sell with story

by guest author Megan Eckman

There’s a saying that has been getting overused a lot lately:

“It’s not what you make but why you make it that attracts customers.”

While that's true, it’s equally true that it’s not just about telling the story of how you make something but how you tell that story.  In this age of utter disconnect, your blog readers and customers want to feel like they’re buying into something: a group, a feeling, a fantasy.

Anne Wood embodies this idea perfectly.  She constructs woodland creatures, mostly birds, out of vintage fabric and old wedding dresses.  While she could use her blog to simply post photos of her newest creations, she instead takes it a step further.  The reader actually gets taken on a journey with the birds.  

You see them made, you read about their back story, who their friends are, where they are going, etc.  Anne creates this entire world for both her creations and her fans to enjoy.  And then she announces the date they’ll go into her shop, where they promptly sell out within a few hours.  

So she builds a story but she also builds anticipation.  She makes her fans invest in her work.  They come back week after week to read a new adventure and see where their characters are now.  They get sucked into her world and thus want to own a piece of it to make their reality just a little more like Anne Wood’s fantasy.

So how can you employ story to sell your work on your blog or website?

Make sure that your brand is consistent because even without literal stories, it’s telling your customer something.  Think of Kate Spade.  You know her story is all about fun, flirty girls who have a flair for style.  Her customers want to be like the models in her photoshoots so they buy a purse or a shirt to have a piece of that world.

Does your tagline or mission statement call your customers to action? Mine is “rekindle your wonder.”  Not only is it actionable but it lets the customer know they can do just that by buying a piece from my shop.

Are you product descriptions engaging? If they sound like Old West wanted posters, it’s time to liven things up.  Here’s a perfect place to tell a story!

Does your blog have a purpose and does that purpose serve your customers?  Remember, your blog is ultimately for the reader’s enjoyment, not yours.  If you don’t make it interesting for them, they have no reason to come back.  Make them want to invest in the experience by owning a piece of the story you’re creating around your work.

If you're starting to worry because storytelling (in the literal sense) just isn't your thing, you can relax because there are tons of Blogging Tips for People Who Don't Like Writing. You could post videos, take a photograph, share the story little by little over several weeks through Instagrams of sticky notes.  The possibilities are endless.

The point is that you're engaging your customer on an emotional level instead of just the level that deals with how large your handmade scarf is or how much your program costs.  

You want to entertain them, to give them something for nothing, to tug at some part of their heartstrings.  Look over your brand and product offering and brainstorm what kind of stories you could tell with your work.

Stumped?  Leave a comment below with your website address and I will brainstorm with you!

Megan Eckman is the community coordinator for Create Hype a site that helps female entrepreneurs learn how to market their creative businesses. She loves meeting new creative entrepreneurs and sharing their knowledge with others. She also runs an illustration business, Studio MME, which helps people rekindle their wonder.