Content StrategyMarketing

5 Keys to Telling a Compelling Story to Engage Your Customer

Selling, convincing, persuading – As a conscious entrepreneur you’re often required to do all of these, sometimes all at once and other times simply to share your message.  Most people know that the best way to convince someone of your message is to use story. Stories have the ability to grab attention, elicit emotion, which is what is needed to trigger people’s reptilian brain, (the part of the brain responsible for snap judgement and survival) and move them to action. But how can you tell a more authentic story, that doesn’t feel like pushy marketing?

What is the Reptilian Brain?

The reptilian brain is the part of the brain that is responsible for instinct and survival. It’s main focus is to avoid pain and it is the part of the brain that makes the decisions. Other parts of the brain such as the  limbic brain makes the value judgements. It is the part of the brain that is most responsible for your emotions. The third part of your brain is the neocortex which is most involved in processing the written language, complex thinking, calculating, and rationalizing your decision.

You need to first engage the reptilian brain before the other parts of the brain get involved.

So what does this mean for marketing and telling a good story?

5 Keys to Telling a Compelling Story

Every story needs a story arc – that is a beginning, middle and end that captures your customer’s attention and convinces them of the argument you are trying to make. You story arc must then start with an opening that grabs their attention. 

1. Speak to a Pain Point

The lizard brain wants to avoid pain, more than seek pleasure. Grab your customer’s attention by speaking to a pain point. What are they suffering from? How does that problem make them feel? By zoning in directly on how your solution solves this problem they have, you speak directly to that reptilian brain which immediately grabs their attention. This may seem like a slimy marketing move but think of it as a call to attention to get people to stop scrolling or zoning out. 

You need to remember that people don’t care about the features of your product or service, or how your product works, they just want to know that you can solve the problem they have and the pain that they are in. Your story should begin by appealing to the thing they are struggling with the most, for example, maybe it’s feeling busy or overwhelmed. You want to describe the feelings that the problem and pain they are in is causing them, not the actual problem itself. For example, you want to lead with the feelings of frustration or confusion, instead of the actually problem they have which may be that they don’t have enough customers or that they don’t have a plan or schedule for managing their business.

2. Create a Personal Invitation for the Adventure

You then want to create a call to adventure, which is the invitation to stop suffering and choose your solution. Your invitation needs to be personal, as if you are speaking directly to them. Appeal to the ego by using the word ‘you’ in your invitation to them and help them envision the reality that is possible for them. You are creating the idea that these results are exclusively for that individual, which appeals to the selfish nature of the ego but also the humanity of people. This invitation maybe in the form of the vision you want to create, and you are inviting them to be a part of that adventure. 

3. Use Contrast to Paint the Picture of Now and Future 

Your personal invitation should be followed up by contrast to show them what kind of pain and suffering they might remain in, and what kind of pain-free, struggle-free future they could have. Contrast what is happening in their current reality with what life could be like with your solution and help them envision what their future could be like.  Contrast helps the customer better understand the possible future, and what they may be missing out on by continuing to not do anything. 

4. Use an Example to Make it Emotional

Make the story tangible by using an example, your personal example or someone else’s story. This is the part that creates the emotional connection with the customer, because it brings alive the feelings and idea that the same future is possible for them.

5. Create a Call to Action

Every good story needs a call to action, this is simply what the customer needs to do in order to experience the same euphoric outcomes that you have offered in your story.  

Summary

A good story has a story-arc, the attention grabber, the personal invitation, the vision, the emotional connection, and call-to action. Using these elements in a heart-driven, authentic way can be powerful and doesn’t have to be icky at all. It isn’t about following a formula for a social media post, so much as having a story arc that is compelling.  

If you’re looking for a great story-telling framework reach out to me and I’ll send it to you!