How to Leverage Storytelling to Increase Your Conversions

Written by Neil Patel on April 21, 2015

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I love good storytelling, especially when it catches my attention and draws me in. Stories have the power to increase your conversions, if you master the art.

But, remember that competition is fierce. And, the rate at which content is being produced and published on the web is expanding. Our readership is drowning.

According to Koozai, most people scan web content, instead of reading each word. People scan content, looking for something that stands out. If they don’t find it, they’ll leave.

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Storytelling can connect the dots and get people to ACTUALLY read your content and take action.

Download this step by step guide to learn what storytelling is and it’s elements.

Recently, I embarked on a journey to grow NeilPatel.com to 100,000 blog readers. At the end of every month, I share my traffic stats and what I’ve done. That’s the power of storytelling. The site’s traffic grew to 46,134 visitors in February.

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And, 59,787 visitors in March…

If you want to increase your conversions, then start captivating your target audience by speaking to their emotions.

Stories shape how other people see you. Their perception of you will determine whether they’ll read your content, comment on your blog posts, refer others to your blog, hire you or buy from you. The human brain is wired to remember a memorable story.

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Storytelling is like a vitamin. When it gets into your readers, it permeates their whole being and fights every objection that might otherwise stop them from becoming loyal customers.

In this article, I want to show you the five simple steps that can improve your conversion rate, just by telling stories with data.

The breakdown of what you’ll learn is:

  • What Storytelling Is
  • The Elements of Storytelling
  • How to Use Storytelling to Increase Conversions
  • Build Authority Through Storytelling
  • Storytelling Success Stories

Step #1: Understand What Storytelling Is

When you tell a true story, your message is perceived as authentic. In the same way that live events get more retweets than general tweets, your content will impact more lives and improve your credibility.

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Why  should you use storytelling in content marketing? We breathe stories. Even in the Stone Age, humans understood how to tell stories that evoked interest.

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Humans are born storytellers. Storytelling gives life or meaning to a scenario, provoking feelings of ecstasy, sorrow, or peace and captivating your audience.

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As a content marketer and business owner, sharing stories of your successes and failures will go a long to shape your relationship with your customers.

What is storytelling? It’s the basic art of communicating your idea, message or event, by creatively using words, images and sounds.

This means that in creating content for your customers, either for your own blog or other blogs where you’re a guest writer, you can use stories to connect more deeply with  your readers.

So, for example, when you write, you’d use relevant images that peak people’s interest. Or, if you’re recording a podcast, you could use emotion-triggering music and sounds. And, for video creation, of course, you can use words, images and sounds at the same time.

Little wonder, then, that articles with visual information generate more Facebook shares than any other content type.

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Storytelling works. For example, Chris Haddad increased his conversion rate from 2% to 8% and raised his income from nothing to seven figures, selling information products.

Initially, Chris wrote good copy to sell his information product on how women can find their perfect match. But, despite all of his efforts, only a handful of customers took him up on his offer.

Eventually, Chris tweaked his landing page. He shared the story of how his girlfriend (now his wife) used specific emotional techniques to dazzle him. Telling that story raised his conversion rate by 300%.

The concept of visual storytelling: Visual storytelling elements are anything capable of being seen. Can your message or idea be seen?

Expressing internal emotions is sometimes difficult in text, but it’s child’s play in pictures or other visuals.

Research by DemandGen Reports revealed that, in 2014, B2B marketing increased by 8% to 54% and infographics jumped 9% to 52%.

“The shortest distance between a human brain and the truth is a story” – Anthony De Mello.

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Visual information marketing is here to stay and it’s becoming part of most marketing budgets. A recent study by Social Media Examiner showed that 70% of internet marketers plan to increase their use of visual marketing elements in 2015 and beyond.

As it turns out, visual information (e.g. infographics, videos, memes, screenshots) gets widely shared on major social networks.

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You can tell a story using words the way most keynote speakers do. But, there is another storytelling method that will supercharge your content: using visuals.

Your customers aren’t looking for another sales pitch or a proposal that sounds too good to be true.  They’ve heard enough of those. A study conducted by Forrester Research found that 88% of executives and organizational decision-makers long to have conversations, not pushy sales presentations.

In visual storytelling, you can create and promote infographics, which have collectively generated over 2,500,000 million visitors and 41,142 backlinks for me, over a two-year span. I usually publish new infographics every Friday and the results have been amazing.

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Video tutorials are equally powerful. You can use a whiteboard to teach, just like Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, does every Friday.

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You can also create visual content and submit it to authoritative platforms, such as Docstoc, Slideshare, Vimeo and Animoto. This helps you gain a new audience for your business.

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The core benefits of storytelling in persuasion: Persuasion is the master key that will unlock your conversion vault. Robert Mckee was right, when he said that “storytelling with persuasion trumps statistics.” Marketing is for people and people are emotional beings.

Our brains are wired to respond to emotional triggers. Storytelling is the most natural source of those triggers.

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When you understand how to persuade others, you’ll no longer struggle to get more traffic. Instead, you’ll focus on improving conversions, because that’s what matters.

So, how do stories persuade a targeted group of readers to take action? That’s the goal of setting up a content strategy and writing in-depth content.

Here are some of the ways that storytelling can help, when you want to persuade your customers without getting in their way:

1).   Moment of truth: What customers perceive to be true will ultimately guide their actions and decision-making processes. Consumer perceptions may or may not be accurate, but they’ll live by them, nevertheless.

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When people visit your site, what truth do you instill in them? Do you give visitors a hard sell, when they’re still trying to get to know you?

In the Tyler James Williams’ song “Moment of Truth” there’s a rather intriguing line: “Here we go again/Prepare to meet your end.”

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In internet marketing, the moment your target audience begins to see you as someone who doesn’t care about them, you’re indirectly preparing to meet your end – and the end of your business.

But, there is a solution: Use your past experiences, case studies, research studies and significant results that you’ve helped your customers achieve.  These are the foundation of your story.

Instead of starting with “once upon a time,” or some variation of it, weave your story into your content. Stories can even appear on your headline, introduction and, most importantly, on your landing page.

For example, Chris Brogan’s blog homepage makes a simple statement; storytelling makes it captivating

It’s the story of content marketing + community building.

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I’ve used storytelling in the past few months to engage my readers, as well. For example, I shared a story on how spending $162,301.42 on clothes made me $692,500.

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The post generated over 100 comments and 2,000 Facebook and Twitter shares. Here’s a screenshot of the social share stats that I got from BuzzSumo.

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2).   Personality: The Norwegian author Rune Belsvik once said that the concept of story was “one of the first things that came to the world.”

Our personality is born out of stories. We’re created to share and listen to stories. So, storytelling is a natural tool to help grow your audience and increase your conversions.

In the same way, storytelling can give your content a new flavor and amplify its benefits, because it’s coming from a “personality” – a set of characteristics that makes you special and appealing to others.

A typical example: Jon Morrow is one of the bloggers that I deeply respect.

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He once shared a powerful guest post on Problogger, telling the story of how he was hit by a car in April 2006.

His leg was broken in 14 places. For the next three months, he endured significant pain and misery.

Then, he got brave and quit his job. He sold everything he owned and stopped paying most of the usual bills. The story got even more interesting, when he recounted how he moved to paradise to get paid to change the world.

In that post, Jon persuaded readers so strongly that it generated over 72,000 visitors.

Today, Jon runs a very profitable online business and his flagship blog, Boost Blog Traffic, gets over 100,000 monthly visitors. In fact, he earns over $100,000 per month.

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3).   Effective content segmentation: Another simple way that you can use storytelling to persuade your audience is by taking them on a ride. That’s how smart keynote speakers and webinar hosts hold a captive audience from start to finish.

Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, a blog post or an in-depth article like this one, it pays to implement content segmentation.

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This means that you include a beginning, middle and conclusion (end). Your brand story should follow the same structure.

It’s like taking your customers and readers from one segment to the other. Storytelling encompasses all of that and segments your content accordingly.

Japanese companies segment their games markets, based on platforms, such as mobile and social and bring in $5.1 billion. If they hadn’t segmented their content, they’d have missed out on the profit potential.

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For example, your audience would like to know why you conducted the experiment, the major challenge you were facing, what you discovered in the course of the study and what conclusions you drew from the experiment.

In the beginning of your content, open strong and establish your story. In the middle, build interest in the message. Highlight the benefits of the topic and close with a call-to-action that’s persuasive, not pushy.

David Siteman Garland, founder of The Rise To The Top, uses this strategy to write his copy. He starts out his story on a strong note, gradually evokes interest by showing the results in the middle, then calls his readers to action at the end.

Here’s the beginning:

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Here’s the middle of his copy, where David builds interest through success stories:

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And finally, the call-to-action at the end:

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Note: Established bloggers and internet marketers who have built solid businesses use content segmentation to improve their conversion rate. And, because they’re creative at storytelling, they’re able to experience greater levels of success.

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The art of storytelling: In his book, The Art of Storytelling, John D. Walsh walks you through the process of persuading a crowd with your story. That’s important, because in the business world, persuading a crowd is the best way to establish authority and get noticed faster.

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Before the written word became popular, Stone Age men could memorize elaborate stories that conveyed moral lessons. These morals have been passed down from generation to generation.

The sooner you master the art of storytelling, the better for your brand and online business. Social media is redefining storytelling in a significant way. Know your audience and be authentic in your storytelling.

You’ve already gone through a lot in life and have endless stories to share. I don’t believe that you should make up stories; instead, you should tap into the wealth of stories from family, friends, customers, entrepreneurs and brands. Then, align those stories to the audience you’ve come to know like the back of your hand.

Step #2:  Learn the Elements of Storytelling

Earlier, I wrote that storytelling with persuasion beats statistical data. That’s why U.S. teens prefer Beats Headphones to Apple and Skullcandy. Dr. Dre, an American rap artist, has a great story that appeals to teenagers.

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However, for your storytelling to produce the desired results, there are other elements that are equally important. Lawyers learn how to be storytellers and so should you as a blogger or writer.

When you’re telling or sharing a story, you want to achieve a specific outcome. You want enough general knowledge to take your content marketing efforts to the next level.  Then, make sure that you have the following elements in place.

A defined target audience: Have you defined your audience yet? Before you can successfully tell a story, there must be a qualified audience to enjoy it. Most people get it backwards, if they do it at all.

But, you have to define your target audience first, because they’ll, in turn, define your product.

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As time goes by and you build relationships and engage with your target audience, they’ll send you great feedback that will help define and improve your product.

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So, how do you define your target audience clearly? There are several ways to go about it, but I’ve personally found that demographics are the first step.

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If I can truly understand who my target audience is and where they’re browsing my site from, I can align my content and tell a better story. Your audience demographic is just a market segment, but it will give you a great understanding of their complete persona or profile.

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Here are the four simple steps to define your audience, based on demographics:

Step one: Go to Alexa.com. Type in your site URL (e.g., lewishowes.com) and click “Go.”

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Step two:  To find your results, scroll down the Alexa result page and you’ll find this:

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From the screenshot above, you’ll notice that LewisHowes.com visitors are mostly female, are college graduates and browse the site from home.

If I were Lewis, now that I know my audience is predominantly female, I would align my content with storytelling nuggets that will appeal to both males and females, but weighted towards the females. I might not do anything further on the education aspect, because college graduates can effectively read and live their dream lifestyle.

But, since the majority of this target audience browses from home, I’d also try to give them worksheets or actionable tips that they can implement right away, since they would have no boss around to audit what they are doing.

Armed with your audience demographics, you’ll want to dig deeper. Knowing your audience’s interests is a critical step in unearthing their biggest challenges and using storytelling to solve their problems.

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The suggestions below, from Business Insider, paint a clearer picture of how you can best utilize each social media platform:

  • If you deal in fast-moving consumer goods (i.e., not luxury goods), Facebook is your ideal platform for attracting an audience, because the users are mostly young people.
  • Twitter is a microblogging platform for news-like updates. Use Twitter to keep your target audience abreast of what’s happening with your site, business or community. It’s not for selling.
  • Besides clothing and decorative arts, Pinterest favors food and drink-related products. Family and relationship-related products also tend to receive more likes and repins.
  • Clothing, accessories and entertainment-related products do extremely well on Instagram, because the users are primarily female.

Finally, LinkedIn is the platform of choice for business-related communications. So, if you’re looking to acquire business-minded customers, LinkedIn will out-perform Twitter and Instagram, by a long shot.

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2).    Measurable goal: The second most important element of storytelling is a measurable goal.

Anybody can set a goal, but how many people can effectively measure it? Smart marketers want to track their progress.

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When you set a goal that you can’t measure, you’ll miss out on the potential of expansion. For example, you won’t know what other factors are required, when you set a bigger goal.

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Here are some tips for setting measurable goals:

i).   Start small: I believe in thinking big, but you should also keep your goals realistic. When you start on a smaller note, you’ll certainly hit the target and know exactly where you’re going.

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“10,000 visitors in a month” isn’t realistic in the beginning. But, you can set a smaller, specific and measurable goal, such as “Generate 1000 blog visitors per week, by targeting 25 long-tail keywords and spending an hour every day at relationship-building on discussion boards and social media platforms.”

This latter goal is measurable, because you can check your Google Analytics to determine which keyword phrases are performing well in the search engines. You can also track your social activities and understand the best times to tweet.

You also want to measure your progress when using storytelling to meet marketing goals. Otherwise, you won’t be able to know whether or how your conversion rate is growing.

ii).   Set a schedule: For your goals to be measurable, you have to set a schedule. What will you do daily to achieve your goal? A schedule gets you organized and increases your productivity.

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Your schedule should match your deadline and help you focus on the most important tasks.

For example, if you’ve set a measurable goal to generate 1,000 search visitors per week by targeting 25 long-tail search queries, your daily schedule could be:

a).  Research and select five longer tail key phrases: If I were in the weight loss/fitness niche, I could select these easier-to-target key phrases: how to lose 20 pounds, I want to lose weight, best weight loss exercise that works, top 10 fat loss programs and help me lose weight fast.

b).  Read books, blogs, watch videos, etc. I want to learn about the topic as much as I can before writing. There are helpful resources that I can easily access with a quick Google search.

c).  Write my headlines: This is critical, if you want people to click, read and share your content. Spend 20 minutes to an hour on your headline, because if you don’t nail the headline, you’ll waste a lot of potential.

In order to save time on headline writing, find a headline in any industry that catches your attention, then use it as a model to create a better one that’s relevant to your own industry.

d).  Write the content: First, create an outline for your content, then expand on it to create your content or video.

iii).   Set a deadline: According to Nolan Bushnell, “the ultimate inspiration is the deadline.” Without a deadline, you aren’t inspired to act now to achieve a significant result, because the clock isn’t ticking.

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In leveraging storytelling to increase your conversions, every piece of content that you write and every landing page that you create should have a measurable goal with a schedule and a deadline.

3).    Relatable data: The grudge match between storytelling and statistics rages on. But instead of choosing one or the other, why not combine both when creating your content?

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I rarely write content without using data to back up my claims. Personal opinions have a limited ability to engender trust in your target audience. But, if you can prove what you say with statistics, then you win loyal customers.

Take a look at my recent post, to see how I positioned myself as an authority, by referencing something that Google said:

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Getting statistics and data is easy. For example, you could log into Google Analytics and check your stats. This was exactly what Brian Dean did a few years ago, when he wrote an in-depth article for Okdork.

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Sharing a story on how you went from being broke to being a millionaire may not do much for your customers, unless you use data to prove it.

If there’s no data or case study relating to the story that you’re sharing, you can share your own data. Go ahead and create charts and make it plain that this is what you found after a series of experiments.

If you’re looking for a book from an author that you respect, you can find it at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

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4).   Persuasion: The fourth element of effective storytelling is persuasion. You can’t influence people if you can’t persuade them. image00

In his bestselling book, Influence, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini noted that reciprocity, commitment, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity are the strongest factors in the psychology of persuasion.

The focal point is this: these six factors move people to change behavior, follow the course that you’ve set, subscribe to your email list and buy your product, even if they don’t necessarily need it right now.

Let’s see an example of how social proof can increase sales.

Cialdini defined social proof as “the art of doing something because you see others who do the same thing.” You simply follow the crowd.

According to SEJ, almost 63% of consumers say they’re more likely to make a purchase from a site with consumer reviews and product ratings.

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And, 39% of consumers will change their minds after reading three negative reviews about a particular product or site.

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Here’s an example of how social proof increases conversion: Modcloth is a clothing commerce site. It’s a great community, where shoppers vote on the styles that they believe the site should sell more of in the future. Such styles have a “Top Rated” badge.

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The evidence of this unique form of social proof is that products with this badge sell twice as well as products without it.

Here are other examples of top brands using social proof:

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To learn how the other five principles of persuasion increase conversions, see Peep Laja’s resourceful post, how to use Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion to boost conversions.

Step #3:  Use Storytelling to Increase Conversions

I’m amazed at how Huggies used storytelling to increase their conversion rate.  Huggies and Ogilvy had a definite and measurable goal – to connect with and deepen a relationship with expectant moms. They wanted to build engagement even before the baby is born.

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To accomplish that goal, Ogilvy decided to get expectant moms involved. After the exercise and through their campaign, “Delivery Hugs,” they created a powerful video that triggered a strong emotional response from people – especially mothers and moms-to-be

The video was viewed by millions of people. When those people shared the video and the story behind it, people were moved to tears.

Here are actionable ways to increase conversions through storytelling:

Develop a content strategy: Your content strategy simply refers a structured plan by which you create content, promote it, test your campaigns and track your progress.

The content structure gives you ample opportunity to boost the effectiveness of your content strategy.

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And, you can easily achieve that by leveraging social media. Taking inventory of the leads that you acquire, the sales that you get and the underlying trends in your industry is critical, when you’re developing a content strategy.

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This study shows that only 35% of B2B content marketers have a documented content strategy.

So, 65% of B2B content marketers simply wake up, find an idea that seems good and just write. No planning, no research, no checklist.

Don’t run your own business like that. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C content marketer: having a content strategy is essential.

Leverage a story people already know: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You could leverage other people’s stories to create a powerful, high-quality, evergreen piece of content. Stories are the secret recipe of other people’s success.

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In All Marketers Tell Stories, Seth Godin poses three essential questions to every marketer:

  • Do you have a story?
  • When the right people hear the story, will they believe it?
  • Is the story true?

The harsh reality is that if your story is great, but you can’t tell it well, no one will believe you. All marketers tell stories, but only those who have mastered the art of storytelling catch our attention.

Millions of other people’s stories are available online. All you have to do is find one or more, create tailored content around the stories and reference original content. This has nothing to do with duplicate content, plagiarism or content curation. You’ll be creating unique content based on other people’s stories.

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For example, I’ll be creating an in-depth article on how Shopify tripled their sales. I’ll give all due credit and appreciation to Shopify, but the content will increase my search traffic and probably bring in clients.

You can read people’s stories on blogs or by listening to their presentations, reading their books or engaging them in one-on-one conversations.

For example, you may know the incredible story of how Marcus Sheridan went from being a pool guy to building a profitable content marketing business. You could leverage his story to create your content.

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Once you’ve read and understood his story, you could extract key points from it and use them to craft something valuable for your audience. This kind of post will boost conversions, if it’s practicable and based on content segmentation.

In other words, there should be a beginning, a narrative to show what happened and the lessons learned, then a conclusion that shows exactly how the same story can change the reader’s life for the better.

This is what every customer out there wants: an adventure that will reward them. If you’re interested in telling Marcus Sheridan’s story and showing how it applies to your industry (e.g., small business growth), these headlines could work for you:

  • 7 Steps to Grow Your Small Business Using Marcus Sheridan’s Strategy
  • How Marcus Sheridan Grew His Small Business to 8 Figures
  • 30 Small Business Growth Tips Straight From a 8 Figure Pool Guy
  • Case Study: How to Attract 11 New Clients Using a Pool’s Guy Secret

Note: In each of these headlines, you can start off by sharing a little story about how the person started and where they are right now. Then, creatively write from your heart.

Lead with dialogue: Storytelling that focuses on two-way communication will yield faster growth.

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Seth Godin says that “fast growth comes from overwhelming the smallest possible audience with a product or service that so delights them that they insist that their friends and colleagues use it.”

I have to agree, because when your product isn’t worth talking about, no amount of marketing will help. Both the content and the product have to be highly useful first, then everything else follows. It’s all about getting feedback from your target audience.

Vanessa Van Edwards, the founder of The Science of Things, uses dialogue in storytelling.

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Vanessa understands that when her audience gives honest feedback by taking a quiz, she can use the data pertaining to body language from 5,000 readers and create high-quality information products for them.

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She even goes the extra mile by accepting research studies from readers. This single act gives the readers a sense of belonging. They’ll look forward to getting Vanessa’s newsletters and participate in anything related to body language, because they’re a part of the community.

QuickSprout provides an interactive tool, as well. It literally talks to you, when you plug your URL into the search box.

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Sonia Simone tells thought-provoking stories by leading with dialogue. A few years ago, she posted a simple question that got my neurons fired up:

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If you already have an audience via social media networks, an email list or a mastermind group, you can get feedback from them by sending questionnaires through SurveyMonkey.

Focus on emotions: Our brains respond to stories more than anything else. Robert Plutchik’s “wheel of emotions” reveals some of the underlying emotions that influence your customers, which – when leveraged – can boost your conversions.

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Lisa Feldman noted, in her book The Science of Emotion, that for the most part, people have little control over their emotions. Often, they’re automatic responses to our experiences. What we like or hate and what we perceive as pain or pleasure are just two kinds of emotional triggers, among many.

Happiness is one emotion that makes us want to share. Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott noted that our response to our mom’s smile with a smile of our own is usually the first emotional response we make in life.

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When your content drives people to a state of happiness or joy, they will automatically respond to your offers, feel obliged to share your content and will stop at nothing to tell others about you.  

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This is because happiness is hard-wired into the human brain. When experienced, it’s found in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain. It literally functions from there. But, it may remain dormant until something – such as a story – triggers it.

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A baby’s social smile further tells us that when happiness is shared, it ultimately increases and creates an atmosphere that encourages more happiness. What you share will actually come back to you multiplied.

There are ten other emotions that inspire social sharing:

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Speak to your customer’s mind, but appeal to both logic and emotions. They’re both powerful persuasion drivers in marketing. One ecommerce company saw a 150% increase in sales, as a result of visual storytelling coupled with site redesign.

Step #4:  Build Authority Through Storytelling

Social networks influence nearly 50% of all IT decision makers. Truly, the world as we know it is changing.

It was all about mass media in the past.  But today, social media is taking over. We’re living in the age of authority. Traditional media might still be popular, but it lacks effectiveness, because it’s a one-way communication channel.

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Social media is different. When you send a tweet, you can get a retweet or comment from a follower and, over time, build trust.

When it comes to building authority through storytelling, you need a level of influence in your business, family, society and spheres of contact, before people can trust you.

What you believe in can be amplified, if you’re able to convince a select group of people. According to Branderati, if 10% of a certain population has an unshakable belief in either a course of action or ideal, that small group can convince the rest of the population to adopt the same course of action or belief.

So, how do you start building your own authority? Here’s a simple three-step game plan that’s proven to work:

  • Affirm that you’re an authority in your industry
  • Focus on your creative voice
  • Share stories that pull people instead of pushing them

1).    Affirm that you’re an authority in your industry: There is power in affirmations. When you affirm to yourself what you want to happen in your life or business, you can see it come to pass when coupled with smart action. Of course, you can’t just fold your arms and expect miracles to happen.

But, if you think you’re not qualified, competent or decisive enough to influence people, it’ll show in your conversation.

Affirmations are positive statements that describe or convey a strong desire to achieve a specific goal or state of being, which is then repeated consistently until it’s imprinted on the subconscious mind.

For example, you can wake up everyday and affirm, “today will be an awesome day.” And, it most likely will be for YOU (though maybe not for EVERYONE).

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Affirmations work, because when you continually repeat a statement verbally, it influences your thoughts and actions.

For example, repeating to yourself, “I’m increasing my sales this month,” plants the thought into your subconscious mind, which then begins to imagine the amount of money that you’ll make.

Repeat to yourself, “I’m telling better stories” and again, your mind will call you to order and nudge you to search out a powerful story for your next blog post or product.

In his bestselling book, You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Jeff Goins said that “becoming a writer starts with a simple, but important belief: you’re a writer and you’ve got to start writing.”

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And today, Jeff Goins runs a successful online self-publishing business. Even if no one ever believed in him, he affirmed it to himself repeatedly and it became so.

Jeff’s latest book, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do, is also full of affirmations. Goins’ work has been endorsed by the biggest names in the internet marketing world.

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If you want to truly become good at something, you first have to believe in it.

2).   Focus on your creative voice: Storytelling is an art and therefore requires uniqueness and creativity. Your creative voice is what sets you apart from the crowd, just like your Unique Selling Point.

An informative post on Oprah’s website suggests that you find a quiet place to meditate and assimilate all of the information that you’ve accessed during the day.

When everything else fails, your creative voice will give your story a rhythm. It’ll alleviate boredom and take people on a journey of experience.

I love how the creative Gary Vaynerchuk builds authority through social media and blogging. He even advocates how you can grow your brand by leveraging someone else’s.

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In summary, here are few ways to discover your creative voice and focus on it:

  • Heed Oprah’s advice. Set aside quiet time to meditate.
  • Learn from other people. Position your brand to benefit from their own.
  • Know your target audience inside and out.
  • Use storytelling to express your worldview, not to impress anybody.

3).   Share stories that pull people, instead of pushing them: Storytelling is meant to pull people in, not push or repel them. It’s about helping people become better.

Your story shouldn’t just be about you. Instead, it should relate to your audience and customers. It should pull them in and retain them.

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Jon Morrow’s story of how he was hit by a car, leaving him injured and prompting him to quit his job, was just a prologue. It was just the painful part.

The interesting part that pulls people in and inspires them was when the author moved to paradise, in order to get paid for changing the world.

That’s the dream of every business owner.

When using stories to capture an audience, keep in mind that they may not necessarily want to know every detail – the outcome is what counts. Many people don’t want to know how painful giving birth to a child is, but we all want to hear the cry of a baby, right?

Seth Godin has authored over 20 books. His style of writing, which incorporates storytelling, pulls people in. Godin has many brand associates, who regularly refer clients to him. Take a look at his opening in a recent post:

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As a content creator, writer and business owner, you’re in this world to make a difference. It’s not all about the money that you’ll make, but the joy of seeing your target audience and customers improve their lives, meet their goals and smile again.

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Step #5: Learn from Storytelling Success Stories

I’ve shared several success stories of how brand distinguished their products, customer service and relationships with customers, all by telling real stories. But, there are more storytelling success stories left to tell.

ITV had plans to create a new multi-screen ad format, which could be synced into other platforms. Their audience was mostly composed of smartphone and tablet users.

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When ITV combined this innovation with visual storytelling, they were able to merge the benefits of broadcast TV advertising with modern tablets and smartphones.

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During the X-Factor finale last year, the ad format was launched and it resulted in over 1,300,650 page views, with an average click-through rate of 8.75%

Here’s another successful storytelling campaign:

Dallas Morning News, a regional media company in the U.S., wanted to expand their reach through social media. They understood that traditional media is fast becoming tiring for viewers and fans, unless it’s integrated into their social lifestyle.

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Using Hootsuite, they were able to control their social activities from one portal, streamlining their endeavors.

They empowered and persuaded their team to cultivate the habit of sharing news and updates on social media platforms. This strategy increased the company’s engagement with a growing local readership.

And, they succeeded. Here’s the result of their social media integration:

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Measure the impact of your story: If you’ve ever wondered why most brands get media publicity with ease, while others stay on the sidelines, it’s because they were able to use storytelling to its full potential. You have to measure your success – because it’s critical to making smarter content marketing decisions.

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Planning, execution and consistent learning are key factors that will help you increase your conversions.  But, you have to measure the impact of your brand story.

Measuring social media activities is easy. But, measuring the impact of storytelling is a little more difficult, because it has so much to do with emotional communication.

Conclusion

Emotions make marketing campaigns go viral. The sooner you start using storytelling in your content creation and marketing, the easier you’ll find it to increase your conversions.

There is no shortcut to improving your ROI as a content marketer and blogger. You have to consistently feed Google and your target audience with fresh, high-quality content.

As you do that, you’ll get more organic traffic and improve your long-tail keyword rankings significantly.

Have you leveraged storytelling to increase your conversions? What is your experience and how do you respond to other people’s stories?

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