I recently had a client who wanted his website copy to sound less corporate. In my first draft, I used a story to illustrate his methods. It was still very corporate because his business is finance, but I also knew he wouldn’t want ‘nurturey’ (his term for how women do business). A draft later he had things back to his liking. He was happy.
That’s a story. Something happened. You have a reaction.
Stories work for many reasons but the big one is that we remember them better than we do a list. Being remembered is good for business. We know it could be several months before you get that first contact. Why not be the business that pops into the customer’s mind first?
Stories also work because they form an emotional connection. We buy with our gut, not our intellect. That really means we’re buying with the left side of our brain, the sensory side, the part where stories live. It turns out, according to Jennifer Aaker, marketing professor at the Stanford graduate school for business, that we process sensory information 20% faster than cognitive information.
That’s impressive – we quickly absorb stories and we retain them. As women, we’re already in the lead because this is how we naturally communicate. Just listen next time you’re at a woman’s networking session. Yes, we do numbers – and very well – but stories are us.
Storytelling for business isn’t a fad. It’s a smart way of marketing. The ad industry has long known this. And think of your testimonials; those are a kind of business story. They don’t simply say you’re good, they reflect what your perspective customer wants for herself. Good stories do this. They focus on benefits rather than features, a classic sales technique. That same principle forms a story arc:
- The problem – your client’s
- The fix – your company’s
- The conclusion – a good one (naturally!)
Tell it according to your business style. It might be one sentence, a paragraph, or a whole website (like the Wize Monkey guys). However you tell your story, it will be memorable.