Story Telling

Converting readers into customers doesn't have to be as hard as it looks. Once your marketing strategy is good enough to attract prospects, your content should get them converted, without stress.

So what's the easy way to convert readers?

"...the better you be come at storytelling, the more you’ll find business prospects. It’s like, people buy from folks they know, like and trust. Or at least they gotta trust them;)..."

That clear-eyed piece of advice came from a commenter on my guest post on Problogger earlier this year, in which I break down how entrepreneurs can advertise their businesses in blog posts without looking too promotional.


Truth be told, no one cares about your product.

They only care about what really works for them.And so if you're ever going to pitch them, they need you to prove that your stuff really works. This is where storytelling shows up.

When you tell stories (i.e. write case studies), you're literally showing prospects how your product can work for them just like it does for you or your clients.To be candid, we (humans) love stories. And it's even the reason why actors are leaving a wealthy and comfortable life today.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Tom Cruise has a networth of $450 million, Mel Gibson has $425 million dollars, Kevin Hart — $40 million and so on. These guys pickup story ideas, employ various experts to polish and alchemize them into movies, and then pitch them to us. And because stories are what we relate with a lot — mostly because they showcase what we (humans) really do — we buy them.

The Groove team ran a basic A/B test on one of their posts to see if storytelling (case studies) really adds value. According to their founder and CEO, Alex Turnbull: "Some of our visitors were sent to a version of the post that started with a simple story that led into the “meat” of the content, while others found a post with a no-nonsense intro that jumped right to the point. The result? The post with the narrative intro had nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on page was more than five times higher!"

A recent guest post by Jeff Deutsch here on also demonstrates the potency of storytelling. The post generated a whooping 7000+shares on Facebook, and thousands of shares on other social networks.

Great stuff.

Earlier this year, I decided to start telling stories on my blog. The result? My kick-off post generated over a 100% increase in my subscribers list.

Being real

That's one subtle factor that makes great stories. Filmmakers spend all they can to get the best directors, actors, producers, cinematographers and so on, just so their movies look real. If you've ever been to a production set, you'd see how directors make their actors repeat a single role over and over again. Why? They need every part of the movie to look 99% real. Otherwise, their stories would end up looking so sham, which would hurt their business.

The same goes for your business. Your stories are more or less lifeless if they don't look real.Renowned author Stephen King mentioned in his memoir, On Writing, that "...bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do..."

So how do you make your stories look real?

Notice how Jeff reflects our human nature in his story?

"If spamming is so wrong, I wondered, how come it always works so well?" He could have just written that without mentioning I wondered. But that's what a normal human would do; wonder.

Simply put, reflect what people actually do in your stories. That's what connects you with their emotions.

But what does their emotions really have to do with your business? Forbes contributor Martin Zwilling mentioned in his post, Entrepreneurs Who Master Storytelling Win More, that "Most people care the most about the things that touch,move, and inspire them. They make decisions based one motion, and then look for the facts that support these decisions. Thus it behooves every entrepreneur to learn how to craft stories from their personal experience and the world at large that make an emotional connection, as well as tie in the facts."

So where do you get story ideas from?

Stories can either be pulled from fictions or real-life experiences. Simply put, fictions are all about picking stories from imaginations.

For example, let's say you're a social media management startup (like Hootsuite), and you want to tell a fictional story of how your product can really solve problems, your narrative could look like this:

Imagine you’re a very busy CEO. You over see various serious issues your company, and you barely even have the time to see what's going on in your social platforms. But then, you know how much good social media does for businesses, and you really don't want to miss out. One day, you find a social media management tool that allows users to manage their online brands and submit messages to a variety of social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and more. Wouldn't you love it? If yes, then you need Hootsuite.

Fictions can really work, especially if you're a startup who doesn't have a lot of success stories from customers to share, yet. You could use it as the introduction section of your sales page to give prospects a picture of how your product really works.

On the other hand, stories can also be pulled from personal experiences or customers' testimonials.

In one article, Forbes contributor Mark Evans explains how stories can be generated from customers' experiences: "think about the different kinds of customers who are having success with your product. "This gives you the opportunity to provide a variety of stories that could resonate with potential customers based on the idea your product meets the needs of different users in different ways. Then, you want to interview customers to get their stories.

Some of the questions include:

  • How did you learn about our product?
  • How do you use the product?
  • What are the biggest benefits? Can you provide an example of how it worked for you?
  • Have you discovered new or different users for the product, compared with original expectations?
  • Does the product deliver good value?"

How long should your stories be?

No matter how great some sections are in your story, if they do not illuminate prospects in some new and useful way, scratch them out.

They make only stories long and tiring. Conversely; does a point need to be made to convince people to buy your stuff? If yes, then make sure you add it to your narrative. Will another section make it more compelling? Ensure that is added as well.

However, whether your story would be long or short is something you’ll get to know when you finish writing...