How to Build Trust with Your Audience Through Story
Storytelling has been a big marketing buzzword lately, and rightfully so. There have been countless studies showing how emotional decision-making really is. We choose based on a gut instinct, or how deeply we connect to one of the choices. Customers want to feel aligned with a brand; they’re keenly aware of when they have found an authentic connection. This feeling is built through story. Stories are the oldest form of communication; they tap into something ancient and familiar inside us all. Stories are easy to remember, connect with, understand, and most importantly, re-tell. A simple but immersive, relatable, and compelling story will capture your audience every time. This is especially true if your brand tale is crafted so your audience can clearly see themselves at the center of it.
What does a great brand story do for your business?
- Connects you to the right people: After going through the exercises linked below, you’ll have a hyper-specific sense of who your audience is and what they care about. They’ll see themselves in your stories, and feel a connection to your brand voice.
- Positions you as an expert: Sharing a smart solution you know a lot about (and are passionate about) humbly lets your audience know that they can trust your expertise.
- Communicates who you are: A consistent story told across all channels is vital to letting your customers know how you define yourself. Are you a premium brand, delivering a certain esteem to your clientele? Are sustainable business practices core to who you are? Do you embrace diversity and inclusivity within your team and those you serve?
- Makes your customers feel good: When you tell an authentic story about how you can solve a problem for your customers, you won’t need to be salesy or pushy. Your customers will be genuinely thrilled about the benefits you deliver.
- Inspires customers to take action: Your stories will always end with an easy way for your audience to become a customer or interact with your brand.
You need to know who you are as a brand, before you can expect your audience to feel like they know you, let alone trust you. And that’s the goal, after all: to establish a relationship that feels personal and authentic. If you need a little crash course in finding your voice, take a moment to read (or re-read) our past article on that topic.
Once you know who you are, and what you sound like, take a quiet moment to think about what your audience cares about (read more about zeroing in on your niche audience here). Note: that’s not the same thing as what you want them to know about your product or service. Instead, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what keeps them up at night, tossing and turning; what gets them fired up; what are they overlooking; what might they be afraid of; what would make their lives easier? Now, think about how you can respond to any of those pieces in a very relatable way. What resources can you share that might make them feel grateful, supported, or relieved? What can you do to inspire them? How can you help?
This will help you get at the purpose of your business. Knowing your unique purpose will ensure you stand out. It will be your driving force, and help you stay true to the real reason you started your company. Having a clear purpose will also help you keep your clients in mind as you create any products or services.
How to craft your narrative
Lay out a customer problem.
Show your customers (don’t just tell them) that you understand who they are, and what they’re struggling with. Use the same words you use when you’re explaining how you could benefit customers to your partner or your best friend. This is the best gut check on authentic language.
Introduce your solution.
Be direct about a plan you’ve got to solve the problem(s) you already identified, and make their lives better or easier. (If you’re not clear on what this is, click over to our post on creating Unique Selling Proposition.) Make it creative, but keep it simple.
Show them what success looks like.
Paint them a picture of the great results they’ll get when they use plan you’re offering. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Make it easy for them to take action.
Make sure your customers or clients have a clear path to working with you, or engaging with your business. This might mean using an online scheduling tool to set up a call, a free download, or pressing a purchase button.
In a world so inundated with ads automated by algorithms and sales pitches, business advice and self-help books, getting back to who you really are can be harder than you imagine. We work hard every day at staying authentic ourselves, because we believe it’s the only way to build a meaningful customer relationship. If you need help cutting through the noise and reconnecting with the “why” behind your work, we can help. Contact us today to get started.