By Neil Patel
Everyone has a story. What’s yours?
I’m not referring to your life story, although there are times when that can be intriguing as well. Instead, I’m talking about how you started your business.
What was your motivation?
Sure, everyone gets into business to make money, but there has to be more to it than that. Stories are a powerful way to connect with your audience.
That’s because they can elicit different types of emotions. The key is finding a way to drive sales by guiding these emotions.
One of my favorite ways to do this is by using your brand’s story.
I know what you’re thinking. Your brand’s story isn’t that interesting or worth sharing. Or maybe you’ve got a good story, but you just don’t know how to tell it.
But if you learn how to master the art of storytelling, it can help you increase sales revenue.
Not sure how to approach this? Don’t worry. I’ll teach you how to leverage your brand’s story to make more money. Here’s what you need to know.
Your story needs to be simple
For starters, it’s important for you to keep things simple.
We’re not trying to write a Martin Scorsese film here. Stay away from plot twists, mysteries, or thought-provoking endings with an open-ended interpretation.
Your story needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Before you share your story, take the time to figure these components out.
Here are some of the most common elements that should be included in your brand’s story:
While you’d want to include as much information as possible, you’d also need to make sure it’s easy for people to understand.
The easiest way to do this is by starting your story with some sort of problem you’ve identified. Your audience will recognize it as your reason for going into business.
Shortly after sharing the problem your brand acknowledged, you need to talk about your solution.
Did you invent something? How did you make improvements to an already existing product?
This part of your story will help show what makes your brand different from competing companies in this market segment. Now is your chance to shine.
Finally, the story should end with your success. Coming up with a solution is much different from finding a method that’s successful.
Here’s a great example of this from SAXX Underwear:
SAXX manufactures and sells men’s underwear with a unique support pouch. Their story talks about how they landed on this design.
It explains how their founder was on a fishing trip and experienced discomfort with what he was wearing at the time. That’s the problem.
His solution was to create a hammock-like pouch that’s designed to keep men comfortable and dry. That’s the solution.
But he’s not quite at the success portion of the story yet. They continue explaining that it took 14 prototypes to finalize their first product. That’s the success story.
It’s also important that the ending of your story doesn’t make it sound as if it’s over. Make it clear that your business is still in operation. You’re trying to grow, prosper, and continue along the path of success.
SAXX does this well. They end the story by reinforcing that all of these years later, their focus is still the same.
Use this example as a template for how to tell your brand’s unique story.
Tell a story your customers can relate to
Depending on where your company currently stands at the moment, you might think your customers may not be able to relate to you.
Your company could be grossing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, which the average person won’t be able to wrap their mind around.
This is a perfect opportunity for you to look back at where you got started. Was it difficult for you to become successful?
The struggle for success is something people can relate to. Most people deal with it on a daily basis. Just make sure you keep things simple as discussed above.
It’s imperative that you stick to the important details. For example, nobody cares about your negotiations with the banker as you were trying to secure a startup loan.
If you want to share a rags-to-riches story, you could just say something like, “We had $100 in the bank,” and it will paint a relatable picture without boring your audience with minor details.
Take a look at how Mush Oatmeal shares their brand story:
Rather than writing it, which is a more traditional route, they used a video to explain the motivation behind their brand. It’s a great idea because video marketing tactics increase sales.
In fact, 43% of consumers say they want marketers to provide more video marketing content.
But besides being creative in the way they shared their journey, Mush also made the story relatable.
They talk about how families buy big variety packs of oatmeal containing added sugar and preservatives from stores such as Costco.
The co-founders of this brand both had a passion for health and wellness. They felt big corporations were motivated only by profits, but Mush was motivated by providing consumers with nutrition.
That’s when they came up with the idea to provide fresh and cold oatmeal, which is different from what most people expect from a traditional hot bowl of oatmeal.
They identified a problem that people can relate to and came up with a unique solution. These are the components of a great brand story that will entice consumers to buy your products.
Relatable stories can show the human side of your company. You’re not just a brand without a face.
Show your customers you have more in common with them than they might think, which can ultimately make them want to support you.
Establish trust and credibility
What makes you qualified to do whatever you do?
Here is where your story can help you add credibility to your brand name.
For example, let’s say your company sells surfboards. Well, if you’ve been a professional surfer for 20 years, you’re probably qualified in this space.
You could talk about your transition from surfing to building your own boards.
Do you have a degree in a field that’s related to your business? What did you study? Talk about some of your past jobs and experiences that made you qualified to create and run your current company.
If you can effectively answer these questions and position yourself as a credible source, customers will be more likely to buy your products based on the unique features of your product that set it apart from the competition.
Here’s a great example of this strategy from EO Products:
The story talks about their humble beginnings of making soap in a three-gallon pot in their garage. But it then turns into a tale of two pioneers in the cosmetics industry.
EO Products was tasked to create a hand sanitizer with non-GMO ingredients. So they figured out a way to use organic alcohol from sugar cane.
This brand received FDA approval as a certified OTC manufacturer of these products.
They also were the first personal care brand that was certified by the Non-GMO Verified Project.
Once their brand established trust and credibility, EO Products launched a product extension line called Love Everyone. These products were designed for people and families who wanted high-quality natural products at a budget price.
Stories like this make the brand attractive to consumers, making them more likely to buy its products.
Elicit an emotional response
The best stories are emotional.
You may not have a story your customers can relate to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them to feel a certain way.
One of the best examples of this kind of brand story is TOMS Shoes story:
Their founder, Blake Mycoskie, built a brand to help people in need.
While he was traveling in Argentina, he saw just how many children lived there without shoes. He wanted to change that. This was the inspiration for his company.
His business model is simple. For every pair of shoes purchased, another pair of shoes is donated to someone in need.
While prospective customers may not have a similar or relatable story, they will still be willing to buy products to help this cause based on their emotional responses.
This type of story evokes a response that drives sales. These emotions can vary based on the person.
For example, someone may feel sympathy for the people in need, while others could be driven to buy because of their admiration for the brand that is helping. Still others may feel joy and self-satisfaction when making a purchase, knowing their money will help a worthy cause.
Regardless of the reason or the emotion attached to it, you can use a similar strategy in your story to help increase your sales.
Encourage customers to tell their own stories
Your story is important to your brand.
That said, not everyone will have the same story. Your products and services may have a unique impact on your customers.
Allow them to share such stories with others, thus creating user-generated content. Stories provided by your customers can ultimately help shape your overall brand story.
How did your product change their lives or make things easier for them?
Your customer had a problem, and your product solved it. Let them share this story. One of the best ways to do this is by staying active on social media.
Run contests or promotions that encourage people to share their stories.
You can even share them on your website. Devote a specific section of your site to user stories.
Here is a great example of how Tesla uses this strategy on their website:
Tesla builds and sells electric cars, which is revolutionary in the motor vehicle industry.
The stories shared by their customers explain how these electric cars helped improve their lives. As you can see from the examples above, there is a wide range of diversity on this page.
One story explains how two guys were able to fit eight beer kegs in an SUV, while another story talks about how a mother uses her Tesla for her family of five.
You don’t want to appear fake or phony when telling your brand’s story.
Don’t make things up or embellish the truth to make yourself sound better. If you get caught in a lie, it could backfire and potentially destroy your company.
You don’t want to go through that. I just finished talking about how important it is to establish trust and credibility, so don’t ruin that.
That said, being authentic is much more than just telling the truth.
Let your personality shine. If you’re funny, be funny in your story.
If you were emotional when you were creating your company, share those emotions with your audience.
Just make sure everything you say is an accurate representation of both you and your company.
Sell your story
When a customer buys something, they should feel as if they are purchasing more than just a product.
If you market your brand properly, customers will be buying a portion of your story and making it part of their own.
This may sound complicated, but it can be done. FFTOB is a perfect example of how to leverage this strategy:
After a certain amount of time, firefighters need to retire their suits.
But rather than having those old suits go to waste, this company turns them into unique handmade bags.
People who buy these bags purchase more than just the brand’s story. They are buying the story of a real-life hero.
These uniforms were worn by brave men and women who risked their lives on a daily basis to keep their communities safe. The idea of turning those uniforms into bags is very creative and makes it hard for customers to resist to be a part of it. That’s why they buy these products.
Everywhere they go with their bags, their story goes with them.
Some of the bags are even discolored because they were exposed to a fire. If you have a story that’s this unique, you’ve got to share it with the world.
If you’re looking for a new way to get more sales, look no further than yourself.
Think about how your brand got started and what inspired you to go into business. It’s been a long journey, and it’s worth sharing.
Just make sure your story is simple and easy to follow.
Find a way for your customers to relate to your brand’s story. Use this to help you establish trust and credibility within your industry.
A great story will elicit emotions from your audience. Use these powerful emotions to guide customers into a buying decision.
You should also encourage your customers to tell their own stories. These unique pieces of user-generated content will help shape your overall brand story.
Sell your story in addition to your products. But no matter what you do, it’s imperative that you remain authentic at all times.
Follow these tips if you want to drive sales by leveraging your brand’s unique story.
How are you using your brand’s story to establish trust and credibility with your customers?