Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tell Me a Story – And Make it a Good One!

Interesting = Memorable. 
Interesting = “Tell Me More.”
Interesting = Brand Awareness.

For all the obvious reasons, the stories of your business are the lifeblood of your marketing. They can take many forms, but they are often the reason someone thinks of you first.

Testimonials as Stories.

Probably one of the most effective stories you can have is a testimonial from a happy customer.  Sometimes they aren’t easy to get, but they are worth the trouble. If someone says “That was a great job.” or “I love your work.” or “Thanks for taking the time to walk me through that process.” Ask for a testimonial.

And, no, you don’t say “Can you give me  a testimonial?”

You might say; “Wow, thanks for appreciating that. Sometimes we don’t know if our customers notice. I would like to put that on my website (or in my brochure). If you will give me your email address I’ll write up a first draft and send it to you for your approval.”

For most of us, writing something for public viewing is a drill at best and torture at worst. If you offer to take the burden off and start the testimonial, they are more likely to like the idea. And, you get to structure it a little and give them a nudge in the direction you want.

How I Started My Business as a Story

People are fascinated with success stories. An appropriately humble story about how you turned job skills into a business is always interesting. If it is interesting enough, it might be the basis for a newspaper or neighborhood newsletter article. Just start putting down the facts and don’t leave out the struggles and the people who helped you overcome them.

Customer Successes as Stories

If your customers have personal successes, and especially if your product or service contributed, these can be great stories for you. Maybe Profiles of Businesses Who Use our Products or Our Clients at Society Events or Best Gardens We Helped Create.

Case Studies as Stories

Prospective clients need to hear about the range of your experience, and the depth of your expertise. A great way to share that is through case studies. 

A few notes of caution:
  • Be careful not to over-share. Protect your client’s information and your own interests by a combination of de-identifying and editing details.
  • Don’t take more than your share of the credit for client successes. Even de-identified clients like to look good.
  • Make it a quick read. There are occasions when you need a straight case study. For marketing purposes, we are looking for the unusual, the interesting, the challenging aspects.

Market Trends as Stories

Sometimes what is going on in the market makes a great story – especially for someone in a related industry. If you can gather interesting trend information from reliable sources and share it with your customers, it can be invaluable.

Be Interesting.

Here's a great quote from Guy Kawasaki on engaging customers.

"To be successful in business, you need to think beyond transactions, numbers, and sales and focus on the most important factor of any relationship: people. Enchant people with your likeability, your trustworthiness, and all your other engaging, human qualities, and you'll form honest, mutually beneficial relationships. When you do so, you'll find that customers embrace your ideas and adopt your perspective—for life."

From: Marketingprofs.com

Next: The Competition – How Much Do You Know?

For more samples of our work go to: http://www.n8marketing.com

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