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Tell a Story, Make a Sale

Tell a Story, Make a Sale

When you tell a story, you increase your chances of connecting with your customers and making more sales. Use the tools and tips in this infographic to shape your stories and improve your bottom line.

Stories are impactful, and stories in marketing and sales can help companies reach their customers in more personal ways. This is because stories engage multiple parts of the brain, from language comprehension to sounds to scents. They also elicit emotion, which is an important part of a person’s decision-making process when it comes to evaluating brands. In fact, a consumer’s emotional response to an ad has a greater influence on their reported intent to buy than the ad’s actual content does.

That storytelling is an important part of marketing is not news. Brands have successfully used storytelling in a number of ways for years, including employing brand characters (the Charmin Bears or Tony the Tiger) and sharing short stories which, for example, when used in Ebay listings, can help the listing attract 64% higher bids.

To use stories in marketing, look at your sales funnel and decide which types of content could benefit from them, such as podcasts, commercials, conference presentations, and other marketing efforts. Know your audience and frame your story so it resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. After all, stories help make marketing messages “accurate and human.” Learn more about using storytelling in marketing in the infographic below.

“The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.”

  • This is according to Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist.
  • When a story is told well, oxytocin, a neurochemical in the brain, is released.
    • Oxytocin can increase a person’s level of trust in a situation and storyteller.
    • It can also make it more likely that the listener will take the action the storyteller prompts them to take.
  • Stories affect multiple parts of the brain.
    • Motor cortex
      • Movement
    • Broca’s area
      • Language processing
    • Auditory cortex
      • Sounds
    • Olfactory cortex
      • Scents
    • Sensory cortex and cerebellum
      • Touch
    • Visual cortex
      • Colors and shapes
    • Wernicke’s area
      • Language comprehension

Furthermore, stories elicit emotion, and emotions can drive sales.

  • Thanks to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we know that when customers evaluate brands:
    • They primarily use emotions.
      • Personal feelings
      • Experiences
    • Information isn’t as important.
      • Brand attributes
      • Features
      • Facts
  • A consumer’s emotional response to an ad has greater influence on their reported intent to buy a product than the ad’s content does.
    • In television commercials, it’s by a factor of 3-to-1.
    • In print ad, it’s by a factor of 2-to-1.
  • Companies can increase customer loyalty for their brands by building positive emotions.
    • Positive emotions are more important than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.

Brands successfully use storytelling in their marketing.

  • Integrating a brand character into marketing can boost shares and engagement.
    • Charmin achieved a 585% boost in shareability when it used its characters the Charmin Bears in visual content on Facebook.
    • Tony the Tiger helped Frosted Flakes earn a 279% increase in shares.
    • Mr. Clean got a 182% increase in shareability for the brand.
  • On a smaller scale, Ebay listings with short stories can attract 64% higher bids.
  • And a study concluded that knowing the personal story of the artist makes a painting 11% more valuable.

Here’s how to do it right.

  • Weaving a story can be part of multiple sections of the sales funnel, using tools like:
    • Podcasts
    • Social media posts
    • Testimonials
    • Whitepapers
    • Commercials
    • Sales presentations
    • Conference presentations
    • Marketing materials in your tradeshow booth [no source]
  • Craft your story in 3 not-so-easy steps:
    • Know your audience.
      • Tell an educated story based on your personas.
      • Research and understand them intimately.
    • Select your frame.
      • Tune into the way your audience views the world.
      • Frame your story so it resonates so much with them that they begin to trust you over your competition.
    • Choose your premise.
      • Choose to tell your story in a way that brings your audience to the conclusion you want.
      • Use dramatic tension and relatable heroes.
  • Increase emotional impact with a few basic tools.
    • Meaningful visuals
      • Abstract styles
      • Geometric illustrations
      • Minimalistic designs
      • More common visuals, such as photos or simple graphics
    • Personal stories
      • Show your humanity
      • Create a connection
    • Colors
      • Learn about the psychological impact of colors
      • Choose a color palette
  • Finally, follow a few storytelling rules.
    • Keep it organized.
    • Keep it succinct.
    • Keep it simple.
    • Keep it legal.
    • Keep it interactive.
    • Keep it action-oriented.

Incorporate data to make the biggest impact

  • Barrie Seppings of Ogilvy said that in the era of big data, we need stories in order to build marketing messages that are both “accurate and human.”
  • Data is of utmost important to brands.
    • Use it to create powerful, true stories to help explain your products and services.
    • Move consumers to act.


When you tell a story, you increase your chances of connecting with your customers and making more sales. Use the tools and tips in this infographic to shape your stories and improve your bottom line.

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