In my last post, I asked a pretty short question with a long answer - does a small business need a digital marketing strategy?
My answer was a pretty emphatic yes, every business needs a marketing strategy! Storytelling is one marketing strategy that really works for small businesses.
Ask yourself — what's your story? We don't necessarily mean that you should be telling every potential client or customer about your early years building tree houses in your backyard — instead, we're talking about the narrative for your small business (for example, here's ours!). We're talking not about your what or how, but about your why.
In an increasingly-connected global marketplace, your potential customers want to connect with you. One of the best ways to build that authentic personal connection that is the foundation of a successful Inbound Marketing strategy is telling your prospects and current customers your story.
So, What Does 'Tell Your Story' Mean in Digital Marketing?
Today's consumers aren't really that different from, say, a century ago — the technology, research, and decision-making process has definitely changed, but what hasn't changed is what your customers need in order to put their trust in your business to solve their particular problem.
In the end, we're all still searching for the equivalent of the 'neighborhood store' where everybody knows your name and asks how your day is going, no matter what sort of product or service is involved.
If your clients get to know your business from the ground up — and trust that you are just as interested in getting to know them — they'll be more likely to seek you out when it's time to make the purchase.
One of our favorite resources when putting together the basics of a marketing strategy is Simon Sinek's the Golden Circle. Taken from Sinek's groundbreaking Ted Talk, the Golden Circle is a kind of diagram that consists of three circles nested within one another. The circles go like this:
- What: This is simple: What product or service do you provide? For instance, TOMS is a company that sells shoes and engages in charitable giving. Simple as that, right?
- How: Equally simple: just answer how you provide that service. For TOMS, the how would be by utilizing the money from each pair of shoes they sell to provide one pair of free shoes to a child in need.
- Why: Now this is the hook. This is the part of the story where you grab the client. You may not realize it, but every company is telling a story. The story of TOMS is that they are dedicated to doing good by ensuring that children who otherwise might be forced to go barefoot on dirty or dangerous streets will have a pair of shoes, free of charge.
This commitment to doing good — this essential aspect of their story — is one of the biggest reasons the company has become so successful.
Your what, how, and why will be the questions you need to answer while building your strategy.
Write down your specific answers to each question. Here's an example, using a fictional HVAC company.
- What: Provide home services to homeowners like HVAC repair.
- How: Take down their repair needs and send our experienced, qualified technicians to perform repairs.
- Why: The answer here could be as simple as because it is a service almost everyone needs, and our goal is to provide that service with loyalty, customer service, and the willingness to work around our customers' schedules. Or you could add, my father started this HVAC company in 1966, and it's my goal to carry on his business and hand it down to my own children one day.
Compare these answers to your buyer personas. What aspect of your story appeals most to your personas? If you can't answer, it might be time to revisit either the personas or the answers until you can figure out how to match the two. If you can't sell the why, you'll have a hard time selling the what, too.
Getting Started with Storytelling for Content Marketing
The three answers you gave to the questions in the Golden Circle can easily help you to put together a solid foundation for your small business digital marketing strategy when it comes to producing content.
To use a local example from our hometown here in Greenville, South Carolina, let's take a look at one of our favorite places to visit: the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery.
Two women and their families looked at a dilapidated building alongside an old railroad track recently turned into a walking trail, located in a part of town that had seen better days, and saw potential. With renovation and some investment, they were able to turn a shabby old building into a local neighborhood grocery store and cafe, selling organic, local produce, high-quality grocery products, and running an excellent coffee bar and small cafe out of one side.
They've been so successful that they have expanded not once, but twice, to provide even more locally-focused services to the community.
The founders of the Swamp Rabbit Cafe told their story right from the beginning. They picked out social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to be active on, and posted pictures, candid shots from behind-the-scenes of their day to day life, and photos and videos of what they cooked and sold to customers. They built a marketing strategy that emphasized connection and community, and they never stopped telling their why.
When putting together your inbound marketing strategy, you'll be primarily sitting down to work out how you can make your story connect to your ideal customer. Then, you'll need to do some research to find them where they are.
With Inbound Marketing, you don't go chasing after customers, but instead compel them to turn to you as the perfect solution to their unique problem. Once you know your story and who you're hoping to tell it to, you'll be ready to start putting together your plan of attack.
What If You Prefer to Focus on Growing Your Business, Not Telling Your Story?
This is really a trick question, because telling your story is an essential part of growing a small business. For a small business owner, your business is your baby — you want to help it grow and succeed and don't want to lose time focusing on the small details and missing the big picture.
That's where Waypost Marketing comes in.
Waypost Marketing is a digital marketing company in Greenville, South Carolina. We're prepared to tell your story from the ground up. Our Inbound Marketing packages include everything from web design to content creation, social media, and more — including video marketing!
Reach us by phone at (864) 288-6162 or contact us online at any time to get started improving your marketing efforts today.