What is your business story?

A graphic showing a word balloon filled with people with the title "The Power of a Story."

Did you know that Google processes over 3.8 million searches per minute? That is an unimaginable amount of people looking for answers. And as we have discussed in previous newsletters, the internet has changed the way people buy products. People no longer respond to outbound tactics like spamming and cold calling. Instead, they research products and services and find what they are looking for on their own.

So how do you make your business stand out among the millions of searches? You do it by telling a compelling story.

Businesses that stand out don’t just make statements like “we are the best” or focus on the ROI of their products and expect customers to start beating their door down. Instead, successful businesses tell a story that sparks an emotional connection with their potential customers.

In this article, you are about to go behind the curtain to see exactly how the magician creates his illusions.

According to Justin Champion, author of Inbound Content, “Stories create emotion, and emotion is what people remember. They help you engage and, more importantly, teach your audience. If you don’t tell a good story, your message will be lost in the media jungle.”

Each month, we at Business Finance Corporation try to give our clients information that is useful to their business. Our blog is filled with information—not about what we do—but content that is engaging, informative, and perhaps persuasive enough to pull reader to our website and win their business. Our message is not really about us; it’s about helping our clients, friends, and acquaintances.

How do you tell a compelling story? If you read fiction novels, you will notice that the author always starts “with the gunshot” or some other conflict, and then brings his characters into the story.

In business, you need to first identify the problem, issue, or need, and then work your way into a solution. If your story lacks conflict, you’re probably not telling a story. Instead, you’re giving a pitch, a tagline, a unique selling point, or a plain statement. This approach won’t resonate with your audience, and from a content marketing perspective, it won’t generate views, shares, conversions, or customers.

After identifying the conflict, you need to identify “why” you are telling the story. Obviously, your end goal, as a company, is to generate business. But to generate business, you need to gain the customer’s confidence. Part of that confidence building is by becoming a source of knowledge.

However, don’t confuse storytelling with selling, customers don’t like to be sold. If your readers feel that you are reaching for their wallet, they likely not go any further. You are telling the story to your customers and potential customers, just like you would your son or daughter or a friend—to help them resolve their conflict. It is not a sales pitch; it is helpful information that you have and that your clients can use to their benefit. The idea is to create interest in your business and to become a trusted source of information.

Many times, meaningful stories can be developed from actual customer experiences (changing the names to protect the parties of course) where you came to their rescue. There are also the things that your company or employees do to give back to the community.

One example is TOMS a slip-on shoe company that focuses on spreading social good. Here is its powerful story: Everyone needs shoes, but not everyone has the money to pay for them. So, with each product you purchase, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. This strikes an emotional chord with their audience and compels them to buy.

In this example, a shoe retailer created a much bigger story that makes their customers feel like they’re changing the world by simply purchasing a pair of shoes. To date, they’ve sold more than 75 million pairs of shoes, which means they’ve also given over 75 million pairs of shoes to children in need.

In short, storytelling is the perfect way to help readers begin the journey from a stranger to a customer, and it can deepen your relationship with your existing clients. Remember, people want and need to feel connected. If you tell the right story, you can capture their attention, connect with them emotionally, and win their loyalty.

Business, like life, is not just about numbers in a ledger or revenue through the door. Business is a relationship formed with people…people with whom you share ideas, form an alliance, and trust—people who care about their employees, their community, and their customers.

Let’s write a compelling story together.

Your Partner in Success,

David Cabral