A quick guide to better storytelling

Can
7, 2021

5 min read

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You have probably heard the saying, "We buy on emotions and justify with logic."

Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman discussed this term extensively and found that 95% of all knowledge occurs in the subconscious.

Although neuroscientists have long agreed that the rational mind plays a small role in decision-making, many B2B sales messages still prefer facts, numbers, and logic.

Some B2B marketers emphasize the more emotional benefits of their product or service, such as: B. Saving time or avoiding stress. However, this tactic often fails to resonate with buyers on a deep, emotional level that elicits a response, such as: B. a sense of achievement, a sense of security, or even nostalgia.

So how can we use people's emotions to increase conversion rates? How can we resonate with our target market so strongly that they convert with ease?

Enter storytelling.

Don't underestimate the power of storytelling

Stories can easily change our emotions and our physiological state – and consequently our actions.

I will prove it to you now.

Imagine a fresh, juicy lemon in your hand. Imagine squeezing it together and feeling the cool, textured skin of the lemon with your fingertips. It's firm and ripe. You put it to your nose and you can smell its bright, citrus scent. Next, carefully place the lemon between your teeth and prop yourself up. Then you bite hard. A splash of tangy, sour lemon juice squirts out and flows into your mouth.

If you're like most people, your mouth is probably salivating right now – I know it's my mouth and I haven't seen a lemon in all day.

Science has proven time and time again that stories are one of the most effective ways to communicate. A study by neuroscientist Uri Hassen at Princeton University found that the listener's brain reactions during successful communication mirror the speaker's brain reactions.

This shows that the feelings and emotions portrayed by storytelling can easily be carried over to business leaders – if, of course, you tell a good story.

However, stories are not only powerful communication devices, they can also affect objective value.

Connected: Storytelling can help anyone connect with your brand

A good story can add value to your offering

Are you familiar with the literary and anthropological experiment Significant Objects?

Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn wanted to find out if they could buy cheap knickknacks on eBay and resell them for a profit by adding an interesting story to the description of the product page. They bought things like a fake plastic banana and a flannel ball for an average price of $ 1.25 per item.

The hypothesis? Emotionally charged stories can dramatically increase both the subjective and the objective value of an object.

Here's what happened: Walker and Glenn managed to sell $ 128.74 worth of second-hand junk for $ 3,612.51 – just by adding a compelling story.

The fake banana was bought for a meager 0.25 cents and sold for a whopping – with the help of a comic book story about a man who lives in a zoo installation on another planet $ 76.

In other words: a short story can add to the value of an object 30,300%.

That's why you can buy a simple, organic, fair trade white cotton T-shirt for $ 30 or a designer brand's white cotton T-shirt for hundreds of dollars. It doesn't even matter whether the designer T-shirt costs less to manufacture than the Fairtrade T-shirt. People appreciate the brand.

But why are brands so valuable? Because of their ability to affect people's feelings – and how do brands affect people's feelings? With stories.

Connected: Stories are the most powerful tool for entrepreneurs. But which ingredient gives them strength?

You don't have to tell a story – you can trigger one

Marketers often use storytelling in branding campaigns. For example, we've all seen ads from big brands like Nike and Coca-Cola, telling the story of an athlete's arduous journey from zero to hero.

But how can we use storytelling to increase conversion rates on landing pages, product pages, and forms? It's not that we can pull up a chair and tell a story for each stage of the marketing funnel.

Fortunately, we don't have to.

It's a well-known scientific fact that people tend to look for patterns – even when there aren't any. Here's the thing: the patterns we see are based on years of social and societal conditioning.

In other words, your target market already has a library of stories in mind.

All you have to do is trigger the right story to generate the emotions that lead to conversions. Something as simple as an image, phrase, or even a color scheme can accomplish this goal.

It is for this reason that perfume advertisers have always used images of young, beautiful people in luxurious surroundings. Our minds will automatically construct a story around the picture and possibly place the models at an exclusive event full of important, famous people. As a result, this story will evoke feelings of luxury, adoration, and pride.

Connected: How to Use Storytelling to Sell Your Brand and Vision

Increase your conversion rates with powerful stories

If you want to increase your conversion rates, you need to create a strong emotional – and possibly physiological – response from your website visitor.

The goal is to trigger a story that resonates so deeply with their thoughts and emotions that they feel compelled to buy something or sign up.

How can you do that

Reverse engineering the buyer's journey and focusing on evoking the perfect mix of emotions:

  1. Determine the reasons people buy your product or service.
  2. Identify the emotions that drive these reasons.
  3. Find out a familiar story or narrative that creates these emotions.
  4. Find ways to trigger that story in your marketing funnel.

Storytelling is arguably the most effective tool in a marketer's arsenal. Use it wisely.

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