This might seem like someone got the title backwards but just bear with me on this intro as it’s extremely important for an online marketer. Any good salesperson knows that an effective presentation will include material that will help the prospect become more emotionally engaged and connected with the service or product. Traditionally, this would be done through stories as that’s the fastest way someone can connect with you-by relating to an experience from their own past.
One of the most crucial aspects of a successful online marketing campaign is the content that is generated. This may be written content or digital. Great content normally gives great information, perspective, awe, or entertainment.
While a great content piece may have a great story, it might not actually connect on the same level with an online user as a personal presentation used to. Consider that the online audience reads at most 28% of the content on a web page according to studies. So chances are you will just scan this article.
Now, if you have a great story to tell, how much can you tell with less than a third of your content being read? Even digital content such as videos and audio most likely get cut short from the full time. And this is understandable because people are constantly checking for Facebook/Twitter updates, reading news pieces, playing highly addictive games, or get inundated with messages.
Later in this article I will cover how story telling is extremely important, but how the medium has shifted from the direct storytelling to how people are presented with the information.
The idea of an online sale is much more complex than a person just making a buying decision. Each person goes through a natural sales funnel whereby their search either concludes with a purchase or with the abandonment of their curiosity. But the sales line is not as flat these days. Even if a purchase is not made by that user, the potential for that user to make a tremendous contribution to the bottom line is still there. This is where facts and how they are presented come into play.
For example, let’s say a user is looking for an online marketing platform, a CRM, or a certain product/service. Traditional search methods used to involve asking their nearest trusted sources for advice and would grow from there. Now not only will they ask for references, but afterwards they will STILL go to their favorite search engine and not only search for actual products/services but also for reviews and the experiences of others until that neuron in their brain fire a chain reaction that makes them hit the “Buy” button.
Let’s say they have decided not to make a purchase, but you were so savvy in your content generation that you have made it a point to use well placed facts or information at strategic points on your website or presentation. An example of this would be surveys, infographics , fun facts, entertaining content, etc. The fact is that a larger percentage of users will be more attracted to a well thought out piece of information than a story and will be more likely to share it.
These facts act as a stimulus to online users as more and more are constantly looking for new information, facts, and ways to educate themselves. In the online world, when people share this information it is as good as a purchase if not even better. The SEO benefits alone could lead to generally higher search engine visibility leading to more traffic and sales. Great facts are more easily shared than great stories because
Ultimately it is not a story that will make them have that reaction because they probably have not heard the story. So the story must be told in different ways that consider the facts. If facts get the people there, or get them to spread the word, what happens to the story?
The story is not so much the action or history anymore, but the actual platform and consistency of a websites messaging. For example, Facebook has a story and it’s not that a Harvard student built it from his dorm. The story of Facebook is actually created by the platform and how it allows users to engage and create their own story. The story of Google is not that it was created as a thesis by Stanford grads but that it delivers quick and simple results that are the most relevant to the searcher’s intent.
This can be the same in the tone of a blog or company in how they present their message and not the message itself. The brand and image is built from the attitude of the business and their consistency. So in essence branding and medium is the new form of storytelling.
In conclusion I wanted to leave you with the idea that in the new digital age facts have more sales power because they get users’ attention at a faster and more predictable rate. The story still exists but is now part of a business’s consistent behavior or platform rather than a linear demonstration of uniqueness.
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