What is it about storytelling that attracts us so much? You would be amazed to find out that it all boils down to a combination of human nature, some digital magic, and yes, science.
What is storytelling?
Storytelling by definition is simply the act, or should we say art, of telling or writing a story. This can occur in many different forms and, because this is an email marketing blog, today we are talking about how to add an element of storytelling to your emails.
Brilliant storytelling in digital media takes many unexpected shapes; it could be an emotionally powerful ad taking us on a journey with a character who experiences misfortunes or triumph. Or, as is the focus today, it could just be a beautifully crafted email that makes us want to click on that “Learn More” button because the sender has built a story that we relate to and provides a product related to that story.
Why is storytelling a powerful tool in digital marketing?
It is not a secret that good storytelling in business has to appeal to human nature in order to attract and ultimately engage customers, but how can we exactly hit the right emotional note when we are trying to sell products or services? It is quite simple, we need to create and invest in an emotional connection. By connecting through stories we can make people feel what we feel, so they can empathize with us.
Storytelling is one of the greatest tools in digital marketing simply because our brain loves good stories. After all, we are all social creatures who crave interaction with others, and those interactions often take the shape of a story.
Furthermore, when we hear a story, and see ourselves reflected in that story, we are compelled to take some kind of action. Scientists say that when we pay close attention to a story, we eventually start to release oxytocin as a response from our brain to the emotional bond we have generated. By releasing oxytocin (also known as the hormone of love or social bonds) we tend to react to the story in a way that would not be expected from us in a different circumstance.
Storytelling in email marketing
It can be confusing to know how exactly to incorporate storytelling into an email. You'll likely want to start by actually targeting particular subscribers on your list to help narrow down what types of stories are going to be the most significant and pertinent to a particular group. Using a detailed web form and segmentation can help here. Some basic starter ideas include sharing your own business building experience and how good and bad times helped you create a more solid brand (or company) throughout the years.
Another approach is to tell stories about other people's experiences using your products - did that umbrella you sell help keep someone dry in a bad storm? You get the idea.
Email storytelling - here comes the digital magic
We have talked so far about how our brain and our emotions play a big role in how we connect with our customers, and now it is time to add some creative content, imagery and supportive design to your work.
Good emails with great content (with awesome storytelling, of course) suffer if they are conveyed in a way that’s visually lackluster. Don't let your story get lost in an email that's not nice to look at.
Consider beginning with clever use of color which will reflect the emotions you’re trying to appeal to through your story. Are you going for a more upbeat and happy tone to your emails, or are you trying to send a more serious message? Choose wisely.
Now, let’s just say you know your way with colors, but you’re still trying to figure this whole design stuff out. Here is a tool to help you realize what you've imagined, then you can incorporate what you've created directly into the easy editor Elastic Email provides.
Email marketing is about connection.
No matter what type of email you're sending, an offer, a newsletter or a transactional message, the basic concept of email is about connection. Storytelling is a way to interact with your contacts with electronic messages that feel more human rather than automated. Think about stories that affected you in a positive or powerful way and include your own version of a story that will change the way you feel about the storytelling emails you send.