Creating Engagement and Trust: Stories Versus Stats

by Paul D

There’s an old saying in sales: Facts Tell. Stories Sell.

When you’re trying to persuade customers, statistics can help establish credibility. It’s the success stories, however, that lead to conversions.

Which do you think resonates better with potential customers?

  • 70% of our clients using our nutritional weight loss product lost weight.  The average weight loss was 12 pounds.
  • Natalie has struggled with her weight for more than a decade.  After trying dozens of other diets with no success, Natalie signed up for our nutritional weight loss plan.  She lost 60 pounds.

A list of statistics may look impressive.  They can help make your case.  They can back up statements and add credibility to your stories.  However, stats alone won’t engage people or engender trust.

We’re Not Logical Creatures

As humans, we don’t make logical decisions.  We make emotional decisions that we then justify with logic.

Judges and attorneys spend their days evaluating legal claims.  You’d think they wouldn’t be swayed by logic.  Researchers have discovered the exact opposite.  A good story is often more persuasive than the facts of the case.  It’s the story that creates an emotional response and enhances the credibility of the underlying legal claims.

The Science Of Storytelling

There is serious science behind this.  Facts and figures actives two regions of your brain.  Stories activate 7.

Facts Activate These Brain Areas

  • Broca’s Area:  Language Processing
  • Wernicke’s Area:  Language Comprehension

Stories Can Activate These Brain Areas

  • Broca’s Area:  Language Processing
  • Wernicke’s Area:  Language Comprehension
  • Motor Cortex:  Movement
  • Auditory Cortex:  Sounds
  • Visual Cortex:  Colors and Shapes
  • Olfactory Cortex:  Scents
  • Sensory Cortex & Cerebellum:  Touch

Because our brain is more engaged, these stories have a deeper impact.  By triggering emotional responses, they become more memorable.  They can also move us to action.

Two groups were asked to donate money to help a two-year-old boy named Ben.  One group was given facts and information about Ben’s illness and prognosis.  The other group was shown a short emotional video.  Scientists monitored participants as the video triggered the release of oxytocin (a hormone eliciting feelings of empathy).  Those watching the video donated more money.  The more oxytocin they found in the blood, the larger the donation.

Find The Pain Point

In content marketing, an effective strategy is to identify the pain point.  It can be a problem that needs to be solved or an emotional trigger that leads to action.

When you can clearly state the problem your product or service will solve, you can develop an engaging story that will demonstrate your solution.  This is far more powerful than just listing the features of your product.

Three Steps To Increase Engagement, Build Trust, And Move People To Action

It works in content marketing and it works in sales.  These three simple principles can increase your engagement, build trust, and move people to action.

  1. Grab their attention with a good story
  2. Back it up with facts that make the case
  3. Sum it up and close the deal

Need help crafting great stories to engage your customers?  Here’s how WriterAccess can help.

 

Paul D. is a multiple Emmy Award® winner with more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist working for some of the country’s top publishers. For the past 10 years, Paul D. has worked as a marketing and advertising expert on projects for hundreds of clients. He holds an MBA in Business Administration and certifications from Google, Moz, Facebook, Local Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. He writes clear, concise, compelling copy that converts.


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