4 Brilliant Ways Storytelling Can Make Email Marketing More Reader-Friendly

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I was cleaning up my emails last night when I noticed a trend: most of the emails that I trash are those that are filled with mundane marketing facts and figures, but have no actual story behind them. I don’t even read them anymore. If it looks too pitchy, it goes right to my ‘recycle bin’ which I never come back to.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire and respect these websites / businesses that I’ve signed up for… after all, that’s why I made a commitment with them when I signed up in the first place. However, it’s because of this ‘commitment’ that I feel the need to be presented with an email that tells me a story.

Don’t just send me a vague email with a link which tells me to “Click Here Now” (zzzz)… tell me what it’s all about; Enthrall me, teach me… tell me a tale of greatest and of incredible success! Teach me!

It’s called storytelling, and it’s a crucial part of writing powerful and convincing emails that will attract people to your website or blog.

How One Story Helped a Self-Taught Photographer Gain 9M Followers…

Good storytelling always works – especially if it entertains and inspires your audience.

For example there’s a Facebook fan page I regularly visit named the “Humans of New York”. It’s a blog made by a photographer named Brandon who wished to share the images he took with the world.

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It’s not all that different from other Facebook pages, but what makes it so appealing to its followers is the story he conveys in ALL of his posts. Brandon’s Facebook page has over 9M followers, with shares of up to 50 thousand per image. How crazy amazing is that?!

Why Does Storytelling Work?

Storytelling works because it creates an emotional & personal bond with your followers. The stronger the emotion, the more likely they are to click on that link in your email and purchase from you.

Story telling is a basic necessity in writing an effective email for your readers. Storytelling is the reason you see a lot of people watch cooking shows; people would rather listen to you talk about the story in creating a certain dish, than just be presented with the list of ingredients.

So how do I include a story in my email?

Now that we’ve established the value of storytelling, let’s move on to another equally important discussion:  How do I include a story in my email?

When I started doing email newsletters, telling a story was quite a challenge. How do I start? Do I start with “One day…?” What kind of ending should I do?

All the many questions you might have in your mind, well I’ve been there… and I have answers for you.

Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.

I want to share with you the best ways to write a story, so that your readers will get hooked to your emails, trust you, and most importantly, spend their hard earned money on the products you offer.

I find there are four main ways to add effective storytelling into your emails:

1. A Personal Story.

This is perhaps the easiest way to tell a story. Just write how you came up with the topic you are sharing (Tip: check the first paragraph of this blog) 😉 . Also include a step-by-step process on how you solved your problem and why you are now sharing this with your readers.

You can use the following questions to help you figure out what type of personal story you’re telling:

  • Where were you when you stumbled on the problem?
  • What was your first reaction?
  • What did you decide to do?
  • What action did you take?
  • What happened afterwards?
  • Why are you sharing this?

2. An Expert’s Story.

Although it’s a cliche, we always trust the opinion of a doctor don’t we? After all… he’s a doctor. There are several “personalities” we identify as experts in their field, and therefore believe their opinion holds more water than the average Joe.

Sharing stories of experts in their field is a great way to connect with your readers on an emotional level. Since they’ve inspired you, chances are that they will inspire your readers too.

You can use these questions as a guide:

  • Who inspired you the most in your industry?
  • Who is worth emulating?
  • What share-worthy lessons did he/she teach?
  • How did he/she create an impact in your life?

3. Predicting the Future.

Prediction the future is a fun way to tell a story. Take note; one doesn’t need to have psychic powers to do this. 😉

Using your unique position as an expert in your area, share what you think will be the next big thing in your industry and correlate this with what your blog is about. The questions that follow will make writing this type of story easier:

  • What’s the biggest event in your industry?
  • What do you think will be the outcome of this?
  • What matters will affect the result most?

4. A History Lesson.

For those who love history, this one will be a piece of cake!

This way of writing works because it establishes you as a business who not only had the foresight to prepare for the present, but who is also ready for the future of their business and their industry. By appearing highly prepared and successful, people will trust and follow you into the unknown.

Here are some questions you may use to formulate your story:

  • What historical event inspired you to write this piece?
  • Was it a tragic event? If so, what lessons did you learn from it?
  • Was it a blissful event? If so, how did that event touch your life?

Everybody loves some good storytelling – even in emails. It taps the imagination of your readers and takes them through a journey.

Storytelling helps your readers get to know you more; it builds trust and admiration and most importantly – a personal connection. And that on its own goes a very long way when trying to increase your sales. Try it!

How do you construct your emails? Do you tell a story or do you mainly present all your marketing materials? Share your story with me by leaving a comment below. Remember, sharing is caring!

What do you think? Share your comments below.

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