A good story can give a small business a big voice

A good story can give a small business a big voice

The best salespeople in the world will tell you that the easiest way to sell is to make a human connection. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling homemade sticky toffee pudding to tourists, or extruded aluminium guttering to the building industry, there should be some human connection involved. And here’s the thing - it doesn’t matter whether it’s online or offline.

Admittedly, the human factor can be more tricky on a website than in a face-to-face situation. This is where the magic of storytelling comes into play. Storytelling is an easy way to beef-up your customer relationships, create better customer experiences, and promote your brand - online or offline.

Storytelling is nothing new; it’s been around since the beginning of time. We're primed from childhood to respond to stories. They bring people together, keep them engaged, and let your potential customers know what makes you tick. In short, a good story can give someone a reason, beyond price, to choose to buy from you. So how do you get all this into your sales and marketing efforts?

1. Tell your customers how your company came to be

If you take a look at the statistics on your website, I’m pretty confident you’ll see that your ‘about us’ page gets a lot of hits. So make sure that you give people something interesting to read when they land there. What was the catalyst that made you start your business? What do you believe in? What makes you tick? Then link it to the incredible experience your customers are going to get when they buy from you. For inspiration, take a look at the Innocent Smoothies website.

2. Who are the people in your organisation? What are their stories?

If you're in a market sector where there are a lot of companies who all offer the same service, you can differentiate by telling the stories of the people in your organisation. What was their journey to get to where they are now? What’s unusual about them? So if your company accountant used to be a ski instructor, think about how you could link that to the experience your customers get. For example, maybe your customers call him to ask for advice on the best ski resorts, or the best equipment to buy. It's a little quirky, but it's fun, and it would make your business stand out.

3. Stories about your products or services

If you're an artist or designer, share the story of what inspired you to make an individual piece. If you're a consultant, tell the story about why you want to help other business owners. Dig deep, you’ll be amazed by how interesting people find this kind of story.

4. Stories about your customers

The classic story in this category is the case study, which primarily looks at ‘problem, solution and result’. These stories are powerful endorsements of your capabilities, your products, and your customer service. Testimonials are good, but a case study communicates so much more.

So the next time you’re giving some thought to your marketing or branding, stop and think about how you could incorporate some stories into the mix.