“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” — Seth Godin, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker
In today’s marketing world, it almost goes without saying that consumers don’t want to hear you beat your chest about how great you are. Especially for B2C marketers, your target audience has endless options for which brands to direct their money and time toward. If you’re going to not only get them to subscribe and open your emails but also buy, you need to connect with them in a meaningful way. You need to deliver content that matters to them. It’s not enough to tell them why you’re great. You need to tell them something great.
If you can tell consistently compelling stories, you’ll not only attract subscribers, but you’ll earn them. You show them you recognize their time and inbox space is precious. That you respect that, and you’re putting effort into delivering content that isn’t just a sales pitch. You’re transporting them to another place, into someone else’s world, even if just for a moment. You’re giving them an escape, and granting them something unique and real. That’ll gain you loyalty and fierce brand advocates.
It’s not easy, of course. It takes work. You need to find stories from customers and others who are in the same world as those you’re talking to. These stories aren’t necessarily about your products, but about the experience your brand wants to deliver. Those stories have to be sourced through listening to people and what matters to them. You want to tell them in a way that puts the reader in their shoes. Yes, you’re looking to get subscribers into the mindset you need for them to buy. If you sell outdoors equipment, maybe these stories are about camping adventures. If you’re a realtor, it’s about a family finding the perfect home. Or you could be a clothes retailer with a lifestyle-brand mindset, telling the stories of people living the life your customers want to lead.
Quality storytelling is hard. But, done right, it can accomplish a lot for your brand when it comes to connecting with your email subscribers.
In addition to avoiding a straight sales pitch, it shows a human side not just to your products but to your brand. It shows you’re thinking about how your brand impacts individuals, and that you’re willing to put in the effort to tell those stories. People will relate to that far more than if you’re merely discussing your new product.
This benefit shouldn’t be overlooked. Delivering emails that your customers enjoy reading will help to ensure they stay subscribed. If they look forward to your next email, they’re not only unlikely to ignore your messages, but you stay far more top-of-mind than you would otherwise. And the next time they’re looking to make a purchase, you’ll have already made a positive impression.
If you want to earn the sorts of brand advocates who will help to amplify your message, you need to make subscribers feel like your brand stands for something beyond the brand itself. It might be a lifestyle. Or a cause. Or a particular need. Whatever it is, the stories you tell should point back to it. That should be your North Star. Tell the stories that transport customers to where you want them to be.
If you can do that with regularity, you’ll likely find your open, click, and conversion rates climbing. But, more importantly, you’ll find the quality of your subscribers improving. They’ll be more engaged, and more purposeful in their interactions with you. The stories you tell will make you as valuable to them as they are to you. That’s when a relationship starts. That’s the power that stories can bring to your marketing.