Our digital-first world lets us stay connected and consume information faster than before. Unfortunately, this sometimes means brands face stiff online competition. If small businesses and solopreneurs want to stick out in the online world, it’s critical to use storytelling. And did you know there’s actually a science to storytelling? But why is storytelling so important in the first place? Why is it so effective?
The Science to Storytelling
Why is it that we remember stories like Hansel and Gretel, but not the dates of the Civil War? It comes down to the human brain being hard-wired to crave stories.
Humans have been telling stories for more than 27,000 years, both orally and through cave paintings. Although we like to think of ourselves as rational, logical creatures, humans can’t escape our story-loving, emotional brains. In this age of information overload, it’s crucial to understand the human brain and how to best cut through the clutter with storytelling.
Let’s dive into 3 ways the science to storytelling can help you make more sales:
Stories maintain attention.
Human brains naturally look for cause and effect. That’s one of the many reasons we’ve survived as the planet’s dominant species for so long: we’re able to learn and predict. Storytelling communicates cause and effect in complex ways that still give our brains the information they crave. Because of this, stories maintain audience attention for much longer.
In fact, if you choose to create a character-driven story, it can actually release oxytocin in your audience’s brains. Known as the “bonding chemical,” oxytocin helps you bond with the audience. For maximum effect, craft rich character stories with tension. This immediately grabs the audience’s attention and gives them a perceived stake in the story. In marketing speak, this is where a good problem-solution story comes into play. Who doesn’t love a good outcome from a problem solved?
Storytelling and retention go hand in hand.
From a business perspective, the purpose of storytelling is to have people remember you. Did you know that storytelling activates a whopping seven regions of the brain? In contrast, showing bland facts and figures only activates one to two regions of the brain. Snoozeville! When you tell a good story, your audience’s brains are firing on all cylinders. Their brain is more active and engaged, increasing the likelihood that they’ll remember you.
Stories are proven to help humans retain information for longer periods of time. A story pulls audiences into a scenario, making the information seem more realistic. Science shows that stories make people feel like they’re in a situation themselves. Storytelling helps your audience go beyond just seeing information to feeling information. This helps them remember your brand story months down the line, boosting sales.
Stories convert your audience.
Storytelling is fun, but it’s also about taking action. If you’re looking to boost your conversion rates, storytelling is where it’s at. We already know that stories help your audience pay more attention and remember your brand. Now it’s time to ask your audience to take action.
When formatted in a specific way, your story has the opportunity to expand business considerably. For a conversion-friendly story, always use descriptive language. For example, you wouldn’t say “It was scary” in a sales story. You would say, “The woods were dark and jagged in the night, like the edge of a blade.” Better, right?
Your story also needs an emotional component, like happiness, fear, love, anxiety, courage, or sadness. If it’s relevant, always include results and how you’ve helped your clients overcome challenges. This helps them to envision themselves in your brand’s story.
The bottom line
Storytelling isn’t just for bedtime. It’s a scientifically-proven way to make your voice heard through the loud buzz of the online world. Tell your story and see audiences swoon for your brand.
And if you’re looking for a little storytelling inspiration for your brand, blog or business — check out my storytelling coaching packages and see what works best for you!
Your story…to be continued