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"Customers don’t care about your story; they care about their own." —Donald Miller

When it comes to marketing, many businesses find it difficult to engage customers on an emotional level. This is where storytelling is an important tool: customers are more likely to recall a story than a talking point because storytelling engages the emotions. The secret to marketing storytelling is to find an alignment between what you sell and the values that trigger emotions to encourage customer engagement. These stories go beyond the marketing department: they’re told through social media, email campaigns, your website, and customer experience.  

We’ll go over five steps toward building an effective emotional marketing strategy.

Step 1: Know What Gets to Your Audience

Before you tell a story, you need to know your customers’ high-impact motivators, or “what gets to them.” There are many motivators that may drive customers:

  • “I want to stand out from the crowd.”
  • “I want to feel confident in the future.”
  • “I want to enjoy a sense of well-being and security.”
  • “I want to feel a sense of freedom.”
  • “I want to protect the environment.”
  • “I want to be the person I want to be.”

Large businesses spend immense resources on marketing to find their customers’ high-impact motivators. As a small to mid-sized business owner, you’ll have the advantage of knowing a few basic assumptions about your customer pool. What you don’t know, you can find out with a few sample questions. 

Step 2: Tell a Story

Now that you know the high-impact motivators of your audience, you can develop a story. Keep it simple, honest, and make your point clear. “We help keep pets warm with our heating services,” is one example: straightforward, clear, and appeals to the emotional connections people feel toward their pets.

Step 3: Inspire Actions

The story should inspire an action that encourages other activities that can help grow your business or brand, such as sharing social media content or recommending friends.

  • Happiness makes us share: Positive content spreads faster on social media than any other type of content. When someone is happy, we tend to mirror their emotion, which makes us more likely to share the content that made us happy. Sharing leads to increased brand awareness.
  • Sadness makes us empathize and connect: Empathy leads to generosity and the motivation to act on the behalf of others. Feelings of sadness inspire us to act to help people.
  • Surprise and fear make us cling to what’s comfortable: However, these are emotions you don’t want to inspire in customers since they link negative emotions to your brand.
  • Anger and passion make us stubborn: People share content that inspires them or lights a fire under them. You’ve seen countless examples of this on Facebook, such as with local tragedies and political issues. 

Step 4: Build Excitement

You’ve evoked emotion in your audience, and they’ve listened to your story. Now you want to build excitement to inspire them. The way to do that is to lead by example and start building buzz:

  • Pursue influencers
  • Encourage sharing 
  • Engage your most loyal customers
  • Draw out the suspense 
  • Produce an experiential event

Give customers something they will want to show off!

Step 5: Drive Social Proof

Social proof helps you build customer trust, validates and simplifies the customers’ buying decisions, adds credibility to your business, and improves your brand presence. This is the “Bandwagon Effect”: people are more likely to engage in an action if others are doing it. It’s the basic motivating force behind the social proof.

  • Customers: For 50% of all consumers, their next step after reading a positive review of a company is to visit the website or get onto the email list. 
  • Experts: Some of the strongest social proof comes from credible and esteemed experts in your industry. These experts exhibit the same behaviors you want your visitors to.
  • Influencers: Content from influencers earns more than eight times the engagement rate of content shared directly from brands, especially among younger millennials.
  • Friends: People who are friends of your users/website visitors offer social proof on the most personal level.
  • Crowds: As we mentioned, the more people who are doing it, the more likely others will want to do it.

The Outcome: Change Customer Behavior

When your brand establishes a fully connected identity overlap with customers through emotional engagement, it can drive major consumer behavior changes. These customers are… 

  • 5 times more likely to follow your brand into new categories
  • 3 times more likely to prefer your brand 
  • 2 times more willing to recommend your brand to others
  • 2 times less willing to substitute

Let Us Help You Tell Your Story

It’s difficult to create content in the home services space because the audience is extremely reactive. It takes adaptability to create the narratives that help customers connect to a business. Because iMarket works exclusively in the home services industry, we understand your needs and can help you form your stories to drive market success and customer engagement.

Contact iMarket Solutions today. Dedicated to Contractor Success.