Here’s a reality check for you: Can you say with any confidence that your company’s current customers, to say nothing of potential (prospective) customers, know what your organization stands for?
Put another way, can your customers — the people or organizations upon whom you rely for your continued existence — really say what sets you apart from your closest competitors? Can they recite your value proposition by heart? Would they be willing to attach their names to a heartfelt testimonial?
If you’re unable to answer these questions in the affirmative, all is not lost. You’ve just got some work to do.
What sort of work, you ask? Well, in the broadest sense, you’ve got to do what you can to make your prospects care about your organization. They’re not going to buy from you (rather than your competitor down the street, metaphorically speaking) otherwise.
More specifically, you’ve got to devote some time and resources to 11 strategies that will result in a better, more compelling, more visible story told about your company — one that’s sure to drive sales in the end.
1. Settle on a Value Proposition Before Trying to Explain Anything
Before doing anything else, develop your company’s value proposition. For ideas, turn to this excellent guide from Wordstream, featuring seven recent examples of “value props” that go above and beyond the call of duty. Any would be an excellent model for your company’s
2. Keep It Brief and Punchy
Don’t try to overexplain. As the old saying goes: “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” The Wikipedia page for Asiaciti Trust, an Asia-Pacific fiduciary services company, is a perfect example of the power of short, punchy company descriptions and biographies that draw readers in and leave them wanting more.
3. Develop a Tagline That Makes Sense in Context
Your company tagline should distill its value proposition to the bare essentials. More than that, it should leave a pleasant and memorable taste on customers’ tongues, calling to mind their most favorable corporate interactions in memory. You can think of a few such taglines off the top of your head — “15 minutes could save you 15 percent,” and so forth.
4. Choose and Maintain the Right Tone for Your Brand
Your story needs to be told with a consistent tone and message. It doesn’t matter whether this tone is formal and “blue-chip” or loose and seemingly off-the-cuff. The company that popularized the above-referenced tagline is famous for marketing nonsequiturs that somehow, someway, work.
5. Use Authentic, Relatable Language, Even If Your Tone Is Formal
Even if your company’s brand is best encapsulated in no-nonsense prose, it’s best not to ask too much of your prospects by stuffing jargon and five-dollar words into what should be a breezy read. Do your best to keep your storytelling language (and the stories themselves) authentic and relatable, no matter how you choose to present yourself.
6. Liberally Leverage Customer Testimonials
When it comes to telling a compelling story about your brand, your customers are your best ambassadors. Use them to the greatest possible extent. Yes, you’ll need to incentivize all but the truest believers to record or write testimonials that say what you want, but don’t let that put you off. A fellow customer’s recommendation is worth far more than the most fluent marketing prose.
7. Include “In Their Own Words” Stories From Star Employees Too
Put your employees front and center in your storytelling campaign too. “In their own words” testimonials can have an outsize effect on public perceptions of your brand, even when they come from employees. After all, everyone likes to support a business that does right by its team.
8. Show Why You’re Different
The medium matters. To that end, make sure to tell your story in part (and perhaps in “most”) through visual media — not just longer video marketing content on YouTube, but clip-length content shared on Twitter and Instagram. Speaking of Instagram: Regular Instagram Live events are effective storytelling mechanisms as well.
9. Highlight Positive Reviews in the Wild
Link to positive reviews whenever and wherever you can find them. Yes, it’s all a bit self-promotional, but such is the online review game. Most of your prospects won’t find those reviews on their own, or at least won’t home in on them when they share space with less-than-glowing reviews.
10. Showcase Accolades and Accomplishments in One Central Location
Reviews aren’t the only way to showcase your company’s positive impact on customers and the community. You can and should highlight legitimate accomplishments and third-party accolades whenever it makes sense to do so. Your best bet: a central location, perhaps on your company website (linked on occasion from your social profiles), where it’s appropriate to toot your own horn without seeming so braggy about it.
11. Be Ready and Willing to Shift Strategies on the Fly
Finally, don’t be afraid to discard strategies that clearly aren’t working. It’s almost certain that you’ll find yourself doing just this at some point in the relatively near future. The sooner you let a failing idea go, the more resources you’ll be able to muster behind one that has a fighting chance.
Give Them a Reason to Give You Their Money
Because, let’s be real: That’s what it’s all about. Sure, it’s crass to say out loud, but at the end of the day, all that really matters is convincing your prospects and repeat customers to part with their money.
Will these 11 strategies help you achieve that aim? If history is any guide, the answer is yes. Many a successful enterprise has employed some or all of these tactics to tell a compelling, irresistible story about themselves — turning a strong message into higher sales.
Will these 11 strategies help you achieve that aim tomorrow? Absolutely not. Refining your company’s message and translating that message into a sales-making machine is a process best measured on a scale of months, not days or weeks.
It’s a process that will bring its fair share of setbacks as well. That’s business. You’ve been there before. Keep your nose to the grindstone and have faith that these strategies will pay off over time; sooner or later, that faith will be borne out.
Now, it’s time to get busy. Here’s to a better message for your company and a brighter future for its bottom line.