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  • Writer's pictureKayla Stinnett

The Power of Storytelling: How Small Businesses Can Build Their Brand

What if I told you that great marketing is about telling a story, not selling one? Often, I see small businesses going for the sale rather than the connection. It’s a mistake that I see all businesses make, whether big or small. But great marketing is about developing relationships to create action, not slamming your prospective customers with that direct sale.

And so enters our old friend, “storytelling.” When paired with comprehensive branding, storytelling not only promotes your small business but also serves as a catalyst for connection—and that goes beyond that “sale” to a loyal customer.

So, let’s dive into storytelling and what it can do for your small business!

What is Storytelling?

According to the Product Marketing Alliance, storytelling is a process used by product marketers to communicate a message to their audience via the combination of fact and narrative. Essentially, it’s a narrative that weaves together a story that evokes emotion. And as we all know, people are more likely to remember something they’re emotionally invested in.

That’s why storytelling is such a powerful tool. It creates emotion and inspires action in your audience, which allows them to establish a connection and keep coming back for more.

Pro Tip: Check out the social feeds of some of your favorite brands. Do they talk "at" their audience, or are they having conversations with them?

How to Develop Your Small Business’s Story

The first step to storytelling is knowing your narrative, which begins with branding and understanding your audience. That takes several things, such as understanding your brand’s values and detailing your unique story. As a small business, it’s also essential to identify successful brand stories to create a sense of reliability. But above all, make sure you identify your target audience. After all, you could execute your storytelling flawlessly, but it doesn’t matter if you tell the wrong people.

For tips on branding and finding your audience, check out my blogs, “DIY Marketing: Flexing your brand as your small business's superpower!” and “Defining Your Audience.” The backend analytics of the marketing platforms you use are also fantastic resources!

Pro Tip: No matter the story, tell it like a human. Keep it conversational and authentic to your brand voice.

The Benefits of Storytelling for Small Businesses

Still not convinced that storytelling is the way to go? I understand. But the adage “if you build it, they will come” is long gone. Compelling storytelling can help build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, and set your small business apart from the competition.

Think about it. What business do you love? Why do you keep buying from them? What sets them apart from other similar businesses? I’d be willing to bet it’s more than that favorite product but the business itself.

Pro Tip: Skeptical? Test it out! Adopt the storytelling frame with your next three emails or a month of social media posts, then analyze the stats.

Tips for Incorporating Storytelling Into Your Marketing Strategy

Storytelling can sound intimidating, but my advice is to take it one step at a time. First, make sure your branding is in place, and then use that to create a brand voice. With that, you can ensure that your storytelling is authentic to your small business and your target audience.

After that, begin with developing your story. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end that speaks to your audience’s pain points and how your product or service answers their needs.

Other tips for compelling storytelling include using visuals and videos that support your storytelling and measuring the success of your efforts.

Pro Tip: Remember, storytelling can be humorous, dramatic, or compelling. What emotion it evokes depends on your branding and audience.

Storytelling is a simple yet powerful tool that can make or break a small business. It creates awareness, inspires loyalty, and encourages referral marketing. Start crafting your own brand stories today, and see the difference it makes for your small business!

About the Author, Kayla Stinnett: Kayla Stinnett is a self-described chef, gin lover, and rambling woman. With over eight years in the marketing world, she’s the CEO of Iron City Social, HBIC at Quake Plus Size, and Managing Partner + CMO of Stargazer Brewing Company.


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