Storytelling In Email Marketing: The Basic Strategy

Storytelling In Email Marketing: The Basic Strategy
December 17, 2019 Marketing Sales

Email marketing is available in many different ways and dimensions – some emails are purely promotional, some educational and nutritional. Such initiatives are all directed at different objectives, but there is an approach that is not widely discussed and works really well; Storytelling.

Recently, storytelling became popular when marketers and sales representatives realized markets were over-saturated. And only a fresh strategy can make a company stand out in the stack of other offers, sales and deals if the market becomes over-saturated. Storytelling was “invented” or applied as a timely savior to email marketing.

The rule of thumb in Storytelling

Storytelling in email marketing replaces ordinary offers and punch-lines with a story. The story can be just one long email or delivered in portions as a chapter-by-chapter drip plan, just like a novel.

It doesn’t just make emails look fresh— it improves a reader’s message perception. Marketing storytelling encourages creativity, stirs feelings, and generates a desire to find out what happens at the end–and there’s always a happy ending. All these factors combined boost click-through rates, leading to better conversions.

How to use storytelling

The best thing about email marketing storytelling is that it can be extended to almost every type of campaign — from transactional emails to promotional and, of course, nurturing ones.

It is generally used as a messaging method for existing users or warmer leads, since approaching a completely cold lead with a story can be a bit strange and awkward. Next, create an initial contact or get a subscriber, then send storytelling emails.

The main type of email benefiting from storytelling is the one sent to users after registration or subscription. Through an email story, you can easily show how your product or service solves all a potential customer’s pains and desires.

Besides sequences, storytelling is great for promotional emails, especially if you’re promoting a holiday offer or deal. Sending a horror story with your Halloween discount or telling a fairytale that promotes your Christmas sale is a great idea that can improve your customer relationships and drive more conversions and customers.

The four pillars of Storytelling in Email Marketing

Many boxes have to be checked in an effective storytelling program, which includes the following essential elements.

We’re going to make it so simple that you’ll never be confused

  1. You need a hero

Storytelling’s simplest form is through mascots. For example, a well-known email marketing company has chimp mascot and a marshmallow-like mascot named Bibendum is one of the leading tire manufacturers. A mascot is a hero— the foundation of creating a story that nurtures, inspires, and sells.

It’s important to create a hero because it makes the reader connect to the story and pay more attention to what’s written. If you think any hero will do that, you’re wrong–the best hero is the one that has a direct relationship with your company and products, or at least shares some common features.

The perfect hero for an email campaign based on the buyer persona. If you have separate email sequences for different buyers (as you should), creating multiple heroes is best.

When you’ve created a hero based on who your perfect buyer persona is (it can be a human-like hero or an animal / mascot), add details to breathe life into your hero. No need to write a whole backstory, just add a few details will make your hero unique.

Here’s a practical example: let us just assume you potential clients are restaurateurs, so you’re creating a hero called Joan.

“Joan is the founder of Dallas’s cozy barbecue and rib restaurant”

But you’ve already might imagine her – who she is, how her restaurant looks and perhaps even what she looks like herself. A hero inspires our creativity, and that’s a good beginning for a storytelling project nowadays.

You Definitely need a backstory

Once your hero outline is created, it’s time to take the next step and build a hero story. We’ve already added some info, but we need something worth telling about.

A good rule for a storytelling campaign is to create a story focused on your hero’s struggles and desires. You know those very well–you still use them in your marketing campaigns, so you should have no trouble creating a story that explains the issues your character wants to solve or their wishes.

The goal is simple: because your hero is focused on your customer persona, you can easily demonstrate how your goods or services solve some of the challenges they face, or at least help resolve them. In the story you explain the problems you solve with your product.

Let’s extend the example again:

“Joan, Dallas ‘ grill-and-ribs restaurant owner, has a problem: existing customers love her well, but new customers rarely visit her restaurant. She wants more exposure to her restaurant and more visitors to try her delicious steaks and ribs”

The Journey of Joan

That’s the storytelling campaign conversion portion. It’s time to solve a crisis, quench your hero’s desire. Here’s your products or services! Continue the story by explaining how your character found a solution by finding, researching, and realizing they can solve the problem that prevents them from success.

Do not be too direct, keep telling the story and adding information. It’s worth mentioning what the hero previously tried, exact cases of how the hero used your item, and what was accomplished. Don’t be afraid to drop average numbers and dive deeper into specifics, the closer to the case of a real person, the better.

It’s time we wrap up the Joan story, however, you can still choose yours to be longer

“Joan did everything to find new tourists. Or at least she thought these were the only methods that could work— billboard advertising, radio commercials, and even Google and Bing ads paid. Everything worked, however.

Having spent so much money and time, she became desperate. She stumbled on a picture of a juicy steak that was part of a Facebook promotional post. She didn’t really try to acquire users from social networks, did she?

Joan started googling tools to help, found a few choices, and compared them. The most feature-rich tool found was Facebook Dominator 5000, highly praised and recommended by other small business owners like her. She tried it and gained 730 new local fans on Facebook after the very first month, and an impressive 30% of them started visiting her restaurant. Joan was never satisfied. She did! What’s the best part? It only took her up to 4 hours a week to increase sales within a month. Love the happy ending!”

Why not offers gift to your users?

When you wrap up the story and solve your hero’s problems and needs, reward your reader with a little bonus or special gift. Using storytelling to convert after a free trial registration, or downloadable (ebook, guide, etc) to cultivate subscription emails can be a welcome discount.

In Summation

When designing an email campaign plot, don’t forget that the hero should be linked to your target audience or customer persona. Follow your hero’s journey by solving their problems and meeting their wishes with your products and services. Always provide statements, numbers, cases and other information. Finally, give a reward or deal your reader can’t resist after such a touching story, and voila! You’ve got conversion. Keep playing!

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