Too many business owners find themselves learning an unpleasant truth the hard way: it’s possible to spend a huge amount of time and money on marketing without moving the needle significantly on sales. They’ve studied the work of marketing gurus, amassed an online following that reliably likes and comments on social media posts, and yet that engagement isn’t translating into profit. So what’s going wrong?
You’ve undoubtedly been told that telling a story is the key to driving sales. But that’s only a partial truth. Not every story is going to convince a potential customer to purchase your product or hire you. Your brand message must appeal to your audience’s desires, address their fears, and show them how what you have to offer solves their problem. Further, you have to build a connection that shows your ideal client base you’re a trusted expert they can buy from. Here’s a look the essential elements of an effective brand story, what can go wrong, and tips for turning those followers into customers.
What Makes a Brand Story Work (or Not)
A coherent brand message has to clearly and succinctly answer specific questions for your audience: who you are, what you do, how you can help, and why they should care. When marketing efforts aren’t producing results, it’s usually due to one of three key mistakes:
Lack of focus: When there isn’t a core brand story that every piece of copy or messaging ties into, marketing can feel like a random assortment of puzzle pieces for the audience to put together to try to figure out the big picture. Making your audience work to decipher what you’re about and how you can help them isn’t the way. You have to spell it out clearly.
Missing the point: Is your messaging all about you and all the tiny details of what makes your product or service wonderful? What your audience needs to know is how it applies to them and how it will solve their problem. Again, don’t make them work to see the relevance.
Failing to be the expert: Potential clients in search of a solution want a guide to show them the right way to solve their problem. Messaging that goes too far down the road of empathizing with a customer’s problems can fail to establish that yes, you’re the authority they can trust to deliver a solution.
Making Your Story Sell
If your existing messaging isn’t getting the results you want, here are some steps you can take to adjust your strategy:
Reflect your brand story consistently across all your content: Your story isn’t just something you reserve for social media posts or your website. Integrate it into every facet of your business, from your marketing materials down to the way you talk to your customers.
Include calls to action: When your audience has read or viewed your content, what do you want them to do afterward? Spell out the point so it is crystal clear.
Include social proof: Testimonials, case studies, and client stories give your audience proof that you can help them and personalize your brand story with details that directly apply to what prospective buyers want to know.
Ask for feedback: Not sure why your audience isn’t buying? Try running a survey to find out why, then use those answers to adjust your messaging.
These tips will help you focus your brand story on what’s relevant and valuable to your ideal buyers, rather than getting lost in the weeds.
Your Branding Coach
Often business owners, who know their products and services inside and out, don’t know where to start in communicating with prospective clients. What’s essential information and what’s too much? How do you drill down to the powerful, emotionally compelling story that will motivate your audience to buy? At Squash and Stretch, our marketing coach Karl Pontau helps our clients get to the heart of their unique brand story and unlock the potential for increased growth and sales. If your current marketing is casting a wide net but catching very little, Squash and Stretch story coaching is your answer. Contact us here to get started with a free initial consultation.