If you were to ask me which marketing components I’d rather never do without, I’d say that you absolutely must have three: PROOF, PRESTIGE, and PATH. And of these three, the most important (and all-encompassing) is what I call your path, or your STORY.
That’s because there is nothing without your story. Even your proof elements – prestigious clients, successful case studies, and positive client testimonials – tell a story. They indirectly tell the story that you are an expert who has done this kind of work over and over again. It tells the story that if the client hires you, maybe THEY will be the next success story.
I’ve seen consultants whose entire marketing is basically stories. There’s one in particular whose entire marketing funnel is basically telling story after story, and this person has done AMAZINGLY well. Of course, their work is amazing, don’t get me wrong. But so are the stories that pre-sell and pre-frame the conversation.
Today, I want to share some example stories you can inject into your marketing today.
This is one of the more common stories, and you only need one in your marketing. How did you discover the unique mechanism you use in your business? (What I call your “Prestige” in the 11 Marketing Factors) How did you discover the power of the solution you provide to solve the problem your ideal client has? That’s your discovery story.
This story is often told in a problem – struggle- discovery – success format, with your “discovery” being the solution you now sell. (Hopefully, this is a unique mechanism!)
I’m calling this one your client’s “discovery” story, because it puts the focus on the client’s transformation instead of on yours. In this type of story, your client goes from problem, to struggle, to discovery (that’s when you get involved), to success. It’s a mirror of your story, and proof that your unique mechanism (e.g., that thing you do) works not just for you, but for others.
String stories hone in on a specific element in the Problem – Struggle – Discovery – Success format across clients/projects and tie them together. For example, let’s say you talked to a client and they shared another story of how they “used” to do things. For example, let’s say they “used” to have to uber everywhere because they weren’t fit enough to walk a block down the street. This is another struggle example, right? You could really dig deep into that, maybe combine this story with someone else’s struggle story. You could even string together a bunch of them to press the pain button, and then – voila! – you show the solution and how it affected each of those people. (This is used a lot in infomercials.)
This is a story of YOU (usually) where you show a day in your life (or a client’s life) now that the problem has been solved and you live in SuccessLand. This is the kind of story marketing gurus who sell to other marketers will be like, “I get to putz around until noon, I write an email, make a thousand bucks, and go laugh at all the schmucks who still have a day job” sort of story. Obviously, your story will be a lot better and more heartfelt than that, but you get the idea.
Imagine Jesus were a marketer for a moment. Now, what would Jesus do? He’d tell an allegory, of course! This is another type of story you can use to illustrate what it is you do and how what you do benefits your clients. Often these are told in a style that’s a bit like, “When I was young, I used to ….. and one day (lesson learned)…. and that’s exactly what happens when you (engage in/buy whatever it is you sell)”.
👇 What stories did I miss? Post them in the comments below. 👇
Lynn Swayze is a direct response copywriter and the CMO of IDRM LLP. She helps firms identify and develop their "11 Marketing Factors" so they stand out in the crowd. She also helps firms make their marketing ACCOUNTABLE, so they do more of what works and begin to see ROI from their marketing efforts.
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