Does storytelling really work for every business to drive sales?
But is the storytelling strategy really suitable for every business?
Until recently I was 100% in support of this theory and for some business types and industries I still am. However, now, I do not believe it is essential for every business to invest time and effort into deriving their own ‘story’ to tell. Why? I simply don’t believe that every businesses target audience necessarily cares about their story to reach their final decision and to make that purchase. For example, for a digital marketing consultant, like myself, although some clients like to hear about my background and experience, the bulk of my projects are secured on telling them about my previous client’s success stories, not my own. My audience wants to hear about how I have helped others reach their goals in a similar situation, or free tips and advice on how they can improve their own marketing strategies. They want to know how choosing me, above all the other freelancers out there, is going to benefit their own business and in turn increase their own sales. My own story is simply just a ‘nice to have’ and not really essential to securing end sales.
In fact, I would say, for the majority of Business to Business (B2B) companies, and perhaps a few Business to Consumer (B2C) types too, their situation is the same as mine – storytelling is not essential to their strategy.
So, how did I reach this conclusion?!
I reckon that it comes down to the emotional state in which the consumer makes a purchase. For B2B sales, often purchases are made because they are a necessity to facilitate business operations or to improve on what already exists in one way or another. In short, B2B sales do not rely on an emotional connection to sway the purchaser’s final decision to buy. This could also be true for some B2C products and brands too where the item being purchased is considered to be an ‘essential’ in the consumer’s everyday lives. For example, items such as loo roll, cleaning products or staple diet food types – these are all products that are purchased because of their price, taste or performance. These types of purchases are made rationally not emotionally.
This doesn’t mean to say I am against storytelling all together though. I still believe, storytelling really does work for many B2C types – these types of consumers love to buy, for non essential items, from a brand that they can connect with on an emotional level, brands that can appeal to their own beliefs and values. B2C consumers purchase emotionally not rationally.
But wait – don’t write off storytelling for B2B’s altogether! Storytelling is actually a great format to present information to your clients in a more memorable way. Storytelling is often used for presentations, introductions or explanation videos to set a scene, a potential scenario if you like for a problem that you can fix at a price.
You still need to tell stories, just not about yourself. We all have that one friend who bores us to death with stories all about them and how great they are. Eventually you switch off and end up not really caring – right?!
Well businesses talking about themselves are perceived in the same light. It’s just simply not cool or interesting to talk about yourself all the time.
Plus! If you do a really great job, or sell a really great product you will find your consumers tell your story perfectly well for you, to a wider audience than you could ever reach on your own and with relevance at the same time. Instead of talking about your own story, tell stories about achievements that you have made for your clients and talk about relevant industry topics, voicing your opinions and giving your advice. You need to provide your audience with value in a memorable format. Value adding content has been proven to be more engaging, more shareable, therefore increasing your reach and so more likely to drive traffic to your site and convert more visits to sales.
So does storytelling work for every business?
Yes! Just make sure you tell the right story for your audience.
Can we help tell your story?
If you are interested to learn more about storytelling and hear ideas and suggestions on how this method could work for your business please get in touch with our founder Harriet on the details below.