Want to learn how to craft a powerful story-based email?
I hope so.
Stories in email are FAR more important than you might think.
Done properly, a story-based email sets you apart from all competition.
They build trust, show off personality, and build relationships that lead to sales (or whatever action you want readers to take).
So how can you implement a powerful story in your business?
Here’s an example. Think how you can do the same for YOUR business while reading it.
Because ANY product or service can be attached to a fun or gripping story to increase conversions. I don’t care how “boring” your business is (I can write a good story for an “accounting info-product” if you want me to).
Try to figure out exactly what I’m doing here with my story: the structure, the message, the emotions, but most importantly…
…watch out for the “turn”.
The TURN is what makes the story worth it.
It’s what sells the reader.
It’s what instantly connects the moral of your story to your product or service.
It’s what makes people go from reading about your scuba diving experience to having a lightbulb moment about how to get more sales in their business.
Here’s my story: So I’m sitting here in an Au Bon Pain right now. It’s located inside of the Cleveland Clinic (yes, in Cleveland, Ohio), one of the best hospitals in the world.
I come here once a year with my mom because she had a double lung transplant a few years back here, and returns yearly for checkups.
Each time here, I look back at the progress I’ve made in life and business over the past year (it also serves as a good checkup for myself).
Last year, sitting in this same spot, I was a struggling “copywriter” (if you could even call me that). I had one client, almost no sign of income, and was on the hinges of giving up to get a “real job.”
Sitting here now a year later is making me reflect once again… and things have certainly changed. I finally figured things out. I make a consistent income. I do what I want. I also packed up and moved to Vietnam for six months… an awesome experience that allowed me to network with amazing entrepreneurs (like Ahna!), and progress to new heights.
So, what allowed me to overcome the obstacles and progress throughout this last year?
It was one thing..
In what started as a journey to craft my own story and live the kind of life I really craved, I discovered just how persuasive and powerful actual written stories can be. I began to implement them in all my copywriting.
And it WORKED.
When I saw an opportunity for a location-independent copywriting gig in Vietnam, I decided to put my new story-chops into action. One of the application requirements was to write a convincing cover letter selling myself.
Storytime….. I packed it with emotions: hope, triumph, struggle, and all the other juicy parts good stories have. This was my ticket—my open doorway—to the location-independent lifestyle.
And even though my competition was much more experienced (on paper), I got the job.
It was the story inside my cover letter that solidified it. So I started using more stories within emails and other types of content for clients—and it was successful.
Conversions, engagement, sales, and leads generated all increased.
This “story-based” content was a breath of fresh air in a world of stale, cookie-cutter content most businesses create.
Bland “snoozeletters” and awkward calls to action couldn’t compare.
Now let’s bring it back to you.
If you’re reading this, odds are, you want to improve your business and take it to the next level.
You’re tired of doing the same old thing…
…spreading the same old messages.
Writing about the SAME thing over and over again.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Look to your right. What do you see? Create a story out of it!
What did you do last weekend? Create a story out of it!
What’s your favorite food? Create a story out of it!
Favorite movie? Guess what to do with it…
Use my story:
Relate the yearly check-up to a must have yearly audit that requires [your product or service here]. Or relate the discovery of storytelling as a powerful tool for my copywriting career to the discovery of [your product or service here] for the [benefit your product or service provides].
Three essential steps that all good story-based emails follow:
1) Create an entertaining story (a good story.. more below)
2) Relate this story back to the problem that your customers/prospects struggle with.
3) Then tie in your product or service as the ultimate solution (the turn).
Three must-have elements all good stories have:
No matter how good your tie-in is, you’ll need a story that people want to keep reading. Let’s analyze these elements within my Au Bon Pain story:
1) The challenge – what’s the problem? My problem was that I had no income, and I was about to give up and run back to the cubicle and get a “real job.”
2) The struggle – what’s not working? The struggle was that I needed to figure out a way to make money through copywriting. I taught myself the skill, but struggled to find clients and make it work.
3) The resolution – what will make it work? When I discovered the power of storytelling, I landed a location-independent copywriting job, made an income, networked with amazing entrepreneurs, and 12 months later, was in a much better position.
The reason why I told you this story is to give you a glimpse behind the business growing power good stories possess. Stories single handedly improve email marketing campaigns by 100x.
It doesn’t have to be nearly as long as mine either — just cover the three step structure, use empathy to connect with your readers, and tie it into your product.
“But I suck at story telling”
No you don’t.
Even if you do, know this: you don’t need to be Shakespeare to tell a good story. You don’t need to have any experience at all. You can seriously suck at telling stories right now, but by following this formula, you’ll be writing good ones in no time (and making more sales along the way).
Just think of something, anything, and make it a story.
Keep it short. Make it long. Doesn’t matter.
A quick short story style example:
Pretend you’re trying to push your “SEO Service business” in a story-based email…
You can talk about that one time how you were “mountain biking” down a steep trail, when all of a sudden a fat log was in your path.
Way too big to hop over, and going too fast to steer around, you were forced to slam on the brakes… the new brakes you just bought at a dirt cheap price (bad idea).
Sure enough, they didn’t stop the bike when you needed them most. You ate it (literally were eating dirt while lying there in pain).
You crashed your bike and were facing a good few months of dirt-ridden scab picking… all because you didn’t do your due diligence and research on which brakes are good and which suck [tie this into your proper White Hat SEO Services… then make the pitch!].
Because IF YOU DID do your research… you would have had quality brakes, and you would have never crashed [you would have had avoided cheap black-hat SEO services and never have been banned from Google].
See what I did there?
That’s just a quick example off the top of my head… any story with a “turn” that relates to the topic of your email and the problem your target market face will work.
Just remember: stories are everywhere.
Don’t worry, every email doesn’t need to be a story… a few well placed stories, properly tied to your product/service can seriously boost conversions and engagement. So try to sprinkle them in your email campaigns and see what happens. I bet you’ll be quite happy to see the results.
As long as you tie in your product, you’re golden.
Relate and Tie Your Product/Service To Your Story
Towards the end of the story, relate it back to the problem your customer/prospect is facing. Using my story once again: I related how “storytelling” shines light on how you don’t want to send out the same old boring content to your prospects, and how you want better conversions.
After you relate it to a problem, tie in your product/service as the solution. This is kind of meta, but this whole blog post basically ties in how my service—story-based email marketing—can help your business stand out, and increase engagement, conversions, and sales.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for your business—and you can make your email campaigns more effective through the use of storytelling. Odds are, your competition is not doing this, so this content will automatically give you an edge.