes your creative process easier and helps you to tell a story that makes sense to your target audience.

4 – Come up with flashy titles  

On the Internet, 79% of users just skim the text rather than read every word.

When you create a title that draws attention, it is easier to keep your reader engaged with that content, especially when the title makes a promise.

If the visitor reads your title and isn’t interested, she will keep on researching the subject on other pages.

5 – Use data to support your speech  

It’s easier for the human brain to retain stories than data. But it is possible to combine the two to create an even more persuasive narrative!

Stories substantiated with data generate more trust in your target audience.

If you don’t have data from official sources or research institutes to validate the benefits of your offer, try talking about your own performance data.

Example:

Product: Online course on how to increase visits to your blog

Data: Infographic showing how the Producer of the course increased the visits on her own blog by 70%.

5 – Tell your story in stages

To “capture” your reader, you need to create a narrative that has a beginning, middle, and end.

Establish a story: Whose story are you telling? What is the context? Who are the characters in your story?

Develop: Talk about your experience, stories of people who have purchased your product and other information that justify your sales arguments.

Call to Action: Explain to your visitor, what action you expect her to perform, which can be: buy your product, subscribe to your newsletter, sign up for your channel, etc.

In a webinar, for example, if you talk about your product right away, people will lose interest in following the transmission until the end.

You need to understand the concerns of your audience, provide accurate information, solve doubts, so only then you can submit your offer.

6 – Value the state of the art

The best way to strengthen your online domain still is by creating unique and valuable content.

To attract visitors to your page to buy your product, you must give something in return because this way you keep the user active in your base, even if she doesn’t make the purchase immediately.

Every time you “feed” your user with quality content, you advance that person a little further on the buyer’s journey, and she stops being just a visitor until she becomes your brand evangelist on the Internet.

7 – Prioritize authenticity

When a story is told from the point of view of those who lived it, it is perceived as being authentic.

By providing false information about you or your product, you compromise user experience because you encourage her to make a misinformed purchase.

8 – Think about the particulars of your channels

Just like users, social media has different profiles.

On Facebook, people are more open to talking about their personal lives, while on Linkedin people share professional information.

Whereas on Twitter and Instagram, characters limitation makes all the difference in the way of conveying information.

So, before creating your story, it is important that you consider the channels you use to promote.

Mental triggers

People like to be educated on the purpose of a purchase.

Make it clear “why” the lead should purchase the product you are offering and, if possible, use outside sources to validate your speech, such as surveys and news.

Confidence

As the client realizes that you trust the product you are selling, she feels more confident that your solution is ideal for him.

This perception increases, even more, when you show the results that other customers have achieved with your product.

Social proof

Before making a purchase, it is common for the lead to search for reviews about that product. And nobody better to talk about the benefits of your offer than someone who was satisfied with the purchase.

Give voice to these people and expose the reviews on your sales page.

Authority:

If you are not a leader in the segment, use opinions from recognized professionals to endorse your product.

This will transfer you some authority and help you strengthen your reputation online.

Affinity

One of the best ways to increase your sales is to create affinity with your audience.

Tell stories with which your persona can identify, preferably showing how your product can solve a problem that she shares.

Scarcity

The principle of scarcity or sense of urgency, which works so well in the outbound marketing, means to convince the lead that she has to make that purchase at that time, otherwise she won’t get a second chance.

Phrases like “Last vacancies”, “discount valid until tomorrow” are examples that meet this purpose.

Different stories for different goals

The hero’s journey

The monomyth, also known as the Hero’s Journey, is the most common type of storytelling that exists.

You surely have already read a book written from this technique.

In this kind of narrative, the “hero” who can be you [or someone who has used your product] is called to get out of her comfort zone and solve a problem.

This journey through the unknown is not linear and is full of challenges.

The aim of this kind of story is to value what the character has conquered at the end of the process.

It is ideal to show the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks. Inspire people not to give up when they’re faced with challenges.

Crossed stories

In this structure, you relate two or more trajectories and explain how one influenced the other.

First, you introduce the main character and then add other characters who have contributed in order to the person to reach a certain goal.

Think about your journey as an entrepreneur, for example, imagine that you have had the influence of someone close to you before you start your own business. OK?

As an entrepreneur you have the power to change the life of a third character, creating multiple variations of the same story.

Backwards

You tell the end of your story, before explaining to people how you got there.

Imagine that you are a YouTuber with over 100 thousand followers. You start by talking about your channel, the kind of content you produce today and how a simple decision helped you become a reference on the Internet.

When you start with the most exciting part of your story, the audience is captured from the beginning and remains involved in your narrative to find out how you achieved good results.

I’m just like you

You use empathy to get closer to your audience.

I understand you, I have the same dreams as you or we face the same problems.

When you create that connection with your audience, it is natural that these people are more involved when you get to the part in the story when you tell how you found a solution.

Thais, a copywriter here in the blog, has already written a post telling her journey until she found a profession that made her happy. You can read the text here.

Extra tips  

Finally, I’m going to go over some tips that help me a lot when creating my own stories.

  • What’s interesting to you isn’t always interesting for your audience!

Your texts or videos must answer your audience’s questions, sometimes in order to do that, you need to explain things that may seem obvious to you. But remember that your audience still needs to be educated about your product.

  • Rewrite the story more than once!

Nothing is so good that you can’t improve. So, never trust in the first version of your story, rewrite or record it as many times as it’s necessary until your message is as clear as possible.

  • Put your ideas on paper!

You know when you have an idea, but you can’t put it in practice at that time? Write it down!   Materializing your ideas will help you visualize what is worth putting into practice in your business and what’s not so good.

Now that you know what storytelling is, it’s time to put your ideas on paper and create stories that will engage your audience!

Take the opportunity to leave your question or suggestion in our comment box below.

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