How to Tell Your Story

When you tell a story make sure you are telling it for your audience and not your boss. When you think about your sales or marketing, a good way to start off is by not thinking about your sales or marketing at all. Instead, put on your customer’s shoes and go for a walk. If you are thinking about your company and what you provide there are a lot of things you might feel inclined to talk about that will not interest your average reader.

Your company message is relevant to a lot of people, use it. But on social, depending on the target audience, the part of your company’s message that an audience might find truly interesting is a lot more than the tiny little triangle in the middle of this image. That is where your company's message, your ability to speak to it, and your audience's interests intersect. Good marketers tell stories that fit here as often as possible.

However, if you are able to really put yourself in your audience’s shoes you will find that you have a lot more things to talk about that might interest them. Thinking out of the box for your company you probably do a lot of other things of interest that you are not aware of. Once you know your customer's day as well as your own, you are ready to tell them a story they will appreciate. Something as simple as really thinking about their day will provide additional topics.

The "Real You" has a larger intersection of interests with your customers as people than your company does. If you KNOW the things they might appreciate, give them something that you can provide that they might really appreciate. Make sense? All I am saying is stop thinking about social conversations as the intersection between what you know about your company message and what your target audience might find interesting. Think about all the interests you do have in common as people, as professionals, as an industry and engage them there.

An Example

Mad Science wanted to find some new centers to work with. Instead of pounding them with ads about our services, we thought about the marketing person at the average center. They are overworked, under paid, and trying to maintain a positive attitude. We brainstormed some things our target marketer might really appreciate. Thinking about their week. What are some things they might appreciate dropping in their lap? What could they really use?

Thinking about other centers we work with, we know the marketing person is always in need of good professionally done images and graphics to pepper bulletins, slides, brochures, reports, social, web, prints, etc. So, we put together a dozen digital images with inspirational quotes perfect for their use.

It took the better part of a day to put a dozen multipurpose images together that we really liked. We could have sold the set for $100 and it would have still been a really reasonable price. We offered them for $25 for the set.

Several centers took advantage of this offer. Of course, those were the exact people we wanted to talk to about their social and marketing service needs. We knew the titles we were targeting, what they might appreciate, and gave it to them for a truly exceptional price. They got a great deal; we earned the attention and appreciation of several new potential clients. Our story was simple, we know you are busy and thought you would appreciate these.

Compare that to pounding on them to buy our services like many marketers do by thinking in the tiny box of intersection between what we sell and how to make them excited about that. If they buy our services, the graphics are free, so it is a great tie-in to other things we could do to make their jobs easier. Get out of your box and Instead think about your customer’s day, week, year, career. Not as a customer, but as a human, doing their best every day to provide value to their company and their customers. How can you help them with that?

The Real Me? Yes, the Real You!

Yes, the real you is probably more interesting than work you. Your making real connections with your audience will help your company connect with your customers. Speaking for myself, I am a father of five and a rock musician. When I talk with our clients we have so much to talk about we sometimes don't get to business. They know the real me, I talk to the real them. I always have some story to tell they will at least find interesting. I know they will because I took the time to get to know them and they me.

How to begin? Customer Personas

Take your customer persona and put it in front of you. Ask it, “how can I help you today?” Some companies call these Buyer Personas, Avatars, Customer Personas, etc. They are basically the same thing. This might be a good time to enlist the help of your sales team to double check that last year’s assumptions about your customers are still accurate.

Do a good job capturing the important information, then provide an updated copy to everyone from your delivery people to your President. You should all be on the same page regarding who you serve.

What? You have not already created your Buyer Personas for your main customer types?

Stop what you are doing. Go create one now. You shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near your marketing gun if you don’t know exactly who you are pointing it at. To get your head around the concept without reading much, take a look at this page by Now that you have an idea about the basics let's go ahead and create some personas for your organization.

To create your own Customer Personas

Noah Parsons wrote this article: How a Buyer (or User) Persona Can Improve Your Business. Don’t worry about the title of the article, it is actually a short explain and cheat sheet for creating your own customer personas.

Noah lists the following in his article as the important items to capture for each of your customer types: