Do you ever wish marketing was easier? Could it be that you're making it harder than it actually is? Probably so. I know I did at one time. One way to make it easier is by learning to tell your compelling story.
One important component of successful marketing, is having a strong brand working for you behind the scenes. If you do a good job of branding, all your marketing will work better. Today I want to talk about one important component of marketing and branding, and that is learning to tell your compelling story.
Everyone has a unique story that plays an important part in creating their brand. But, you have to become an expert at telling your compelling story. If you think about it for a minute, one of the first things someone asks you when they first meet you is, “What you do”?
Just so you know, folks are looking for the “short version”. This is a 1 to 3 sentence answer that clearly states exactly what you do. It's safe to say they are probably plotting their escape in less than 5 minutes if you're not able to grab their attention quickly with a short answer.
I have put some examples in this week's show that will help you with this process, but here's one for you:
“I'm a local real estate investor that buys houses from folks that need to sell quickly. And in the process, I am able to help a lot of people in tough situations and improve neighborhoods at the same time”.
Can you see how that paints a picture for the person asking the question?
Your Compelling Story
Next, most people will typically ask how you got started in that business. That's where your story comes in. Once again, they don't want the 20-30 minute version. This should be just enough information so that they ask questions; so that they ask you to tell them more.
It's important to understand that people don't really care as much about you and what you do, as they do about what you can do for them. So what they are really trying to find out is, “How can knowing you benefit me? Or, what's in it for me?”
It's Harsh but True….
That might seem a bit harsh, but it’s the truth. Once you understand this, you can craft your compelling story. There are also 2 versions of your story.
There is the short version that compels them to ask for more. Then there is the longer more in-depth version that they might find on your website. Remember that this is true for direct mail also. Go over why you are the best person for the job in a few sentences, then move on to how you can help them. Focus on that.
As I said before, in order to grow your business and your brand, it’s essential that you become an expert at telling your story. So, the next inevitable question is, how do you get to be an expert this? Or for that matter, an expert at anything?
First you have your compelling story, then you need to deliver it in a way so that people are interested and you and they want to work with you instead of your competitor.
Here Are a Couple of Other Examples
If you were to say something like, “I’m a real estate investor that helps people that have an unwanted property find a solution that works for them”. That is a clear concise statement. You can also add this especially if you are looking for private money:
“I also partner with a lot of folks like you that want to earn an above average return on their investment, and they like that their investment is safe and is secured by real estate”.
Let’s face it; when it comes to real estate investors we are all pretty much alike. We buy houses. We solve problems. So how can you stand out from everyone else? How can you be memorable? That’s where your story comes in. That’s where your brand comes into play. A strong, memorable brand is the secret sauce when it comes to marketing.
People Remember Compelling Stories
People may forget some of the details about you or your business; they may even forget your name or the name of your business. But, they always remember a great story.
Remember this Story?
Who can forget the story about J. K. Rowling the author of the Harry Potter books. She wrote the books in a café because she couldn’t afford heat for her home. I’m pretty sure that she never dreamed that living in a cold apartment would be such an integral part of her own story but it was.
People could identify with her struggle and they rooted for her when she was successful
What about TOMS Shoes? Everyone knows that for every pair of TOMS sold, they give one away to a needy child. They created their story and made sure everyone knew about it.
Everyone has a story and it’s up to you to create your own compelling story. Your story tells people how you got where you are today and what happened along the way. It also shows people how you got to be the person you are today. All of this helps build your credibility.
Crafting Your Own Compelling Story
Do you remember when I said this; when someone asks you what you do they are really only looking for 2 or 3 sentences? In order to create your story, you need to be able to answer some basic questions first.
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to write your story.
- What do you do? Using as few words as possible, describe what you do
- Why do you do it? Why did you choose this “thing”?
- Who is your target audience? Who is it you are speaking to or marketing to?
- Why are you unique? (This is really important)
- Why should they choose you?
Once you have these answers, condense them into no more than 2 or 3 sentences. This is what you will say when someone asks you what you do. Tell them just enough so that they want to know more.
Remember when you are writing your compelling story, it needs to be a real story. People aren’t looking for a resume, or a list of certifications. They want to know YOU. In order to make other people care about you, you must get really clear on who you are.
- They want to know your superpower – what makes you special? Are you a probate expert? Do you specialize in handicapped housing? Maybe it's student rentals? What is it that makes you different or special?
- People want to know your struggles and how you solved those problems so they can better identify with you. They want to know that you are just like them. You had problems and challenges, but you overcame them.
- Your target audience needs to be able to relate to you and your story .
Telling Your Story
When you are telling your story, leave the fancy marketing language behind. Just tell your story in your voice as if you were speaking to one person. That’s how you make an emotional connection with other people. In other words, just be “real”; just be yourself.
One place where you need your compelling story is on your “about me” page on your website. Anyone trying to make a decision about whether or not they want to work with you will almost certainly base part of that decision in part on what they learn about you here. This is where you can tell the longer version of complete story.
Great Storytellers Make you Feel Like You Know Them
Carrie Wilkerson is known as the “Barefoot Executive”. For as long as I can remember Carrie has shared her story on her website. From struggling to grow her business with 4 small children (one of which has special needs), to her decades long struggle with her weight. She tells her story, shares her successes and her struggles. She has also chronicled her journey with pictures. I have never met Carrie but I feel like I know her. Her readers feel connected to her.
Now it’s Time to Write Your Story
Take these tips and begin writing your story. This will be one of the building blocks of your success.
Would you Rather Listen? Here's Your Podcast – Telling Your Compelling Story
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Check out this article. Say Cheese. The #1 Reason Your Brand Isn't a “Thing” Yet.
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