“Two households, both alike in dignity
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;”
~ Prologue from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
If you tell your clients a story rather than impress with data, they’ll be more engaged. That’s not only for prospective clients who love Shakespeare either.
They will go along with you on the journey.
Even better if the story involves their emotions.
In fact, stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone. That’s according to Stanford social psychologist and marketing professor Jennifer Aaker.
How Stories Affect Your Brain
When you talk about your business in human terms, your customers relate. We’re all social creatures.
Wondering why our brains remember and really like stories?
During exciting moments where the story has tension and the hero is up against an obstacle, cortisol is released. That makes us pay attention.
Then we relate to the characters — especially if the story is told using lots of the senses!
Meanwhile, our brain releases oxytocin which promotes empathy. Oxytocin bonds our connections even more deeply.
Then when you share a happy ending to the story, well, our brain is releasing dopamine. Dopamine is associated with reward and pleasure.
Why People Still Give Boring PowerPoints
Although we’re hardwired for stories, the old-school approach to B2B marketing focused on telling people why to buy.
It relied on features, benefits, and sell sheets.
That rational approach wasn’t focused on eliciting emotions.
But research from The B2B Institute shows that using strategies that appeal to emotions are seven times more effective at driving long-term sales, profits, and revenue than rational messaging.
How to Use Emotional Storytelling in Your Business
It’s not about making people laugh or cry. It’s about being genuine.
You consider how customers feel and talk like you would in a conversation.
Your job is to create a company that your customer wants to come to.
What About in Brand Building?
Develop your brand so people know you and like you before you ask customers to take any action.
Position your brand as trustworthy.
Associate your brand with a positive feeling or memory.
Communicating with Customers
Whether in an email, on social media, or on a Zoom call, use real stories and emotional storytelling in your conversations.
Share an anecdote about your teenage son now wanting to use your living room for TikTok videos with a client who has teenagers, too.
The tech giant Cisco emphasizes Human-to-Human marketing. They use emotionally driven campaigns like the recent “If you can imagine it, we’ll build a bridge to get you there.”
Create a Compelling Origin Story
This is about why you started your B2B copywriting or content business.
Did you get burnt out from your previous career or miss attending your daughter’s recital due to work?
Your signature story might be that of an overworked waitress working long hours at a restaurant.
After missing your kid’s performance and a few late nights working, you quit. But what could you do now?
You always loved hanging out on Instagram.
Now you offer social media management services to bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants around town.
And… you get to spend more time with your kids. That’s a compelling signature story.
Offer Emotional Storytelling Through Case Studies That Persuade
Life happens in narratives we tell each other.
So, don’t focus solely on how you amped up a client’s website and increased his business by x percent.
Or how you boosted this same real estate agent’s sales through an updated website with SEO and an added blog by y dollars.
Sure, include measurable results. They still matter.
But also include the pain point stuff — how you helped a struggling single mom who couldn’t even pay for a new fridge build a sewing business from scratch.
You expanded her presence on social media organically and with small ads.
Lead generation kicked in and business boomed.
Not only did this woman get that new fridge — she’s booked with sewing jobs for months and she now sells drapes for local hotels…
Seize the Moment in an Emotional Storytelling Way
The popular company Burt’s Bees uses Burt as a spokesperson and exudes realness.
Burt’s Bees and its agency began developing the “Hello Again, Lips” campaign early in 2021.
Because of the pandemic and people being apart, they wanted to focus on kissing, whispering… and the feelings of love and joy throughout their marketing.
Their goal is to remind people to care for their lips.
And the way they did that?
They intentionally wanted to capture emotion and what they called “a narrative about human connections.”
Emotional storytelling takes us to a place where data cannot. It takes us on a journey from learning about something to a place in which we’re inspired to act.