We now live in a content saturated world. Where everyone is making it, reading it, looking at it and interacting with it. Every day consumers process around 100,000 digital words, see approximately 5,000 marketing messages, equating to a yearly average of 3 trillion ads sold online.
Content makes the (eCommerce) world go round, but it’s no wonder that audiences are less engaged when they are being bombarded with so much. In order to grab potential customers' attention, people are looking for a lot more from their brands now, you need to make sure you’re saying something worthwhile and relevant.
This is where storytelling comes into play. Storytelling is the age old brand jackpot of a marketing strategy, yet many brands actually forget to do it. A great story can make your brand more relatable, human and give your outward appearance more depth. It gives customers a chance to align their values with yours and choose brands they want to support, rather than just the ones that had a display ad at the ready.
Whether through written, imagery or video content - storytelling can happen across many mediums and in many different ways, there really is no excuse anymore. All it takes is a little planning and to open up your company for consumers to see.
The most successful way to incorporate storytelling into your eCommerce marketing strategy is to align your brand with core beliefs. It adds a level of perceived value, makes consumers feel a part of something and leads you into a captured market place. Great examples of this is how Nike have so effortlessly aligned themselves with star athletes, incorporating aspirational messaging and storytelling into all their campaigns, and aligning themselves with a-star athletes, and consumers who would like to think themselves as a-star athletes.
With a simple nike tick added on a shirt, the brand can charge more because the consumer buys into the signal of wearing that nike tick shirt. And we all know it’s the athleisure wear that makes the athlete ;)
The key part to Nike’s success comes down to motivation. Their content propels motivation for consumers to reach their personal goals, which is also something the brand openly and frequently endorses.
The “dream crazier” campaign directed at motivating women is a prime example of this, a great storytelling piece that targets a subset of the Nike consumer base and makes them feel something while watching it. It tells the story of successful women in sporting history through the voice over and archival footage - realling making a storytelling impact.
People no longer want to purchase from robots - they like the feeling of purchasing from a brand that feels real. Telling the stories of the team, founders and people behind a product or brand is a great way to showcase the human experience. This is also a great strategy that can be used in very simple ways on social channels, without the need for a big budget or a lot of planning.
Cult Beauty has a prime example of this where they get members of their team to share their skin story and at home skincare regime, each using a variety of the products stocked at cult beauty. It not only shows the people making everything run behind the scenes, it takes such a diverse and large subset that you have everyone from interns, to the CFO participating and showing off their skincare steps. Each video is done purely on instagram stories, with direct links to each product. They highlight their own personal skincare concerns - making it even more relatable for customers who think... “Ooh! Me too!”.
Enhancing the information of your brand or product through storytelling can leave a more lasting impression on your customers than a simple bombardment of figures or jargon. Explaining the inspiration behind the product, or why you decided to create your brand in a storytelling format can give customers the background and insight into the specifics. It’s informative, but not boring. An easy way to add to this, is to incorporate user generated “storytelling” by sharing other customers’ stories or reviews when using your product, this can help bulk out the insight or experience and have others better understand more about the product straight from users.
Storytelling for storytelling's sake can be fun, but if you’re not solving a problem with the story you’re telling it can also come across a little too marketing-y. By refocusing the message or reason to being customer service orientated, you can better articulate the actual concerns of current customers and future ones - sharing useful insight and knowledge into the problem, your product and your brand.
People love to feel like they’re in the know about something. Telling stories that have your audience feel as if they’re getting a secret scoop or never-heard-before message is a great way to keep them engaged. Many content driven brands have taken to offering separate content under subscriptions or sign ups especially for their “in the know” audience - this means you can be more tailored and considered with the story you’re telling, and it’s a great tool to increase sign ups.
So the moral of this story is, incorporate meaningful narratives and information sharing in your eCommerce content strategy, helping to create better brand awareness and more transparency with your consumers. Storytelling is something that can help create further background to your products, and keep customers returning.