Please enjoy this transcript of Brice and Mike discussing the way they “sell with their story” in episode #39. This topic has been shared thousands of times over the years in marketing because it works! See how Brice & Mike perceive it with the companies they work with below.
These transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting more than 60 minutes, it can be difficult to catch all small errors.
Brice: Hello listener and welcome to the Building An Online Podcast. Whether you’re an established business owner, or you’re just getting started, we are here to help you build a better online business faster. This is the place where you can tune in and learn from experienced entrepreneurs about what it really takes to grow your business in today’s online environment. And be sure to check out buildinganonlinepodcast.com for more expert interviews, key insights and up to date growth strategies to take your business to the next level.
What’s up listener, thanks for coming back in…
Mike: Hey guys!
Brice: to the Building An Online Podcast, Mike and Brice here again
Mike: Loving it.
Brice: So today, we’re going to talk about a topic that me and Mike have been talking about a lot, because we’re really excited about it. And we’re going to talk about story selling, we’re going to talk about how to get new customers and sell your products with storytelling.
Mike: I think this is one of the most under utilized skill that people are using today to sell their stuff. I know in the e-commerce space, I’ve seen it a ton over the last probably year where when people shift into the story aspect instead of just saying like, here’s my product, go buy it. The results are, you know, kind of like this the same shift with the lifestyle, selling a lifestyle versus selling a product, right? like the results of that people are way more engaged. They’re way more responsive, it’s not selling at that point. It’s just like explaining how it changed your life, and then offering them the opportunity to buy which is cool.
Brice: I can think of countless examples, so Mike’s in the e-commerce space, I am more in the high-ticket product, digital product space. But I can think of countless examples where we have seen this work and where companies have done a great job at this where when you stop selling, you know, like if you’re a total amateur, you’re talking about the features of your product. If you’re better marketing, you’re selling the benefits. But if you’re a great marketer, you’re playing to the identity of the people who you are serving. And there was a company not that long ago, what were they called man? They’re beard club, Dollar Beard Club, which is now a beard club. They came out the gate with a commercial that they ran on YouTube that was all about what guys with beards do? You know, it was like a play on the Dollar Shave Club commercial and it was just all about like, what do guys with beards do? And I think they did a million dollars in their first couple months with that one ad because it was an identity play like it was totally about. They didn’t talk about the beard oil. They didn’t talk about why you need to use beard oil. They talked about what men with beards do and then at the very end, they were like, and if you want to buy this oil that men with beards use…
Mike: This is how to do it. Yeah, dude, that’s such a, that’s goes back to the fundamentals of marketing too, right? Where you’re just trying to get that emotional response. So if you can say, you know, Hey! here’s this thing that guys with beards do or this list of things, and then all of a sudden, everyone’s like, Hey! I actually do that, you know, there’s something that they can relate to, like, that’s an emotional response triggering them to then do something further with your brand.
Brice: Definitely! And something that we’ve seen a lot with, you know, we’re investing very heavily into Facebook ads. I think last week, we spent, you know, over $50,000 on Facebook ads, there are a ton of accounts that are getting shut down. We’re dealing with a lot of ad disapprovals. We were talking with someone from Facebook the other day, and they even said like, “Yeah, this COVID thing hit and we had a ton of people who are trying to like scan, people scan the system.” And, so they put in some new stuff into the system. And the system’s been more sensitive, it’s flagging more people, so this like, you know, stuff that we were doing two years ago, which was more kind of like direct response focused, you know, take action headlines, a lot of you based language, you know, are you this? Attention, you know attention business owners! Are you suffering from… No, no, no, no, no! Like that has been getting flagged, more and more. And what we’ve shifted to is we’re just telling stories about customers that have had success. We’re telling stories about our brands, and how they discovered what they discovered. And we’re telling stories about the kinds of transformations that are happening when people are signing up for our programs. And when we’re telling those stories, we’re getting better engagement, we’re getting better sales, we’re getting higher conversion rates, and our ads aren’t getting flagged.
Mike: So, let’s dive into that a little bit more because I think when people at least in my experience when I’ve talked to people and explained to them how to, not to how to but to go tell a story in your ad. There’s immediately this like guard that goes up and they’re like, Oh my gosh, like how do I do that? It’s ad copywriting this technical and you need all these different things and blah, blah, blah! And I think when they actually start to do it, not after, like, it’s easy to sell or like, like what you just said, right? The conversion rates are higher, the click through rates are higher, the engagements higher, the lifetime value is higher, so it’s got to be really difficult to do, right? And it’s not that case, at least not that I’ve seen, so can you walk through maybe an example that you’ve done, Brice? were, you know, just creating that story? What does that look like? Is it a long or short form, like blog post, or ad or combination of both?
Brice: Yes, so I think if you think about a sales process, depending on the price point of your item, like the sales process is going to differ. But you know, there’s like, there’s the journey that people need to go through the objections that need to be addressed before they get to the sales page where it’s time to buy. And so whether you’re doing, you know, you could write a super long ad that has a ton of text on it and send people straight to a sale, like an order form with no text on it. Or you could write a shorter ad that sends people to a sales page with the rest of that text, that then to an order form. You know, it so like, that’s kind of like, how long it used to be, is how long it needs to be for the sales process. And where you put those words is less important than like what you’re telling. But a good story, I think has, you know, like somebody has an end goal, they have a desire of something that they want, they have some challenges that they have to overcome to get there. They typically have some failures and struggles along the way. And then they get what they want. And they achieve some kind of transformation, which is oftentimes what they actually wanted, and then some benefits that they didn’t realize were going to happen, so there’s kind of this like external accomplishment and internal accomplishment that comes along with like a good story. It’s like the hero’s journey, right? Like, someone goes out on an adventure, there’s this like call to have to do something because they want to accomplish something, there’s some hesitation in there, then they go for it. They get some help along the way, they overcome some obstacles, there’s a bigger obstacle, but they overcome those at the end, they like get to the happy ending, you know, like Frodo throws the ring in the volcano, everybody’s super happy that the rings destroyed. But then like Frodo is now this new man, who is like walking high, because he’s overcome, not only the external goals, like the challenges, but the internal ones as well. You know, like, that’s a good story. And I think if you think about your customers that way, where, you know, your customer is the hero who wants to go on a journey, and they have this thing that they want to accomplish, but there’s some challenges along the way that they have to get over. And the kind of the help that they receive along the way is you and like your brand and your product that you’re offering that helps them get to what they want, and helps them achieve the goal that they know they have.
Brice: And maybe like achieve some goals that they didn’t know, were gonna be a benefit as well. Right?
Mike: I love that, that makes total sense. I love that so much. There’s a whole like, we kind of do this when we talk to people about selling many chat courses, right? Like we tell them that the user gets to drive themselves, right? You don’t actually have to say, you know, like please come by this without a hard CTA or hard sell because they’ve driven themselves there. And I think that’s exactly what’s happening in the storytelling ads is they’re putting themselves in that situation, right? They’re obviously there for a reason, so whatever it is that you’re selling, they found it. And they weren’t interested enough to stop scrolling. But as they’re reading through the story that you’re telling. I think what people are doing is putting themselves in the shoes and relating your story to their life in some way. And then at the end of it, they’re saying, Well, I haven’t like reached that end goal. You know, I haven’t thrown my ring into the volcano yet, so I’d like to get there. And then all of a sudden, there’s this built up need that they have to achieve the same things that you do. And as luck would have it, your company provides that service, right?
Brice: Yeah, we have an ad that’s just crushing it right now in the high-ticket course of space. And the ad is like, it starts with a statement about what’s going on right now and, then that’s like the first sentence. And then the rest of it is, you know, the next couple of sentences is the quick story about how are or like, you know, our company discovered how to solve that problem. And then the next part of the story is how we can guide you to solve this problem for yourself. And then the final part of it is if you want this result that we can provide because we’ve provided it for other people, here’s what to do next. Like, it’s a very simple story, it’s like you know it, but it’s like Russell Brunson talks about this and I think it’s a really good framework for ads and stuff. It’s like hook story offer, it’s like get somebody’s attention, tell them a story and make them an offer, so when our ads we like we have a sentence that hooks people’s attention, we want them to stop scrolling, when they read this thing, and usually just nod their head yes to like, Oh! that’s something I would agree with, you know, like, that’s a statement, that would make me say, “Yeah!” we used to do a lot of like attention, so and so ads, like two years ago, but we’re doing way less of that, because we don’t really want to, like, again, we’re finding that those are getting flagged if you just write attention, semi-colon, so and so we find that those are more likely to get flagged, but if we make a statement that that person would agree with and go, “I would agree with that”, they typically tend to keep reading.
Brice: And then we tell them a story about something, they might be short, it might be really long. One of the ads we’re running is like, I think it’s like 850 words right now.
Mike: In an ad?
Brice: Yeah, and it’s killing it. It’s like pretty much a blog post. And then there’s like a call to action at the end, you know?
Mike: That’s awesome, that’s awesome to hear that you could do that now, like I know, when I first started in Google, the character limits are so much shorter there, now working in Facebook, it’s such a different angle, that you can actually do that much talking and explanation in the ad, especially if you have their attention in this. I personally have had another experience in the e-commerce space with storytelling and kind of a revelation that a client had years ago. She was selling juice detoxes, right? And she’d been doing it for years, she’s you know, listed on Forbes has all these huge following a huge business that she’s built up over time. And originally, when we first got in the account, what she was saying is I sell juice detoxes, buy juice detox, right? And she had a bunch of features and some ads, benefits and others, but there was no way for people to relate. It was just like these are juices we sell please buy one. And what she’s, like the path that she took on her own was to be more the public face of the brand. And as she did that, she realized that some people were interested in the most mundane tasks that she did every day. And it was interesting to like, hear the feedback from her because she was like, “Yeah yesterday I posted about taking a nap. And all these people were like, Oh my gosh! I’m so glad that you told me that because I follow everything that you do. And I love, you know, watching you on Instagram and on Facebook and whatnot, what you’re doing. But I always feel you know, like a terrible human, like I’m unproductive when I’m taking a nap in the middle of the day. And she’s like to see that basically gave me the freedom to know that like successful people are doing this as well.” And that was when it kind of clicked in her mind that the storytelling regardless of what the story is, right? As long as it’s related to something that you’re selling. But the storytelling angle had a much more personal connection and emotional response than any of the ads that she’d done in the past. And we essentially switched all of her ads over to this within a week to make sure that it was everything had some sort of storytelling angle to it, and then correlate it over to what we had on the site. But it was awesome, just to see the shift, you know, in the reaction from people and in her mindset. And then as she got started with that, and as she continued to build those stories, it got easier and easier and easier because it was just one focal point and then start writing about it. It didn’t have to be quite as technical as the sales ads that she was doing.
Brice: Yeah, I think we’re at a really interesting time right now. Because, you know, I think for a while, the internet was less sophisticated and people on the internet were less sophisticated. And so you know, like, if you’re in the getting started with marketing, selling your own product, starting your own business, like a lot of people recommend like the breakthrough advertising by Eugene Schwartz. And these like Gary Halbert sales, the Boron letters, you know, to like learn copywriting and stuff. And well, I think there’s a ton of value in that. And I have definitely learned a ton from those things. I think a lot of that is some ideas about there’s a lot of like scarcity driven, like making people take action sort of thing, psychology, which absolutely works on some levels. But again, like if you think about a millennial buyer right now, they are way more conscious of what their options are. And they’re way less likely to get like tricked into clicking on an ad and going down a funnel and buying something that’s, you know, like, just totally curiosity and scarcity and stuff without actually like, really engaging them emotionally, right? And so, my point is, like, I think we’re at this interesting part of the internet where people are starting to, like people know, they have options. They know they can do research, they know they can pretty much buy from any company they want, like there’s no company out there that’s really the only one out there. Like if you’re selling skincare products, if you’re selling a course on how to learn how to do you know, whatever accounting for your business, like whatever You’re learning how to do like, there’s somebody else doing that, which is great.
It’s so it’s like, how do we get people to want to work with us? And I think the answer is like, make connections with that human, on an emotional level on an identity level, and, like, tell really good stories that engage people. So that when someone else is running the, you know, like, page with a countdown timer that says, you know, like, we can only keep going up and saying, like, you know, having like, hyper and hyper your headlines for so long. You know, like, the one secret that you’ve never heard about that no one’s ever gonna tell you headline, like, only so many people can run that for so long, so I think we’re gonna get to a place to where that stuff starts having diminishing returns, and, like connection, identity, and story is what’s going to win in the long run.
Mike: I love this. And I think this translates into so many different areas of marketing. You know, one of the things that we try and do on this podcast is not just talk about the paid media, like price networking, but the business as a whole. And this correlates to, you know, the emails that you send, the landing pages that you’re writing, the ads that you’re running, any sort of organic content that you post, you know, works everywhere, because it is like a much more holistic, truthful way of connecting with your customers instead of just selling to them.
Brice: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think this can infuse every part of your marketing. And I think that’s hard to do. Like, it’s hard to get everybody on board and convince everybody that this is the way we’re going to do things, but I think if you can get it done, it’s so powerful. And I know personally, like this is what we’re working on doing with our own brand, like our marketing, I am actively spending a few hours of my day, reworking our copy, reworking our marketing, reworking our angles, so that we’re a more story driven company, because I’m seeing how effective it is for our clients. Because a lot of our clients already have really successful products, and we’re just helping them implement some better storytelling in their ad campaigns. And that it’s being insanely effective. And, so I’m looking at that and saying, “Wow! How do we do this for us?” And this is something I’m actively spending a lot of time and energy doing. And I mean, like, I’ve paid money to a consultant to have them help us learn how to do this better. Working on this actively, so like, I really think that this is, you know, something that’s going to be a big deal. In the years to come.
Mike: Brice, why don’t we do some sort of a challenge for ourselves? And if anybody listening, doesn’t know where to start for their story, send us an email and we’ll start you. We’ll write a story for you about your brand might not be or you’ll have to change the details of where you actually went, but we’ll write you a story that you could use as a basis.
Brice: I am working, I was actually showing it to Mike before this podcast episode. I’m working on a process for how we develop stories. Like that’s how into this I am right now is I’m like, how do we develop a process to write better stories, so that when a client comes on board, the whole team is figuring out what stories we’re going to tell for their advertising, that’s how sold I already have on this whole thing.
Mike: I think the coolest thing about your process and what you’re explaining to me is that you’ve already told the story. You know, this isn’t something that you sit down and you’re like, “Oh my gosh! Like where am I gonna start? Like I have to make up this little story.” The story is your story. The story is like why you’re doing what you’re doing. You just have to look back and find out what those details are and then test out different parts to find what people resonate the most with what your audience resonates the most with.
Brice: Definitely! It’s like going back and figuring out what are the stories that are already there that we just need to tell better, like their stories already exist. If you have a company, if you have success stories, if you have clients that are happy with the work that you do, these stories already exists in the world, we just need to figure out how to better identify them and how to bring them to the forefront of our marketing.
Mike: Yeah, love this so much. Guys, if you want this, just send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org, will go to both Brice and myself. We will help you out getting started.
Brice: Yep. And then yeah, you know, we’ll keep you updated. We’ll keep you posted on how the story selling goes in the future. And you know, go from there.
Mike: Love it!
Brice: Thanks so much for listening. If you liked this episode, please be sure to drop us a review on the iTunes because the internet loves it when we have good reviews and they show our podcasts more people and we have been updating the website so buildingitonlinepodcast.com.
We’re gonna put some cool freebies about the tools and the resources that Mike and I use to grow our business. We’ve also got our online community there, so if you want to join us and ask us questions to talk about growing your business, we’re there doing that and that’s what I got. Have a good one