Telling stories is a great way to connect with your audience, and for life coaches, business stories illustrate the struggles and successes we all share.
It doesn’t matter if you are on stage, teaching a class, writing an email to your list, recording a podcast or writing a blog post. Business storytelling could and should should play a big part of your content creation and marketing strategies. But how do you come up with those stories in the first place? Here are seven tips to help you keep the business story ideas flowing so you can find just the right one for just about any situation.
Share A Recent Encounter
Often the best story are happening to you and all around you. Think about a client who is successful in her achievements? Can you tell her story as an example to newbies? What is the best coaching conversation you ever had? Or which complement from a client meant the most to you? And why was that story most meaningful?
Recall A Conversation
Conversations offer great story ideas. Without going into too many details or sharing too much information about the person you were talking to, what was the underlying message of the conversation in your storytelling. Example: One parent, who called me, was frustrated her their three-year-old daughter was always singing, dancing, and seemed “overly” playful. The daughter was a total contrast to their eldest daughter, aged ten, who mom described as most like the parents. Parents and older daughter liked to read, study the stars, read science-type magazines. The younger child shared few, if any, interests with the parents and older sister. I shared with the parents how there are different temperaments, and because the older sister was an intellectual, didn’t mean that the second child would be of the same temperament. No, the younger child was the talkative, creative, dancing ballerina.. They got it, and I didn’t hear from them until ten years later. Now older daughter is thirteen and younger daughter is six. Mom called to share how the knowledge of temperaments changed their lives. They started offering the younger child outlets for her dancing body and creative brain, as they offered the older child classes and experiences in which her strengths could flower.
Dig Deep and Share A Childhood Memory
Childhood memories are another great source of story ideas. The memories that stick with us from way back when are often the ones that taught us a valuable lesson or had a significant impact on who we are today. Think back to what you remember from your childhood and how you can tie those memories into what you’re doing today.
Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Stories are going on all around us. Pay attention to the situations and conversations people have around you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many story ideas you’ll get just by paying attention your surroundings. Example: I went to the hospital when I felt sharp pains crackle cross my chest. Heart attack? Not sure! Go to bed or go to the emergency room? Go to the hospital. Over five hours, I was admitted, assigned a bed, tested, and the doctor finally arrived in the early morning to tell me the news.
“You have a pulmonary embolism.”
“And that is….?”
“You have a blood clot in your lungs.”
Carry A Little Notebook
We’ve established that there are conversations around us from which we draw a story theme. as you observe those stories, which are memorable that would be a good fit with the content or product. Stick a little notebook and pen in your purse, briefcase or jacket. Keep it with you and jot down short notes about ideas, thoughts, conversations and situations that have storytelling potential.
Listen To Your Family and Friends
Pay attention to your loved ones. They are sharing stories with you on a regular basis. Listen to your kids when they come home from school. Sit down for an after-school snack, and ask them about their day. You’ll have an almost never-ending supply of storytelling material. Listen with rapt attention to feel their emotions and exemplify those feelings in your story, as they are genuine and believable. Keep looking for new ideas and keep telling those stories to grow your business, connect with you readers and make the sale.
Host a Giveaway Event With Other Marketers
A giveaway event startles some newcomers to online marketing. First, they don’t like the idea of giving away anything and not being compensated for it. That’s just a part of developing loyalty and good branding so you have to think of it like you’re walking through Sam’s Club for groceries and someone hands you a bite-sized taste. You appreciate that, right? The second that worries them is the thought of sharing their up and coming list with others. If you join a giveaway event with 5 other marketers, it’s not just you sending your list to them – it’s them sending their list to you, so you have the potential to increase your list five-fold! You have to eliminate your stingy mindset and think in terms of providing your list with a value opportunity. You’re going to share your audience. You probably already do that anyway if you’re an affiliate marketer (or plan to be). It’s no different.
Research Other Thought Leaders in Your Night
So once you decide you want to host a giveaway event with other marketers, yo have to find who you want to line up with. If you don’t already have a group of people in mind, you have to start finding them. Spy on other marketers who are on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Look for the people your followers follow and see if you see any candidates. See who is talking about the same topics and who are the leaders who have people sharing their content. Look on Amazon to see which Kindle self published authors are on there using Kindle to attract a new audience. Look inside their book to see if you like what and how they teach and look for ways to contact them. SEO (search engine optimization) rank is another way to find thought leaders in your niche. If you are a leader, chances are you have stability in the search engines, and people are sharing your links and helping fortify your position, so reach out to those people who have earned that ranking. You want to see what the size of their following is. Ideally, you’ll be hooking up with other marketers at or above your level of list strength so that you pull in more people to your own list. Sign up to list to see what they offer and how they operate. You want people similar to what you do. You definitely don’t want to align yourself with any scammers or unethical individuals. Reach out for JV giveaway partners on threads in marketing forums. The Warrior Forum, for example, has a JV section where you could post your opportunity, but make sure you filter the people instead of allowing it to be a free for all. If your audience exists, and you already have a list going to some extent, then ask them who they align you with. You’ll usually have people responding to tell you that they know of 1-2 other people similar to you who they respect. Contact each person you vet for viability and then ask if they’d be interested in forming a joint giveaway with you. Gauge general interest at first or, go ahead to the next step and create your guidelines and email your prospects the guidelines along with your initial request.
Create Guidelines for the Giveaway
After you contact the others (or even before), create a list of guidelines for the participants. There are several things you can include, or leave out what doesn’t matter. Size (like number of pages) might be a consideration for you. For instance, it might be a 50+ page eBook or 5 page short report. Maybe it’s an article pack or even five hours of video or audio tutorials. Maybe you’ll want to put a dollar limit on it and make it value based. For example, “Must be something you normally sell for at least $27.” You’ll want to put the value on the offers to show the visitors everything they’re getting free. Topics might be a consideration, too. You’ll already be honing in on people who are in the same niche, but you might want to go one step further. For example, let’s say you are in the diet niche. Your giveaway event might be built around one topic, like nutrition. So everyone has to submit a product for the event about nutrition. They can’t focus on diet drugs or exercise. Themes are similar to this concept, and you might want to create a theme for your giveaway event. Using the diet niche as an example again, you might use something like this: • 7 Ways to Kickstart Your Diet • Eliminating the Quitter Mindset • 14-Days to a Trimmer Waist So everyone who submits for a certain theme must produce something that helps back up that concept. You also want to detail the time until the event for your prospective participants. They need time to create something unique for the giveaway. The less time you give them to prepare, the fewer people who will join in and the worse the quality will be. So plan well in advance of your event. Figure out how people will get each offer. Will they go to a squeeze page and opt in to the person’s list to receive their download? Or will you not make opt ins a requirement, but instead add promotions to the download area or zip files? You might also want to set guidelines on whether the submission has to be something 100% brand new or if it can be older products that they already have on the market.
Set Up the Page for the Giveaway Event
Like sales copy, the giveaway event should have copy that promotes the offer. You want to inform, educate and excite your audience about what they’re about to receive. You’ll want to include some simple instructions for what they need to do to get their free downloads. The more complex you make it, the worse off your event will be. Terms and rights will need to be included in some instances. For example, if you’re hosting a private label rights giveaway event. Each marketer might have different terms, so those should be listed with each offer. Start with a catchy headline and maybe a subheadline before launching into a bit of storyline for the sale. Beside each offer name, include a picture of the marketer, tell what their offer is, give the specifications or details of their offer, and provide the link to where they grab it. The promotion should have some sort of time scarcity. You don’t want to leave it wide open forever. If you have plenty of advanced notice and build a lot of buzz, then you should be fine doing a 24 hour to 7 day giveaway event, max. Create graphics for the sale just as if you were launching an info product. That means a minisite feel, ecovers for the offers if applicable, and even promo banners for the event. You might want to create a set of swipe files for the event too. This makes it easy for the participants to either use it as is or as springboard content that they can tweak and blast out to their list.
Promote the Event
You can’t just make the event go live and expect people to find it via the search engines. Your page would need time to get indexed and ranked for domination. So you need to manually promote it. Building a buzz should take place shortly before the event and every day thereafter by every member who is onboard for the special giveaway event, not just by one person. Come up with a daily promo idea such as asking people (your list, your social networking followers), “Who’s your favorite?” Discuss the various participants and get their feedback on which offer blew them away. Share that feedback with your audience online and bill that favorite as a “can’t miss” free download to drive more traffic to the giveaway. Discuss specific offers in more depth like a review – or offer a tutorial for them. So for instance, if you were in a PLR giveaway event, and there was one pack for a 35-page eBook, you might do a lesson on how to repurpose that person’s giveaway freebie. You’re showing your people (your blog readers, etc.) how to get more mileage out of this event, and that will hook the people who heard about the offer but passed over it because they were unsure how to put it to good use. Social networking sites will need to have a buzz about your event. Whip up posts for Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook (as well as Pinterest). Make sure you provide a call to action that says they should visit the event and share the post with others! Host a webinar with the participants of the giveaway. Invite everyone’s list to the event and then have each person do a short presentation. If you want to up the ante a bit, do a Q&A afterwards. Have everyone in the event blog about it. Each person should email their list a link to their blog to read about the event and get more details, in addition to linking directly to the event itself.
Choosing a Cross Promo Instead of a Giveaway Event
Picking one marketer to cross promo with is another option. You don’t have to have a big group of individuals initially. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re relatively unknown with a small list (or no list at all) to get people to agree to be part of your event. So if this happens, just try getting one person to agree to an event. If you have a list yourself, and are trying to grow it, choose someone with a list approximately the same size as yours. If you have no list, then choose someone with a bigger list and make an unbelievable free offer just for their list. Why would anyone want to come onboard for this type of exchange? Because your offer is going to be so awesome, they’ll be providing something great for their list. What you’ll have to do is explain this to the potential joint venture partner and go above and beyond in what you create for their list. In fact, try to tailor it to their subscribers’ needs. The JV partner will probably also want to know what kind of marketer you are. If they’re established, then they probably get requests all the time for promotions and other deals. They’re looking for someone ethical. Why is this important? Because they’re about to put their own reputation on the line and recommend that their subscribers sign up with you. If they send them to the jaws of a scammer, they’ll be the one blamed. So somehow, prove to the prospective JV partner that you’re on the up and up and that it’s safe to engage in a cross promotion with you. You can do a free event, or if the prospective partner won’t go for that, see if he or she will possibly entertain the thought of letting you give their list a different kind of perk – a discount on a paid product. Coupons are also special and show a list that you’re working on their behalf to get them good deals. Make it a special offer so that it’s not just the same discount everyone else online gets. Giveaway and cross-promo events can be a great list building activity. It forces you to give it your all and showcase the best that you have to offer to the paying public and they’ll be more loyal from that point on.
Each of us, who works online, knows that you build your list of e-mail addresses for successful marketing on the Internet. Your compilation of email addresses is your single, most powerful tool.
You already have the e-mail addresses of the people who may be interested in what you have to offer. Why not sell items that are related to topics in your email messages. The person, who trusted you enough to provide their email automatically, gave you the consent to communicate. The informative tips in this blog discuss how to build your list in successful ways.
Tip Number 1: Blogging is king.
More precisely, regular blog posting is king. Starting a blog can be easy or difficult, depending on how you approach the task. The easy way is to automate your blog as you establish it. WordPress (WP) is one such tool of choice. It works on plug-ins and templates. You create a customized look without the problems using coding.
If you can post a blog entry once a day, then you are doing well. I chose to post a new article every 3rd day. The timing allowed me to market each piece for several days on my social media accounts with the idea of generating leads to build your list.
Tip Number 2: Stay relevant.
Whether you are posting blog entries or sending e-mails to the addresses on your list, you need to stay on topic. If a client sees your facebook post, and then receives an email with useful information on another aspect of the same issue, they can connect the dots between you, the topic, and the varied streams of information.. You then maintain focus on the very subject that got people interested in the first place.
When you move away from the topic of interest, people will start skipping over what you send them. If they lose interest, then next step is marking your messages as spam. To make a transition to a new or ancillary topic, state the reason to move from topic one to topic two Use proper paragraphing can achieve this effect of movement.
Tip Number 3: Make a proper squeeze page.
A squeeze page (no, I don’t know why it is called that!) is a straightforward webpage built with an offer for visitors in exchange for their e-mail addresses. Sometimes the email is a way to access an online course, download a free ebook, or gain access to a membership site.
Examples of squeeze page software are Clickfunnels and Leadpages”
Don’t confuse the squeeze page with a sales page. A squeeze page asks for an email in exchange for information or a gift of sorts. A sales page does sell your services and products that are displayed on the pages along with price points. What you put on a squeeze page is the premise of your service and sales content and headlines.
Tip Number 4: Skip the video on squeeze pages, or people will skip it.
Video works for generating leads, verifying your expertise, and convincing visitors to buy. People who visit your squeeze page and opt-in are the impulsive personality type. They come to the squeeze page to download what you offer. Mostly, they aren’t the patient type, even with high-speed broadband, to watch a video.
By keeping your squeeze pages free of videos, you allow it to load quickly and cleanly. Your visitors get to read the salient points right away, and they will opt-in during that magic moment when they decide they like what you do and represent.
Tip Number 5: No heavyweight effects on your squeeze page
In addition to not putting videos on your squeeze page, also avoid media that consume high bandwidths. I have seen audio files, sparkling glitter, and falling raindrops on websites. The site was pretty, but…
Sounds and music slow down the loading time of the website. Ensure that images are compressed too. Smarter Internet users block media from untrusted sources, so your special effects are just left out, and you do not lose your intended impact.
Tip Number 6: Use video in your posts!
YouTube has made publishing videos a breeze, and it is free, which means you can get a stronger emotional connection with your audience. Facebook Live offers a shorter video opportunity if you have a tribe or group with whom you teach and converse.
For awesome impact, add videos to blog posts. While some people prefer to read, higher numbers of people like to watch and listen. By including a video in your well-written blog posts, you can generate leads from the readers as well as the listeners.
Tip Number 7: Video responses are cool
Use videos in marketing blogs to respond to your clients’ essential questions. Your followers will know that you do care about what they think and ask because you take the time to create and post videos for them. Picking out the questions that matter most is the tricky part. Another tricky part is staying on topic as you discuss questions and answers. You can answer off-topic questions through email. Another way that videos work for you is that answers generate traffic and boost your popularity.
Tip Number 8: RSS is your friend
RSS refers to “Really Simple Syndication.” The idea of using RSS to publish your blog posts is that it can publish your media to any RSS reader who is tuned in and signed up for your feed. When you post a blog entry, video, or an audio podcast, then those who chose to receive RSS data from you will get an update on their RSS readers. It’s like they get a personal notification every time you put something up online.
Tip Number 9: You can substitute audio for video
If you are not confident about your appearance on video or want to keep your online footprint as small as you can, then using audio instead of a video is a perfect solution. The most important advantage of audio over a video is that it consumes less space and is downloaded quickly.
Tip Number 10: SEO
Search Engine Optimization, also called SEO, is a set of procedures that guide you to fix your web pages and their content, so search engines (like Google and Bing) feature it higher among results for relevant searches.
In practice, SEO is complicated because the rules change over time. Is it worth your time to learn and complete SEO for your site? Or, are you the type of business person who hires a support person to create SEO for your website? Unless you have a fast learning curve, hiring this task out might better serve your goals. At least, once I learned all about SEO, I did hire another person to complete my sites and I learned best practices also.