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How to tell a story through digital marketing

Storytelling has long been vital to the fabric of society, but only recently have digital marketers begun to understand it as a tool for business growth. Building your brand reputation, raising your customer lifetime value, and increasing sales can all be done through powerful storytelling. If you want to level up your inbound marketing strategy, the question to ask is: What story are we telling — and to whom?

The magic of a well-told story in digital marketing

When a brand's marketing team tells the right story to the right person, something magical happens: a connection is made. You become fused by your mutual interest in the story, and the roles each person plays can then be fleshed out. If this sounds a bit overboard for simply marketing to your customers, research shows it's not. Customers are looking for more connection and deeper experiences from the brands they are loyal to. Gone are the days when sleazy sales tactics were sufficient — consumers aren't having it anymore. They want to be entertained, they want to be understood, and most importantly, they want to know they can trust you. Inbound marketing in the digital landscape creates a flowing story for problem identification and solving.

Every great story has all of the following:

  • Heroes — your buyer personas
  • Problems — whatever problem your business solves
  • Guides — that's you!
  • A plan — this is how you help your customers
  • Stakes — what will happen if customers don't join you?
  • Call to action — this is where you inspire them to take a step
  • Transformation — by promising a solution, you are promising a transformation to your customers: how will they change?

Putting all of these elements in the context of your inbound marketing strategy can be tricky. Once the story is nailed down, you'll need to incorporate it into your website, landing pages, social accounts, paid ads, and more. It's time-consuming, expensive, and requires various types of expertise: budgeting, writing, designing, advertising, and more. This is where the question of "digital marketing agency or in-house marketer?" often comes into play.

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How to break the script

Think of your inbound marketing strategy in terms of a script: Your buyer personas are the protagonists, their problems or biggest fears are the villains, and you are the wise guide that calls them to action.

Many companies think in terms of problem-solution, but this one-dimensional style of content marketing won't speak to your audience on a deeper level. This is why it's critical to understand your buyer personas from a more philosophical level. When depth is layered through your content marketing, you tell a much more enticing story.

  • Tell a different story: Customers are used to hearing the same "old vanilla" stories from businesses in your industry. Many marketers fall into the trap of being too generic for the sake of safety. But a run-of-the-mill story is also a forgettable one for consumers in 2022, who now see thousands of ads a day.
  • No fairy tales: Customers don't need highly embellished or overly-polished stories about who you are or what your products and services will do for them. If anything, this will create skepticism.
  • Make a long story short: We've all read a story with too many details and thought, "Ugh, where is this going?" Content marketing stories shouldn't be highly detailed. In a world where attention spans are dropping dramatically, studies show that a strong value proposition can still hold a reader's attention longer than average. This is the value of a storyboard, which will help you get the main points laid out in order.
  • Give them a page-turner: A good story always has elements of possibility and adventure. Who will your customer become by teaming up with your business? All too often, marketers focus on their own story, but this isn't what really matters to your audience. They are interested in their own story. What are they longing for, and how do you tie into their story?

Get a point-by-point inbound strategy to market your brand

Level up your inbound marketing with the power of a well-constructed story. If your marketing efforts are feeling too jumbled, disjointed, or simply ineffective, there's a better way. We'll help you align your marketing strategy with your business goals and be with you every step of the way. Tell us about your business to get started.

Noah Larson
Post by Noah Larson
August 29, 2022

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