I’ve dedicated my life to using words to inspire others. (Yes, really. I left a cushy corporate job to spend more time writing things I love.) My mission is to help you build a successful business and show your leads the life-changing transformation your services have to offer.
I’d love to be the one who writes that story for you. But if that’s not something you’re ready for, I’m more than happy to share what I know so you can DIY your words with confidence.
Want to see something on the blog that’s not already here? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure it’s added to the list!
Hi, I'm Val
Storytelling, storytelling, storytelling. Everyone and their mothers are yapping that you need to incorporate more storytelling in your digital marketing. But is it true?
If you are growing a business that thrives off connection with your audience, then yes, storytelling is always a good idea.
I’m taking a step down from the chorus of those voices (although I’m not bringing my mother with me—she’ll be reading this just like you. Hi mom! Love you!) to talk to you about why storytelling is important, misconceptions you might have about telling them, and five storytelling examples for marketing that will have the biggest impact on developing a relatable, trustworthy, and authority-building brand for your small service-based business.
Let’s get to it.
Storytelling is the activation of the imagination with ideas, images, and dialogue. The goal of telling a story is to help others see, understand, or connect with a particular set of circumstances or moments. And as a small business providing a service, your marketing strategy relies on helping your ideal client see, understand, or connect with the particular set of circumstances your offers can create for her in a positive and desirable way. Hence, why storytelling and marketing work so well together!
According to Search Engine Watch, storytelling can boost conversion rates by 30%. Why? Because, in my professional opinion, stories help people see what’s possible. And when people can see what’s possible and like what they see, they act.
It’s in our nature to act out of our own self-interest. Especially when it comes to 3 or 4+ figure financial decisions. So when we have the opportunity to help people really sense what’s waiting for them when they just say yes, we’ve got to tell the story.
You might have some reservations (or dare I say, limiting beliefs) around what it means to tell a good story or to incorporate storytelling in your digital marketing. Let’s talk about them and then show them the door.
Believe me. I get it. I’m an introvert. My social battery depletes fast. Small talk gives me anxiety and I’m not one of those people who can talk to a brick wall. (If you can, you’ve got skill.) I certainly don’t crave attention and I’m rarely funny on purpose.
The idea of being responsible for someone else’s happiness and humor fills me with so much dread that I never wanted to write a word again.
Despite how you feel, your storytelling doesn’t need to be entertaining to be effective. Can it help? Of course—especially if your ideal client wants to be entertained. But more important than entertainment is feeling.
Your words need to make your reader feel something about you and your services. Preferably excitement, intrigue, trust, inspiration, and particularly, empowerment.
Being funny doesn’t close a sale. Inspiring and empowering does.
Soooooo not true. The most impactful stories keep interest and curiosity alive, especially until you ask your audience to do something. It’s actually in your best interest to tell bits and pieces of your story at a time and bring your reader on a journey to experience it all. Are the terms customer journey and experience ringing any bells?
If you told the entire story of your brand, your experience, and your offers on your Home page, you’re giving your reader a one-way ticket to the ‘X’ button in the right hand corner of their screen. Why? Because you’d overwhelm them. And overwhelmed people with problems they want solved don’t have time to figure out your stories. They just need to experience them.
Talking about your brand, your experience, and your offers over and over again is in your best interest! And if you have proof that a particular story has resonated with your audience (maybe you noticed your email had a higher than average click rate or you received replies or DMs starting conversations), tell it again either in a new deliverable or in a few weeks.
Stories are not meant to be told once, but repurposed and retold!
Please remind yourself that this is statistically impossible. In a world of seven billion people, there’s no way your story will be the only story that sounds like yours. And this is a good thing. We thrive off of shared experiences and they bring us closer together. Lean into the parts of your story you can use to connect with your ideal client and tell them often. People will love DMing you about their own experiences and you’ll start to form strong relationships!
Now that we’ve shown these piddling storytelling misconceptions the door, let’s turn our attention to the stories your brand needs to be telling to help you make money and grow your business.
Your brand story (AKA your brand messaging) is the story that brings life to your business and guides all of your content and marketing. Without it, you’re just a person on internet who has not built the authority or gained the trust required for consistent and sustainable conversions. No one wants to be her.
Some questions you’ll need to answer to develop your brand story include: Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? Where does it happen? How do you do it? How do you do it differently? What transformation do you help clients go through? How does it work?
If you plan to create a personal brand built on connection and relationships, telling your own story is crucial. People who want to invest in themselves also want to know who the heck they’re handing their money and telling all their deep dark secrets to.
Plus, your story is the most valuable tool at your disposal in a sea of crowded social media platforms. Your life experience can help you stand out in your industry and create connection and trust with your audience.
Stuck on how to tell your own story? Consider these questions before writing: Who are you and why did you start your business? What problem did you notice that you realized you could solve? How did you act on it? What happened then and how did you end up where you are now? Why do you love what you do? Who are you outside of your business? What do you like and dislike? What are your personal values? How do you relate to your ideal client? What might you connect on?
Unfortunately, we wouldn’t have businesses without people who need help solving a problem! Knowing the story of your person—what’s going on in her life during the time of her problem, what she ultimately wants, and her behaviors—is required if you want to sell her a solution.
And being able to show her you know her story? A one-way ticket to painting you as an expert and her no-brainer solution.
Before you get writing, consider these questions: Who is your ideal client? What are her habits? What does she like or dislike? Where is she in the buyer’s journey? How does she usually make purchases? What is she going through, struggling with? Desiring? Keeping her from achieving that desire? Holding her back from taking action?
Like I mentioned earlier, we all make decisions in our own self-interest. People want things. And consequently, people are willing to spend money to get what they want. Are you showing your audience how your service or solution will get them what they want? And are you doing it in a way that makes that desire seem…desirable? Desirable enough to buy right now?
To tell an inspiring transformation story, you’ll need to think about these questions: What does the transformation you offer your clients look like? Who was your ideal client before she started working with you? Who does she become after? How does that transformation happen? What of her challenges do you address? Which of her desires do you fulfill? What results can you share?
My favorite story, but alas—the most overlooked story in the world of service-based business.
The Impactful Moments story involves telling little mini-stories inside of stories like the Ideal Client Story and the Transformation Story. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “This girl is crazy. She wants me to tell a story IN a story that I’m already struggling with?!”, take a deep breath. Because it’s so much simpler than you’re imagining it to be.
Think of the Impactful Moments story as small moments in time you use to connect with your reader. Kind of like little movie scenes.
For example, if you are a professional organizer and your ideal client is the mom of a busy family who struggles to keep her home in order, describe what that actually looks like instead of saying, “Are you a mom of a busy family struggling to keep her home in order?” and hoping she has the time to nod her head yes.
The Impactful Moments story would look more like…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever…
Let your laundry pile up in the laundry room or on the couch because soccer practice drags you out the door.
Forgotten to send your daughter off to school with the signed permission slip for her field trip because it wasn’t next to her backpack?
Not been able to park your car in your garage thanks to a mountain of sports equipment and outdoor toys?
Now doesn’t that make you feel like this person really understands your problems and that you want to learn more about how they can help?
To tell the Impactful Moments story, go deeper. What does it really look like for your ideal client to experience her struggles? What do her desires really look like?
Five storytelling examples your brand and marketing need to be telling so you can build brand authority, show your expertise, create relationships built upon shared experiences and trust, and drive conversions. Which one are you most excited to try first?
If this is the first time we’re meeting—hello! My name is Val Casola and I’m a website copywriter and brand storyteller for creative and lifestyle brands who want to articulate their value and grow their business.
Come say hi over on Instagram or send me an email at email@example.com! Thanks for reading!
Use your story to show you're the expert who gets it and has a solution to help.
Credentials and education aren’t the only drivers of expertise. With this guide, you’ll learn to use your coming-to-be story to build trust and make your leads feel comfortable learning from and hiring you.
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