- The fastest growing business in the history of the world grew, in part, through storytelling. You've probably heard of this business, it's Groupon. Groupon, when it launched in the late 2000's, it did something interesting and clever with its business, group coupons, sure. But it did something even more interesting in its marketing and selling by using stories. So Groupon hired comedy writers from the Second City in Chicago, where it was based, to write fake stories, fictional, funny, humorous stories about every coupon they sent out.
And this did something interesting, it did two things. One, it made people open the emails. Every time that you got a Groupon email, you were statistically more likely to open it because there was a great story inside. I remember doing this with a laser hair removal coupon. Not because I'm a hairy guy, but because I wanted to know what is this story gonna be? How's Groupon gonna spin this this time. And everyone knew that they were funny, comedic, fake stories, but this was extremely powerful at getting people to open these emails. And the second thing that happened is the stories, they were so good, that you'd forward them to your friends and those people forwarded them to their friends, and more people bought Groupons.
This is, in part, how Groupon grew so quickly. In fact more quickly than this business could handle at a certain point because its stories made it so popular. So selling and marketing through story is an extremely powerful way to get people to convert, get people to buy your products at a much higher rate than if they are just presented with a simple sales pitch. Another thing that selling through stories will do is make people remember your product for later. One of my favorite examples of this is a company call Zady, Z-A-D-Y.
They're a small start-up that they sell hand-made clothing, sustainable clothing, sustainable fashion. And I remember Zady because, if you go to their website and you click on a random item, say a pair of indigo skinny jeans, what you'll see is not only the price and the sizes and the pictures, but you'll also see the story of the cute couple in Kentucky that makes these jeans in their garage. And you meet their dog, you learn the story of how they met and the work that they're putting into these jeans. And so the next time you're in the market for indigo skinny jeans, you're probably going to remember that story, that couple, and you're probably gonna go back to Zady to buy them, rather than just going to Levi's or going to the random department store.
This is the power of a story and selling and marketing through a story. There's tons of examples of this happening today. It's become a huge trend in e-commerce and in offline commerce, that the story of a product will, all things being equal, make us choose, more likely to choose that product over even things like price and quality. So my company tracks and documents a lot of these examples on our blog. It's contently.com/strategist where we show how companies are using this in many different ways throughout the internet. So if you have something to sell, instead of thinking just about the story of how someone might use your product or why it's great, think about the story behind the product.
Think about the story of why you made it, or how it was made and who made it. And that story is gonna connect to people and make people remember in a lot more powerful way. Every time we find something that we like, we write about it and we tell the story behind the story.
- The science of great stories
- The elements of effective storytelling
- Building relationships via storytelling
- Selling with storytelling
- Building and engaging audiences
- Using storytelling frameworks like the Ben Franklin method