My father has told me several times that he doesn’t understand where I get “it.” His family is full of farmers, soldiers, and doctors. There are no writers.
(Which sounds like he’s not supportive of my career. But he is actually very proud of me. He’s just baffled, too.)
Recently, though, my family was having dinner together. Someone made a smart-ass comment (common for us). Someone else made another, and soon we had a narrative rolling, the entire table contributing little snippets to the completely made-up situation. We were all cracking up.
I realized then that, while my family hasn’t produced many writers, we have storytellers galore. And that’s what is important – for both my family’s zany sense of humor and your business.
Tell a Story
Whatever your marketing effort may be, you need to be certain it tells a story.
Why are stories so important? Can’t you just tell people what they need to know about your products and services?
Well, you could… It just wouldn’t accomplish much.
You see, some research has been done into the effects of narrative language on our brains vs. other types of writing. And researchers have found using story does something different.
Has someone ever said to you, “You wouldn’t think that if you knew the whole story”? It’s true. Researcher Paul Zak found adding a story increases the amount of oxytocin produced by our brains. The more oxytocin we have floating around in our bodies, the more we feel empathy for the people in the story.
Another study found that watching a narrative program resulted in fewer counterarguments on the consequences of unplanned pregnancies (as opposed to those who watched a non-narrative program). So the next time you have a customer who doesn’t believe in the value of your product, tell them a story about how your product has had a positive impact on a different customer.
Your Pet Business is Full of Stories
Are you thinking, “Oh, I’m not sure about that. We have a boring product.”? Consider these questions:
- What led you to start your pet business and how did you start it?
- When did you realize there was a problem that needed to be solved – and you knew what to do about it?
- What happened one time that made a customer fall in love with your product?
- How did you develop your product?
Every answer you have to that list can be conveyed in your marketing by storytelling. Your customers are interested. They’ll like you more if you tell them this stuff.
(DO NOT, however, make or dress up a story so it seems “sexier.” People will see right through that crap, or the truth will come out eventually. When that happens, you lose all of your credibility with your customers, plus the trust you worked oh-so-hard to build.)
Make Them Feel
A common piece of writing advice is to show, not tell. Describe what it’s like to clean up the house after a bored puppy has dragged out the contents of the trash can.
Don’t stop there. Couple the senses with emotions. They’re frustrated because they don’t know what to do with the puppy to stop the destructive behavior. There’s no time to come home in the middle of the day for a walk. And the puppy drags them all over the neighborhood, anyway.
The more you can make your customer feel like they were there, that it’s happening to them, the better. We’re going for empathy here, remember?
Start Telling Your Story
No more listing out what your product does. Demonstrations only accomplish so much. Giving your customers a story builds a relationship between them and you. It encourages them to like you and stop thinking of all the reasons they shouldn’t buy from you.
And telling stories just sounds like more fun than making a sale, doesn’t it?