Think about the marketing campaigns that have made the biggest impact on you. The ones that stick with you, and you remember months — even years — later.
Odds are they weren’t straightforward product pitches or sales announcements. They had elements of stories and characters that helped you relate to the brand, and feel something meaningful. They incorporated compelling narratives with images that transported you to a different place. Instead of the brand being the star of the campaign, the star of the campaign was — ultimately — you. And what you could accomplish with their product or service.
That was a big part of the message from our latest webinar, “Personalization and Prose: How Audience-Focused Storytelling Can Breed Email Success.” During the half-hour discussion, MessageGears Director, Product, John Field and Sr. Director, Solutions, Taylor Jones presented examples of brands that have successfully incorporated storytelling into their marketing campaigns, and walked through the why and how of a narrative-based approach to messaging. There was a number of key takeaways:
It isn’t about you
It’s always tempting to build email campaigns that highlight what you do as a brand. After all, you’re proud of the work you do. You want your customers to be excited about it too, and you hope to entice them to buy. But you have to remember that everyone is the hero of their own story. Make them feel that way. Show that you understand that. Make your marketing about them.
If you can turn your attention away from yourself, and toward the people you’re talking to, you’ll find engagement and loyalty levels rise as a result. Your storytelling should be directed outward, not inward. Make your customer feel like they’re part of the narrative, not just an observer.
Know your audience
The most important part of any story-centric strategy is, first, to understand the people you’re talking to. Who do they want to be? What do they want to accomplish? What do they want to do with our product or service? Until you can answer these questions, your stories aren’t going to resonate. It’s not an easy step in the process, but it’s an essential one.
That means you have to do research. Talk to the customers and prospects you’re trying to reach. Don’t guess about what they want to hear; ask them directly. Then, you can start building the sorts of campaigns that will generate loyalty.
The likelihood is high that you don’t have just one target audience that will all respond to the same narrative. You probably have multiple types of people who buy your products or use your service. And that means you can’t just use one narrative to reach them all. You need to understand all of them, and what motivates them to buy. From there, you need to devise separate campaigns that speak to each one.
Recognizing that “one size fits all” isn’t going to work for your story-based campaign is important to getting the most out of it. This means that not only must your research be sound, but your data and tools have to be up to the job.
There’s lots more in the webinar, including a step-by-step walkthrough of how an email tool can help you build the sorts of story-based campaigns that will surprise and delight your subscribers. Download and watch the full video for free.