How storytelling can help your company build trust and boost sales
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Behind every business are real people, and behind every person is a story. Is your business using these stories to your advantage when it comes to B2B marketing? Perhaps you think storytelling is only for B2C companies, and B2B is all about business and logic. Statistics show otherwise!
Recent research from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business found that when people listened to sales pitches, only 5% recalled a statistic, but a massive 63% remembered stories.
Why is storytelling so compelling?
You might wonder what makes stories so powerful. We have the answer for you right here. These four elements help explain the hold stories have over us all:
1.2Storytelling has been around throughout much of man’s history. People are drawn into stories, and if
1111the story is told well, it will hold their attention.
2.2Listening to stories uses different sections of the brain to implant thoughts and feelings about
1111concepts, making them more apparent and memorable.
3.2Good storytelling is easy to digest because it follows a
11111specific structure: beginning → middle → end.
4.2However, storytelling involves more than simply telling a story from beginning to end. Stories create
1111conversations about the characters and events and interpretations of their actions. Each person who
1111hears the story comes away with their personal experience.
You may think your company has no story to tell, but every company has one. It might take some thought to get to the bottom of what your story is, but trust us, it’s there. It can be something as simple as how your company only works with unionized employees because your grandfather adamantly supported workers’ unions. Perhaps your company is spending time and money on climate change and has set a goal of reaching zero emissions. Maybe the baked goods you sell are made from your great-grandmother’s recipe. All these instances have great potential as marketing stories.
A full 71% of B2B buyers purchase when they see personal value in your business. But what does “personal value” mean in B2B marketing? It’s the professional, social, and emotional benefits your customers experience in addition to the actual product or service your company provides. To put it another way, emotions elevate customer satisfaction and customer experience.
You might wonder how you can tap the emotions of value to them. Luckily, it’s not that complicated! Simply figure out what motivates your target market by listening to them. Poll your customers to learn their pain points, or listen to them when you participate in sales meetings together.
While you probably agree that stories can be powerful marketing tools, you may wonder what kind of stories you can tell and how to deliver them effectively. Don’t worry! Your marketing stories don’t have to be literary masterpieces. They don’t even have to begin with “Once upon a time.”
Essential parts of a B2B story
Including these four elements will make your story more satisfying by giving it a story arc:
1.2Why. Why is your company in business? What are its purpose and values?
2.2Conflict. Describe your customer’s pain points.
3.2Resolution. Match these pain points with your solutions.
4.2Outcome. Describe how your solutions impacted your customer’s life.
Start off by finding your brand’s voice. What’s your company’s mission statement? What are its core values? Craft a narrative that shows your core values at work or illustrates how your company fulfills its mission statement in its customer interactions.
Your story can be a big story about exciting new technology and how it works to help businesses thrive or a smaller story about how your company lives out its values during a workday. This type of information allows customers to get to know your brand and what it stands for.
Describing your customer’s pain points shows you have listened to them and understand their needs. Reminding them about a problem that irks them every day, then showing them that there is a solution for it gives customers hope and inspiration on the job. This creates a bridge between your business and your consumers.
Describing a customer’s success with your products or services adds an extra layer of connection with current customers. It also encourages prospective clients to give your company a chance to help them in a similar way.
Which storytelling format works best for B2B marketing?
An important consideration before you jump into storytelling is where and how you will share your story with your audience. There are several options to choose from:
1. Written storytelling
The most accessible way to tell your story is through a blog or in the form of an article or a social media post. If you choose this option, be sure the writing paints a vivid picture of your story because you will only have a few photos to illustrate your points in this format.
2. Visual storytelling
Visual storytelling can be any visual, from a chart or an infographic to an image. Graphics can be created to intuitively tell a story using statistics. Visual elements can be a very powerful medium.
3. Video storytelling
Video is one of the most effective marketing tools, becoming more prevalent on all advertising platforms. Video marketing can be expensive and time-consuming, but an excellent tool for grabbing your customer’s attention and fostering an emotional connection.
4. Social media storytelling
A social media story can be composed of multiple building blocks. It can include videos, captions, GIFs and images. Its most important feature, though, is the interaction between companies and their prospects. Brands can invite their audience to contribute to the stories told, taking an active part in how the story unfolds.
5. Transmedia storytelling
Multi-platform or cross-channel storytelling takes storytelling to the next level. If you don’t want your story to end with only one video ad, commercial or blog post, keep it going across multiple formats. Telling your story everywhere – on your website, on your social platforms, in your email marketing and anywhere else your business shows its face – fosters a strong connection with your audience.
Where will your B2B marketing journey take you? If it takes you into the realm of storytelling, we hope you have found this article helpful. As you can see, storytelling can truly open new doors for you. More importantly, though, is that you can tell your unique story precisely how you feel fits your business best.
Have you already tried storytelling? Which format did you use? Did you find success? Please share your story with us in the comments below and reach out if you have questions about B2B marketing with storytelling.
Photos by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash; Fahrul Azmi on Unsplash; and Martin Adams on Unsplash.