As we have mentioned in the past, marketing is not what it used to be. Potential customers don’t just want you to prove why your product or service is superior. They also want to feel connected. They want to know the people behind the company and understand the personality of your business. The best way to do this is by telling your story through brand storytelling.
If you think about it, man has been telling stories from the beginning of time. Our ancestors passed on stories from generation to generation. In fact, there are even cave paintings that tell stories from prehistoric times. It seems that we have always longed to tell our stories and also to hear the stories of others.
But the way we tell stories has changed. Not just since the time of cave paintings, but even in the last few years. At one point, telling your story was done by writing a long essay about yourself and the history of your business and posting it on your website. This simply is not enough anymore. Communication today is much more nuanced than that and there are several factors to consider.
First, stop thinking about telling your story as a one-time event. Brand storytelling is about creating an ongoing narrative around your company. It isn’t one written story or blog post. It’s the total of how you communicate with your customers and about your company.
There are several aspects that you need to communicate through brand storytelling.
- Who you are
- What you do
- How you solve problems
- How you add value to your clients
Telling Your Story: Who You Are
It may seem obvious that your story begins with you. But many health and wellness businesses miss this part. They don’t realize how important it is for clients to see the people behind a brand. Remember, clients want to feel connected to you; marketing is now about relationship. Who you are matters to clients.
Your narrative story is a great place to start this. Have a clearly written history of your business. Include why you started, where you began, the path you took and where you are planning on going. Don’t forget to include your passion and motivation throughout this story.
A written, narrative story is not enough for brand storytelling. You also need to communicate your personality through your communication. If you are a massage therapist, your story should feel relaxing, it should not be filled with intense language. Your language choice should match you as a person and the environment of your business.
Sometimes, in an attempt to be professional, business owners choose to use very formal writing for their communications. But this is only a good choice if you run a very formal health and wellness business. If you are fun and high-energy your clients should feel that energy in each communication.
Another way to continue your brand storytelling is through introducing members of your team. This can be done on your website and/or on social media. You can use social media to Introduce team members. Some ideas include giving a little bit of info about their role, giving a shout out about an accomplishment, wishing the employee a happy birthday or congratulations on a life event (just make sure your employee is okay with what you will be sharing).
Telling Your Story: What you do
If you are a chiropractor, your clients know that you do adjustments. But do they know that you also offer muscle work? Or that you offer packages that include nutritional lessons?
Your website should have all of your services clearly explained and easily found. But most established clients are not visiting your website on a regular basis, so they may miss it.
Your service offerings are well communicated through email blasts to your client list and via social media posts highlighting your services. Using the example of the chiropractic example above a great post idea would be to give a nutrition tip and then talk about the lessons that are available.
Another great way to bring attention to your services is through stories of clients who have seen success with your help. As a fitness professional did you help a client lose 50 lbs? Post before and after photos. As a chiropractor did a client finally get relief from their back pain? Post a short testimonial about how you helped them.
Telling Your Story: How you solve problems
This is similar to what you do, but it goes a little further. You see, every business is about solving a problem. You are looking for your client’s pain and seeing what you can do to relieve the pain.
If your client is unhappy with their physical condition, a fitness facility can offer personal training, nutrition classes, and supplements. You are seeing their pain and offering solutions.
This is like a mini story as part of your larger narrative. A client has a problem, they come to you, you offer a solution, the client is thrilled that their problem is solved.
Testimonials are great ways to share this if clients are willing. Or you can share the mini-story in your own words.
Telling Your Story: How you add value to your clients
Going beyond what you do and how you solve problems is explaining how you add value to your clients’ lives. It has been said that you should always leave a place better than you found it. And the same is true for people.
As a professional in the health, wellness or fitness industry you already believe in the power of investing in people. You do it every day. This part of telling your story is about communicating it.
Are you present with them? Making eye contact and expressing genuine interest in your conversation?
Do you remember details about their life? Have you asked follow up questions such as, “Is your mom feeling better?” or “How was Suzie’s play?” Do you go out of your way to acknowledge their birthday?
Do you connect with your clients outside of your scheduled meeting times? A quick phone call check-in or even a handwritten note to say “thanks” goes a long way. Or maybe you created an online community to help you stay in touch with your clients.
There are endless ways to add value for your clients. And with each way, you are telling your story to that client, to others watching and to whoever they share with.
It is true that the entire world won’t see these things first hand. But it will show with the way you talk about your business and your clients online. Adding value builds relationships, and genuine relationships can be seen a mile away. And potential clients will want what you are providing.
Tips for Telling Your Story
That is a lot of information to convey through your written story and online presence. Don’t worry. We have a few tips that will make it easier to continue telling your story.
Make it Personal
You are the voice of your business. Be real with your audience (online and in person). If you are an intense, high-energy trainer, express that with your tone and language. Don’t try to be zen…leave that to a massage therapist or yoga instructor.
Choose a few keywords or even phrases that truly encapsulate your business. Use them often in your written material and your conversations.
Most successful businesses have a value proposition that they use. An iconic example is Geico insurance company’s line, “15 minutes can save you 15% or more.”
Find your own phrase, value proposition or sign-off that ties your posts, blog, and website together.
Use Your Life As Content
You are your brand. Share about your own journey. Post photos of your training sessions or of you attending a seminar or learning a new technique. Post about your down time too. Share with your clients about how you rest and reset.
And, don’t just share your positive moments. It’s important that your clients see that you are a human who also struggles. Did you oversleep? Fail at a specific movement? Let your audience know. It will make your story more personal and relatable.
Share Specific Examples
Share about your clients’ successes, your products, your processes, and the people involved in your business.
Make it Emotional
Integrating your personality into everything you share is vital. Make sure in the process that your emotion shows. Are you excited for a client? Interested in learning a new skill? Hungry after a training session? Let that show.
Again, don’t only highlight positives. Are you feeling frustrated with your progress? Share that. Are you feeling disappointed about a plan not working out? Share that.
Telling your story should be honest and accurate – don’t omit the difficulties. But don’t linger on them either. Help clients see that overcoming obstacles is all part of the journey.
Do One Thing a Day
Make sure that every day you are doing one thing to tell your story. Post on social media, write a blog post, send an email.
And most of all, remember that you are still writing your story. It is an ongoing process, so you will continue to share it with others.