Are you using storytelling to strengthen client relationships?

biz_websiteThis is the first post in a series from Cox Media that will look at essential new media marketing strategies for your business.

There are a number of ways you can take advantage of the Internet as a powerful tool for marketing your business, and having a website that shares a steady stream of good social content is definitely a solid first step. But you should do a lot more than just share basic facts and figures on your site – more importantly, you should strive to tell a compelling story.

Here are three reasons why:

Storytelling deepens relationships
If you’re looking to connect with customers by sharing content with them online, you can certainly prove a point by relying on numbers and basic facts. Tell them that your product will save them X dollars, or increase their ROI by Y percent, and they’ll listen. But that might not be the best strategy. What’s more effective is using a real-life anecdote, about genuine people or businesses, to support your facts.

According to recent research conducted by Stanford University, storytelling deepens your relationships with your customers. The numbers are pretty amazing – people are 22 times more likely to remember stories than just bland facts.

Whatever you’re trying to sell – it might be real estate, a piece of software, a new car, you name it – share a success story about someone who tried your product and found success with it. If the person is likable and relatable, people will take notice and try to emulate them.

The visual element is vital
If you can write a good story and share it through simply publishing text, that’s nice. But what’s even nicer is if you can put some kind of visual element behind that narrative.

Why simply tweet something out when you can publish an infographic instead? Why write a story when you can have someone narrate it in a YouTube video? Visual content makes a great way to grab people’s attention and hold on.

A couple of good examples in recent memory stand out. One is the startup Dollar Shave Club, which explained the story behind its affordable razors, using a YouTube video campaign and a catchy slogan: “Shaving need not be expensive.” The video attracted millions of viewers. Another success story was Dodge Ram’s “God Made a Farmer” commercial, which first aired during the 2013 Super Bowl and was a smashing success.

Ultimately, you want people to remember your content so they can look back at it later. If you published a great graphic or video, people will reminisce and actually see your marketing material in their minds’ eyes. That’s way better than just a vague, foggy notion of a stat or factoid.

cox_media_7_essentials.fwCreativity goes a long way
If you’re going to put some time into telling stories with your marketing content, you don’t necessarily need to have the advertising budget of a big company like DaimlerChrysler. What’s more important than financial clout is simply showing some creativity.

You don’t need to be rich to tell an engaging story. You just need to add a special touch – either a laugh, or an emotional impact, or an “aha!” moment that gets people thinking. If your method of marketing your business uses a narrative that’s original and inventive, that should be enough to grab people’s attention. It might be surprisingly cheap – all it takes is for one post to go viral.

Telling stories is a great way to connect with consumers on an altogether new level. Do you have what it takes to convey the right narrative? If you’re unsure, you can download our Marketing Health Check to learn more about how you can improve.

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Merrie Beth Salazar

Merrie Beth Salazar is the Director of Marketing Communications for Cox Media where she is responsible for developing innovative strategies that grow demand for Cox Media products and services.From a single-location retailer to an in-market agency, from regional brands to national media buyers and planners, Cox Media works to understand advertisers’ unique business challenges and develop marketing plans to move their business forward.Learn more about Cox Media at www.CoxMedia.com or on Twitter @cox_media.