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Here at Optimal, we are always looking for ways to enhance our positioning as a company to benefit our partners with the best marketing available, setting aside 10% of our time each week to learn or grow in a new area. Though some of our team members would describe themselves as creative and able to write original content effortlessly, many of us from data-driven backgrounds have found writing copy to be a difficult task. Recently, members of our team have been taking the StoryBrand Messaging Framework course during their weekly continuous improvement time. The class primarily focuses on communicating to customers in a story-based manner and how to successfully move them down the marketing funnel.

Due to this program, we have found it easier as a team to position ourselves and assist our partners in relating to their customers. By using a system that emphasizes behavioral psychology, storytelling, and positioning, we have seen a stronger sense of confidence in some of our growth marketers who have struggled with copywriting in the past. Here are some of the biggest lessons that we as a company have taken away from the StoryBrand Messaging Framework course.

1. Have clear marketing

The effectiveness of clear marketing cannot be understated. According to Donald Miller, CEO of StoryBrand, if your business does not talk about how your product or service helps your customers survive or thrive, it will not be as successful as it otherwise could be. Miller notes that we as humans biologically function in this way to conserve calories Our minds will lose focus when information does not personally relate to us based on survival and thriving (think of all of the times you have zoned out during conversations or meetings that didn’t apply to you).

If this concept of successful advertising is based on survival and thriving is true, this means that your competitors who have a sub-par product or service whose value is communicated will always win. People don’t always purchase because they want the best. Rather, many customers choose to purchase what is most accurately described to them in a way that is beneficial to them.

How can you make sure that your business is being marketed clearly and effectively? Make sure that you understand how your customers think and find value in your product or service. One exercise that we have learned from another course (Momoko Price’s Product Messaging course for CXL) is looking at your online business reviews as well as reviews of your competitors (they can be local, national, or a mix). What are the values, themes, and pain points being discussed? What prompted the customers to make the purchase? Why is the product or service considered useful?

Make a list of all of these important elements, seeing what is repeated the most. Use these to your benefit and let them influence your marketing (obviously avoid plagiarism by using the gist of what your customers are saying rather than word-for-word statements). Applying this tactic will help your business to seem relatable and trustworthy, painting a realistic mental picture for your audience on why they should work with you.

If you wish to be the best guide to your customers on their journey… know that your marketing efforts are not there to prop up you, your products, or your services.

2. Let your customer be the hero and you be the guide

In StoryBrand’s course, the main focus is treating the buyer’s journey to that of the hero’s journey. Contrary to what most people would believe, though, your company should never be the hero of the story. When looking at pieces of pop culture that incorporate the narrative of the hero’s journey (The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, The Hunger Games, The Marvel Cinematic Universe), the hero is never presented as the one who has the wisdom and knowledge to complete the journey when they initially begin.

If you present yourself as the hero to your customers, according to Miller, you will not succeed as a business. If anything, you want to make sure that you position yourself as the guide. Doing so means that your audience will view you as the one who knows how to make the best decisions going forward to win.

If you wish to be the best guide to your customers on their journey, it is important to know that your marketing efforts are not there to prop up you, your products, or your services up. There are plenty of businesses out there Rather, they are there for your audience and to give them instruction and information.

Miller suggests that displaying empathy and authority are needed if you want to see success. Telling your audience that you understand the complexity of their situation exhibits a feeling of mutual understanding, conveying that you know exactly how stressed or unproductive they must feel because you have been in their place. However, showing your customers various statistics and awards that your company has received will display that you are an expert in the industry, have solved this type of problem numerous times for others, and are ready to do it once again for them.

3. Give your customer a call to action, a plan, and a caution

Another important element in making sure your marketing is successful is by presenting the bigger picture. Again, clarity in your marketing is essential if you truly wish to see action from your audience. After all, if your service or product isn’t being communicated, why should they move forward if they don’t know what entails?

Your audience should know what the next step is if you are doing your job as a marketer correctly. Indicate calls-to-action in your marketing and advertising, whether it be pushing your audience to schedule a call, download a free ebook, or sign up for an upcoming webinar. Even adding a simple “contact us” or “learn more” button to your website’s homepage can help get the job done.

An illustration of a gray and black marketing funnel against a gray background.

People don’t always make a purchase because they want the best. Rather, many customers choose what is most accurately described to them in a way that is beneficial to them.

After your audience responds to the call-to-action, be sure to give them two or three options on how they can move forward as well as how working with you will lead to their success is crucial. By laying out a clear path, your customer will know what to expect and won’t feel like their time is being wasted or that you are stalling.

After explaining what the future holds, though, Miller insists that your business must describe what your audience will lose if they do not take action. By providing this type of context, it will force them to decide if they are truly serious about working with you or if they are not interested. A potential customer remaining indecisive could not only lead to a loss of interest in your product or service over time but also a headache for you as well. After all, getting turned down immediately can sometimes be better than having to constantly check in on a prospect to see if they want to work with you.

In short, we have found the StoryBrand Messaging Framework course an absolute game-changer to how we do business at Optimal. Not only has the course helped us understand how to position ourselves in our collateral and marketing materials, but also how we can help to make our clients stand out among their competitors to their customers. Clearly describing and emphasizing the pain points, UVPs, calls-to-action, and your knowledge as an expert in your industry is going to help bring more results and interest to your business. As growth marketers, we highly recommend the StoryBrand Messaging Framework class as an invaluable tool, no matter what industry you work in.

Click here to read our other blog posts on behavioral psychology.