Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
“Facts tell; stories sell.”
Rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?
It’s true, though.
From commercials that tug at our heartstrings to people-centric ad campaigns, nothing compares to the power of story in advertising.
I mean, watch this and try not to feel something…
Is someone cutting onions, or is it just me?
That said, there’s a problem with the implied “but” in “Facts tell, but stories sell,” as it implies a negation of the importance of facts when it comes to persuasion.
Marketing isn’t a zero-sum game when it comes to facts and stories
You can use both.
In fact, you NEED to, if you want to maximize your bottom line.
Reality check: we live in a society of skeptical consumers.
So while we certainly might appreciate the occasional sentimental commercial, we also want to make sure we aren’t buying out of sheer emotion.
We want to see some PROOF before making any sort of decision, big or small.
Thus, when you combine the timeless art of storytelling with hard facts, you basically get the best of both worlds when it comes time to push your prospects’ buttons.
- Want to win over people that buy with their hearts? Check!
- Want to convince those diligent buyers who do their homework before making a purchase? Done and done!
The art of appealing to logic and emotion is a subtle one, but it’s crazy effective once you figure it out.
And in this post, you’re going to learn exactly how to do that.
You don’t need to be a master storyteller or statistician, either.
All you need to start?
Get your facts straight.
Face the facts: marketing by the numbers works!
We’ve talked time and time again about the connection between storytelling and sales.
What’s often overlooked is how numbers can tell a compelling tale of their own, though.
So if you want to increase your revenue, one of the quickest ways is to start getting specific!
What do I mean, specific?
Simply put, our brains are weird.
There are countless examples of how moving around a few digits here and there influences our buying behavior.
This rings true whether we’re talking about ad copy, pricing, or testimonials.
For example, there’s a reason why you see price points at $197 and $499, instead of $200 and $500, respectively.
It’s not an accident…
We have an intrinsic fascination with odd-numbered offers versus rounded ones
Logically, we know exactly what’s going on.
Despite that, pricing “by the nines” was proven to result in nearly 25% more sales in a study conducted by professors affiliated with MIT and the University of Chicago and published in the journal, Quantitative Marketing and Economics.
A few years back there was a fascinating study that really drives this point home.
Columbia Business School Psychologist Malia Mason and her colleagues wanted to study how numbers impacted the process of negotiating a sale.
Her team’s hypothesis?
You could improve the result of your negotiations by honing in on a specific number.
In the study, participants took up the roles of buyers and sellers of a fictitious used car.
In each case, the participants acting as sellers received one of three offers:
- $1,865 or
After receiving the opening offer, the sellers then responded with their counteroffers.
The findings were fascinating, as the precise counteroffers were much more generous, staying within 10% and 15% of the original offer.
On the flip side, the rounded offer wounded up being much less generous, a whopping 23% away from the original!
Why specifics work for business
Why does this work, though? Is it as simple as our brains working against us?
With a specific price point, there’s the implication of some sort of story behind it.
In other words, it seems like someone put actual thought into calculating their price point, instead of just pulling it out of thin air.
Think about how this applies to talking about your positive result in terms of traffic or revenue.
If I told you that we ran a single ad campaign that netted $141,246.30 in sales, against an ad spend of $9,524.90, for a whopping ROI of 1381% over 6 months, you’d be probably be inclined to believe me, right?
(Oh, and that’s totally true, by the way.)
You see, providing specific numbers, data, or stats is a subtle but effective way to gain someone’s trust.
And behind every business there’s tons of data, and the more often you can incorporate those stats into marketing your business’ story, the better.
Before we do that, though, we need to talk about the big picture of storytelling.
Do stories actually sell?
Now, if you are a skeptic yourself when it comes to storytelling, I don’t blame you.
The idea of spinning words into dollars and cents might seem like something reserved for the Stephen King’s of the world.
Plus storytelling implies creativity.
And you might not see yourself as a creative, but rather a business owner and entrepreneur, and understandably so.
That’s why I’m going to get “meta” here and show you a specific example of how simple storytelling turned one business’ trash into absolute treasure and how you can do something similar.
And when I say treasure, I mean a 2,700% increase in revenue!
The power of selling a story
Check it: stories add real, quantifiable valuable to whatever it is you might be selling.
Digital products. Education. Used cars.
Or in the case of Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, random thrift store trinkets.
As part of a social sales experiment, Walker and Glenn managed to take a bunch of <$1 items from random thrift stores and turn them into nearly $8,000 in sales via eBay.
And guess how they scored such a sweet ROI?
They told stories!
As part of their “Significant Objects” experiment, Walker and Glenn hypothesized that they could literally increase the value of junk through storytelling, they believed that perception was value, and with the right words, they could turn that perception into cash.
With the help of 100 hired creative writers, they found the right words to do exactly that.
The writers wordsmithed product descriptions to provide a fictional background on each of the items, hoping that they would drive up the price of the respective item.
And oh, they were so right.
Here’s an example of a listing for a seemingly ordinary meat thermometer:
“Everything had a temperature in those days. Cheese was cold. Avocados were warm. My heart was a piece of hot meat pierced by love’s thermometer.”
The original price? 75 cents.
The final selling price? $51.
Oh, and here’s one for a wooden mallet:
“On September 16th, 2031 at 2:35 am, a temporal rift – a “tear” in the very fabric of time and space – will appear 16.5 meters above the area currently occupied by Jeffrey’s Bistro, 123 E Ivinson Ave, Laramie, WY. Only the person wielding this mallet will be able to enter the rift unscathed. If this person then completes the 8 Labors of Worthiness, he or she will become the supreme ruler of the universe.”
The original price? 33 cents.
The final selling price? $71.
Many of the objects went for well over $100, with a few for over $200.
Make no mistake: this wasn’t an exercise is trickery, either.
Even the creators of the experiment ended up having an emotional stake in their creations. Here’s a telling quote from Glenn explaining to NPR how difficult it was parting with these “prized” objects:
“As the kind of curator of the project, I thought that I would be immune to the stories, but I had a really hard time letting go of some of the objects. So there is really something hardwired in us to want things to be meaningful.”
This all just really reinforces how irrational and emotional the buying process is at the end of the day.
Making people FEEL something is so important for stoking their desires and pushing them to buy.
Meanwhile, those stats we talked about earlier play into the logical parts of our brain to help seal the deal.
See how it all comes together?
3 tips to maximize your marketing through facts and stories
Again, you don’t need to be a creative genius to put your story into words.
Every single story has a story to tell.
Some prime options to put to paper include…
- The “ah-ha” moment that made you decide to pursue network marketing in the first place
- The story of your first sale and the trials and tribulations that led you to that point
- An insight or inspirational story from a client or customer
Any of these could be potential prompts for ad copy, emails or blog posts.
The possibilities to package and repackage these stories are seemingly endless.
Scrambling for stats to couple with your stories?
You probably already have them on deck. For example, consider some specific data points you can pull to back up your tales such as…
- The specific amount of money you made during your biggest month in business so far (“…a whopping $11,789 for the month!”)
- The number of sales or traffic you were able to score on behalf of a client thanks to your work (“…she managed to improve her monthly traffic by 157% and win 3.7x leads!”)
- Your years or months of experience as a marketer, providing readers with a sense of urgency (…”How I Made $31,196 in my first three months as a marketer.”)
If your mind is currently racing with ideas, you’re on the right track!
And if you’re feeling a bit daunted, don’t fret.
Below are a few quick tips to help bring your facts and stories together.
1. Humanize your product
Stats are fantastic pointers for supporting your product and what it does, but it’s not the be-all, end-all of what you’re selling.
Bringing in a much-needed human touch is key to selling just about anything.
Sure, you may have some sort of course or turnkey solution to transform your prospects’ lives and make them tons of money, but where’s the story?
How can you make them feel beyond the numbers?
Volvo is probably one of my favorite examples in the marketing world of humanizing a product effectively.
Investing in a Volvo isn’t just investing in a car: it’s investing in your family’s safety.
The brand’s long-term emphasis on safety is a brilliant example of what we’re talking about.
There are plenty of opportunities for Volvo to talk up their specs, but the slogan “Volvo’s life insurance on wheels” coupled with a family photo is a powerful image.
Give your prospects the opportunity to put themselves in the shows of your product.
In short, let them imagine what it’s like to be behind the proverbial wheel.
2. Remember: people are drawn to experiences
Do you know why stories like Steve Jobs’ days as a college dropout and struggles prior to Apple’s renaissance are so compelling?
Because they represent a human experience we can all relate to.
We might not all be tech gurus, but we’ve all certainly had our stumbles.
We’ve had our naysayers.
And while the idea of being a billionaire might as well be fiction to many of us, we can still empathize with those struggles.
People love underdogs. David versus Goliath.
Luke Skywalker making the heart-stopping run to blow up the Death Star all by himself, against all odds.
Those specific instances of struggle in the grand scheme of things will always appeal to people, so use that sort of appeal to your advantage.
When in doubt, discuss your own shortcomings and vulnerabilities: you may be surprised at how much people respond.
3. Tap into the “Spielberg Effect”
Last but not least, don’t forget to harness the power of the Spielberg Face.
This artistic technique popularized by Steven Spielberg that you can see in the likes of E.T., Jurassic Park, and Jaws relies on extreme, awe-struck close-ups of characters to create an emotional connection with audiences.
And it works. Beautifully.
Putting a face to your marketing strategy is always a smart move in pursuit of humanizing both your brand and whatever it is you have to sell.
So plaster your photo throughout your marketing campaigns.
Don’t be afraid to get emotional.
If we’ve learned anything in marketing or otherwise, it’s that emotion is a fantastic motivation.
Ready to sell your story?
It might seem like there’s a whole lot to unpack here, but let’s break it down in plain English.
High-performing marketers understand the transformative power of storytelling.
And while nobody can transform words into gold from the word “go,” a little bit of practice goes a long way.
So don’t be afraid to write that blog post or email.
Put YOUR story into your copy.
Go for it!
All the while, don’t forget to tap into your prospects’ sense of logic.
Support your story with stats.
Give it the legitimacy it needs to stand out in their minds.
With the help of stats and storytelling, you instantly put yourself on a pedestal when it comes to establishing rapport with your audience.
And with that, it’s time to put pen to paper!
Uncovering the right story for your business
To get started, you just need to figure out which stories will resonate with your prospects.
Luckily, we’ve already done the homework for tons of marketers to help them absolutely explode the volume traffic to their ads.
So if you’re ready to learn the proven tactics classic brands have been using for over 100 years to attract an audience, we’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial that reveals our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE online workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, co-founder and CEO of Elite Marketing Pro.
You’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.
So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Here’s to your success!
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro