Welcome to Day 3 of the ‘5 Essential Steps for Taking What You Want in 2017’
Today we’re on to #3… Your 1-2 punch for increasing revenue…
- The key to creating revenue is marketing.
- The key to marketing is connecting emotionally with people.
- The key to connecting is storytelling.
Ok, so this is probably not new information… but there is just no over-stating the role of storytelling in revenue creation.
What better way to explain, than with a story…
This spring I was fortunate enough to work abroad in Italy.
This has been a life-long dream and even when my husband and I and our eager fat little Frenchie all piled in to our packed-to-the-gills SUV, I just couldn’t believe it was real. It was May 1st, our destination was Lake Como, Italy and we weren’t going to be back on English shores until July 24th.
We rented a place on Airbnb that was an industrial-style loft, with huge metal-framed windows that would could step through onto the sun-soaked roof. We were within walking distance of everything that mattered, including an insanely delicious restaurant [we frequented at least twice a week], a super market and old town Como which was as full of ancient Italian character as any American would dream of.
As the days moved on, our morning dog walks included a stop for an espresso and a chance to practice a few words of Italian… it continued to feel more like a fairytale than real life. But what was even more lovely, was that May 15th happened to be a big birthday for my mom, and as a gift we were able to fly her over to spend a couple weeks soaking in Italia.
After she arrived she and I decided to take the train from Como to Venice [where neither of us had every been] and spent the weekend exploring one of the greatest [all be-it quite touristy] cities of Europe. We ate all the food, drank all the wine and soaked in the delicious atmosphere of the floating city…
[Many of the restaurants in St.Mark’s square have full-on orchestras positioned near the veranda to help entice tourists to dine with them – this was one we happened past…]
One of the keepsakes my mom really wanted to take home with her from this adventure was a leather journal. We wandered the streets of Venice looking through various shops and book stores on the hunt for this Italian souvenir.
We found lots of touristy tat but nothing that looked and felt like we wanted, and just when we thought our search might fail, we turned a corner into a beautiful cobbled square and happened upon a Sunday arts & crafts market. There, right at the front, was a man selling hand-bound leather journals.
We immediately got sucked into his world.
We picked up the journals one by one, perusing their unique covers. Each journal had a different image sublimated straight into the leather.
As we were browsing and handling and smelling – comparing the old maps with the illustrations of birds, ancient Venetian scenes and sheet music with Latin verses – the man behind the table started telling us the story behind each journal… The time-consuming way each image is pressed into the leather by hand and the way each book is bound and sewn. Most impressively, he rattled off the ancient book where this illustration and that map came from – the year in which they originated, and the Italian region from whence they came. After ten minutes had passed, not only did we know we had found our journal, but we wanted to buy them all. Each one had unique provenance and it was impossible to choose a favorite. Needless to say, my mom didn’t buy one journal, she bought 5… and I bought one too.
We weren’t buying leather and paper, we were buying Italian history. We weren’t buying touristy crap, we were supporting a craftsman. Even if all the stories he told us were 100% fiction, I didn’t care. He made the buying experience a joy. He didn’t sell, he enchanted us and we were happy to trade money for the non-pushy experience.
Changing stories into dollars
The final point I want to make about this story for you to take and use in your own businesses… is that in addition to this wonderful storytelling, the journal merchant incentivized us to buy more. He had obvious signs boasting bargains for buying more than one journal. Something along the lines of:
‘1 for €25’
‘2 for €18’
‘3 for €15’
Even though he would make less per item, if he could increase his average sale up from one journal to two – that would be an increase in 44% – up €11 in revenue per sale. Depending on his profit margin, this could be a huge bump in take-home.
Are you doing this in your business? Enchanting your customers and then incentivizing them to spend, and spend more by adding irresistible value?
Storytelling alone is effective, but storytelling PLUS value-adding promotions or incentives is the one-two punch that could double your revenue next year.
At the Women in the Pet Industry conference this year I gave a presentation about finding your creative genius and making it pay [I have shared a video and the slides from that presentation if you’d like to go and grab them here]. Basically, this talk was really about storytelling. What it is, why it works, and how you can define and invest in expert storytelling for your brand. This is a topic that really fascinates and inspires me – but even if you’re not a marketing geek like myself – the emotional impact of great storytelling is undeniable and when wielded effectively, is a tell-tale sign of masterful brand.
Recently one of our members shared a remarkable video in our group – which sparked off some great conversation… The gist of the feedback was ‘wow’ ‘love this’ ‘love the brand’ ‘give me more’ ‘I want to buy that scarf’…
Obviously, this is highly-produced, exquisite example, but at it’s core, this is brand storytelling at its very, very best. It is clearly an open-ended question, an invitation for engagement… it could very well be the start of a movement but at a minimum it’s a highly shareable, wildly gorgeous piece of content [storytelling] that not only elevates the brand from ‘product’ to ‘group of visionaries’ but also invites a whole new generation in to experience the Burberry phenomena. If a brand’s main aim is is to increase desire to increase purchase, this campaign absolutely nails it.
Will it be easy for Burberry to draw a straight line from views of this video to an increase in sales? Probably not. Will the momentum from the viral nature of this video [at the time of writing this just on YouTube it has more than 8.5 million views] have a positive impact their holiday sales? Without a doubt.
What Storytelling lessons can you learn from Burberry if you’re a small business with a lot less budget?
Here’s a few lessons that transcend scope:
- Your history is rich with details that make your brand and your product what it is. Use them to your advantage. Tell the story of how your product came to be, how it is made, the craftmanship, the details.
- Your brand is made up of people. Rich, imperfect characters with talents, flaws, dreams and vision. Don’t hide them in pursuit of ‘professionalism’ – let yourself and your core team be a part of your story. People are relatable.
- Put your brand in context. If you have a vision for the lifestyle your product or service fits into – use it. If you don’t, get one. Use the rich sensory details of that lifestyle to sell the necessity of the brand. Build the desire for the ‘thing’ by showing it. ex. Sell the dog walk, not the leash.
- Show, don’t tell. Moving on from #3 – using rich imagery [moving or still] with compelling audio can take your stories from flat to 3-D. Consider the method and involve as many of the senses as possible when trying to convey your messsage.
- Don’t skimp on personality. Get weird. Be yourself [or your brand] – the more you can raise an eyebrow, grab a giggle or cause people to pause instead of plowing right past your copy, photos or videos – the closer you are to having that emotional impact.
Now go forth start working on your own stories to support those big 2017 goals!
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR PET PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Have a look one of my dear clients’ pet photography brands and see the way she incorporates storytelling [with words & images] to sell so much more than pet photography. Want to turn your business into a brand like this? Come to the one event in 2017 that will help you do it. Only a couple spaces left now.
P.P.S If you DO join – here’s the link in the private Facebook group to the conversation about the Burberry trailer.