Words tell, stories sell. Do you use stories in your copies?

22 replies
Hi WF members, I was recently going through my emails and found something worth sharing. An email, with a copy so intriguing, it shook me to attention.
It was nothing new or cheeky. In fact, the very realization that we, human beings, love hearing stories. I want to share few of the starting lines from the email:

SumoMe, Copy Hackers, Drip, Unbounce & Uberflip walk into a bar...
Copy Hackers says, "Guys, I just can't deal with it anymore."
Stunned, the crowd turns to the typically cheerful Copy Hackers for explanation...
"I refuse to go on. A world with sub-par email copywriting just isn't a world I want to live in anymore..."
"Aye," affirms Unbounce.
"Woe to the email world," echoes Uberflip.
"So many dollah-billz left on the table," affirms the conversion-savvy Sumo.


And the story went on and on until a call-to-action.
This fascinating email made me recall a famous metaphor I once read somewhere "Words tell. Stories sell."
So what exactly does it mean? Are we, humans, wired in a way to respond to stories well? May be because, in our childhoods, the best thing was listening to a story from our grannies(this is me,lol!). To answer my queries I went on to do a little research on human psyche(when it comes to story-telling) and the implication of stories in marketing and all. Here is my take on how we can use stories to level-up our businesses and portfolios:

Although there might be several applications of how we can incorporate stories in our copies, I have found three of them to be on top of my list.

1. Your Personal story
I had rather debate on replacing "about us" pages with the word "story"! People want to hear your struggle. YOUR STORY OF SUCCESS. For business owners, this is the best way to establish a personal and emotional connection with their potential clients. Stories connect us. In fact, research has shown that 65% of our conversations are based on story-telling. I could not find a greater example of personal story implication in marketing world than the very famous Chanel brand video, which beautifully describes the harsh struggle of its founder Coco through the years. I strongly urge you to please do have a look and share your thoughts on this:

Telling your personal story on sales pages, blogs, portfolio websites, and brand videos are one of the best ways to establish authority,trust and relatability with your audience.

2. The "tipping point" story.
The point where you met the solution you have been looking for so long. Or you met a "guru" that solved your problem and now you are here to tell everyone how it took place. It applies perfectly to things like "a secret recipe" you found in an age-old Arabic book and how it has dramatically controlled your hypertension blab bla. Possibilities are limitless (however, stories don't give you a license to lie).
The chain in such a story-telling goes this way:

You desperately needed a solution for a problem.
You met an "angel" who provided a great solution.
Now, you are here to tell this to the world (your product).
(With the excessive use of such stories, especially in health and weight loss industry, it is losing its charm - turning into more of a sugar-coated rhetoric).


3. A Historical story.

This story-type revolves around quoting any historical event from past that signifies the importance of your product. Ben settle, one of the copy writers I follow, once used an example of ancient roman fighting and grappling with lions to sell a grappling program to oldies who feared sweat and struggle. It worked wonders for him!

WF members, when it comes to selling, what are your views on importance of stories? Do you think it's powerful enough to move people? Or the concept is too old now (people getting immune to it)? I would like to end this thread with a beautiful story that made Wall street journal over $2 billion Dollars. Billion with the B.

"Dear Reader:

On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both - as young college graduates are - were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently, these two men returned to college for their 25th reunion.

They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.

But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.

(And then the writer explained what made the difference and finally pitched readers with a call-to-action).
#copies #copywriting #sell #stories #words
  • Profile picture of the author neshaword
    There's never a bad time to hear a good story, lol. You just to be a careful about the context. Sometimes, people wanna get what they expect, no more, no less. Sometimes, they wanna be surprised and knocked off their feet with an unexpectedly fascinating story. Timing and context matter here. People will prize your writing, but the only thing they'll remeber is your story. Nice share. Cheers!
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

      There's never a bad time to hear a good story, lol. You just to be a careful about the context. Sometimes, people wanna get what they expect, no more, no less. Sometimes, they wanna be surprised and knocked off their feet with an unexpectedly fascinating story. Timing and context matter here. People will prize your writing, but the only thing they'll remeber is your story. Nice share. Cheers!
      Nesha, your thoughts are always spot on! I liked when you said "..the only thing they"ll remember is your story" This is so true. We all tend to forget the advises pros and gurus give us, but do remember their success/struggle story. Sigh. I wish our brains were gifted enough to remember their advises too
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      • Profile picture of the author neshaword
        Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

        Nesha, your thoughts are always spot on! I liked when you said "..the only thing they"ll remember is your story" This is so true. We all tend to forget the advises pros and gurus give us, but do remember their success/struggle story. Sigh. I wish our brains were gifted enough to remember their advises too
        Junaid,

        After only a few posts, I was able to remember your name. It is not an easy thing to come up with the inspirational threads. You're always positive and encouraging with your messages.

        As soon as I see your name, I up vote your thread automatically. So far, I haven't made a mistake, lol.

        Cheers,
        Nesha
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        • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
          Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

          Junaid,

          After only a few posts, I was able to remember your name. It is not an easy thing to come up with the inspirational threads. You're always positive and encouraging with your messages.

          As soon as I see your name, I up vote your thread automatically. So far, I haven't made a mistake, lol.

          Cheers,
          Nesha
          haha thanks Nesha, I hope you never make such a mistake. Atleast, I will try my best
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  • Profile picture of the author Megaminis
    Stories are fantastic. I've had a huge uplift in leads and sales via emails. I just use the same style of writing as sending an email to a friend.

    I also think that this grabs a lot of people's attention because it's so unique, and when you mix this with something unusual (our best-performing email involves a frog) it's magical.

    You also can't underestimate the importance of using stories in blog posts. It's so crowded with content: more than 2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, and 864 thousand hours of video are created daily.

    Instead of doing standard listicles, I use an informal style of writing that makes use of telling stories and using unique angles. This has really accelerated our blog conversion rate of visitors to newsletter sign-ups (you wouldn't believe me if I told you how high it is).

    A good example of what I mean can be found here: Words Are Powerful: The Future of Your Business Depends on Them
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Megaminis View Post

      Stories are fantastic. I've had a huge uplift in leads and sales via emails. I just use the same style of writing as sending an email to a friend.

      I also think that this grabs a lot of people's attention because it's so unique, and when you mix this with something unusual (our best-performing email involves a frog) it's magical.

      You also can't underestimate the importance of using stories in blog posts. It's so crowded with content: more than 2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, and 864 thousand hours of video are created daily.

      Instead of doing standard listicles, I use an informal style of writing that makes use of telling stories and using unique angles. This has really accelerated our blog conversion rate of visitors to newsletter sign-ups (you wouldn't believe me if I told you how high it is).

      A good example of what I mean can be found here: Words Are Powerful: The Future of Your Business Depends on Them
      Hi, nice to hear from you.
      Oh wow, the use of frog in your stories has already intrigued me enough! I would love to see an example.
      And yes, with the sheer volume of content posted each day, its difficult to stand out. Especially, if you are writing in the same old lame way. Stories are best hooks. In fact, brain hooks, that hang readers over the cliff untill they read all through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to hear a frog story!
      Thanka
      Junaid
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  • Profile picture of the author gabrielrala
    stories are great! It tells your viewers and subscriber who you were, and what you've become! and people always facinated with bad stories to good one! it really helps so they can relate and see themselves on the stories you tell !
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by gabrielrala View Post

      stories are great! It tells your viewers and subscriber who you were, and what you've become! and people always facinated with bad stories to good one! it really helps so they can relate and see themselves on the stories you tell !
      Hi Gabriel, thanks for your views. Stories intrigue us because they hit our emotional triggers. And there is no greater marketing tactic than hitting one of the "8 human emotions". Keep on hitting the bulls eye with fascinating stories and we are all set to sell and sleep. lol (I know it's not that simple but let it be for the arguments sake!). Cheers. And thanks for sharing your insights.
      Junaid
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  • Our hearts are fulla stories — singular ignitions, remembered as embers or ash, whose fairy dust we cast at an infinitely open impenetrable future because it is all we knowa shimmer.

    Stillness is momentary, chaos is intolerable — but stories are sensible fluidity spun out in some kinda direction we can equally need an' find, wherever we are in any kinda flux.

    Stories are spat spores swellin' to flushful glories, embroidered the f*ck outta voids, propulsively delicious, unquestionably non-suspicious, murderously evidencioulicious.

    Zap 'em outta the hooman equation — what else u got?
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Princess Balestra View Post


      Zap 'em outta the hooman equation -- what else u got?
      Hi Balestra, I have already fallen in love with the way you write! It's so poetic and depthful. I love when you said " Zap'em outta the hooman equation - what else you got?" It's so true. Stories are the essence of our conversations.... The core factor through which we connect and thrive. There is no better way to convince, impress, connect and sell, than telling a story.
      Thanks for your great philosophical thoughts Balestra. Cheers!
      Junaid
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  • Profile picture of the author ArgusLam
    Yes, copywrite is usually a heroic story where the copywriter (you) had a problem and you overcame it by creating this product or solution for yourself and now you want to help other people by selling your solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author h20sdavid
    Often I write my own stories, it is one of never fear, never give up and don't listen to the negative.
    After a serious car accident with head and spinal injuries the head injury was such specialist told me 98% of never ever working again. At the time lost total memory pre accident (30 years old) since then I've proven them wrong and like to inspire and motivate people.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by h20sdavid View Post

      Often I write my own stories, it is one of never fear, never give up and don't listen to the negative.
      After a serious car accident with head and spinal injuries the head injury was such specialist told me 98% of never ever working again. At the time lost total memory pre accident (30 years old) since then I've proven them wrong and like to inspire and motivate people.
      Hi David, hearing motivational stories is always a nice experience. There are people like you, who have struggled so much in life, and thus, turning out to be a true inspiration for us.I believe that struggle refines us. It makes us stronger, so that we teach and inspire those who are weak and feeble. Keep on inspiring us, David. Thanks for sharing your personal story!
      Junaid
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  • Profile picture of the author paranoidx
    In my point of view, story telling within sale action is only good apply whenever your client and you present communication before but not for the very first time. Especially that if sale man is not a fame guy or influence, that can create a side effect where people think that this guy is so talkative and non-sense. Mental process, people say NO
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by paranoidx View Post

      In my point of view, story telling within sale action is only good apply whenever your client and you present communication before but not for the very first time. Especially that if sale man is not a fame guy or influence, that can create a side effect where people think that this guy is so talkative and non-sense. Mental process, people say NO
      Hi Paranoidx, I partly agree with your argument. Nowadays, copy writers are very careful before adding stories in their sales pages or ads. There are probably two reason: 1. The story might seem a sugar coated rhetoric.
      2. If the company is new in town, a story might not develop the level of trust we are looking for.
      However, if we have a compelling story to tell; both these reasons can easily be put to shame!
      Lastly, if the seller and buyer are in communication previously (for example, joining an email list of a blog), it's a big yes to use stories every now and then. In fact, I think, in sales process, using story-telling through email are more effective than incorporating them inside a landing page. Thanks for your thoughts. Cheers!
      Junaid
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    For those that don't have an ounce of story in you...
    you can do very well in your advertising...
    as shown in these 3 examples...

    Best,
    Ewen

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...5k-2-days.html



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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

      For those that don't have an ounce of story in you...
      you can do very well in your advertising...
      as shown in these 3 examples...

      Best,
      Ewen

      Hi Ewen, such an excellent insight from your side! These ads have cunningly exploited the pain points of their prospect. Who can resist such an ad? I agree, if stories are not your thing, the best way is to hit the pain points directly (just like these ads did). I noticed a pattern in both of these ads:
      - Both are simple yet effective.
      -Both are very specific. No jargons or mumbo jumbo distracting lines.
      - Both presented a problem FIRST, then provided its solution.
      And the best of the best copy is ready to sell...
      Thanks Ewen for adding real value to this thread. Cheers!
      -J
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  • Profile picture of the author vondur
    Great post! I have known this storytelling truth for over 2 years now but never found the segway to truly incorporate it into my own copy properly, your post has given me that segway. Thank you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by vondur View Post

      Great post! I have known this storytelling truth for over 2 years now but never found the segway to truly incorporate it into my own copy properly, your post has given me that segway. Thank you.
      Hi Vondour, Thanks for showing your likeness. Way to go! Stories are your thing now. I'd be here if you need any help in crafting one! Thanks.
      -J
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  • Profile picture of the author Stryker14
    Stories can work in any niche.
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    Nate Landau

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  • Profile picture of the author wordsandthebees
    This is a great thread!
    I've come from the not-for-profit sector and stories are a MUST for all fundraising copy.
    Now it depends on the nature of the project but I'll always use a story if it's appropriate, the best way in my eyes to keep the reader engaged.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by wordsandthebees View Post

      This is a great thread!
      I've come from the not-for-profit sector and stories are a MUST for all fundraising copy.
      Now it depends on the nature of the project but I'll always use a story if it's appropriate, the best way in my eyes to keep the reader engaged.
      Hi wordandthebees, it's always a pleasure to hear from you. I agree, for fundraising copies, crafting stories are the single most impactful thing a copy writer can do. People want to hear stories of the cause they are donating money to! Keep on creating impacts by writing beautiful stories.Cheers! Thanks Junaid
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