Storytelling - Duct Tape Marketing

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How to Make Story Your Core Message

I’ve been writing about the use of story in marketing for years, and here’s what I know. A great story has many significant elements, and to have the greatest impact, each of these elements must be built in a certain order. The good news is that there’s a framework that any business can adopt to create an amazing story and grab their ideal customers’ attention.

Story is the hot marketing topic these days but it’s been with us forever. In fact, there’s a book I think everyone should read called Sapiens – A brief history of humankind. In it the author concludes that while humans were not always at the top of the food chain, they got there by developing the ability to tell stories – true and false – and use stories to get large groups of people to take action.

Perhaps the key point where I differ with most is that many people still focus on telling their story. I personally think it’s more about figuring out the story your client and prospect is telling themselves already and tapping into that. To show you what I mean, I’ve written a step by step guide below on how to craft your brand’s story for messaging.

Understand your brand

This sounds like a no-brainer, right? The fact is, however, many businesses have a tough time articulating what their brand is and what it represents. Before you can craft your story, you must understand your brand to its core. Having answers to the questions below will get you going in the right direction:

  • What is your secret sauce? What is the one thing you do better than anybody else?
  • Why should your audience care?
  • What are your audience’s wants, needs, and pain points that you can help solve (more on that below)?
  • Why would your audience need the solutions you provide?
  • What’s preventing them from finding a solution?
  • Why should they pick you over the competition?

There may be other questions that need to be addressed depending on your business, but having answers to these core questions is a good start. Through this process, you can find your brand’s authenticity, which will make for great storytelling.

Develop a Client Persona

A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. You should have your persona in mind not only for your marketing efforts but for all business efforts. Personas help to visualize who your target audience is. To appropriately define your persona, you must understand what drives them, what they believe, what they fear, and what they desire. The more information you have to build the persona, the better your marketing and storytelling will be.

Create your hero

Remember, the story is not about YOU.  The hero of your story is your client persona. They need to see themselves in the story which starts with their challenges, problems, and issues that they don’t know how to solve. To appropriately create a hero for your story, you must:

  • Learn the hero’s backstory – This is where developing a client persona will really come in handy.
  • Give them an antagonist – What kind of story doesn’t have a villain? Help your hero understand the problem they face that you can help them solve.
  • Call them to duty – Cue the Bat-Signal! Your story must give your hero hope that they have the power to overcome whatever the challenge is. They need to feel like what you have to offer is hope and empowerment, not just products and services.
  • Help them persevere – You have to be prepared to demonstrate you’ll be there with them until they overcome their challenges. Be there every step of the way until their problem is solved.
  • Free them – Show them the results and impact they’ll receive from your solutions. Make their fairytale a reality.

Craft the Journey

Today, most marketers understand the value of story as a way to market and sell just about anything. However, few understand the right way to use story and narrative as a way to guide people on the perfect journey.

Once you have the hero for your story, you can actually take them on their journey. When your persona is looking for solutions to their problems and answer to their questions, it’s up to you and your marketing efforts to give them what they’re looking for. When you understand the goals your personas are facing during each phase of their journey, you can create content and campaigns aimed at their specific desires. It’s important to interact with your persona as early on in the journey as possible before they make any decisions on their own without your involvement.

Become storytellers

Once you’ve carefully crafted your brand’s story, you need to tell it. You need to share it with your audience and include it within all of your messaging moving forward. Your website is a great place to start.

Here’s the thing, people buy stories before they buy stuff. The better you get at storytelling, the more likely you’ll able to turn people into customers.

Are you currently using story in your messaging? How has it impacted your business?

storytelling

Why Your Website Needs a Storyteller Instead of a Designer

Your website is the hub of your online presence – period. (Well, maybe that’s not exactly true from you right now, but it must be!)

As such, it has to do some heavy lifting and that heavy lifting must extend far beyond the interactive brochure still built today by many business owners.

Your website must tell a story. A story must be engaging and there must be a hero, a problem, a quest, a call to arms, and a promise of a happy ending.

The trouble with most sites, however, stems to some degree from how the web design industry is viewed.

A business creates a great product or service, develops the processes for marketing said product or service and then turns to a designer to create a gorgeous set of web pages to showcase it.

At some point, they determine they are going to need lots of pretty words to go with that awesome design, and then eventually they will need someone to “SEO it all.”

Of course, today the path described above is a recipe for disaster and waste.

The purpose of your site

As the digital hub for your business, your website must be able to attract the right prospect, as well as build trust, provide information, offer a guided trial experience, convert, and nurture and do so without friction or confusion.

Your must build your website with a narrowly defined ideal customer, deep knowledge of their challenges and pains, and instant delivery of a strong message of differentiation. In other words, your website is a study in marketing strategy and the voice of your online presence.

It must make people feel something quickly, it must draw them into their story, it must help visitors realize quickly that you get them, and that you have what it takes to change their current reality.

This is a process, not a webpage!

Guiding the journey

The buyer holds the cards today and expects to find whatever they are looking for online. They research, read, shop, bookmark, subscribe, revisit, compare, rate and review as standard markers along the buying process.

Websites today don’t create demand, they organize behavior and this requires strategy, storytelling, research, search engine optimization, intention, AND a design that facilitates what people expect from the sites they visit.

A storytelling home page might include a message that grabs the reader right where it hurts (strategy message, SEO, trust), trust markers in the form of testimonials (trust), a story about someone who was helped (proof, education), a scannable description or two about products and services (SEO, education), a story about the person and purpose behind the brand (trust, content), more trust markers (more trust and proof), a picture of what it could be like for the reader (content, aspiration, SEO), and several compelling calls to act (trial, trust, nurture). Here’s a good example of site that practices this approach

Great web design today supports; it does not dominate.

Conversion matters

Every interaction with your site is a conversion of some sort. Guiding and stimulating the behavior of the visitor is the objective.

When a first-time visitor comes to your site your goal is to convince them to come back – that’s a conversion. When they come back your goal is to get them to stay and read some more – that’s a conversion. When they stick around your goal is to interest them in specific information that educates – that’s a conversion. When they start consuming your ebooks, newsletters, and webinars your goal is the get them to tell you about their needs and challenges – that’s a conversion.

Okay, I suspect you get it – a conversion is much more than a purchase, it’s a set of micro-commitments that lead to a profitable purchase and your site must light the path at every stage.

This is perhaps the trickiest part as every visitor is different. They have a different story, they have difference knowledge about their problem and your solution, they are often at different points in the journey and they certainly have their own way of making purchase decisions.

Conversion is about helping them make the choice that seems right for them, not about forcing then through a funnel.

Measuring every activity, click, hover, page visit, and even time on site, is the only way to start to understand what’s working and not working. It’s the only way to personalize the journey based on what you learn. True conversion nuts test and can tell you what elements of their contact us form are causing friction.

You don’t have to go that level, but heck understanding what people who respond to your Facebook Ads do when they hit your site might be an awesome first step.

SEO at the start

Great web design starts with keyword research.

Keyword research, long the workhorse of the SEO pro, is an invaluable tool when it comes to developing strategy. Keyword research not only helps you determine popular search terms, it helps you better understand your ideal client, get a deeper grasp on their problems and intentions, and reveals clues to how they find, research, and source products and services like yours.

This knowledge allows you to create the right structure for your site before you ever start choosing colors and fonts.

Understanding the story structure of your home page and subsequent main pages is how you build and use your website to attract the right clients!

Content at the heart

In the end, your website is a container for your content, pure and simple. Nice packaging helps a visitor find and consume your content, but useful content is what drives the online machine.

Of course, content for content sake isn’t what I’m referring to here. Your content must be designed with intent. You must have content that helps create awareness, content that builds trust, content that educates, content the converts and even content to stimulate referrals.

By building a website and subsequent content around the story your prospect is telling themselves you also create context and that’s the key winning conversion with your content.

Hire a storyteller

You can no longer afford to view your website as a design only adventure. Your web hub must be built with your overall marketing strategy in mind and for my money, that starts by engaging a marketing professional who begins with strategy and who can turn your strategy into a story and who can make your content the voice of strategy.

If you want to talk to me about this idea send me a note with the text – I want to talk to a storyteller.

Need more tips on how to grow your business? Check out our entire Guide to Marketing Professional Services.

2 Lead Conversations to Replace Lead Funnels

danny-iny

Marketing Podcast with Danny Iny

The term “lead funnel” seems to be getting a lot of love from the Internet marketing set. Today it seems as though there are dozens of marketers promoting products and courses teaching this age old tactic cloaked in a new set of tools.

While the idea of a lead funnel makes a great deal of sense – you get people who are interested in an idea and get them more and more excited about your solution as the answer to their idea.

The problem I have is  more in the execution.

You don’t have to look much farther than the language of the lead funnel crowd – terms like lead magnets and trip wires give you the sense that this whole marketing thing is just a big game of cat and mouse and that prospects simply need to be tricked into buying.

For over a decade now I’ve presented the idea of The Marketing Hourglass as a replacement for the marketing funnel and as a way to more accurately represent the journey our prospects and clients want to experience.

Vital to this way of thinking is the realization that building know, like and trust sufficient to turn a prospect into a customer requires a level of engagement more like a conversation with a friend than guerilla warfare tactic.

[tweetthis]Turning a prospect into a customer requires a level of engagement more like a conversation with a friend than war tactic.[/tweetthis]

My guest on this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Danny Iny, founder of Mirasee Marketing, host of the Business Reimagined podcast and the bestselling author if multiple books including Engagement From Scratch. We discuss the power of a name, the value of storytelling in marketing, and better ways to reach your target audience.

Iny is quietly sparking a change in the marketing conversion world by teaching the art of the narrative conversation as the best way to communicate and build long-term marketing relationships.

In our conversation we cover a lot of ground, but mostly we agree that if you actually pay attention to and care about what your prospects care about, marketing is a lot more fun.

Questions I ask Danny:

  • How did you reach the name Mirasee Marketing for your business?
  • Is there a storytelling formula you can follow for your marketing?
  • Is a conversational tone in your marketing materials critical?

What You’ll Learn if You Give A Listen:

  • The value of storytelling in marketing
  • How to create the interest and desire for your product before you sell it
  • Why crafting a cool story isn’t going to sell someone something they don’t want

6 How to Use Infographics Effectively

Because of the constant bombardment of information we experience on a daily basis, the average human being now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish! In the digital era, marketers have to change and adapt their strategies in order to get their messages heard amongst the many other competing voices. Because humans are wired to respond more positively to visuals than text, infographics tend to get far more shares than traditional text-based content.

Additionally, infographics allow you to create an emotive story around a seemingly meaningless sea of data, allowing people to swiftly understand the key points without having to do any of the tedious reading. While anyone can pay to commission an infographic, there are certain factors you need to consider if you want your infographic to become a viral success!

Choosing the right topic

It’s important to remember that your infographic should never be a tout for your company; instead you should aim to tackle a contentious issue in your industry or cover a hot topic that you know will encourage sharing. In other words, aim to provide genuine value to people instead of simply promoting yourself. With resources such as Google Trends, Twitter hashtags, and numerous RSS aggregators, you’re sure to be able to find a topic that people will love to see encapsulated in a stunning infographic.

Content creation

When researching the facts for your infographic, always use reputable sources and ensure that they are airtight – particularly if your infographic is about a contentious issue – someone is bound to want to point out the flaws in your argument! You may wish to incorporate some quotes from industry specialists to serve as proof elements for your argument. Also, a few interesting lesser-known facts and quirky anecdotes may help to provide some light entertainment for readers.

When organizing your content, thinking visually is crucial. It’s important to remember that not every fact and statistic will make a good visualization, and conversely, not every great visualization will fit within the narrative of your infographic. In order for the infographic to work, the visuals must support the content and help to drive the narrative home. Never be tempted to sacrifice substance for style! As with any form of content marketing, well-researched, high-quality content is the cornerstone of an effective infographic.

Design

You may wish to design an infographic to match the branding of your company, and this may be a good idea if you are creating the piece for company presentations or other internal purposes. However, you should always avoid “over branding” the piece – in most cases you only need to include your company’s logo and website discretely in the footer.

In the design phase, less is more; if you’re used to creating long-winded text content, you may feel reluctant to omit certain pieces of data, even if they aren’t propelling the narrative forward. However, leaving in extraneous elements will only serve to clutter the infographic and confuse people. Always design from a holistic perspective and be prepared to sacrifice elements that aren’t contributing to the clarity and argument of the infographic.

Promotion

You may wish to create a specific landing page for your infographic, or you can simply post it as part of a blog post. Either way, you should make sure that the page has complete social media functionality so that people can share with ease. Additionally, it helps to include the HTML embed code directly beneath the infographic so people can post it on their websites with ease – this is particularly useful for bloggers within your niche who may wish to incorporate your infographic into their own unique content.

There are numerous infographic submission sites that will be happy to host your infographic and if you’re lucky you could even have it featured on Mashable. However, to get your infographic to go viral you’re probably going to have to do a lot of hustling. Promoting using social media is highly recommended, but don’t forget to leverage your personal network. If you know someone who has a large following online, persuading them to share your infographic can result in huge amounts of exposure, expanding your audience and bringing you new business!

infographics, infographic, mammoth

 

Mammoth Logo

 

Jack Knopfler is the Lead Content Editor at Mammoth Infographics. He has a background in digital marketing and has helped clients in a range industries to improve their presence online.

3 Elevating Customer Experience a Must When Marketing Luxury Brands

It’s no secret that luxury brand buyers’ needs are quite different from those of traditional buyers. With more resources and generally less time available than the average consumer, competition for their money and attention is fierce. So how do you amp up your brand and make it stand out to the luxury customer?

Cutting through all the noise in marketing and advertising nowadays means ditching the old school practice of simply promoting the characteristics and features of your product. Today’s luxury buyer is not sold on solely the benefits of what you are selling but on the overall brand experience; an experience that must be conveyed at every possible touchpoint whether digitally, on a customer service call or in person. Capture the attention of luxury buyers by focusing on these three aspects of your brand experience.

Know Your Audience

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is a practice ignored by brands all too often. Not all luxury buyers are driven by the same motives or respond the same way to marketing tactics, and failure to tailor your efforts to your specific audience’s needs could be costly.

kuhlman cellars

Example: Kuhlman Cellars

Those who book tastings at this Texas winery are not the average wine guzzlers, but rather aficionados with an appreciation for learning the ins and outs of wine making and tasting. They knew that their visitors would be more impressed with the high level of knowledge their staff possessed about their products and the industry than showy, grandiose surroundings. Rather than compensating with over-the-top interiors as many high-end wineries do, they chose to keep their tasting rooms simple and keep the focus on creating a personalized learning experience tailored to their visitors’ interests.

Tell a Story

Today’s luxury buyers also favor substance over style, meaning they are more likely to connect with a brand that has the marketing savvy to tell a story and align with their personal values rather with a brand that relies on its product’s flashiness. Your customers are educated, so treat them that way by ramping up your content and avoiding gimmicks and commodity marketing language.

5th and west

Example: Fifth & West

Future downtown Austin luxury high rise Fifth & West is one of the area’s most exciting residential ownership opportunities, and their marketing tactics needed to express this landmark development to potential residents on every level. While stunning renderings of the building certainly spoke for themselves, any accompanying copy needed to speak to the carefulness and thoughtfulness put into every aspect of the project. Vivid yet concise language and even quotes from interior architect Michael Hsu in marketing pieces effectively conveyed the heightened luxury living residents would experience. In fact, more than 60 percent of residences had been sold within three months of groundbreaking.

Convenience is Key

Now that you have hooked your customer with your brand experience and story, give them the ability to interact with your brand in a way that is most convenient for their demanding lifestyle. Providing ample options to suit their unique needs during every stage of the buying cycle allows them to shop and make decisions in a manner of their choosing. Accomplish this by pushing the creative envelope and utilizing technology in a way that both accommodates your buyers’ unique needs and provides that Wow Factor.

lexus of austin

Example: Lexus

Lexus of Austin’s launch party for two new vehicle models needed to set the standard for how grand and technology-centered the event would be. The invitation’s attention-grabbing, animated graphics captured invitees’ interest and created an interactive experience while allowing readers to gather information about the event and RSVP with ease. Convenience? Interactivity? Wow Factor? Check, check, check.

Fine-tuning your marketing efforts to focus on the needs and preferences of luxury buyers is a surefire way to create deeper connections with your audience and build loyalty. Doing so is the difference between your brand being uninspiring and being unforgettable.

Maria OrozovaMaria Orozova is the President and Creative Director of The MOD Studio, a boutique marketing and design agency based in Austin and the creative powerhouse behind many local and national brands. www.theMODstudio.com

Can Your Video Advertisement Reduce Everyone to Tears?

Remember Tears for Fears? They had it right: everybody wants to rule the world.

tears for fears

When you set out to create a video advertisement, you want its influence to span the globe. The best way to accomplish that feat is to leverage something that is universal: like emotion.

Brands that elevate themselves up from the level of simply providing a service, to the heralded plateau of being a facilitator of emotion are the brands most likely to succeed in the global online community.

In the past, the challenge was establishing a genuine human connection with only a 30-second video spot. But online, viewers have “leisure time” in the emergent channels (social timelines, Whatsapp-style group messaging, etc.) to consume content that is much longer in length.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at an advertisement from Google that utilizes this extra available time effectively in order to shoot straight for the heart of the viewer to bring forth the tears.

Google’s “Dear Sophie” Ad Will Break You

Interestingly enough, ‘Tears for Fears’ is a reference to one of the core principals American psychologist and psychotherapist Arthur Janov, who advocates a ‘tears instead of fears’ approach to dealing with (childhood) trauma.

Google’s ‘Dear Sophie’ video is only dealing with the consumer’s fear of the unknown, but their approach is similar: break you down to build you up. Check it out:

(If you don’t have time to view the advertisement, it basically features a man emailing “into the future” his newborn daughter using Google’s services.)

“Dear Sophie” comes from BBH New York & Google Creative Labs. It has over ten million views, and about two seconds into the video you feel why—in your heart. It will get to you emotionally.

For that reason and others, it has won multiple advertising awards, including the People’s Voice at the 2012 Webby Awards.

The advertisement is about 1:30 in length—three times the length of the traditional 30-second slot—but it sustains the viewer’s attention just fine because in part the viewer is probably just browsing the web looking for something to watch.

The Big Takeaway: You Have Time to Tell a Story So Tell One

Notice how “Dear Sophie” is not really about any one service in particular. In simply telling a story, Google succeeds in advertising all of their services—a lifestyle, even. A lifestyle of love.

It sounds somewhat cheesy, but ten million views isn’t cheesy at all.

To sum everything up: the short story format of a couple minutes is made possible by the extra “leisure time” available online.

Depending on the context, there are no rules. (I once watched an online B2C video advertisement that was over an hour long. I don’t even know how long it actually was because I stopped watching!)

Generally, however, most people agree that anywhere from 2–7 minutes is an appropriate range for the short story format.

In the next blog post, we’re going to continue looking at “leisure time” advertising. Taking full advantage of the time available is one aspect, but taking full advantage of the context itself is another, and perhaps more important.

Mike TylerMike Tyler CEO of War Room ranked #1 in online Digital Advertising and reporting. Are you looking for more Video Advertising tips? Check out the Video Advertising Guru

3 Content Creation is Dead – Long Live Storytelling!

Photo via BlogMutt's CEO, Scott Yates

Photo via BlogMutt’s CEO, Scott Yates

Since the first cave drawings, storytelling has been an integral part of society and the intellectual evolution of man. And that’s what we always called it: storytelling.

And then the Internet happened.

And somewhere along the way, storytelling started getting replaced by “content creation”—a term that didn’t exist before the Internet. Google’s Ngram viewer (a tool that charts the usage of words in printed sources from 1800–2008) shows the precipitous rise of the words “content creation” around 1993-1994. This was also the time web browsers like Internet Explorer and Netscape launched.

Coincidence?

As companies started coming online and search engines became the de facto discovery tool for prospective customers, the battle for keyword relevance on SERPs grew. Content volume outperformed content value, and that’s when we stopped telling stories and started creating content.

Storytelling’s Triumphant Return

As search engines become more discerning about content quality and consumers more shrewd about how they spend their time online, storytelling works and content creation doesn’t.
There’s simply too much out there to read and not enough time to read it. And wouldn’t you rather read a story instead of something called “created content”? Stories are what make us uniquely human and different from monkeys. Content creation sounds like storytelling between two search engine algorithms.

Tell Your Story

It sounds obvious, but only you can tell your story. So many marketing articles talk about having a content strategy. Having goals. Having an editorial calendar. Having a call to action.

First: Tell your story. Then worry about all that.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Patagonia or Joe’s Plumbing Service. Every company, of every size, has a story to tell. Potential customers get jaded with clickbait, listicles, and inaccurate information every day. Article headlines over promise. Content underwhelms. Rinse. Repeat. Customers want something to sink their teeth into. Something meaty and unique.

Start with a Belief

Good storytellers don’t need an MFA in creative writing. Telling your story starts with a belief. A belief in your business and your customers. Your belief justifies your company’s existence. Every piece of communication should contain elements of your belief.

Ted Manasa offers this definition of belief to get you started: A brand is a belief in a better world that differs from your competitors’ worlds and is a world that your customers want to live in.

[Tweet “A brand is a belief in a better world that differs from your competitors’ worlds and is a world that your customers want to live in”]

Belief is the glue that holds a good story together. Ever sit in a movie and see something happen that was so unbelievable it negatively impacted your opinion of the whole thing? That’s the power of belief. And the same rules hold true for your business. Customers have to believe you before they’re going to buy from you.

Act on Your Belief

Since the Mad Men-era, we’ve been inundated with get-rich-quick schemes, “As Seen on TV” cure-alls and healthy-looking people in cigarette ads. We’ve become cynical consumers.

The companies who act on their beliefs end up telling the most authentic and compelling stories. Some of the most discerning consumers aren’t just buying a product anymore. They’re buying a belief system. A product gets prospective customers in the door. A belief system keeps them there.

Don’t Forget the Human Element

The best stories have a human element. Without a personal connection, a story is just information. Don’t forget about the human element when you communicate to customers on your blog, through your newsletters, videos or on social media. Remember to believe in a better world that differs from your competitors and your customers also want to live in. Show them this world so they can believe in it too.

Become a Great Storyteller

Start with a belief. Act on your belief by showing customers the world you believe in. Make your belief a reality in your eyes and your customers’ eyes. This is accomplished through your customer service, the emails you send, the blogs you write, the product you sell, and the relationships you develop.

Every outbound piece of communication should have an element of your belief within it. Successful companies use each element as an opportunity to show customers a better world than the one they live in today.

patrick armitagePatrick Armitage is the Director of Marketing at BlogMutt—a content writing service helping businesses and agencies get their blogging done. Follow his miscellany (@Pat_Armitage) and all things BlogMutt (@BlogMutt) on Twitter.

"What's Rachael Cooking?" Integrating Brand Story and Customer Journey

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, Andy Catsimanes – Enjoy!

Racheal Ray

Tacos, it all comes back to tacos. via photopin (license)

Every workday I sit down with my business partner – who also happens to be my amazing wife, Shawn – for our mid-morning breakfast break.

We have a set routine, including our menu, which consists of steel-cut oats mixed with peanut butter, yogurt, berries, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and homemade granola (or “crunchies”).

About 35 minutes after the hour, as we sit down to the table, one of us will turn on the television and say, “What’s Rachael cooking today?”

And then we eat our breakfast as Rachael Ray demonstrates her latest shortcut to culinary good times.

The takeaway for your business?

Rachael has made her brand story part of her viewer’s life story and parlayed that relationship into a small empire to the benefit of both her and her viewer.

How do you integrate your brand story into your customer’s journey?

Customer Journey

June 18, 2013 Basque in the Glory / Northern Camino de Santiago Tour #frescotours via photopin (license)

The first step is the most obvious. It’s also where many businesses stumble:

Have a story to tell and a point of view from which to tell it.

Of course, “point of view” refers to much more than your take on things; that’s just an opinion.

Your point of view should encapsulate the total value you bring to your ideal customer, otherwise known as your brand hero.

What is it about your own business’ journey that your brand hero finds compelling?

If you aren’t sure, ask! Or better yet, have a skilled interviewer ask for you.

Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars, describes this process as “finding the moral of your story.”

Your moral, writes Sachs, is a truth about how the world works.

Rachael Ray’s moral could be stated as “Cooking is more than nutrition. Cooking feeds the body and soul and brings us all closer together.”

And Rachael promises to show us how to make that work, even with the most time-starved of schedules.

Once you have the moral of your story, weave it into your content at every opportunity.

Equally as important, you must also understand your buyer’s story.

(Notice throughout this article, I refer to your “buyer” or customer in the singular case. That’s a habit I learned as a direct response copywriter, and one that the Duct Tape Marketing System places great emphasis on.)

As marketers, we have access to mountains of data. And the most effective way to organize that data is to personify it.

As Brené Brown likes to remind us, “Stories are just data with a soul.”

That’s why a buyer persona needs to be more than just a profile. It’s your window into the soul of your customer.

How to breathe life into your buyer persona:

In Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch recommends that you not only name your buyer, he suggests you might want to make a “Fathead” style cutout and seat it at the conference table during your next marketing meeting.

Ask your persona questions. Enter into the conversation going on in your customer’s head.

Rachael Ray’s marketing team can track how many hits a particular recipe gets online after it has aired on her show.

And like the smart marketers I’m sure they are, they’ll take that information and all the other data they have to not only enter the conversation in their customers head — they’ll use it to enter the story going on in their customer’s life.

Here’s the format we use to begin sketching out a buyer persona. If you haven’t already done so, use this as a first step before you create another piece of content.

persona1

Andy CatsimanesAndy Catsimanes is the founder of DayByDay Marketing, dedicated to helping SMBs, churches, and non-profits identify and implement workable marketing systems for predictable growth. Andy’s a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, direct response copywriter, and experienced WordPress professional. In his spare time, he volunteers as an ally for Circles® USA. For more articles like this, subscribe to the DayByDay Marketing Blog, or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

6 5 Ways to Captivate Customers with Storytelling

Today’s guest post is from Corey Pemberton – Enjoy! 

Small businesses can’t match the marketing budgets of mega-corporations like Apple or Coca-Cola.

But maybe they don’t have to. They have another weapon in their arsenal that can help them level the playing field and stand out from competitors: storytelling.

Everyone has a story to tell

My Life Through Photograpy via Photopin.com

You can use storytelling to get your target customers’ attention and resonate with them on an emotional level. It works in every niche because it relies on human psychology instead of gimmicks.

Here are five ways to tap into the incredible power of storytelling to captivate customers:

5. Choose the Right Protagonist

Most businesses have spent a lot of time and money developing quality products or services. They’re understandably proud of what they’ve created. This creates a tendency to discuss what they’re selling at length.

But potential customers aren’t interested in your product or service taking center stage. They’re only interested in hearing about what you’re selling in a limited context: what it can do for them.

Choose the customer as the hero instead. Framing the story from their perspective helps you focus on what’s most compelling. It’s relatable because your marketing starts to sound exactly like the conversations already taking place in their heads.

4. Set High Stakes

Worrying about Middle Earth keeps us reading The Lord of the Rings. We keep watching The Devil Wears Prada to see if Anne Hathaway will ever stop suffering at the hands of her crazy boss.

Your agonizing decision between a ham or turkey sandwich, on the other hand, probably isn’t compelling enough to keep people interested. The stakes aren’t high enough.

A lot of your ideal customers are in a comfort zone of non-action. Many don’t even realize how much better their lives could be with your product or service in them.

What would happen if the “heroes” of your marketing stories don’t become customers? What if they do?

Make the stakes clear, and spell them out early on. By doing so, you give people a reason to keep listening—and encourage more to become buyers.

3. Appeal to Multiple Senses

Great storytellers pepper their stories with sensory details that spark the imagination; we feel like we’re really there, right in the middle of the action.

You can do this with your marketing too. Invoking the five senses paints a mental picture in people’s minds and gets them receptive to what you have to say.

A lot of businesses get bogged down marketing on strictly a logical level. That has a time and place, but it can bore people to tears if you don’t create an emotional connection first.

Use descriptive language and imagery to get your target customers seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, and tasting how different their lives would be with your product or service. Then support that with logical selling points like features and technical specifications.

2. Start in the Middle of the Action

Do you think Saving Private Ryan would have been better if it started with a thirty-minute introduction about the history of the Third Reich?

Me neither. The movie grabs you from the start by dropping you right in the middle of the action: soldiers storming the Normandy beaches.

You have only a few seconds to capture someone’s interest. If you don’t, they’ll find one of your competitors instead.

What do your customers care about the most? What keeps them up at night? Lead with your strongest points—ones that shake them on an emotional level.

1. Begin with the End in Mind

Ask a lot of small business owners about their marketing goals, and they’ll fill your ears with warm and fuzzy answers like “repeat exposure” and “brand awareness.”

Those answers might work for corporations with huge marketing budgets. But they aren’t helpful for smaller businesses looking for an immediate return on investment.

It helps to start with the end in mind. For every marketing material you create, what concrete action do you want someone to take after engaging with it? It could be joining your email list, scheduling a consultation, trying your software, etc.

Understanding where you’re going, hones your focus; it keeps you from rambling and losing valuable attention.

So, how do you use storytelling in your marketing strategy?
corey pemberton duct tape marketingCorey Pemberton is a copywriter and blogger for hire. He uses storytelling strategies to help small businesses and software startups get more leads and customers online. Feel free to stop by his website or say hello on Twitter.

 

 

 

13 7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Use Video To Grow Their New Business

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Joe Forte – Enjoy!

Congratulations! Your business plans are in place, perhaps you have sought out and won investors, and gotten a foothold in the market with your product. Now it is time to grow. No doubt you are raising the mantle of social media dominance and gathering all the “followers” and “likes” that are to be had, but have you got the moves to keep their attention?

Properly designed and produced videos are an amazing way to build strength behind any marketing campaign. Let’s look at 7 ways entrepreneurs can use video to grow their new business.

1. Viral Video Marketing

This is old news to anyone with an Internet connection, but also extremely hard to do for the average Joe with a low definition webcam. You need something shocking, wowing, the “AH!” factor if you will. Like any good song, your product not only needs a hook, but a melody to provide the ear-worm and make your work a household name. Seeking out a firm with good copy writing and production staff can help bounce your ideas into a whole new audience.

In our example, we take a look at the 2011 start-up Dollar Shave Club and their viral video “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”. The CEO, Michael Dubin, wrote the script and had his good friend co-direct it. They produced the video by themselves without the help of a professional video company. It cost roughly $4,500 to make and it was shot in a day at their actual factory warehouse.. The viral video was responsible for 14 million views and 12,000 new orders that arrived within the first 48 hours of it being uploaded, and since then, Dollar Shave Club has gone on to produce other viral videos to continue the buzz surrounding their fast growing business.

2. Creating Brand Recognition

What names come to mind when you think about online search engines? What about cake mixes? More importantly, what name will come to mind when people think about your product? Your company, your product, is your baby. You have invested hundreds of hours and devoted many sleepless nights into planning, research, and development. Quality, targeted videos of your product, and your mission, will put you head and shoulders above the crowd.

Lyft, a privately held, San Franciso-based transportation network company that was founded in 2012, recently released a video that explains how their peer-to-peer ridesharing mobile phone app works. They do a great job by incorporating their signature furry pink mustaches on their drivers’ car into the branding of the video, to create instant brand recognition when you’re out on the road. Do you think their branding messaging is working?

3. Use Your Videos to Introduce Yourself

video production companiesPut a name and face on your brand! People like relating with people. Studies have shown that it is hard to shake hands with the Internet though. (A little humor). Let the world meet the people behind your product. Who makes your widgets and why do they love making them? Why did you start making your widget and why do you want to share it with the everyone? Everybody loves a good story, give them one!

4. Use Videos to Share Testimonials

You can use this opportunity to showcase your product as well as share “visual reviews” with the world. Written reviews are fantastic and have their place, but your product alongside the smiling face of a well satisfied customer carry some extra weight. People trust people, it can take some time to build the trust in the brand, and this will help to bridge that gap. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a brief 3-minute video worth?

5. Vlogging

I know, buzzword alert! This is a time tested way to help personalize your business though. Since the inception of social media marketing and YouTube, business execs, small-business owners, and private marketeers have been offering their personal perspective through vlogs. This is your chance to tell the world who you are and why you do what you do. Getting them invested in you will help to get them invested in your success and your business.

6. Offer Behind the Scenes access to Your Product

This is called “Building the Hype Train”. Congratulations, you are launching a shiny new Earth shattering product… Who cares? You do of course, and who better to share that excitement! Get the word out, show the world your new widget! (Use discretion if still in development, they don’t need to see software source code, or how much butter goes into your new dish).

Think of this like ordering a dish at a new restaurant. Your friends have been telling you for weeks just how good this place is, you have cleared an evening that you are anticipating will be filled with bliss. You have been salivating over how that steak will taste as you throw yourself into the first bite, and now, you hear it still sizzling from the grill as it nears your table…

Give your audience that same anticipation! Build them to the first bite of your succulent new widget. Make them tell their friends how after their first bite, they couldn’t wait to share with the world!

7. Offer Instruction and Promotion for your Product

Is your product tech? Don’t assume everyone knows how to mount and port files, offer some guidance, make it accessible. High quality, well edited product demonstration and instruction goes a long way with many people, even those who know what they are doing but like shortcuts. The only things people have bought that they didn’t want to be easy were Rubik’s Cubes and 10,000 piece puzzles. Unless you are selling those, help them along!

Dash, a startup company founded in 2012. recently released a video that showcases its connected car platform that turns any car into a “smart” car. The video does a great job showcasing how to use their product, especially since it is technology based and makes it much easier to understand than having to read long form text.

 

Dash – Mobile – Driving – Demo from Jamyn Edis on Vimeo.

 

Use these 7 ways that you the entrepreneur, can use video to grow your new business! Find yourself a good firm to work with that has good copywriters and a solid film crew. Sure, you could do it on your own, but let’s face it, you are busy enough running your company. Enlist the help you need to make it a success, otherwise it is just a hobby.

 

joe-forteArticle written by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions. D-Mak Productions is one of the top video production companies based in Phoenix, AZ that specializes in corporate video production.