How to Acquire Customers with Content

Greg Miles | 13 July

We’re all captivated by great stories. It’s a universal art that predates writing and shapes our thinking and culture. The Australian Aboriginals painted pictures on cave walls 100,000 years ago, and now all of history – everything that we know to have happened on our planet – is shared through stories.

Today, savvy brands are using this age-old practice to lure new customers to their products and services. For many of the world’s most successful brands, storytelling is at the forefront of marketing strategy.

Red Bull immediately springs to mind. An extreme example (literally), you will struggle to find any mention of the energy drink on their website. It is there, somewhere, but it’s hidden deep behind videos of skateboarders, cliff divers and mountain bikers.

The stories take centre stage but Red Bull sold 5.6 billion cans in 2014.

And fortunately, you don’t have to be one of the world’s most powerful brands to make use of this marketing tactic – though it is still massively under-utilised by many small and medium sized businesses.

If this applies to your brand, it’s time to catch up.

An effective brand story will:

  • Add excitement to your marketing message
  • Engage your audience and build stronger relationships with potential customers
  • Build an emotional connection to your products/services
  • Educate and inspire potential buyers

“The best brands are built on great stories” – Ian Rowden, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group

Make the Customer the Hero

People love to be immersed in stories, carving out a role for themselves and making it their own. In order to provide your customers with this pleasure you need to make them the heroes of your story.

Take them on a journey that transforms them from an ordinary person into someone extraordinary. Teach them something new, or better ways of doing what they already do. Educate and inspire them. Show them that the solution to their problems lies with your products and services.

Just always remember to make your story customer-centric rather than product-centric.

Activate Emotions

It’s scientific fact that our brains are more receptive to ideas and messages when they are injected with emotion.

Charities have made use of this knowledge for decades. The slow motion footage of a crying child coupled with goosebump-raising music in NSPCC adverts pulls at the heartstrings of the viewer. You build an emotional connection with the children (even if they are fictional) and feel more compelled to donate.

But you don’t have to leave your audience feeling sympathy or guilt to encourage a reaction. Positive emotions such as love, inspiration, enthusiasm and hope are just as effective. As long as you stimulate the minds of your audience with elevated emotion, they will feel a connection to your brand and will be more likely to buy.

Inspire Action

Once you’ve shown your audience the solution to their problems, it’s time to give them a little nudge towards your offers. Make it clear what their next step should be if they want to benefit from the positive outcomes described in your story.

A quick and simple call to action that jumps out of the page is all it takes. Whether it’s to download an eBook, request a free demo or contact a sales rep, it should be clear to the reader that taking the next step will put them on the right track to solving their problem.