There is a trend towards the use of storytelling in business – and it’s easy to see why. People love a good story.
Consider your favourite book, film, play, opera, cartoon, comic or musical. They all tell you a memorable tale that has you gripped from beginning to end.
Humans are hard-wired for story so it’s no surprise to see a business taking advantage of that.
It can be used in networking, presentations, speeches, blogs, videos, emails and sales campaigns.
When we talk about ‘story’ it’s something different to what you’d share with friends over dinner, or in a bar or café. And it’s about more than your ‘back story’ of how you got to where you are now (although that is one element of it).
A storyteller friend suggests you can break down your whole business story into sections, like chapters in a book. One way to do that is this.
The Story of You
This covers different aspects of you, your business, and your goals.
Here is where you can talk about your vision and mission. For example, I am on a mission to help many, many more VA’s become superheroes to their clients.
You can set out your values and the principles you apply in your dealings with others, in life as well as business. This could form part of your content marketing strategy.
I might talk about integrity, honesty, drive, quality, and family, for example. These are some of the things that are important to me.
The Story of You also includes your ‘why’ and your back story. How did you get to where you are today? How has it shaped you? Why is that relevant to what you are doing? Why do you do what you do?
When you are providing services, especially one to one, people want to know something about you. They want to get a sense of who you are and feel they can trust you to do the job or provide the solution for them.
What is your story?
How did you become a VA? Are you just starting out or well-established? What is your approach to life and business?
The Story of Your Client or Buyer
This is all about your market and your audience. Who is your ideal client or prospect?
This is the ‘chapter’ where you give thought to avatars, personas or profiles. How in-depth you go is up to you.
It can cover things like gender, marital status, family, profession, role, religion, location and income level; what social media platforms they use, and what magazines or newspapers they read; where they go networking; what films or TV they like.
More importantly, avatars or personas look at the challenges, problems and issues your ideal prospect has. What that means for their business and life right now. And how they might express that in their own language.
This profile can also explore how the person might view your market, industry or profession. Perceptions of the world are very much part of the composition of this characterisation of your ideal client.
You may, of course, have more than one ideal type of client. That’s quite common. You create personas for each type – and adjust your marketing story accordingly.
Or you might work in a specific niche. I focus on working with VA’s. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some corporate clients or executive assistants, PAs or other administrators. It simply means I have a clear idea of who I am most looking to help.
Who is your ideal client? Are you serving a niche? Have you given this any thought?
The Story of Your Services
When you boil it down, a business provides a service, a product or both. In the online world, the distinction can get blurred.
For example, an online training course is a product yet it also provides a service. Services can be packaged a bit like a product.
List the services you provide.
Do you manage a leader’s diary? Do you write or type up reports, papers or meeting minutes? Do you put together PowerPoint presentations? Do you handle emails and other communications? Do you create lead magnets, guides or eBooks? Do you manage social media channels?
Make a list. Make sure that people know what you can offer them.
People know that I provide a range of online courses but not everyone, for example, knows I also offer one-to-one training.
With each service, you can cover its features (what it is, what it does) and the benefits (what advantages or results it brings). People also want to know the price, of course.
If there is an interesting story behind a new service, you can build that into how you promote it.
The Story of Your Products
Products can be physical products or digital products.
For example, whilst you might provide some one-off social media services for companies, you may also have a package or two you can offer clients who want a more regular service.
What products do you offer? How did they come about?
What are the features? The benefits? The prices?
As with your services, you want to give people every reason to want to invest in your products.
The Other Stories You Can Talk About
Other ‘chapters’ you can explore in the ‘story’ of your business include delivery and customer service.
How do you deliver your products and services?
How do you communicate with your clients? How do you follow up with people?
How do you deal with complaints or an unhappy bunny?
The answers to these kinds of questions will help to shape the story you tell – and the story your prospects and clients see.
So – what’s YOUR story?