Marketers can't seem to stop talking about the power of storytelling. More than ever, it's becoming a driving force in content marketing strategies that help grow businesses.
One of the most popular and powerful storytelling methodologies out there is Donald Miller's StoryBrand. Using a simple framework, StoryBrand leverages storytelling to help companies clarify (and simplify) marketing messages and create effective marketing plans that generate more leads.
This may seem like jargon that's only useful to marketers.
As StoryBrand Certified Guides, we've used this methodology to help clients sell more online.
What Does StoryBrand Help You Achieve?
It's first important to understand what StoryBrand does.
Yes, StoryBrand helps you generate more online sales. But how?
Fundamentally, it does two things:
StoryBrand Helps Companies Overcome the Curse of Knowledge
When companies are so close to their products or services, they project that knowledge onto their customers. You see this all day, every day. Companies and organizations assume customers understand what they're saying, but they don't. This is a problem StoryBrand helps fix.
- A seven-part framework: StoryBrand uses seven categories of text (i.e., the StoryBrand framework) to help clarify your brand's messaging. This framework should be referenced to tell one consistent story throughout all marketing efforts.
- Your BrandScript: The seven-part framework is used to create a succinct script that tells your overarching brand story in a way that will resonate with your audience.
- Your StoryBrand sales funnel: These are the physical pieces of marketing collateral that will be used to tell your brand's story in a way that piques interest and closes more sales.
StoryBrand Helps Customers and Prospects "Conserve Calories" and Understand How They Can Survive and Thrive
The human brain is designed to do two things: conserve calories and help you survive and thrive.
When customers and prospects are reading your marketing messages, they're asking themselves, "How will this product or service help me survive and thrive?" It's part of how every person is hardwired.
As it relates to the B2B world, this translates into, “How will this product or service help me do my job better (survive) or allow my company to succeed (thrive)?”
This is why you need to associate your product or service with survival, and the StoryBrand messaging framework helps you do that.
If a reader is confused by your messaging or left unsure of how your product or service can benefit them, they'll start daydreaming. This is a survival mechanism. When people consume information that's not telling them how they can survive and thrive, their brains conserve calories and check out. This is why you need to develop clear messaging that puts the needs of your target audience first and keeps them engaged.
The Three Basic Tenets of StoryBrand
To help companies combat the curse of knowledge and understand how they can survive and thrive while conserving calories, StoryBrand adheres to these three tenets:
Always Position Your Customers as Heroes
The StoryBrand methodology relies on the fundamentals of storytelling because stories help people make sense of things. Stories are also formulaic and keep people intrigued over a period of time.
The central figure of every story is the hero. You always need to position your customers as heroes because no one wants to read about you—they only want to read about how you can benefit them and help them succeed. It's your job to help them become heroes in their personal narratives.
Always Associate Your Products and Services With the Survival of Your Customers
By doing this, you'll increase interest in your brand, and ensure customers and prospects see your products and services as being essential.
Never Use Language That's Cluttered or Hard to Process
If you're going to effectively associate your products and services with survival, you'll need to communicate using simple language that's easy to understand.
This means your messaging should be clear over clever. Cleverly worded marketing copy will produce confusion. Use simple sentence structures, adjectives and verbs that most people will understand. If a lot of your marketing copy consists of lengthy sentences with many commas and industry jargon, it may be time to rethink that copy.
As someone who knows your complicated business, you're going to want to make your messaging more complex than it should be. The StoryBrand framework can help you avoid this.
What Does the StoryBrand Seven-Part Framework Help You Achieve?
The StoryBrand framework is seven categories of text that work together to tell a consistent, compelling, simple story. When you craft your messaging strategy around your simplified story, you'll help your prospects stay engaged, eliminate confusion and help your prospects and customers know exactly how they're benefitting.
1. A Character
In the first part of the framework, you'll identify your ideal customer and define what they want. Remember, this ideal customer is the hero of your story. In the B2B space, this character should be a generalization of an ideal company you want to work with.
2. With a Problem
Stories contain conflict. That's why you should take the time to identify the three types of problems your ideal customer faces:
- External: What are the physical challenges your customers are struggling with?
- Internal: What are your ideal customers feeling that they aren't necessarily expressing?
- Philosophical: What injustices is your company or brand helping your character overcome?
3. Meets A Guide
Your story's hero needs a solution provider that will help them succeed.
Your story should include all of the reasons you should be trusted to lead your customer to success. To do this, you need to express empathy and demonstrate authority, using testimonials, impressive statistics, industry certifications, etc. The key is to not go overboard when talking about yourself. Otherwise, you become the hero of the story.
4. Who Gives Them a Plan
Now that you've identified your hero's problems and have earned their trust, your story needs to tell them exactly how to work with you. Lay out a three- to five-step plan that explains what your process is and how it leads to their success.
5. That Calls Them to Action
At this point in the story, your hero should feel compelled to take action. They should be looking to "buy now" or "schedule an appointment."
Of course, not every customer will be ready to make a purchase. This is why it's important to provide these customers a different type of call to action that encourages additional education, whether that be to download an ebook or request a demo.
That Results In…
Never assume people will know how your brand can change their lives. Tell them by offering a vision for how great their lives could be after buying your product or service.
7. And Helps Them Avoid Failure
If there's nothing at stake in this story, there is no story. This is why you need to communicate the cost of not doing business with you.
What Does a BrandScript Help You Achieve?
Your StoryBrand BrandScript will pull from the seven categories of text in the framework to create messaging that directly communicates with targets in the right way to drive sales.
It will consist of simple, relevant and repeatable statements that will be used throughout —and drive—all of your messaging.
Here's an example of what a BrandScript can look like:
What Does a StoryBrand Sales Funnel Help You Achieve?
Once you have your BrandScript written, you can use it to create a sales funnel that includes five components:
- A corporate one-liner
- A homepage wireframe
- A lead-generating PDF (i.e., a sales sheet)
- A five-email sales-focused email campaign
- A sales letter
Your corporate one-liner should be one or two sentences of copy that pique the interest of prospects and generate interest. Your StoryBranded homepage will pull from every category of text in the seven-part StoryBrand framework to create an engaging experience that inspires website visitors to take action.
The other three sales funnel components nurture your website leads and help you close sales.
There are very specific ways to build out all of these components so that they follow the StoryBrand methodology and effectively incorporate the seven categories of text from the StoryBrand framework and your BrandScript.
To build out a StoryBrand sales funnel, you should rely on expert guidance.
Why Do You Need a StoryBrand Certified Expert?
B2B companies waste an enormous amount of money on marketing and messaging that doesn’t inspire prospects to make a purchase. This is often because internal decision-makers are so ingrained in the complexities of their business that they struggle with telling one simple story that will resonate with their target audience.
Creating simple, yet effective messaging is difficult. As Mark Twain infamously said, “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
As StoryBrand Certified Experts, we understand the importance of clear and concise messaging. We know what it takes to integrate complex, dynamic offerings into easy-to-understand, compelling stories.
StoryBrand Certified Experts receive education directly from Donald Miller and the StoryBrand team to hone in their skills. Additionally, they are given access to exclusive resources and a network of experts to stay on top of trends and best practices.
Reach out today to get started on simplifying your marketing message and turn your business into an online sales machine.