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How to Use Storytelling in Your Marketing

Seven steps to creating the right story for your business.

In my last article, I discussed the importance of using storytelling in your marketing. Now, I’m going to show you how to do it.

I think the best way to get started with storytelling in your marketing is to use what’s called a framework. Frameworks help you organize your thoughts and ideas, making it much easier to make sense of the madness.

The framework I use with clients comes from a company called Story Brand. This is certainly not the only storytelling framework you can use in your marketing, but I really like this one because it’s easy to understand and there are just 7 steps to follow.

Are you ready to clarify your marketing message and start engaging potential customers like never before? If the answer is “Yes,” then complete these 7 steps or phases in the story you want to invite your customers to be a part of.

1 – A Character (or Hero)…
A lot of companies make the mistake of playing the hero in the story, but what you really want is your customer to play the hero. In this part of the story, you need to answer the following question: What does your customer want as it relates to your services? System Integrator Example: A system that adds to the convenience, enjoyment, and functionality of their home.

Also by Tim Fitzpatrick: Commonly Overlooked Ways to Generate Leads

2 – Has a Problem…
In this phase of the story, you need to identify four things:

  • The Villain: To help you identify the villain in your customers’ story, ask questions like: What is the chief source of conflict your services defeat? Is there a root cause of your customers’ problems? System Integrator Example: Complication (technology can be complicated to use and understand).
  • The External Problem: What is the problem your customers deal with as it relates to your services? What external problem is the villain causing? System Integrator Example: They need a home automation system, but they’re unsure how to proceed.
  • The Internal Problem: How is the villain or external problem making your customers feel? What frustrations do your services resolve? System Integrator Example: Confused and overwhelmed about what system will meet their needs.
  • The Philosophical Problem: Why is it just plain wrong for your customers to be burdened by this problem? Is there a deeper story your company contributes to? System Integrator Example: Everyone should be able to enjoy the comfort and convenience of technology in their home without all the hassle.


3 – And Meets a Guide…
The guide in a story is the one who has the authority and credibility. In this case, that’s your company. You want to play the guide, not the hero.

Think about it, in most stories the hero is actually a pretty weak character. He or she has flaws, and they are struggling. In contrast, the guide has already overcome the challenges the hero currently faces.

You can position yourself as the guide in the story by establishing empathy and authority. Establish empathy by using a brief statement that expresses your understanding of the hero’s challenges and problems. For example, “We know how complicated and overwhelming technology can be.”

Establish authority with tools like testimonials, certifications, accreditations, case studies, and white papers.


4 – Who Gives Them a Plan…
What steps will I take as a customer when doing business with you? We all know you complete many steps in any home automation project, but you need to boil it down to three or four steps. Keep it simple and easy for the customer to understand. System Integrator Example: 1. Get a Free Consultation; 2. Install Your System; 3. Sit Back & Relax.

Also by Tim Fitzpatrick: How to Instantly Attract Your Ideal Clients

5 – And Calls Them to Action…
Most people don’t take action unless they are called to action. Your website and other marketing materials must use two types of calls to action.

  • Direct Call to Action: This is for a customer who is ready to buy and just needs to know what the next step is. Direct calls to action are commonly seen as “Buy Now,” “Book an Appointment,” or “Get a Free Consultation.”
  • Transitional Call to Action: This is for prospects that aren’t quite ready to buy but have an interest in your service. We’ve all seen free checklists, cheat sheets, and ebooks. These are examples of a transitional call to action. For example, you might offer a free cheat sheet (in exchange for a name and email address) on your website called “10 Commonly Overlooked Home Automation Mistakes You Need to Know.”


6 – And Helps Them Avoid Failure…
In this phase of the story, you need to highlight the negative consequences your customers will experience if they don’t use your service. Treat this like salt in a recipe — you need a little bit of it, but not too much. System Integrator Example: The hassle and frustration of a home automation system that is difficult to use.


7 – That Ends in Success.
Now it’s time to list the positive changes your customers will experience if they use your services. What benefits will they see? System Integrator Example: Feeling safe and secure in their own home. Enjoying the convenience and comfort of their home to the fullest.

Once you’ve outlined the seven phases of the story, you can start to use this messaging to create clarity in all of your marketing materials. Clarity will bring more leads and more customers to your business.

Isn’t that what you want?