By David Perdew
I’m excited to welcome my guest, David Perdew of MyNAMS, to the Marketing Words’ Blog this week. David has developed a unique (and super-easy!) way to incorporate stories into your business & marketing without a lot of hassle. I love his approach and wanted to share it with you so take it away David!
From as far back as the 50s (possibly earlier), marketers have understood one fundamental principle of humankind: we LOVE to hear stories. Think about it, what are movies? Stories. Family history? Stories. Memories are stories as are pictures that almost always provoke us to retell the tale that leads up to the moment when the photo was taken.
In today’s market, you find stories everywhere! Just look at the popular TV show “Shark Tank.” What happens as soon as the business owners walk into the tank? They begin with stating the amount of investment they want and the offer they are making and – what? – their story.
The same is true for website page, like this About Us page from Moleskin.
Because of our undeniable love of giving narratives (whether true or false), storytelling became a natural – and extremely powerful – way to draw prospects in and convert them into customers. Granted, some are much better than others.
A few people are natural storytellers, although I’ve never met one. I guarantee you I’m not a natural! Like EVERY great storyteller I know, I had to learn that skill. And like me, they studied and practiced storytelling until it appeared effortless.
Sure, we can all talk about what happened last night at the football game or explain that our child got sick at school and had to be picked up, but that’s chit-chat. For your business, you want to tell stories with a point: stories that persuade people to take the actions you want them to take.
The good news is that it’s not that hard once you have a simple system to follow. As you learn basic skills, storytelling becomes easier because your creativity bubbles to the top and you improve every time you tell a tale. With the simple system I’m going to show you, telling stories that persuade others will quickly become an easy process.
Are you thinking:
“I can’t tell stories.”
“Nothing interesting ever happens to me.”
“Nobody cares about my daily life.”
“Why would anyone want to hear my story?”
“I don’t know what makes a good story!”
The primary issue here is that you think telling a story is about YOU. Sorry to disappoint. Your story has nothing to do with you: It’s about your listener. How do THEY relate to the story you’re telling?
Let me show you just how simple it is to weave a compelling story that causes people to take action. I’ve compiled my process into a unique system I call “7 Steps to Creating Stories with a Point!”
Step 1: The Hook
You’ve only got about 3 seconds to grab your readers’ attention. You must amaze, shock, anger, scare, or identify with your readers immediately. One of the best ways to engage is to ask a question and leave it unanswered, but promise an answer later. This is no time to be shy.
Step 2: The Setup
This is where most people mess up.
You don’t have to provide long-winded descriptions, but paint the scene so the reader or viewer (if using storytelling with videos) sees exactly what you want them to see in their mind’s eye.
Provide the context for your story. Make the problem crystal clear, painful and easy to identify with. Tease the audience with the solution, but don’t reveal it. Stay engaged.
Step 3: The Parachute
Think of all the great action movies you love. They drop you right into the middle of the drama with a bang. Even if it’s a love story, the tale jumps to the point of conflict very fast. Make your story visual, fast and get right to the point. If the audience can’t engage quickly then the message is NOT being delivered effectively. Most likely, they’ll get bored and leave.
Step 4: The Theme
What’s your point? Support that point with every sentence. Use foreshadowing to make sure that next sentence leads to the climax of the story in a subtle and logical sequence.
The theme is not a single element that happens in chronological order, but more like the seasoning that’s added to a broth to enhance the flavor. That “seasoning” colors the entire story. The audience should never doubt the reason behind what you’re saying.
As you lead readers/viewers clearly from one place to another, the point should be subtly and repetitively added to every other element in the story. Do NOT confuse the audience by straying from the theme.
Step 5: The Transition
A Stronger Connection Means More Conversions
With this easy target audience discovery worksheet & video, you’ll have a handy tool that helps all your copy & marketing efforts hit the mark!
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Have you ever watched a movie that introduced a new main character in the middle of the film and then started focusing on that person throughout the rest of the story?
Probably not because that’s story suicide! When the transition from one scene to another causes a bump in the psyche; confusion ensues. And when that happens, the audience checks out. Literally.
Remember, done well, your audience is hanging on every word of the story because it’s been so engaging.
But what they need is resolution.
Remind them the problem has a solution, and you’re going to reveal it shortly, but first get into more detail about the original problem then lead to the resolution.
Step 6: The Sell
Reveal the solution you’ve found. Don’t GIVE the solution, but give enough information to make sure the audience sees the potential resolution. Introduce the call to action, whether that’s to purchase, share the content, opt-in…whatever.
This solution solved your problem and it can solve theirs, too if they get purchase this solution. Remind readers/viewers how much pain you were in (and, by association, THEY were in) because of the problem. The solution is the key.
Step 7: The Tie Back
Bring it back home. Remember that unanswered question? Now’s the time to bring it back up and provide the answer. Obviously, the unanswered question is solved by the solution you presented in The Sell.
At this point, you’ve come full circle. You started a story with an example, quote or character. Now, come back to that very same example, quote or character and demonstrate why it was so important to the story.
Want an example?
You can create exciting, interesting content from simple, daily events in your life. You just have to open your mind enough to weave those stories into your business.
For example, my daughter just ran her first half marathon so I asked her about the process: What she learned, how she planned for it, etc.
The first thing she said was,
“Believe it or not, I took a running class. I know it sounds stupid, but guess what? I was running all wrong! Once I learned how to do it correctly, then I began having these tiny little victories which made me want to get better. Then I began enjoying it and wanted more challenges. I wanted to go further and harder and longer.”
Then I asked her how she could use that lesson and apply it to her business. She said, “Well, I needed training so I asked for help from someone who was an expert. Then, as I got better and more confident, I began telling more people about what I was doing and then people started asking for my advice. A few folks then asked me to be their running partner and all of the sudden others looked at me with authority. Now I want to help people who are stuck and thinking they can’t do it: People who don’t have the confidence to even put their shoes on. I am now trying to build a plan on how to do that.” Her story is now an inspiration to others and helps get them off the couch and into a whole new lifestyle!
You see that’s what happens when we get the right training for specifically what we need from the right expert.
That’s exactly what I do at MyNAMS. I teach our students how to create the business of their dreams.
Storytelling is a huge part of portraying your vision to your customers. You have to identify and relate to your customers. They have to buy into your vision and the only way to do that is to build your message and connect emotionally with your audience.
I have developed 3 great templates to get you started with becoming a great storyteller!
The first is “7 Steps to Telling Stories with a Point” that I briefly outlined above. This template shows you how to tie your stories into:
• product descriptions
• website copy
• sales letters
• landing pages
• business backstory
• blog posts
• and MUCH more
The second is an Ideas-Starter Worksheet. This is an excel spreadsheet that helps you to create your theme and tie in throughout your message.
The third is a Working Document. This helps you actually expand on the themes from the Idea Starter Worksheet to make sure you hit each of the 7 steps head on.
Plus, use coupon STORY (all caps) for a huge discount when you order today. Sells for $197. You get it for only $47. Discount will end without notice.