How many times have you written a story-based email that felt flat?
There’s no punch. And – if you’re being 100% honest – you’re not sure if YOU even care about the story and you’re the one who wrote it.
You can tell something’s not quite right, but you can’t seem to sniff out what the problem is. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Most entrepreneurs I speak to find it challenging to structure their stories so that they grab attention and drive sales. They worry that they’ve got their message wrong, or that they’re just plain lousy at telling stories.
Neither of these things are true. Chances are, you’ve left out one of the essential elements of a compelling story.
Storytelling is the No.1 way to hook your prospects and move them to buy your products or services. But it’s easy to get it wrong, leaving your audience bored and confused, with their credit card firmly stuffed in their back pocket.
Which is why I want to share the 5 essential elements every story needs if you want to drive sales and increase your revenue:
Element 1) A relatable hero
Every story needs a hero. But when it comes to your marketing, it be can’t be just any hero. The main character in your story needs to be someone your reader can relate to.
Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons why this is vital.
First off…the reason for telling stories, instead of bombarding your audiences with straight facts and direct promotions, is because you want to create emotional buy-in. Research shows that a reader’s emotional response to an ad influences their intent to buy far more than logical reasoning.
Which is why you need to help your reader to visualise themselves in your hero’s situation. You need them to experience the same emotions as your hero, so they feel compelled to take the next step with you.
Second of all, one of the 6 key psychological triggers that influences buying behaviour is likeability. And like it or not, studies show that humans are wired to like “people like us” more than people who appear different.
So, if you want to increase sales and emotional buy-in, choose your hero wisely. Make sure they share common traits with your ideal client, and that they are instantly relatable.
Element 2) A place and a time
Often, when business owners share personal stories from their own lives, they speak in general terms, using expressions like…
“When I was younger, I used to…”
“Back when I started my business, I always did xyz…”
Stories like this are weak. That’s because they don’t allow your reader to visualise a specific scenario they can relate to.
When you tell a story, you want to transport your reader to a clear-cut place and time. You want to make it easy for your reader to visualise themselves in the story, so it plays out in their mind like a movie reel.
The only way to do this is to tell stories about a particular moment in time (think of it like describing a photograph). This is what gives your story the impact it needs to engage your readers.
Element 3) A conflict
A story can only be a story if there’s an element of conflict or tension. Without conflict, all you have is a series of events that will bore your reader and leave you with nothing more than a bunch of limp copy and an empty Stripe account. Conflict forces your reader to empathise and connect with your hero on an emotional and neurological level.
Neuroscientists have found that our bodies release a hormone called Oxytocin when we’re exposed to character-driven stories. What’s fascinating about this, is that Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for feelings of empathy and love.
It also increases our ability to experience the emotions of others AND motivates us to cooperate with instructions (all great things when you want to move someone to make a purchase).
The other reason why conflict is so important, is because our minds are wired to look for closure and resolution. When you introduce conflict into your story, you create an open loop. And if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the brain hates open loops…and it will actively seek out closure. This helps capture your reader’s attention right to the end of your copy, where you can introduce an offer or teach a valuable lesson.
But make sure you choose a conflict which ties to your ideal client’s No.1 pain point or one of the obstacles they face, so that it’s 100% relevant to your overall sales message.
Element 4) A quest
Once you’ve introduced the conflict in your story, you need to take your hero on a journey to resolving their crisis.
In the quest section of your story, you need to explain the steps your hero went through in order to overcome their challenge. This is the part of your story where you should demonstrate how your product or service helped lead your hero to greatness. Highlight the benefits of your product or service and explain exactly how they helped your struggling hero to a better future.
Element 5) A resolution
Every story needs some kind of ending. Your story should end with a clear resolution to the conflict you created at the start. Did your hero win the day? Or did they fail?
In most cases, your marketing stories will have a happy ending which ties to your idea client’s No.1 desire. That’s because you want to demonstrate what’s possible to your reader, so they can visualise how their life will look after working with you.
However, even marketing stories can have unhappy endings. Unhappy endings work well if you’re telling a cautionary tale of somebody who didn’t buy your product or service. Cautionary tales work because they help your prospect imagine what’s at stake if they don’t solve their problem.
Writing marketing stories doesn’t have to feel like an impossible challenge. Chances are, you’ve been telling stories your whole life without even realising how you’re doing it. But, by making sure you include all 5 of these elements in your marketing stories, you’ll have the tools to create compelling copy that drives sales and increases your revenue.
Want the secret to a Unique Origin Story that converts like crazy?