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The Art of Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story, right? Whether it’s a TV drama, film, book or an interesting article on social media, we are all drawn to a great story. Real, human stories create intrigue and emotion, especially if we have experienced a similar life story of our own. On a psychological level, when a story resonates with us, it starts to forge a connection between us and the storyteller. The same applies to your ‘business story’. The most powerful motivation for a customer to buy from you is when they feel a connection to you and/or your business. In our previous blogs, we have looked at consumer psychology and ways to understand your customer’s mindset – in this article, we look at ways you can engage your audience by writing inspiring content. Storytelling is an essential part of marketing and it starts with your brand. Your own ‘brand story’ should convey what your business is about from a human perspective: • Where did you come from? • Who or where are you now? • Who do you want to be? • How do you connect with others? • Why should they care about you or what you offer? Why are you relevant to your customers’ way of seeing the world? People will begin to take interest in your business when you tell them a story that resonates with them, whether this is aesthetical, intellectual or emotional. For more information on branding, please see All About Branding articles by brand specialist, Siyuan Ren. Compelling human stories It’s never a surprise when a web developer tells me that a client’s ‘About us’ page... read more

Understanding Your Customer’s Mindset

In our last blog, we looked at consumer psychology and different ways to position your offering. This month, we look at ways to get inside your ideal customer’s mindset. Once you understand why people are buying from you, you will be able to produce relevant marketing content that resonates with your customers and, ultimately, converts into more sales.   Who’s buying from you? To get inside your customer’s mindset, you need to learn who they are and what problems they face. People buy on emotion. Marketers often create ‘personas’ which help to identify character types, e.g. Neil Smith, aged 45, married with two children, Managing Director of his own business. Whether it’s a Managing Director, Financial Controller or a Personal Fitness Trainer, you will find that people doing similar roles tend to have similar character traits. For example, a Managing Director does not have time to read long emails containing a lot of waffle. They are likely to be managing multiple people and may have managers reporting into them, who regularly send them information. These people are much more likely to respond better to a very high-level summary of information – simple points focusing on benefits, what’s it going to cost, how soon can you do it, etc. Compare this to a Health & Safety Officer, who spends each day perusing detailed information, checking for risks, making sure the environment is safe, etc. They may require more in-depth information to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of an offering. Yes, this is a generalisation, but it is still a good idea to create a few personas and craft your... read more

The ‘Why’ behind Consumer Psychology

What is your weakness when it comes to buying? Maybe it’s food. Or clothes. Or things for the home. From bread to boots to bookshelves, there is always a good deal somewhere. If you know what you’re after. And marketers make it so simple. Right? Most people will experience both sides of that situation. We all take the role of the consumer, buying what we need or what we want, just because someone waved a product right under our nose. Think about the best ways you could ‘wave’ your product or service in front of your customer. People want everything bigger and better. Your clients buy from you because they think they need your product or service. This is the most instinctive yet important reason behind any buying decision. They want to live, and live well. As a business owner, don’t just remember this. Use it. Why do people need your service? What aspect of life are you trying to improve? Answer these questions effectively, and you will reach your target audience. It’s not just about buying essentials to live – there is a reason why the term “impulse buy” was coined. You know how supermarket products are rearranged in an order that makes no sense? Well, actually it makes perfect sense. When your products are popping up in the most unlikely places, there will always be those customers who forget what they came in for, and then stumble across something appealing they probably don’t need. And if your service is based online, the sky’s the limit. Then there’s timing. Studies have shown that food advertisements are more influential to... read more

How to make the most of LinkedIn

One of the things that sets LinkedIn apart from other social media channels is its approach to your contacts. Rather than having as many “friends” as possible, LinkedIn members use the site to find potentially useful contacts. And that’s how, as a business owner, it can benefit you too. An important aspect about LinkedIn is how to approach your content; you’re not writing an instant news heading, or a one-line summary of your day, unless it’s exceptionally newsworthy. You’re either sharing articles of interest, writing your own article to drive traffic to your blog or website, or you’re posting in discussion threads. So the very first step to using LinkedIn for this purpose is to know how to look professional. Firstly, look at the main components of your LinkedIn Profile page, which we have listed below. How does this compare with others in your industry? Are the right people sending you connection requests? Your LinkedIn Title Make a quick list of your skills and selling points. If you are a music teacher, for example, it’s worth being more specific in your Title section: ‘Music Teacher | Violin and Piano Teacher’. Keep it simple, but remember to use ‘keywords’ – relevant words to you and your industry that will help members to find your services. Your LinkedIn Profile Summary Your summary gives your readers a feel for who you are and what you can do. This is your chance to promote yourself or your business, but don’t just focus on your experience. LinkedIn is no longer a CV site. Take the opportunity to publicise any relevant info and links, such as your website, and emphasise what your business... read more

Facebook: Friend or follower?

How to establish a firm Facebook fan base Since its debut in 2004, Facebook has kept millions of eyes glued to screens of all sizes. With so much to offer in terms of friend updates, private chats, public chats, Facebook gives you an opportunity to speak and be heard by many. A perfect means of promoting what you stand for – and, if you use this channel correctly, your business too.   If you’re running your own business, you may already have a good feel for what your followers are after. But in a virtual world of selfies and Farmville, how do you keep them engaged and wanting more? Here are a few pointers to consider: What always gets you thinking? A direct question. This way, you’re not just grabbing people’s attention, you’re encouraging them to mull over a topic that’s relevant to your page and business. Use buzz words, and write as though you are addressing a reader in person – try asking questions like “What would YOU change about your home if you could?” Practical, personal, and to-the-point. Keep it short. See how much you can say in as few words as possible. Tricky? Write your post, reread, and edit. Remove words. Divide sentences. Paraphrase until you have a shorter post. Now look at the words you’ve got. Much clearer? Make your potential clients want to act now. Focus on the positives and the negatives. Advertise the benefits of what you have to offer as if it’s right at their fingertips. It’ll feel real to them, and that’s what draws people in. Or, voice a common struggle... read more

The Power of 3

The Power of 3 Three is indeed a magic number, but what is the mystery that lies behind the number three? The “power of three” is a concept popular with marketers and is actually linked to the evolution of the human brain. Our brains make constant judgements every day. Our choices protect us from harm – to live, we need to breathe air, eat food, and drink water. Instinctively, to survive, we must find a safe shelter, clean water, and hygienic food. These are the very choices which keep us alive as a species, and when we strip back all that we need in life, too many decisions could result in danger. Our planet is the third rock from the sun. We talk about our planet being in the habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone because it is not too hot and not too cold; it is just at the right climate for us to survive. The power of three is built into everything We celebrate first, second and third place in competitions, giving Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals for such achievements. The primary colours of the colour wheel are red, yellow and blue. In music, “the third note of every scale provides the most basic harmony that human ears find pleasing” (Business Insider). A triangle is the most stable shape in geometry and is comprised of three sides. The Golden Section or Golden Ratio, as it’s often known, is a rule used in painting, graphic design and photography, which splits a canvas or image into thirds to create a composition that is pleasing to the eye. It is believed to have been... read more

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