How Stories Make Your Marketing More Effective

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Do you use stories in your marketing?

I was recently watching a documentary called The Game Changers.

It’s about vegan athletes performing at high levels on a vegan diet. 

Now, I’ve spent 15 years in the health and fitness industry training high level athletes. So I know quite a bit about the research and what it takes to optimize health and performance. 

And I know for certain that a strict vegan diet isn’t it.

Sure, I’ll agree that people need to eat more fruits and vegetables. But completely cutting quality meat out of your diet isn’t good either.

And you’ll probably never convince me otherwise.

But the more I watched, the more I started to doubt myself

I started to second guess my experience and all the research I’ve done over the years.

I mean, they were making some convincing points. What if red meat really is bad for your health? Maybe I should go vegan?

Luckily I snapped myself out of it before they fully converted me with their propaganda. Then I went over to the freezer, grabbed a ribeye and turned on the grill. Just to make sure.

But they almost had me. They had a red-meat-loving-powerlifter (just about) ready to throw out his steaks and go vegan.

All my years of learning, studying and reading research on optimal nutrition be damned.

That’s the power of a good story

Telling a great story is a marketing weapon.

It has the power to change even the most stubborn or skeptical minds.

Using more stories in your marketing can be a “game changer” (pun intended) for your business.

Why are stories so powerful?

Stories Make Your Marketing Memorable

Our brain is literally hardwired to learn from and remember stories.

It’s how we passed along information since the days of sleeping in caves and having to kill and forage for food. 

Our ancestors couldn’t exactly write their knowledge down in a textbook to pass it on to the next generation.

So they sat around campfires and told stories to teach lessons and share their wisdom. And those stories were re-told to the next generation, etc.

The brain we have today evolved from thousands of years of sitting around campfires sharing stories.

That’s why we remember information when it comes packaged in a story rather than a bunch of disconnected facts.

Our survival depended on it.

So when you package up your marketing message in a story, it’s much more likely that that message will stick with your prospect.

Stories Do a lot Of the Selling for you

Have you ever laughed, cried or gotten emotional during a movie?

That’s because when you experience a great story, it elicits an emotional response in you.

And if you’ve done any sales training, you know that sales is largely just a transfer of emotion.

A well-told story has the power to instantly change your emotional state. And that emotional response makes selling your products and ideas a whole lot easier.

Telling the right story, to the right person, at the right time can take someone who’s highly skeptical of your offer and turn them into a buyer.

People Actually Like to consume Stories

Nobody wants to read a textbook. Or watch a show that just throws a bunch of boring facts at you.

We want to read engaging books and watch shows that suck us in.

We don’t want information, we want to be entertained. We want a story.

It’s the same when people come across your marketing.

They don’t want to hear about the features of what you’re selling. Or how great you think your product or service is. And they don’t want to be sold.

They’ll just tune that stuff out.

But if you deliver your message within a story, you have a chance.

When you lead with a story, people actually want to listen it.

They’re engaged. They want to know what happens next.

And as they get lost in your story, they’ll happily consume your sales message without you having to convince them of anything.

Here’s 2 examples of great storytelling

The first is the Bible.

The main way the Bible teaches is through story. You read the parables, learn and absorb the lessons and live your life accordingly.

Stories are the delivery mechanism to teach Christian values and beliefs.

It would have been easier to write a book of “do this, don’t do this” rules. 

But you won’t get people to listen by telling them what to do. Just ask the federal government, that’s what they do and everyone hates them.

But when you use a story to deliver those same rules, people are more open to hearing the message and being persuaded by it.

Packaging it’s lessons up in story form is a big reason why the Bible (and religion itself) has survived for 2000 years.

The second example is the movie Top Gun.

You know the movie. But what you might not know is that after it was released, enrollment in the Navy exploded.

Recruiters even set up tables at movie theaters because so many people wanted to join after watching it.

The directors of Top Gun weren’t trying to “sell” people on joining the military.

Yet people with no military ambition before watching the movie were ready to sign up and fight for their country 2 hours later.

That’s the power a compelling story has over your emotions. It can turn a regular moviegoer into a patriot willing to die for his country in just a couple hours.

The goal of your marketing is to get people to pay attention to it, get people to remember it and get people to buy from it.

And to do that in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re trying to coerce them into buying something they don’t want or need.

Stories are the way to do that. They’re like a Trojan horse for your marketing message.

So use them in your articles. In your salespages. In your social media posts and presentations.

Whenever you have a message or a point to make, whether it’s to sell a product or an idea, use a story as the vehicle for it.

Because when you package your marketing up in a story; people will remember it more easily, they’ll listen more eagerly and you’ll have a better chance of making the sale.

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