I once worked with a company that was shy of testimonials. When I asked how someone looking at their website would know they really had the expertise they claimed, they had no answer. Then they hired a web designer who was great with SEO, layout, and graphics. I thought they might be hiring a freelance writer, too, but instead they asked me to start writing about my marketing adventures. I wrote about the promotional “dog day” I’d volunteered for with a prospective client. I wrote about a fact finding trip I’d taken for the company to Savannah, Georgia. I wrote about a children’s water festival cosponsored by one of our clients and Disney World.
The stories made our website more personal, interesting, and generated goodwill from clients and prospects. Stories are a way of establishing authenticity. They engage a customer more completely, reaching their creative right brain to support the facts that engage the left brain.
Here are three things that stories can do for you with potential customers:
- Turn a static company into a person selling to you (owner stories)
- Demonstrate a company’s dedication or expertise (employee stories)
- Show the benefits of a product (customer stories)
All three results can translate into sales. I have seen websites where the owner’s story was so well told, I wanted to hire him to clean my HVAC ducts immediately. I have seen websites where the employee’s stories were so well told that I wanted to experience their great customer service. And I have seen stories that showed how a product worked so well that I wanted to buy it, even though I hadn’t seriously considered it before. When I read the story of how Starbucks was created I became a loyal customer.
Prospective customers are not the only ones affected by good storytelling. Employees are too. Stories are a great way to motivate staff when they see how their work affects people’s lives. They’re a great way to create harmony with teams in conflict when they hear about what the other employees are dealing with. And they can increase respect and employee loyalty when staff hear stories about their employer’s struggles to create the business.
You can have those results by sharing stories too. If you don’t have a professional writer on staff, there are content writers for hire online who can interview and write the stories for you. If you are looking for a way to generate goodwill from potential and actual customers or employees, or just to make your website more friendly and alive, writing stories is a great way to do it.
Susette H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.