One of the most effective ways to promote your business is by telling your story. “I sell shower curtains, more than 10,000 styles and types. Got started when our shower curtain kept ripping and searched for something better.”
People just love to know how you got started, what you do, and how you do it. Sometimes people simply want the bare bones 10 seconds version like my fictitious example above. Other times they have questions and want to know in detail about other parts of your story — like are there really more than 10,000 kinds of shower curtains?
In our advanced, modern world of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest is something as basic as telling your story all that important? You better believe it is! That’s the ONLY reason those famous sites exist — to encourage people to tell their stories.
There are probably famous business stories in your community. Every town I’ve ever lived in had a well-known tale about the humble beginnings of a major local business. “That restaurant started as a train car. Then expanded.”
Back in the 1980s when I was a radio DJ in Oklahoma City, there was a thriving electronics box store named Soundtrack. The owner was a young woman known as Linda Soundtrack. She flooded the airwaves with her own wacky commercials. Soon everyone was telling the same story about Linda Soundtrack coming to town in the 1970s selling car stereos out of her trunk, growing her mighty business from those humble beginnings.
Linda herself told me the story was far from the truth, but Ms. Soundtrack knew a good thing when she saw it and ran with the myth. It got her countless media interviews and kept thousands of people talking and thinking about her.
Here is how YOU can make your story work as a powerful marketing tool:
1. Develop a one line version of your story. Sometimes it’s called your elevator speech. So if you are on an elevator and somebody asks you “what do you do?” — you can answer quickly before the doors open.
The little story at the top of this article is an elevator speech: “I sell shower curtains, more than 10,000 styles and types. Got started when our shower curtain kept ripping and searched for something better.”
Did his business really get started when the shower curtain ripped? Maybe not. But our hero knows everyone has suffered with ripping shower curtains. It is highly relatable so he incorporates that into his story. The truth may be he did two years of market research to find a niche that uncovered a highly renewable and affordable entrance into the home improvement space. But that’s pretty boring to the average person.
2. Watch for part of your elevator speech to catch the attention of your listener. They will latch on to one thing you said and want to know more. “Are there really 10,000 different types of shower curtains?”
That is YOUR opportunity to go into detail. Tell your listener as much as they want to know. Oh, and you can help them find the right shower curtain if they like. “Here’s my card with my website. Browse all 10,000 there.”
3. Also develop a one paragraph version of your story. This version has more detail and is the one you will tell when a reporter calls or emails to interview you. Mine goes “I spent 21 years working on-air in Radio and TV. When the Internet came along, I jumped on in 1996 with one of the first Marketing Expert sites and rode the Internet wave for the next 15 years. Thousands of customers later I have the experience YOU need to get you proven results FAST!”
Think up your story, then practice several versions of it. It’s easiest to practice in the car when driving. And never be shy about telling your story. People love them!