Sarah Klongerbo writing a blog post about storytelling in marketing

What Does Storytelling in Marketing Mean? (Examples, Statistics & Tips)

Imagine it’s 7am, and your ideal client is just waking up. She checks Instagram, goes to the bathroom, and starts getting ready as a news podcast plays on her Sonos speaker. Before leaving for work, she sits down for a quick bowl of Kashi cereal and opens her Gmail app β€” and there, smack in the middle of a dozen new emails, is one from you.

She opens it.

Scans it.

And swipes left to delete.

You’re heartbroken, of course. You put so much time into that marketing email. You were so excited to launch your new offer and watch the clicks β€” and sales β€” start pouring in.

So why didn’t your subscriber bite?

Maybe because you didn’t tell a compelling story that connected with her emotionally.

This is why storytelling in marketing is so important: it grabs attention, creates connection, and drives revenue to your business.

What Is Storytelling in Marketing?

Want a real-life example of storytelling in marketing? See the previous section.

I started this article by creating a hypothetical situation β€” a story β€” in which you were the main character. I added specific details to make the story believable, and I added conflict to make it emotional.

The result is an introduction that’s much more memorable than, say, “I’m about to tell you why storytelling in marketing is so important.”

Stories are powerful because they take abstract concepts and make them concrete. What’s more engaging: a math equation or a word problem? A scientific fact or Osmosis Jones? A dictionary definition of “grief” or a heartfelt eulogy from a husband’s widow?

Each of us is bursting with stories, but we don’t always know how to pull them out of ourselves in a way that fosters empathy and creates true understanding with our audience.

There are essentially three different ways to tell a great story in your marketing copy:

  1. Create a fictional story: Like I did above, you can concoct a realistic scenario that your audience can picture and empathize with.
  2. Tell a personal anecdote: To really engage your audience, you can recount a memory of something that actually happened to you.
  3. Share someone else’s experience: To establish credibility, you can share a testimonial, interview, or anecdote from a client, customer, employee, or other relevant person.

Whatever type of story you tell, make sure it follows a narrative that takes your audience from beginning to end. Consider the traditional story arc:

  • Exposition (setting the stage)
  • Rising action (agitating the conflict)
  • Climax (reaching the conflict)
  • Falling action (dissipating the tension)
  • Resolution (explaining the ending)

Your story doesn’t have to be long, complicated, or tied up with a bow. Sometimes the shortest stories have the greatest impact.

Just make sure the story you tell is relevant to your audience. A great marketing story will always loop the lesson back to your business β€” what you’ve learned as an entrepreneur, what makes your product or service different, and how it can help your client or customer.

12 Incredible Statistics on Why Storytelling Is Important

I’m not just saying you should tell stories because I’m a copywriter who gets paid to write them.

You’ve probably know, innately, that stories are compelling β€” the more personal, the better.

But in case you need further convincing, here are some stunning statistics that explain just how important storytelling in marketing is:

You could Google even more storytelling statistics for marketers… but honestly, do you need to?

Top 3 Business Storytelling Tips for Entrepreneurs

The beauty of storytelling is that everyone does it differently. That’s what makes your story so impactful β€” the unique nature of what you have to say (and how you say it).

Here are my top three storytelling tips for entrepreneurs who want to create truly meaningful marketing stories:

  1. Create a bank of story ideas. A blank screen can be so intimidating. Give yourself a layup by saving story ideas and inspiration in a spreadsheet, folder, notebook, ClickUp account, or whatever system is easily accessible to you. Many copywriters have a daily habit of jotting down random things they heard, saw, or did during the day, so they can spark content ideas later.
  2. Incorporate specific details and dialogue. Sonos speaker. Kashi cereal. In the first paragraph of this article, I listed a few tangible details to paint a more vivid picture of the scene. In any story you tell, try to find ways to incorporate at least one or two of the five senses (not just sight, but also taste, touch, smell, and hearing). Bonus points if you include actual quotes from characters.
  3. Remember the real protagonist. Speaking of characters, did you know that you are actually not the main character in your marketing story? Even if you’re telling a personal anecdote, the real protagonist in your copywriting is always your ideal client or customer. If you can’t find a way to tie the story back to their pain points or desires (and how you can help), the story isn’t worth telling β€” period.

Need Help Telling Your Business’s Story?

Telling stories is what I do best. That’s been true since I was nine years old, typing teeny-bopper tales on our old Mac computer in size-16 Comic Sans.

My stories are much better now, though. (And more legible.)

Discover how I can tell your business’s story by perusing my copywriting services at Quotable Copy, especially my signature Brand + Website Copy Bundle. Along with five pages of custom website copy, you’ll get a brand messaging guide that lays out exactly how to connect with your audience using strategic, story-driven copy.

Brand & Website Copy from Quotable Copy

P.S. Interested in becoming a better writer yourself? I send a weekly copywriting newsletter that teaches you one easy (and sassy) writing tip every Wednesday. Subscribe to The Weekly Wink to start improving your copy, marketing, and business this week!

What Does Storytelling in Marketing Mean? (Examples, Statistics & Tips)


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