People buy based on relationships.
Customers are created when brands build relationships with people. And people buy from the brands they feel a connection with. This is a key point for anyone who is running an online business.
When it comes to the traditional form of retail business, the customer would walk into a store and they could speak with the business owner directly. These people could get to know each other by sharing information about themselves. By asking questions and engaging in casual conversation.
In today’s online world, we don’t have the opportunity to chat with customers face-to-face. This means we MUST make a connection with them online.
And this is where the storytelling comes into the picture.
Regardless of whether we can connect with the consumer face-to-face or have to do so online, the best way to make that connection a solid one is through storytelling.
In fact, there is no better way to build a relationship with people than through the art of storytelling…
The Importance of Storytelling
Everyone loves a good story.
The human race has been telling stories for tens of thousands of years.
Just think of all the myths and legends that have come out of every culture on the planet. Greek and Roman mythology. Irish fairytales. Even the Bible is laid out as a series of stories.
And then there are today’s modern forms of storytelling that come in the form of books, television shows, and movies. These methods of storytelling are incredibly popular for one simple reason…
They allow us to visualize what is being portrayed in the stories in the first person.
In other words, we can put ourselves into the story. We can imagine what it would be like if the events of the story were happening to us. We feel the feelings associated with that story and we begin to relate to the storyteller and the characters in the story.
The person who can tell a good story is infinitely more interesting than the person who can’t. Being able to tell a good story allows the storyteller to capture people’s attention and hold it. The audience becomes interested in what the storyteller is saying.
And this works in ANY situation—even when copywriting…
Storytelling And Copywriting
There is no skill more important for a copywriter to learn than the skill of storytelling.
This is absolutely the number one thing any copywriter needs to learn. Not only do stories capture the attention of the audience, they deliver a tremendous amount of value.
Though storytelling might seem out of place when it comes to marketing, it is highly relevant—more so today than ever before. Why? Because of the lack of trust the consumer has for corporations and the seller.
Let’s face it. The consumer has become incredibly wise and informed when it comes to marketing. They can easily search out a brand’s competition and are increasingly aware of the various marketing ploys that have been used over the years.
The ONLY way to counter this lack of trust is to build a relationship with the consumer.
Relationships are everything in marketing! People won’t buy from someone they don’t like or don’t trust. And there is only one way to open people up, engage them, and build relationships with them…
Start talking, tell stories, make them laugh, and relate to them.
Buying is an emotional process. When someone is deciding whether to buy something, there is a lot of internal struggle going on. The key is to break through that internal struggle by tapping into emotion and that is most effectively done through storytelling.
Storytelling uses the power of emotion to sell. And I guarantee, the storyteller will ALWAYS beat the non-storyteller.
A Good Example of Storytelling
Storytelling is actually quite simple. Everyone has an imagination. Tapping into that imagination will open up all sorts of possibilities. Here is an example of storytelling that shows how easy it is…
I was driving down a road, heading to work, on a rainy day. The rain was coming down in buckets, my windshield wipers barely brushing it off before the windshield was coated with water once again.
As I rounded a bend in the road, I suddenly saw someone in a red jacket. I thought it was a friend of mine and I wondered what he was doing out in the rain. I pulled over on the right-hand side of the road to get a closer look.
And that’s when I saw it…
My friend’s red jacket was unmistakable. But no one was wearing it. It was caught in a tree, blowing in the wind. I got out of the car despite the rain and went over to the jacket. Reaching into the pocket, I found my friend’s wallet and keys. I looked around me, but my friend was nowhere to be seen.
How did his jacket get there?
Now, I bet everyone remembers the key points from that story. That the weather was rainy, the jacket was red, that I pulled over to the right-hand side of the road, and that jacket wasn’t being worn, but was caught in a tree.
Do you see how those points stuck in your mind? And this isn’t difficult to achieve. Stories sick in people’s minds!
All you need to do to become a good storyteller is master the following five steps…
The 5 Step Storytelling Formula to Sell Anything
Anything and everything becomes easier when the process is broken down into simple steps and storytelling is no different.
These steps will provide everything a copywriter needs to write a compelling story. A story that will capture the attention and imagination of the potential customers and completely engage them.
And it all starts with the…
Details are necessary for effective copy. The key is to find the right balance of detail.
There must be enough detail that the audience can visualize the story. However, there can’t be so much detail that they can’t see themselves in that setting.
In other words, don’t make the details so specific that they have trouble seeing themselves in the same situation.
For example, in the story I presented above, if I had said it was 6:30 in the morning and I was driving my 2014 red Mercedes to the hospital on Lakeshore Drive where I would perform my first heart surgery of the day, this would have turned the audience away.
There is so much detail, the audience would have trouble imagining what it would be like to drive a red Mercedes and what it would be like to be a heart surgeon.
Unless the audience has actually done those things, they will not be able to relate. The details are too specific. But everyone can relate to driving along a road heading to work in the pouring rain.
The detail needs to be just enough that the audience can place themselves in the copywriter’s shoes, but not so specific that they can’t picture doing the things in the story.
And ultimately, it’s all about visualization…
2. Visualizing = Memorable
When the visualization is done well the details of the story are memorable.
The more the audience can immerse themselves in the story, the more they will remember.
And the more they remember, the more they like and trust the copywriter. I cannot stress enough how important this is, because the more they like and trust the copywriter, the more they will buy.
But this will only be effective if they can visualize themselves in the story in the first-person.
Visualization is incredibly powerful!
You see, the subconscious brain cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. That is why we feel such strong emotion when we wake up from a dream or a nightmare. It is also what happens when we convince ourselves of something, whether it’s real or not.
Consider this scenario…
Imagine someone spending every morning for two months thinking their new neighbor is stealing their newspaper. The person has managed to get the paper a handful of times, but most mornings they miss out. And that means they miss their morning ritual of sitting on the porch at 7:30, drinking their coffee while reading their newspaper.
They have asked the neighbor, but the neighbor says they got their own subscription when they moved in. But the person doesn’t believe the neighbor. The timing is too suspicious. And so, resentment builds. The person stews about it every day.
Then one morning, the person sees the newspaper delivery person. It’s someone new. They have been throwing the newspapers onto the porch every day, but they aren’t a good shot. The papers have been ending up in the bushes!
It wasn’t the neighbor’s fault, after all.
Shortly after finding this out, the neighbor shows up and asks to borrow the person’s lawnmower. At this point, the person knows the missing papers aren’t the neighbor’s fault. But they have imagined the neighbor stealing the paper for so long that it’s hard to get past it. They still feel resentment toward the neighbor—and all because of something they imagined!
Now, that is powerful!
The key when telling these stories is to weave in details that will tug at the senses. When the story requires people to imagine what something feels like, sounds like, looks like, smells and tastes like, they will engage even further.
These sensory details will pull the reader in. It will help them imagine themselves in the storyteller’s shoes and they will feel the appropriate emotion. They will feel the story is happening to them.
And this makes storytelling so effective when it comes to selling.
3. Emotional Rollercoaster
Life is full of emotional ups and downs—and that’s actually a good thing.
After all, we don’t know what good feels like if we have never experienced bad. Plus, no one actively seeks out monotony.
For this reason, it is important to keep the emotional level of the copy in constant fluctuation. If a copywriter always keeps the audience feeling good, they won’t sell them. If they always keep them at a low, they won’t sell them.
Listen, I know no one likes the negative. But all positive can be just plain boring. Or worse, people might think there’s a catch or that the copywriter is just exaggerating.
And if this happens, the audience won’t hang around for more.
So, to keep things exciting for the audience, it is necessary to do the following:
- Walk them to the low so they feel the pain -The copywriter expresses that they know how they are feeling and how hard it is. Basically, the copywriter creates awareness around a problem and shows that they can relate. They use story to show they have been through the same thing.
- Then walk them to the saving grace - The storyteller tells the audience what can be done, how they found the solution to the problem. They tell the audience how they were saved.
- Then the storyteller brings them back down again - They do this by telling them, “But I don’t know if you qualify.” After getting their hopes up, they are now not sure if they will be able to find relief.
- Then it’s time to bring them back up, give them a way to qualify - This is the final up and it helps ensure the audience will take action. After all, they almost lost out once and they don’t want to risk that happening again.
If a copywriter can run the audience through the various emotions, it will make the reader feel whole. Your copy can’t be all happy or all sad—or it WON’T sell.
But the story has to have more—it has to have…
Telling a story is all about relatability—the audience MUST be able to relate to the copywriter.
After all, who wants to buy something from someone they can’t relate to? From someone they can’t identify with?
If the copywriter has a story about coming from a wealthy family and going out on his own to make his own way, with only his trust fund to support him, there won’t be many people who can relate to that. No one cares about the rich kid with the trust fund who went on to make more millions.
But most people CAN relate to coming from a middle-class family.
Maybe the copywriter grew up in an average family where both parents worked. He tells the story of how he launched his own business with his parents support and guidance. Or maybe he started his own business despite the fact that his parents wanted him to get a college education.
Maybe the copywriter grew up in poverty and started with practically nothing, but had the dream of one day helping support his parents. Of course, not everyone is poor. But nearly everyone can relate to financial struggles and caring for their parents later in life.
The point is that these are stories that people can relate to.
Essentially, the story needs to be “normal” enough that anyone can relate to it. They need to know enough about the situation in the story, whether it’s their experience or someone else’s, to be able to relate to it.
It’s critical that the copywriter choose ground that is relatable. This will ensure the audience gets hooked by the story, draws them in, and creates a level of trust that can’t be developed any other way.
But it is also important to use the old strategy of cliff hangers…
5. Open Loops
People love to be left hanging! Really!
Just think of the last episode of the last season of your favorite television show. Where did it leave off? I bet it was something that left anyone watching it wondering what will happen and cursing having to wait until the next season to find out.
This is an open loop—something that leaves the audience wondering and wanting whatever comes next. And it is these open loops that draw people into the story.
When it comes to copywriting, open loops are simply questions or concepts presented throughout the story that people want the answers to.
And as long as the copywriter has done a good job of making the story relatable and drawing people in, they trust that those questions will be answered at some point.
To make open loops truly effective, they have to leave people wanting more. But there is a very fine balance that must be achieved.
No open loops = content
Content is different from copy. Closing all loops doesn’t engage people in a way that makes them want to buy. And people simply won’t buy.
On the other hand, leaving too many open loops provides little value. People won’t be hooked. They won’t be effectively drawn into the story. There won’t be any good information that makes them want to go deeper. And again, people won’t buy.
But when open loops are fed into the story in such a way that people are sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to find out what will happen next—that’s when the copywriter has them. That is when they will buy.
The key is to sprinkle in just enough open loops to ensure this happens.
There is no more powerful way to build relationships than to tell people a story.
The human race has been telling stories since before we had the written word. Even the cave paintings found all over the world tell the stories of the people who drew them. And that is why…
Storytelling is THE #1 skill for any copywriter to have.
With the growth of online business and marketing, the days of building a relationship with the customer on a face-to-face basis are fading away. At the same time, customers are smarter and better educated.
This is why it’s so important for every copywriter to become an amazing storyteller.
Any good copywriter must be able to weave words together to create a story that will end with the audience trusting them and ready to buy.
Fortunately, storytelling is easier than most people realize. To recap, these are the five steps to storytelling that can be used to sell anything:
- Details—Make sure there are enough details that the audience can see themselves in the story. But don’t add so many details that they can’t relate.
- Visualizing = Memorable—The more the audience can visualize the details of the story, the more memorable it will be. Use the senses to draw out the details and make them vivid in the minds of the audience.
- Emotional Rollercoaster—People need the emotional downs to truly appreciate the ups. Bring them down to the lowest point, make them feel it is hopeless. Then give them something that brings them back up again.
- Relatability—The audience MUST be able to relate to the story. If it isn’t a situation that nearly everyone can imagine experiencing, then the story will be useless and the audience will NOT buy.
- Open Loops—Create open loops by adding cliffhangers to the story. By leaving the audience questioning what will come next, they will be more engaged and excited and this will help them trust the copywriter even more.
Storytelling in copywriting is incredibly important. The storyteller will win the customer over the non-storyteller every single time.
This is why any copywriter who wants to succeed CANNOT get it wrong.
And this is why we are inviting all of you to our FREE Copywriting Boot Camp!
At this boot camp copywriting experts will dive more deeply into the art of storytelling and show how it can transform copy.
They will teach how to create a story that will ensure the development of a trusting relationship with the audience.
This Copywriting Boot Camp is not something anyone serious about online business can afford to miss. It is critical to the success of ANY online business.
Remember, copywriting is the most effective skill any business person can have.
So visit the link below and sign up for our free Copywriting Boot Camp today.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there!