Are you looking to create a more personalised and engaging experience with your customers? Do you want to cut out the middleman and directly communicate with your audience? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll walk you through the basics of product storytelling and how you can use storytelling techniques to engage with your audience via email marketing.
Introducing Product Stories
As the name would suggest, a product story is a way of presenting a product or service that is both interesting and relevant to the target audience, as well as demonstrating how the product or service improves or enhances their lives. Essentially, there are three main components to a successful product story:
Each component plays a vital role in drawing the reader into the story and keeping their attention. Let’s examine each one.
The hook is what intrigues the reader at first glance. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read this paragraph?
Whether it’s a product, service, story, or even an email marketing campaign, a hook is something that draws the reader in and makes them want more. It should be a phrase, a question, or a statement that piques the reader’s interest and compels them to keep reading. Remember: fascinating your audience is the key to successful communication!
When creating a hook, start with a question or a statement that is relevant to your product or service. For example, if you’re creating an email marketing campaign for a travel company, you might want to write something like this:
“Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes? You should thank your lucky stars because this is one compliment you’ll never get sick of hearing.”
This quote was selected to demonstrate some of the features of a travel products company’s email marketing programme. As the email subject line suggests, this content is designed to encourage the reader to open the email and find out more. While this may not seem obvious, the truth is that a little bit of interest often leads to a lot of interest!
Once the reader has been intrigued by the hook, they’ll naturally turn their attention to the tail. In some stories, the tail can be as informative or entertaining as the rest of the article combined. However, in other cases, a piece of exciting news or a entertaining story can be the catalyst that sparks the reader’s interest, without the need for heavy analysis or scientific evidence.
“The most important thing when writing a story is to keep the reader engaged. It’s easy to go overboard with fancy words and scientific terms but, at the end of the day, you’re just making stuff up. Keep it simple, yet detailed enough for professionals yet accessible enough for everyone else.”
This quote from Stephen King essentially defines a good story. A good story is one that is simple, yet detailed enough for the professionals, whilst keeping the reader interested and engaged throughout. If you can achieve that, you’ll have created a masterpiece!
Last but not least, we have the characters. A character-driven story appeals to the reader on a more personal level. Whether you’re writing a children’s book or a novella for adults, having real, live humans with whom the reader can identify will draw them into your story and make them connect with the characters and their goals on a more personal level. Using real, named characters rather than the anonymous entities we meet in most cases, adds a layer of intimacy that will compel the reader to empathise with the main characters and understand their actions, as well as anticipate their reactions.
“A common mistake that beginners make is trying to write informative articles about their product or service. People don’t care about your product; they want to know about the people behind it. The fewer characters you have in your story, the more emphasis you place on the product. Make it more personal. Give them a name and a face — even if it’s just in your head.”
This advice from Steve Jobs is key when it comes to creating a successful product story. Whilst there is plenty of crossover between business and marketing on the one hand, and storytelling on the other, the line between the two can often become blurred. That’s completely normal and acceptable, as long as you know which one you’re trying to achieve.
Deciding on the type of content that you’ll use to tell your product story can be tricky. Do you go for an analytical piece, or a nostalgic look back at your company’s history? Perhaps you’ll decide to do a bit of both, profiling your key customers and also looking back at your company’s key events and innovations?
Whatever you do, simply make sure that it is relevant to your product or service. If you can tie your content back to your product/service, even if it’s simply through a mention of your product/service name, you’ll make it a whole lot easier for Google and other search engines to find when someone is searching for information about your products/services. This will, in turn, make your content more discoverable and easier for your target audience to find.
So, there you have it. Three simple tips to create a successful product story. Always remember, a little bit of interest can lead to a lot of interest. And, as the saying goes, a name is worth a thousand words.