If you are serious about improving your sales results, you will want to include the power of story in your copy.
It is appropriate to tell a story as long as your story supports the end goal of your copy. So for example, if you are trying to sell something, you might want to use a story about a previous customer who had a positive experience with your service or product. This will convey credibility and it might even inspire people to buy just because other people just like them have had previous success.
Stories allow people to create a picture in their head of whatever topic you are talking about and when this happens, they can relate and understand much better. For example if you tell a story about how someone’s life can improve using your product, they can create a mental picture and actually envision success just as you are explaining it.
Stories make everything more memorable but done the wrong way, they could have a negative effect on the message you are trying to send.
Here are 5 Deadly Sins of Storytelling In Your Copy
1 - Starting Your Story from the Wrong Place
This is probably the number one sin that many marketers get wrong. Stories don’t always need to start from the very beginning, especially when you use it in your copy or even when speaking to a live crowd.
In copy, you will want to start from the middle of the action - this is the part that is often the meat of the story and after you say it, people will be even more intrigued to know the entire story from start to finish.
If you start from the very beginning of your story with all intentions of getting to the meat eventually, you might bore your audience and lose them before you’ve reached the most important part.
For example, if you tell a room of people who are interested in finance and investing about a 54 year old single mother who is now a millionaire because of some smart investments she has made throughout her life, starting the story from the time the mother got divorced and the hardships she went through will not resonate with your entire audience immediately. This will make you lose people at a crucial time during your presentation.
Don’t start your stories from the wrong place!
2 - Story Goes On Too Long
This is the worst for any story. If your story goes on too long, people will just get really bored and not want to listen or read on and you will just be remembered as the person to avoid. Only elderly people have the right and the privilege of telling long stories.
3 - Story Not Relevant
In order for a story to work well in marketing, it needs to be relevant to your audience, not just your business. It has to resonate with their wants, desires and beliefs about the topic at hand. The only way you will know if your story is relevant to your audience is if you truly know and understand your audience backwards and forwards.
4 - Story Not Descriptive Enough
If the readers of your story don’t get a good enough description from you, they are not going to be able to envision what you want them to properly.
For example, if you want to convey that your product will help someone live their dream of spending their work days lounging on the beach and you say something like, “You’ll be soaking up the sun day in and day out,” that’s not enough to paint the picture.
You need to dig deeper.
“Don’t forget to buy enough sunscreen because in the mornings you will be served poolside, espressos and croissants. After you’ve soaked in the beautiful morning sun, it will be time for some mai tais and shrimp cocktail, as much as your heart desires. You will be able to take endless walks along the beach every day as if time didn’t even exist! Any time you want to, you can jump into the crystal blue waters and swim with the exotic fish and explore the coral. How’s that for an existence?”
You get what I mean here right? You need to literally paint the picture so whoever is reading it can get that picture in their heads and the beautiful thing about stories is they are memorable if told correctly. The person will never forget themselves in this scenario...in fact, just writing that, I can’t forget it!
Also, don’t run the risk of being too descriptive either. Don’t go on forever with your descriptions - just tell enough so the person can get that clear picture and don’t overdo it.
5 - Story is Not Relatable
Again, this is where knowing your audience, ie, readers, is key. Your story needs to incorporate and touch upon the realities that your audience is dealing with. If you are telling a story to young professionals who just graduated college and your story involves the busy lives or taking kids to school, band practice, soccer practice and camp, it won’t relate to your audience of people who probably don’t have these experiences yet.
Be careful and know exactly who you are talking to so your stories can relate.
There you have it. Be sure not to commit any of these deadly storytelling sins and you should be just fine.
By Debbie Drum