If you aren't a digital storyteller can you run a business in 2019?
It's no secret that running a small business in 2019 is no easy feat. But lets talk about how in this digital age you can compete and actually BE SUCCESSFUL.
When you start a business you can become so bogged down with the logistics; refining and producing your product, finding cost effective ways to ship it (if you're an ecommerce business with a physical product), branding, website building, the finance, the business plan. Really it's never ending how many hats you have to wear as an entrepreneur. But how often do you sit down to work out a heavily strategised marketing plan with goals, KPI's and an advertising budget?
We all know that Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest all of the social media and shared selling platforms are saturated with competitors, because of how easy it now is to start a business. Which is amazing, how lucky are we with a few taps of the laptop keypad, you're an entrepreneur, really an iPhone and a dream is all you need. However, of course that means that our customers are inundated with products, services and influencer content, if you can think it up I'm sure it exists to purchase somewhere on the world wide web.
So how in this digital age can you still run a viable business and stand out from the crowd? One word, connection! Potential customers aren't going to just stumble across your instagram page, give you a like, a follow and jump on your website and purchase (well they might, wouldn't that be great if it happened x100 times a day!) they need to feel connected to you, your brand and what you're selling. How do you do this you ask, by getting on your 'narrator's voice' thats how.
If you think about, maybe you're already a storyteller and you didn't even know it! Maybe you have figured out your customers pain points and ways to specifically target your customer groups with a well thought out and strategised story and maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. If you're either then keep reading just to make sure you understand 100% that you're telling the right story.
So you have a product, you have an idea in mind of who your potential customers might be- how do you connect them? Think about where your potential customer is going to be looking for something that fills their pain point (*a problem, real or perceived). Maybe for example, your ideal customer is on instagram looking for a cool new leather jacket. Im sure there are quite a few products out there that will fill their need, a jacket that is leather will do it, so how can you make sure you're as visible and appealing as possible? You've obviously already got an instagram account (I'm assuming at this point you do!), you've got collaborations with other meaningful accounts, maybe influencers or other complimentary brands you work with, you've got your paid targeted ads, a structured content plan including strong imagery and copy, but they still haven't committed to purchasing your product even though its in their budget, its the colour they were after and they were obviously looking for one in the first place? What is going on here? How can you get them to purchase, you've done everything you can haven't you? But have you connected with them?
Putting out content for contents sake really isn't going to get you anywhere fast. You need to ensure that the content you create, pay to promote and push to collaborate is targeted at the right potential customer for the right reasons. They may have a pain point and just because you have created a product that solves it doesn't mean they will purchase from you. You need to take your leather jacket and sell the crap out of the STORY behind it. Is your jacket mid price range so perfect for a professional woman to wear layered in Autumn or over a cute little dress in spring? Where is she going to wear it? How is she going to wear it? It's all well and good to have beautiful flat lay imagery and professional product images but don't forget that the woman buying this jacket wants to know WHY she needs to click add to cart. She needs to justify where she will wear it, how often she will wear it, what she will wear it with and you need to be the one to tell her, through visual and written storytelling.
So before you sit down to work out your content calendar for the following month (because I know at this stage you will be planning out your social media content from now on) grab your product and write its story. Who is going to be purchasing, what is it meant to be used for and why does your customer need this in their life? This doesn't just apply to fashion it's to every single product and service there is in every industry. Let out your inner narrator's voice and remember to talk with, not at - conversational, engaged storytelling is where its at!
Top Tips for becoming the best version of a storyteller you can be:
HOW to digitally tell your story can be exhausting. You don't need to be on every single platform, use the platforms that are most relevant to your customers and utilise their full functionality. Eg; Instagram- instagram stories, posts, paid ads, collaborations, competitions, engage and use call to actions to draw potential customers to your website. Think about where your customers hang out and infiltrate it. Think about how you can get in front of them to be able to sell them your story.
WHEN your customers are online is the best way to get your story across. Use your insights through business ads, instagram and your website to see when engagement is highest. Catching your customers at the right time can be crucial in the buying cycle. Be constantly promoting the story of your business, products and brand at all times.
WHO you are targeting with your story is imperative. Write down your target audiences and correlate these with their pain points to generate the best storylines. Not everyone will purchase from you so it's important to know who you need to target to be able to do this effectively.
WHAT you should be telling and creating a story around is the truth. Your brands truth, your products truth and your truth. Customers want real, raw, authentic content and this includes the story behind your business/product. So tell them a story they want to hear but make sure its real.
Now off you go to create one hell of a story!