I’m Suzanne Bird-Harris.
Why story, you ask?
If you’re like most businesses, you’re fed up with spending money on marketing that doesn’t work. If you knew what to do differently, you would—but you don’t, so you feel stuck. Meanwhile, your sales are lagging. Your bottom line isn’t budging. And worst of all, you don’t know what the problem is, much less how to fix it.
Every day, the average person encounters more than three thousand commercial messages. But we are wired to ignore information we don’t need. As a result, we only listen to people (and brands) that communicate simply and clearly how they help us solve our problems so we can survive and thrive.
Story is the most powerful tool available to engage a human brain.
Instead of telling our story, though, we invite our customers into a story by identifying something they want. When we identify something our customer wants, they start paying attention. There is no story unless there is some kind of conflict, so we talk about our customer’s problems. When we identify those problems and talk about them clearly, customers are drawn to us and our brand.
Customers are looking for someone who empathizes with and is competent to help solve their problems. They’re looking for a guide with a plan, not a hero. But customers don’t take action unless they’re challenged to take action, so we make our calls to action clear and repeat them in the same language over and over.
People are motivated by two forces: Avoiding failure and experiencing success. As marketers, we must define the negative consequences we are helping our customers avoid and paint a clear picture of what their lives look like when the problem is solved.
Your 7 Messages
Here are the important questions you must answer for your brand:
What do our customers want?
Your customer is the hero in the story, not your brand. How can you help them overcome their challenges and get what they want?
What problems do our customers have?
Brands tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems. What are your customers’ external and internal problems?
Have we positioned our brand as the guide for our customers?
Because your customers can’t solve their own problems, they go looking for somebody who can help them. When you position yourself and your brand as the guide, you become exactly who your customer is looking for.
Have we created a clear plan for our customers to win the day?
Customers like to know what they’re getting into, and when we break up the process of doing business with us into small, easy-to-understand steps, engagement increases.
Are our calls to action clear and compelling?
Unless you ask your customer to buy something, they won’t. In stories, heroes need to be challenged to take action and in life, customers need the same level of encouragement.
Do we talk about the consequences we help our customers avoid?
Everyone is trying to avoid a tragic ending. If there are no stakes (something that can be won or lost), the story has no power and your customers will lose interest.
Do we tell our customers how we can improve their lives?
When you paint a picture of what your customer’s life can look like if they buy your products and services, they tend to move in your direction.
When you create these seven messages, you arm yourself with all of the building blocks you need for your marketing—no matter what channel or form of marketing you choose. No more reinventing the wheel each time! When you clarify your message and implement it everywhere, your business will grow.
Get started using the power of story today!
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