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Manage Your Marketing: What’s Your Story

2439130205_5f0d6240cc_mThe word “story” gets used a lot in the business world today, and it can mean many different things. In almost all scenarios, though, your company’s story can be used as a selling tool if you do things correctly. Today we’re going to talk about different ways you can approach your story and how you can utilize that content to help increase sales.

The Story of How You Got Started

One compelling type of story is your “founding” story. Our story is fun because it is the story of 1950s entrepreneurship that has endured for close to 60 years now. Our founding story also lends itself to talking about how we have been a family-owned marketing firm from the very beginning. It allows us to talk about how the business has been in our family for three generations now. This type of information can be used in several ways. Our longevity, especially in the always-changing world of agencies, can lend credence to our expertise and our adaptability. Our status as a family-owned company can help us connect with smaller companies that are looking for high quality work along with a strong penchant for customer service.

Other people in the online world have used their “How I got started” story to good effect. Chris Brogan may be one of the best examples. Beginning with the new world of podcasting and journaling, Chris often recounts how these early experiences, together with his ability to see what’s coming next, helped him become one of the best known personalities in the marketing niche of the online world.

How did your company get started? What can we learn about you and what you sell from those early days? This is rich content unique to you. It’s a way to connect better to your industry, your prospects, and your customers.

The Story of Your Mission

Last year we spent a few weeks writing posts that were inspired by John Jantsch’s The Commitment Engine (not an affiliate link). Jantsch talks a lot about how to approach your company as a group of people on a mission versus a group of people working at the daily grind. Sometimes a mission can come from unexpected places, but you know it when you see it. The story of your mission is not going to be something like, “We want to sell as many products as possible so we can get rich.” Your mission story might be something like, “As we became more entrenched in this industry, we noticed that a lot of people who use products like ours ended up experiencing back problems. We want people to experience the same quality in our products but without the backache.”

The story of your mission can help you increase sales if it is packaged in a way that is genuine. People like to associate themselves with companies that are positive and that are trying to somehow improve the world. If your company can fit that mold, people will actually feel good about working with you. But you have to mean it.

The Story of Giving Back

Is your company involved in a lot of community events? Maybe you sponsor a Little League team or maybe your employees get together to walk or run for a good cause. These kinds of stories offer insight into the kinds of people your company employs, the kinds of issues that are important to you, and these “feel-good” stories also make you seem more real and approachable. These stories can be told in such a way that it is not bragging. They can be presented as simply sharing what you are up to. Again, people want to work with companies and brands whose values align with their own. Give people a reason to feel good about doing business with you.

Last week we talked about how approaching “content marketing” without the intent to sell is foolish. Telling these kinds of stories is a great way to combine a soft sell (which works very well with content) together with stories that will not really feel like sales messages upon receipt. These stories are about you and about your company, but they are not focused in the main on a sales message. It is nuanced. It is subtle.

Does this make sense to you? Let us know if you have any questions.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/way2go/2439130205/ via Creative Commons

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3 comments on “Manage Your Marketing: What’s Your Story

  1. I always enjoy Founding stories. I think we have a few fun ones around how Mantis got started, but my partners think it perhaps shows we were a little TOO cavalier. Me, I think it shows confidence…risk-taking…and a nice path to the maturity we have as an organization now.

  2. Hi Margie,

    Three great story ideas, thanks. Just to add one more, customer success stories. I love hearing stories about real customers and how they succeeded using the products or services of a company I am considering. It makes me feel like I can get that same success too. I am talking about a story that is more than a testimonial, but a really well told story about a customer’s background, how they discovered you, what their first interaction was like, and the steps they took to get to success.

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