Story-Driven Marketing 101

Story helps thousands of brands grow every year.

But if you’re just getting started, there are some elements of story that can easily get confusing.

So what are the simple foundational principles that you can use to set your brand apart with story at the core? Let’s jump in.

Story Principles For Brands

Big companies like Chick-fil-A, Johnson and Johnson and charity:water have all relied on using story for their brand to clarify their message and marketing.

Here are the three most basic, foundational principles that you can use in your marketing to grow your company.

Your Customer Is The Hero, Not You.

The first principle is that your customer is the hero, not you.

Most business owners have spent years creating their products or services. Refining and perfecting them for their customers. They want to tell people how hard they’ve worked to serve them. And while this is an understandable way to attack marketing, the problem is it doesn’t work.

Here’s why.

Your customer becomes important to you at the moment they enter your ecosystem. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “Well, now they’re in my ecosystem. So I need to talk about me.”

You don’t need to talk about how you created this product or that service and why it’s the best thing ever. That’s not your customer’s experience. It has nothing to do with them.

Let Your Customers Be The Hero

They have already spent decades being the hero in their own story before they ever heard of you. They’re walking around as the hero in their story by default. They are the main character. They’re the ones who want to solve their problems and win the day.

When they encounter your brand, they already have experience as the hero.

And in a story, the hero is the one who has a problem that needs to be solved. When they’re coming to you, they’re not just looking for someplace to spend their money. They’re looking to solve specific problems.

Be The Guide

When customers come across your brand and you’re talking about how awesome you are and how hard you’ve worked to get where you are, that actually positions you as the hero.

Now you’re in conflict with them. We do not want that.

This is why many marketing frameworks very clearly make your customer the hero in the story that you’re telling.

This shifts a couple things.

The story is no longer about you. You’re not sitting here talking about how hard you worked to create your product.

It’s about your customer.

And instead of talking about your journey, now you talk about your customer’s journey. This is a problem that they have, that they are experiencing now. And you can help them overcome their problem by acting as their guide.

Understanding Your Role as The Guide

Think about it this way: in Star Wars, Luke is the hero.

Luke has a number of problems that he is trying to solve to win the day.

Yoda and Obi-Wan are the guides.

Those two come alongside Luke to equip him, empower him, and give him what he needs in order to win the day. That’s what you do with your products and services.

You could also think about it like Batman’s utility belt. The story is not about the tools Batman uses to win the day. The story is about Batman actually solving the problems of himself and the people around him and winning the day.

Your products and services are the tools that the hero uses to win the day. And when you position yourself as the guide and your products and services as equipment for your heroes, they immediately understand how you help them win. They want to engage because now it’s about them and that’s what the hero wants.

Make Your Customer’s Journey Easy

The second basic story-driven marketing principle is this. We want to make your customer’s journey easy.

As we’re engaging in your customer story, we need to remember that they are on this journey themselves. That journey is already full of pitfalls. It’s already full of problems and issues that they need to overcome and when they come to your website, the question is this, are you adding problems and pitfalls to their journey?

Or are you making it super easy for them to progress, move forward, and get to that climactic scene where they solve the problem, defeat the enemy with your products and service, and win the day?

Reduce Friction On Your Website

One of the easiest ways that you can reduce friction is by making sure that a call to action button is visible, easy to click, and easy to find at all times. There are two easy ways to do that.

One, put call to action buttons all over your website.

I suggest having one call to action button that says something like “schedule a call” or “buy now.”

Put that same button all over the place. That’s going to make it easy for your customer to get in touch and start working with you.

The minute that they decide that they want to buy, they don’t have to go on a treasure hunt to find your button.

The second way to do this is to have your menu bar stay present and visible as a viewer scrolls down your site.

In website lingo, this is called a sticky header.

When using a sticky header, the call to action button in the top right corner is visible at all times.

This is what Apple does. They don’t have the buttons all over the place. They just have that button on the top, and it follows you down the whole website as you read.

Another question to ask is: what happens when the person clicks that button?

What’s that action that they’re taking?

Are you making it easy to schedule a call for them?

Are you making it easy to buy from you?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Go through their journey on your website and reduce as much friction as possible.

The Customer Relationship

The third principle is that we’re in a relationship with our customers. We want them to build it from something casual into something serious.

A lot of marketing these days focuses on screaming, “buy now!” at our customers. For the people who are ready to buy today, that’s a good thing. It’s reducing the friction.

But not everybody is ready to buy at this moment. So what happens if they’re not? They leave.

Chances are they’re never going to come back.

For this reason, what we want to do is acknowledge the stages in a relationship.

Think about dating.

When you first meet somebody you’re not ready to marry them yet. Getting married is the same as making a purchase in this sense. We want to go on dates. We want to get to know them better. We want to build trust. See if this is a person who we actually want to marry. Or in this case, who we want to do business with.

How to build trust

In business, we do that with an email sequence. This also lets us collect an email from visitors if we offer something for free in exchange. Then, we can send them emails to follow up, build trust, and deliver a ton of value so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re on their mind. And they buy from you rather than from your competition.

We also want to make sure that the lead magnet you gave away for free in exchange for your visitor’s email address is incredibly valuable.

This is another way to build trust and contribute to your authority in your field.

You should be sending emails at least weekly so that when the person thinks about buying, they’re thinking about you at that same time.

If you’re not sending emails weekly, chances are you’re going to miss that opportunity.

One More Useful Tool

Now you know the three basic principles of story-driven marketing.

Looking for the easiest way to create a website? Click on the link below to access our website blueprint. We created a full blueprint for your website that walks you through our story-based marketing framework section by section.

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