Who Doesn’t Love A Good Story?
I love a good story – which is good, since I write for a living.
The business world is an endless source of stories. A few of those are even appropriate for audiences of all ages. The best business stories connect with customers, and the very best ones connect with them enough to bring them through your doors.
Sharing your business stories builds a link to your customers. It makes them feel like they know you, like they’re working with a person – or a family – and not a company. And as much as we love the convenience of shopping online or at super-sized stores, nothing beats the warm fuzzies of walking into a brick-and-mortar store and being recognized (in a good way).
So how do you start writing your business story? Let’s work things a little backward and start with the where – where are you going to share that great story of yours? Ironically, the web – that icon of im-personality – is one of the best places to share with your customers. Many retailers have a section in their website called “About Us.” This is where you can pitch your business 24/7. Notice I said, “pitch your business,” not “pitch your products.”
Now comes the how. How are you going to write your story? If the thought of writing it makes your eye twitch, don’t feel bad. Lyn Graft, the founder of LG pictures, has spent the past several years interviewing many of the country’s most celebrated entrepreneurs for a documentary. One thing they had in common? Most of them didn’t believe they had a great business story to tell, when really they just didn’t know how to tell it, he said.
Graft offered his interview subjects some pointers, which I’ll pass along:
- Share Real-Life Experiences – Don’t know where to start? Think about what made you start in the business or about a struggle you had to go through to get to where you are now. Or talk about a sale that makes you particularly proud. These stories resonate with customers.
- Be Authentic – You wouldn’t talk with a fake accent, so don’t do that when you write. Write like you talk. This is your story; use your words. And if someone else (like an agency) is writing it, make sure it sounds like something you’d actually say.
- Get Feedback From Small Groups – Family, employees, and friends are great for helping you brainstorm and polish. Ask for their input. (And don’t forget to thank them.)
And to this list, I’ll add:
4. Do your research. Read other business stories and think about what you like or don’t like about them. It’s extra work at the start, but it’s going to save you time and energy in the long run.
When it’s done, don’t sit on your laurels. Keep that communication link open with updates via emails or blogs. It’s not enough to keep your business name out there, you have keep serving up your stories. Keep connected, keep it personal, keep up with your great service and merchandise, and you’ll keep customers coming in.