Adding a story will magnify the impact of any element of your marketing.
That’s good — because you get memorable content that resonates emotionally. But it also means that your story calls for even more attention to the structure. So a story makeover will be an important component of your copywriting makeover.
Here’s an original origin story:
Nathalie, a business owner, submitted this story as a comment for one of my storytelling courses. She gave me permission to share, with her real name.
“My friend invited me to accompany her to some start-up events. I noticed that most founders struggle a lot with their financials, spending too many endless nights with Excel. As a controller I was surprised, since this is the most insightful and interesting part of a business.
“There must be a way to help other business owners appreciate the power of sales statistics.” I thought to myself.
“With the help of my newly learned web development skills, I developed software which automatically creates sales charts and dashboards after entering sales data. Additionally, I wanted to make sure they never feel lost with the interpretation of their figures – so I decided to include regular free visits to my customers to discuss future possibilities and threats.
“Now, my clients know exactly which products to promote better and save time as well as money through more effective marketing. You can spend evenings with your loved ones – not with Excel.”
That’s a pretty good origin story right there. It’s got the ingredients. But will this story inspire action?
We start by asking, “Why are you telling this story?”
An origin story isn’t something you share in casual conversation to satisfy curiosity. It’s not a story you share to help a new social acquaintance get to know you better as a person.
Normally an origin story will explain why you’re so passionate about what you do and why you’re unique.
But nothing’s written in stone, as long as you’re being strategic about your storytelling. In this case, Nathalie’s origin story will explain the benefits of her software. She’ll want visitors to take some action, such as request more information.
So it’s important to go deeper into the client’s problem, create a vivid experience, and evoke emotion.
Here’s the revised story:
“When we talked to founders at these events, a lot of them rolled their eyes when they heard I was a controller.
“’I’m so sick of spending my nights staring at Excel spread sheets,’ one CEO said.
“’This is the part of my job I hate most — going over numbers,’ said another.
“Why did these CEOs — very smart people who founded profitable companies — resist doing something that was so critical to their mission — something I actually enjoy doing myself?
“I realized these founders didn’t have a CFO to make the numbers tell a story. They needed charts and dashboards and ways to play with ‘what-if’ scenarios — the most useful and fun part of accounting.
“So I created software to develop the tools I’d normally create for my own clients.
“The first CEOs who tried them were thrilled. One said it was like playing a video game! And now they can easily decide which products to promote and where to spend their marketing dollars … and still spend plenty of time with their families.”
The biggest differences?
We added dialogue. We helped the audience identify with individual CEOs, not just abstract entities. We made the benefits vivid and specific. The benefits could be expanded but we’re off to a good start.
What if there’s more to the story?
Nathalie also bundled some consulting into her software offer. This feature could be covered in the sales letter or sales discussion, once the founders become engaged.
“One takeaway per story” is about all most readers can handle.
However, that’s a judgment call. If these potential buyers were skeptical, Nathalie could add, “Some CEOs still wished some magic wand would set up their what-if scenarios and help find new insights into the data. We couldn’t find a magic wand but we did the next best thing – we built two consultation calls into every software package. A couple of CEO’s confided they’d been nervous about spreadsheets and charts — but now they’re using them every day and have to be reminded it’s time for lunch.”
What we’ve got here is a laser makeover — a back-of-the-napkin quick change. When I work with clients we can go much deeper. If you’d like to work with me one-on-one to transform your stories into high-converting marketing copy, click here to set up a consultation.