Attracting customers as a small business can be a daunting task. You have to put out lots of different types of ads, post on social media regularly, and boost customers’ awareness of your brand at the same time. But online PPC ads and social media announcements aren’t the only tools in your kit. You can and should also use content marketing and storytelling to attract customers – and forge connections with them that will last for years to come.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing, put simply, is any type of marketing that involves creating and distributing non-advertisement content. That includes:
- Blog posts
- YouTube video content
- Guides and tutorials
- Social media posts, etc.
The key distinction between content and “regular” marketing is that content marketing isn’t only focused on advertising to its audience. Content marketing can include ads or product plugs, but that’s not the (ostensibly) primary purpose. In some cases, email marketing counts as content marketing, but it depends on what the email contains.
The point of content marketing is to educate, inform, or attract audience members to your brand. The more effective content marketing is the more brand authority you build with your potential customers.
How Does Storytelling Affect Marketing Success?
Storytelling is an art form as old as human civilization. In the modern era, it can significantly impact the success of your marketing campaigns. But how?
Storytelling helps build an emotional bridge between your target audience members and your products or your brand as a whole. If you can successfully apply storytelling to your content marketing, that content:
- Will usually have a higher conversion rate
- Will connect more deeply to your target audience members
- May cause new customers to become long-term customers if they truly align with your brand and its message
Think of storytelling as a “secret sauce” your brand can leverage for even better marketing gains. On top of that, storytelling can be applied to your content marketing materials in various smart ways.
How To Use Storytelling and Content Marketing To Maximize Marketing Returns
So, how can you use content marketing and storytelling to attract customers to your money? Let’s look at six ways you can blend these two elements for truly impressive marketing results.
Create Multiple Types of Content
Firstly, you should create multiple types of content for your website or online store. That means putting out a few blog posts every month at a minimum, having a few YouTube videos or tutorials, and a few guides related to your industry.
By creating multiple types of content, you widen the content marketing net you cast. The more content you put out, the greater the odds that one of your target audience members will find your brand and decide to make a purchase. Don’t only make posts or only make YouTube videos, for example.
No matter what content you do craft, remember this above all else: be authentic. Modern customers are very capable of recognizing inauthentic marketing materials and will quickly abandon your brand if they detect it.
- Isn’t overly sappy or cheesy
- Doesn’t represent itself as “the best” for anything
- Prioritizes audience knowledge and imparting value instead of generating revenue
For example, if you make a blog post tutorial for updating your website, the blog post should only include tutorial information about that subject. It shouldn’t suddenly peel off into an advertisement for your hosting service or something similar in the middle.
Always Speak to Your Target Audience
Next, be sure to speak to your target audience in all the content you put out. That means:
- Speaking in a tone of voice and language level that your audience will appreciate/understand
- Discussing information without dumbing it down for your audience too much
- Providing value that your audience members may not already have, not simply restating the obvious or fluffing up your blog posts with wasted words
You’ll stand a better chance of connecting with your target audience if you speak directly to them. As your audience members connect with your company, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase now and in the future.
Introduce a Problem and the Solution
Now, let’s bring storytelling into the mix. To effectively use storytelling in your content marketing:
- First, introduce a problem or issue. For example, you can point out that small business owners need an easy web platform to build their first online stores.
- Next, introduce the solution, which should be the content you made (not your core products!). If needed, you can use hypotheticals and imagery to make the story a little more compelling or engaging.
If you break down the problem you hope a piece of content will solve, your readers will automatically insert themselves as the protagonists in the story. Then, by the end, they’ll feel as if they have reached a resolution and be more satisfied with the content.
Crucially, you should never oversell your products or services when practicing content marketing. It’s okay to include a few ads or plugs for your products here and there, but you should not make your content exclusively about trying to get people to buy, buy, buy.
Instead, keep your content to the point and focus on its original goal, whether informing the audience, building trust, or boosting your brand’s authority. That, together with offering convenient payment services, will make people trust your company more than anything.
Share Customer Stories Where Appropriate
Lastly, don’t hesitate to share customer stories in your content marketing pieces, like blog posts and YouTube videos. Customer stories can serve as miniature storytelling vectors in those content pieces, providing your target audience with more proof of your company’s excellence and acting as testimonials on your behalf.
Content marketing and storytelling can work in conjunction to maximize your marketing efforts. When leveraged properly, content marketing can do wonders for your small business and help it grow in the minds of your audience members faster than you can imagine.