Today we shall talk about storytelling, not through the prism of fairytales and novellas or as a trend in e-learning, but rather as a tool for brand and business development.
Why Storytelling and What Does It Have to Do with Webinars?
Business storytelling incorporates your brand and company history as well as stories about products and services. It can serve as a powerful strategy for attracting clients.
In a time when claims such as «best offer,» «low price,» and «high quality» have all but gone stale, companies are looking to engage consumers with stories like «Little boy realizes his dream and becomes a pilot: It all started when I got my first toy plane.»
Such stories help mold brand identity and build lasting relationships with consumers. After listening to such a story during a webinar, participants are more likely to perceive your service as the right one for them. Thus, you can sell it without much hustle and imposition on your side.
It’s high time you took advantage of all the pluses presented by business storytelling.
Key Principles of Storytelling
If it’s obvious, it’s boring. You shall abstain from trite descriptions, achievements’ listing and other tedious bits. Of course, you can mention those on the «About Us» page, but other than that, it would not be a story to captivate your client.
Do not obsess over the terms and technicalities of your offer: it will most certainly come off as background noise to your audience.
The goal of storytelling is not to relay the content but rather to convey emotion. It is not obligatory to bring the webinar participants to tears in EDEKA style. A small shiver, laughter, smile, and exalted remarks are also an indication of your story’s success.
The baseline is simple: create a story around a colorful character, put them in a pickle or describe an emotional moment in their life.
Do not get specific. Good ads do not describe how great a product is — they show how people feel when they use it.
So the emphasis must be put on people and atmosphere rather than on your offer and contribution. A story well told will bring you more clients than yet another listing of the product’s benefits.
Lacoste’s ad is a great example of this strategy. The couple’s story moves the public, while the brand serves as a background. A beautiful, sensual, and memorable background nonetheless.
Every story must have a solid structure and logic. Never forget that your story and its every detail must have a goal and lead your audience towards certain thoughts and conclusions.
The classic story structure looks like this:
Exposition → Rising Action → Climax → Falling Action → Resolution
Never forget about the resolution. If you do not know how to end the story and guide the audience to its desirable interpretations, it’s best not to start it at all. Unfinished stories will only add frustration in the mix.
Storytelling for Webinars
So how do you use storytelling to boost your event’s success? Here are a couple of application options and guidelines.
A business or a company story is best placed on your website and/or social media channel.
It can help you distinguish yourself from other similar propositions as well as show your potential clients and students not only who you are and what competencies you possess but also why you are special and should be chosen over the other experts.
Many find themselves stuck when trying to relay a business story. The solution is simple: start by mentioning your name and two accomplishments, one being professional, another one — personal. Something sentimental might work, but you must always keep in mind your audience.
Write about yourself in the third person. Once you cover the basics, continue by telling a small background story that should reveal how you fell in love with your occupation and why you want to share your passion with others. «This is now, but then I was just an average student in funny glasses and a very serious dream.»
A small tip: it’s a good idea to re-read your story from time to time and flesh it out with more details.
The story instead of introduction
This story can be used at the start of a webinar as a part of your presentation, right after the traditional «Can you see and hear me well?» question.
You may, of course, take the traditional route with «My name is so and so… I’ve been working in the field for X number of years… And here comes the list of my accomplishments.»
But let’s imagine you do not just want to bore your participants with dry facts but actually engage them, put them in the right state of mind and convince them of your professionalism.
In the latter case, start a webinar by describing how you discovered your passion or started your business, and what made you realize the importance of your work. The story of failure will fit right in, especially if you recount the lesson learned.
It’s not a bad idea to adjust an existing story to your own experience. To do that, hook onto these words, as they can help you follow your train of thought:
- One day
- In the end
Do not forget to use your own or stock photos to bolster the experience.
A small tip: Know the resolution before you even start writing your story.
Storytelling to strike a deal
During a webinar, play this card before you make the final offer.
It will help invoke the right emotions right before the participants need to make a purchasing decision. At that point, they must have already received their fair share of useful information, and their heads might be spinning. By telling a story at the end, you remind your viewers why they need to learn more.
As an example, you can tell a story of a client who did not want to limit themselves to general lectures and asked to take private lessons.
Tell them what was at stake. Why did your client want to get more knowledge and skills? What could happen if they did not make extra efforts? Invoke empathy.
A small tip: write down a story and re-read it an hour later. Is it motivating? Will your participants feel a connection with the character?
Use it in between the webinars.
This way, you can fuel the interest of your audience and inspire them to visit the next event.
You may talk about a hopeless situation, a revelation after the webinar, or an exciting insight coming from one of your participants. You may describe how you found inspiration to overcome countless difficulties, which is why you want to help others save time and money as well as prevent them from making your mistakes.
Take a look at the story below. You may use it as a template for your own story.
«My world turned upside down.
One day I happened to visit a business forum. Picture the hall swarming with participants — the heads of big and small companies. The next moment I am in front of a business guru, a person with tremendous experience in the industry. Recently he sold his own company and is now looking to invest in a new business, hoping to make it just as successful.
We start conversing: what’s new? How are you doing? I mention that I supervise the sale of my shop. He nods, but some time later, he comes up with this question:
- Do you have a manager who could take care of your business when you leave?
- No, but I will find one. Is it a problem?
- Do you have a team to take over your responsibilities and authority?
- No, but I will find them too.
- Who knows the most about your business?
- Why does it matter?
- You see, your business is not worth anything the way it is now. Nobody would want to buy it.
You won’t sell it, I kept rewinding these words in my head for a few days afterward. Then I got to work…»
A small tip: remember, storytelling is not just a contemporary trend. It is, first and foremost, a tool to increase conversion rates. However, do not forget about the functionality, and make sure to add the buttons for registration and sales.
Not all people are eloquent, but everyone likes a good story. And everyone has myriad stories to tell, even if they do not realize that.
Every situation, achievement, failure, or business deal can be made interesting. It’s worth trying to do so, especially if business stories sell products and services better than any ad.
That is why you should always have a couple of stories from your personal experience at the ready. It doesn’t matter what moment you choose — it’s all about the presentation. The more relevant and expressive you are, the easier it is for you to stand out in the crowd of your competitors. And do not assume that you require a particular talent for that. You should prepare and try, and if you fail, ask for help and try again, but do not deny yourself a chance to tell your story.
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