5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Analysts predict that the advertising industry will pick up speed again this year.
GroupM's Brian Wieser predicts, "By 2021, the American advertising industry will be poised to regain everything it lost in 2020 and more."
As a business owner and entrepreneur, this news can be discouraging. In a world full of text messaging, news, advertising, and constant connectivity to social media apps, you already know how difficult it is to keep the noise out and connect with your customers and prospects.
It is well known that advertising – and the world in which we consume advertising – has changed over the past few decades. In the 1970s, the average person saw between 500 and 1,600 ads a day. Nowadays, it is estimated that the average person sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every day.
Social media platforms have played a huge role in this surge. Users upload at least 300 hours of video to YouTube every minute. Google processes 40,000 searches every second. Users post 46,740 new photos to Instagram every minute and 300 million photos to Facebook every day.
As a business owner, how can you avoid this noise? The answer lies in your ability to tell a story worth repeating.
Storybranded marketing has almost become a cliché over the past 10 years. And like all good stereotypes, it's a stereotype for a reason. It's formulaic because it works. Good storytelling increases sales, profits, and helps companies thrive.
But it's one thing to tell a story. It's another thing to tell a story that stands out enough to trigger a reaction from your audience and get them to engage and share your content.
Related Topics: 3 Tips To Mastering Storytelling As A Small Business Owner
Telling a good story is actually very nuanced. Think how many stories you hear every day. From the stories your toddlers or teenagers tell you to the messages you hear on your drive to work on the stories you read online, there are only so many you can remember. Only a few stay in your head for a very long time. And only the very best are good enough to repeat to your friends or colleagues.
Good stories – the best stories – move people so much that they concern themselves with them and want to tell them to others.
You can break these effective, noise-reducing stories into four main categories:
This is the type of story or content that is shared because it upsets people. The problem with controversy is that people know that half of their audience will like the story while the other half might be put off, so people think twice about sharing it.
Fear can also be a powerful motivator in stories as it hits people's tribal instinct to act in their best interests. They may share the content you create out of concern for the good of others, but it can also expose a security flaw that they are unwilling to share.
These work well because they are heartwarming. People want to feel good about themselves, and stories that make your brand popular with them make them feel good.
People choose to share content because they want to add value to their network, and humor always does. It's generally about putting a smile on people's faces. Brands can take advantage of this by providing humor that adds value to their customers – and prospects – by incorporating humor into their stories and ads.
Related Topics: Why Storytelling Is A Skill Every Entrepreneur Should Practice
But how do you know if your stories are actually effective and resonate with your target audience?
The most fundamental basis for judging effective advertising is conversions. This is especially important when your business is first starting out because if your product or service doesn't sell, you won't stay alive for long.
But even after many businesses and marketers get out of the early stages of growth, they can't go beyond the conversion-only metric. The problem is, through conversion-driven storytelling, you can appear like a used car dealer and do anything to grab a person's attention and make a quick sale. This strategy can bring short-term gains, but jeopardize the longevity of your business.
You need more if you really want to reduce noise, increase sales and create lasting customer loyalty.
To be successful in the long term, advertisers need to expand their metrics beyond the mere conversion results to examine how people engage with and share their stories. These long-lived marketers also take into account reactions, comments, and stocks.
You might protest that these are just vanity metrics. And they can be. But they're also more than that. They help you know if you are communicating effectively with your prospects and creating lifelong, loyal customers.
These so-called vanity metrics are the digital equivalent of a face-to-face conversation with your customer that allows you to determine if your message is resonating and creating an emotional connection.
Rather than rejecting responses and engagement as mere window dressing, understand that they can be the key to creating an emotional connection with your customers. A connection that establishes your customers as loyal brand attorneys and gives you the opportunity to give your company longevity and security.
Related Topics: How To Use Storytelling To Sell Your Brand And Vision