Every story should begin with a character, your customer (or potential customer) who wants something. In movies, writers identify the hero at the start of the movie and, within a matter of minutes, the audience knows what they want. What does your character (your customer) want?
For example, if 12 minutes into The Bourne Identity the audience still doesn’t know exactly what Jason Bourne wants, they’re going to walk out.
When you define something your customer wants, you invite them into a very specific story… your customer should be positioned as the HERO in your story. Most businesses place themselves at the centre (about us… we’ve been in business since 1977, we support charities, we do this, we do that…. Blah, blah, who cares?) Your customer is looking for you to invite them into a story.
Ask: What do my customers want as it relates to my brand? Is my brand known for one thing it offers?
You must summarise what you offer in just a few words, as simply as possible. The entire framework is about simplifying and clarifying your marketing message so customers connect. If you throw out multiple solutions to multiple problems, you’ll be ignored. The human brain just isn’t made to process that many storylines. To see a few great examples of websites that have used the SB7 framework, click here.
If your customer has to think too hard, you will lose their attention and they will bounce to another website, or forget your marketing message entirely. You have to be known for something, preferably one thing.
Each day we are bombarded by marketing messages and almost none of them stick in our brain. Think about it, today alone, you will be served at least 3,500 pieces of marketing information;
· Social media ad’s
· Google Search ad’s
· Bus Advertising
· Display ads on websites
· The list goes on…
Here is a challenge for you: from all of the ad’s you saw/heard today, name at least three brands/products. I do this exercise all the time with my audiences and I have yet to find someone that can name even two. This is why MOST marketing is a waste of money. Get clear with your message, use the StoryBrand framework so that it connects with your audience…. This framework is rooted in science.
If your message is clear and demonstrates how it can solve your customer’s problem, people are more likely to keep this information stored in their brain. The only reason people are calling you, going to your website, or walking into your retail store is because they have a problem and they need you to solve that problem.
When you define that problem for your customers and offer to resolve it, they will be interested.
Ask yourself: Have you clearly defined the problem your brand solves?
This is a big paradigm shift for most marketers.
Customers aren’t looking for a hero. They’re looking for a guide. If you understand this important principle, you’ll change how you talk about your business. Your potential clients don’t need another hero. They need a guide.
Donald describes in detail how to position yourself as a guide. But, the first step is understanding your role in your customer’s story:
· • You’re not Luke Skywalker. You’re Yoda.
· • You’re not Katniss Everdeen. You’re Haymitch.
· • You’re not James Bond. You’re Q.
So, when your customers come to you, don’t talk about what you’re trying to do or how great you think you are. Lay out your products and services as weapons that will help them solve their problem and live happily ever after.
Ask Yourself: Are you positioning yourself as the guide? Or like most brands, are you the hero?
If you have answered the questions so far, this is farther than most companies get with their customers, but it’s too soon to ask them for the sale.
If you ask for the sale now, there is still a gap between where they are and where they need to go. Pulling out their wallet is scary. If they spend money, they might lose money. If it doesn’t work, they may be embarrassed.
How do you overcome this? You need to give your customers a plan. Just three or four steps that explain how easy it is to work with you.
For example, a financial advisor might say,
I think you can probably retire earlier than you thought. I have a really easy process that helps you to make that decision.
1. We meet for an informal meeting.
2. We assess your goals.
3. You get a customized strategy to retire early. If you choose, I can help you execute that strategy for the rest of your life.
When you give your customers a plan, you’re helping them overcome the barriers to their success.
Because this element is so important, there’s much more information about it. The book covers this in more detail, but I think you get the idea for the purpose of this book summary.
Ask yourself: Do you have a simple plan that makes it easy for your customers to do business with you?
Finally, the time has come to ask for the sale or it may be a “transitional Call to action” (where we ask for their information in exchange for something of value… this can allow us to nurture the customer until they convert. Here’s something useful to remember:
Your customers won’t take action unless they are challenged to take action.
As the guide in your customer’s story, you must challenge them to buy something from you (or take an action) and this challenge must be very, very clear.
If there’s not a Buy Now button in the top right corner of your website, you’re losing sales. Do not crowd that section of your website with 25 other choices like About, Contact, FAQs, history, products, etc. Your direct call to action (the Buy Now button) should be a different colour and it should be the obvious button to press. If you want to see some great examples of websites that have been built using the StoryBrand framework, click here.
The book provides you clear instructions on how to arrange the call to action on your website and also talk about another call to action (transitional) that helps your customer stay in relationship with you even if they’re aren’t ready to buy right away.
Ask yourself: Do you have a clear call to action?
This is storytelling 101, almost every movie ever written will have examples of this. Heroes are compelled into action because something is at stake.
· Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games to save her sister, Prim.
· A retired CIA officer must use all his past connections and skills to rescue his daughter from an abductor in Taken.
· Michael is thrust into his father’s world of the mafia when his father is shot in The Godfather.
None of these characters wanted to engage in the action of the story. They were compelled to in order to avoid a tragic ending (failure).
Your customer is trying to avoid a tragic ending, too. What that means for your brand is you must clearly communicate the negative consequences of what will happen to your customers if they do not buy your product or service.
Ask yourself: Have you communicated what’s at stake to your customers? What are the negative consequences of not doing business with you?
It is important to show customers how your products can positively affect their lives. What is the “happy ever after”?
Both your website images and your sales copy should help your customers envision life with their problems solved. Show them what their life can be like without a dirty kitchen, with greener lawns, with a bigger tax return, or by being the centre of attention with their new wardrobe.
People naturally steer toward a happy ending if you show them one.
If you’re not telling people what their life will look like when they do business with you, they’re not going to do business with you.
Ask Yourself: How can you help your customer envision success after doing business with you?
A clear message is your competitive advantage. If you fumble over your words and ideas, and you don’t know exactly how to communicate what you do, you’ll confuse your customers and people won’t buy your products. But by using the 7 elements of story, you’ll be communicating a clear message that customers will hear and respond to.
After you have read each section, and built your own BrandScript, it will become the template for all communication and marketing for your business. Billboards, radio, flyers, storefronts, websites etc. But where is the most obvious place to start?
This section of the book was a real bonus for me. My intent when reading the book was to improve my marketing message to help me serve more customers, but something powerful happens to your culture and team when they can all articulate your company’s message… clearly.
Most companies are teaching their employees to speak an inside language that does not connect with customers. This critical mistake is costing them millions. Once your teams learn to communicate clearly, they will stop using confusing language and finally talk about your products from the perspective of the customer, positioning your customer as the hero with personal interactions… not just your marketing message.
Your sales scripts will be more effective. Your salespeople will empathise with your customer’s problems and position your products as the resolution to those problems. And the best part, your teams will be unified around a common mission and you will see your company grow again.
The final part of the book outlines the execution of the story brand. It talks about what to do with your BrandScript now that you have developed it.
· Generate leads with great PDF’s
· Create an email drip campaign
· Write great sales copy
· Content marketing
· Capture perfect story driven testimonials : See my blogpost on the 6 most important questions to ask.
It covers the basic building blocks of a solid sales funnel. Something which a lot of business owners overlook because we are too busy elsewhere, or we simply do not have the knowledge.
1) Purchase the book: Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller
2) Complete your BrandScript. You can use the free software at www.mystorybrand.com
3) Implement it in your marketing and your website and watch your impact grow!
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