Market your business. Start with your story.

When people ask me how they can market their business to success, I tell them to tell a story

Market your business and arouse emotion

Why? Stories arouse emotion, grab your attention. And they move you to action. Combined they are all very useful activities when you are trying to get your target audience to listen.

Besides that, stories are so much more interesting than a series of facts, or a bullet list of statistics. Yes, data supports your story, but it should BE your stmarketory, written as a narrative and not read like a statistical analysis.

Your story contains the emotion behind what you do along with the who, when, where, why, how, and so what?

A sample story

A few years ago, my sign shop, Signarama Vermont, offered free and steeply discounted signage to non-profits who applied for them. We called the program Grants for Success, and in one particular year, we received an application from a local nonprofit that serves the needs of children with cancer. It’s a year-round program that offers a respite from the day-to-day worries and medical treatments the kids receive as cancer patients, and returns to them their childhoods even if for just one week.

Pretty amazing organization, right? In addition to providing us the statistics that showed how much they supported their clients, the marketing director made certain we knew that they lacked facilities signage. In other words, they didn’t even have a main sign by the entrance to let the kids and their families know they had arrived.

Were signs important to them? They thought so, and explained why in their application.

Signs, they said, are a welcoming gesture, and their clientele deserved a warm, happy greeting to start their camp experience. Signs that say, “hello, we’re glad you’re here.”

Because of their story, this nonprofit received a package of signage—free-standing and building signs—for FREE. Not because the other nonprofits didn’t deserve free signage, too (and we only provided 100% discounted sign packages to two nonprofits each year), but because of the strength of their story. It moved me and my staff to tears.

What their story did was tell us the who (the campers), what (they provide them an experience where fun is the center of their day, not their disease), when (as soon as they arrive at camp), where (the camp’s physical facilities, which would benefit greatly with the addition of signs that included the nonprofit’s logo and colors), why (because fun and camaraderie is important for healing), how (through lots of great programming and a very well trained staff), and so what (because kids with cancer deserve a camps like this.).

And it was compelling to read.

Some last thoughts on telling your story

You can write stories that are funny, tragic, self-explanatory, educational, and client-oriented. Always make them relevant to your clients, no matter what angle you write from or story that you tell. All of this can be part of your market strategy.

Tell your best stories and in them, weave the points you want to make. Draw parallels between two stories that seem unrelated upon first glance, but offer a deeper meaning when analyzed. Stories do a wonderful job of showing people what something means, rather than telling them, which often sounds shallow and self-serving. A demonstration is so much more effective.

Final words

Stories are fascinating and easy to tell. If it sounds difficult to think them up, stop. Think about your business life and what has happened recently. Think about client interactions, and ask yourself, how have you helped your clients, how have you solved their problems. That’s why you even have clients—you solved their problems. Now write down the answers to these questions, and there are your stories. They are most definitely blog posts you can use, articles for LinkedIn, and social media posts.

Keep a running list of stories and insights for future use. Pretty soon, you’ll be a consistent storyteller and your readership and traffic to your website will increase. Success, my friend, can be found through storytelling.