It’s Time to Give Yourself Permission to Create a Greater Story
Creative By: Kyle Musser
When it comes to growing your business and building a brand, many of you are asking the question…
“How do we share our story in a more compelling way that creates more conversations and turns those conversations into conversions?” 💭💸
The most likely scenario is that you first have to start by understanding and embracing the fact that your story is not about you.
The real story is that of your Customer’s Journey. 👥🔑
The beautiful part of digital media and your brand’s content marketing is that you have infinitely limitless potential to craft and share the story that is your business.
Your mission, your vision, your products, your services, your customers, etc., all come together into this beautiful masterpiece that is your Story Labs Script.
Doesn’t matter how big or how small your business is in terms of team members, revenue, marketing investment, etc.
What it really comes down to is a couple things…
Principal #1 — Positioning your brand and crafting your digital story telling efforts in ways that allow others (your customers) to win with you. ✔️
Principal #2 — Giving your ‘community’ or your ‘tribe’ the invitation to connect, collaborate, create, and share in the process of writing your Story Labs Script with you. ✔️
And while there a lot of other things that we can hit on, I want to focus on these 2 specific reference points today so that you and your team are able to share your brand story in a more compelling way. Which ultimately will lead to the growth of your business over time.
So when it comes to creating content and incorporating your brand’s story into your customer’s journey, I want you to think about it like this…
“Useful information creates Conversations around your brand, conversations then develop Trust with your audience, trust leads to more Conversions, and conversions lead to the Growth of your business.” — Kyle, Chief Digital Conversion Labs Story Teller 💭
It’s a pretty simple concept,
A prospect walks into your shop (physical and digital)…They interact with you, your team, your content, etc,.. That builds rapport… And then they eventually buy your stuff.
Every piece of content including blogs, videos, Instagram, Facebook, etc. is meant to help you… the entrepreneur, business owner, or content team own the conversation in your niche and then convert that into dollars.
But before we can even get to the topics of tips, how-to’s, strategies, etc., to do this… what you first have to do is Give Yourself Permission to Create a Greater Story.
Most people think that it’s just enough to “Create Content” on a consistent basis. But I’m here to share with you that this is a losing perspective that will not set you up for success in today’s noisy world.
From the way I see it, the idea of just creating content points out that you really don’t care enough about your customers to put the effort and investment into actually utilizing social, digital, and all the tools you have available to rightfully serve your customers with value outside of just the transaction.
Many people I see putting stuff out on social or creating content are just making it more confusing for their customers and community because they are not actually serving any sort of service to their audience.
Seems like every one of the latest blog posts preaches that you have to“Create, Pin, Like, Share, Comment, and so on” if you want to grow you business online in today’s world.
And while that’s not untrue, what’s happening is that these so-called“experts” are setting you up fail with this perspective.
Not only that, this type of thought process is leading to the resentment of these incredible times we live in where we have access to tools and resources that allow much more impact on a greater scale than we’ve ever imaged with the internet.
Just because you tried something once doesn’t give you the the right to say it “doesn’t work” or that “blogging and email marketing are dead.” 😏
Even worse are the people who say that social has “no ROI”. Which in fact is a complete lie if you know what you’re actually doing and have a plan to set yourself up for success in place.
You have to realize and accept that just because you create something and put it out into the world that the market doesn’t have to validate it as a good, worthy, great, or even viral.
What really matters when you’re creating digital content for your specific audience and niche is whether or not you are actually serving them. Each time you post something or write a blog, you are adding the opportunity for a micro-moment of interaction and engagement with the overall story of your brand.
So whether or not you realize it, every single business has a story to tell and is telling a story as we speak…including yours.
Where most people go wrong though is they focus on solely sharing their story and not the story of their customers’ journey.
I say this because I’ve experienced it personally and see this many times with business owners I’ve worked with. I know what it’s like to be so busy running the day-to-day of your business and growing your brand that it’s just natural that the hero’s journey defaults back onto you and your team.
So while I don’t dispute the fact that you have to focus on leading and operating your business to actually grow. What most people forget in that your messy, hectic, and roller coaster of an entrepreneurial ride is not just about you and your success journey.
See your Brand Labs Script isn’t about just your brand and your business. What it’s really about is your customer’s journey that your tribe is traveling on each day and how your brand is serving their aspirations to live a better life by purchasing from your business.
That’s why today, I wanted to remind you that It’s Time to Give Yourself Permission to Create a Greater Story…
Principal #1 — Position your brand and craft your digital story telling in a way that allows others to win along side your brand.
I love this first tip because it’s so simple, but yet so many people (Content Teams and Entrepreneurs) aren’t doing it.
From the local business brick-n-mortar shops, to digital brands, ecommerce shops, and so on. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be influencing your community with some sort of value driven content approach.
I’m speaking in general terms here. But the fact are that the barriers to entry are so low today that literally anyone has the ability to create and craft content.
Whether that content is compelling, engaging, actually solves a pain, or supports a need is a different story.
Does this mean that every business should be focused on their digital story telling? Not necessarily.
And does that mean just because what’s worked for you in the past or what’s working today in terms of growing your business is going to work going forward? Nope.
The answer is no because we are in an age of rapid change where disruption and technological evolution are just the normal workings of running a business.
That’s why it’s imperative to understand that content creation alone from a marketing and digital media standpoint won’t cut it.
In fact, there’s good ideas around this exact concept that support a value-driven content approach the same if not similar ways through which your product(s) or service(s) do.
The difference comes down to your brand values and your intentions you have when it comes to serving your audience and elevating the conversation around your brand.
Whether you look at it as a separate vertical of your business, or you view content creation and story telling as products of their own that add value to your relational equity accounts you have with customers and prospects.
The point is that you should have a plan in place and an understanding of the bigger picture how this all fits together.
So if you don’t as of right now, my assumption is that you’re either…
A — Lazy “I just don’t want to create content and have create more conversations around my brand because I”m doing just fine.”
B — Greedy “I’m more focused on the conversion vs. the conversation around my business so that I can buy my next boat and retire.”
If one of these describes you and the values that you enlist into your team, my advice is to be careful because we are talking about the future of your business here. 🤔
Just being real with you because you know all to well that people are searching for your business and your brand online today. The reason I know that you know is because you do this yourself probably on a daily basis.
Whether or not your consciously realize this trend as it’s happening right before you is a different story.
And I also know that some of you that are competing in a niche where price sensitivity toward your commodity product(s) is driving the purchasing behaviors of your customers.
Why is this happening?
Well, I believe because there’s no real connection to the product other than the pain it solves and the economics of it. Or more simply put, “Where can I find this the fastest and cheapest?”
On the flip side, there’s also a group of you reading this who are actually interested in building a brand that can evolve and transcend technology changes, changes in consumer tastes, and the test of time.
Those are the people I’m focusing in on and speaking to here at Digital Conversion Labs with our own content that we put out on a weekly basis.
But it’s not just about the content and the connection that it creates. From a business standpoint, you have to realize how important the data and information are to your Unlimited Profit Pathway in the digital age.
Because with data and information comes the opportunity to leveragecontext + content to your competitive advantage.
Some of you reading this know this already as you have an online business right now where you are able to track prospects all the way fromconversation (content and lead generation) to conversion (sale and recurring sales).
Which provides incredible data and valuable insight that you can use to drive your business forward because you move yourself out of a trap of thinking like… 😫
“S#$*! I need to post on Instagram today… Pin something on Pinterest… And check in on our Facebook Page…”
And instead, create in a way that’s thoughtful, strategic, and actually provides measurable ROI into your business.
The reason that this is so important is the fact that the customer experienceof purchase and the customer journey that your tribe is on has dramatically changed with innovations in technology.
It’s with these changes in tech and consumer behavior that should cause you and your team to interact with and communicate differently than you have probably for much of your business’s existence.
Just look at this screenshot from a study that powerreviews.com put out that proves that people are searching for services and products online in a major way…
So while you can see that Amazon is the behemoth in the room, the fact is you don’t have to be the most valuable brand in the world to compete and stand out.
Whether you’re an established business owner… the solopreneur just launching a new venture… or you’re part of a content team at a growing brand… the fact is you have to understand the Conversation to Conversion Pathway your user’s journey to really stand out.
Which leads me to my next group of people who are probably reading this that understand if you want to receive value, you’ve got to first give value.
What this group and possibly even you also understands is the concept of…
C — Experimentation
And in today’s world, adopting a mindset that’s focused on Continuous Experimentation is more important than ever as the ways’ consumersconnect, interact with, and eventually purchase from have completely changed.
On top of that, it’s going to keep changing with things like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), the complete shift to mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. is upon the horizon.
Especially for you B2B brands where the opportunity is very much undervalued and is just started to really open up from an attention arbitrage standpoint.
There’s even groups of your customers that are being tracked an analyzed backed by the power of big data based on what their particular purchasing avatar type is…
Let’s take this last Amazon buyer avatar as a case study. I pulled up some research that said,
“A huge 92% of shoppers who start their purchase journey on Amazon typically make their final purchase on the site, too.” — B&T Magazine 💭
Of all of the tens of thousands of online opportunities for shoppers, only two really matter at least to begin with …www.bandt.com.au
Now image that your business has this type of brand power in the eyes of your audience.
While that might sound like,
“Holy Kyle! You’re crazy…”
…hear me out for a second.
Let’s say someone comes to your brand after they hop on Google to search for your business.
Which in this case, I’m going to take this new bakery that just opened up downstairs below my loft.
This is their second location here in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Digital Conversion Labs is HQ’d. Which is awesome because they are growing their business and creating quite the buzz around town.
(Shout out to FieldandFire.com)
BREAD OF THE MONTH Baker’s Choice for September is our Multigrain . Made with a blend of six whole grains and then…www.fieldandfire.com
And while most people including their NAICS Small Business Administration code would say that they are in the business of restuarants (bread and baked goods), what I believe is that they in the experience business.
On top of that, it’s my belief that they (like us all) are all in the communityor tribe building business as well.
Hear me out for a minute…
What do you do when you go to a coffee shop or restaurant? Well for most people, you usually go with a friend or colleague to spend some time together.
You go for the food, but you usually stay for the experience. And in most cases when it comes to your business, it’s not just your physical location that’s part of the experience.
For those of you that are doing business 100% online, you know that your website and your digital media are all part of the experience that is your brand.
Now image for a minute we take this concept of…
“Positioning their brand and crafting their digital story telling in a way that allows their customers to win with them.” 💭
Hypothetically speaking, what do you think that would look like forfieldandfire.com?
Well if I were to put together some ideas on a whiteboard of what they could be doing on top of providing amazingly delicious macarons, bread, pastries, coffee, etc. is things like this…
Idea #1 — Create and share a sandwich recipe of the week for customers who purchase their breads so that they can then use that as a reference guide when they are shopping and creating their favorite artisan sandwiches at home with their product.
Idea #2 — Host a contest on Instagram and Facebook where they ask for crowdsourced macaron flavor creations that users want each week where the top 2 ideas are selected and baked for customers. Then, you give the winning recipe a shoutout on Instagram and a free box of macarons.
Idea #3 — Create and share multi-media video content where they go behind the scenes in the kitchen with a smartphone and share some baking best practices, tips, etc. Then you take that video, post it to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And you could even run look-alike audiences on Facebook for targeted ads.
Idea #4 — Utilize the content above so that their team can then craft “How To” guides and downloads that help grow their email list which they can then use for any Facebook or Instagram targeting with the Emails that they receive. Plus this serves as a direct to consumer content channel that they can then leverage to grow the business in different and creative ways with specials, events, giveaways, etc.
Idea #5 — Cross promote other local businesses that are either in the artisan or niche restaurant business by coming together on some sort of collaborations that are essentially social media shout-out for shout-out’s. You see this a lot on Instagram specifically in the fitness and health niche’s.
These are just some examples and tips so that you can see how any business (literally) could position themselves in front of their consumers not only from a retail an purchasing standpoint, but from a brand conversation standpoint.
Now imagine that for you business, you incorporate a content strategy like this where you are communicating, interacting, and adding value to your tribe to the point that you become known as one of the go2 brands in your customers mind’s within your niche.
And then because you’ve practiced and experimented with these types of content strategies consistently over time, you are then able to track yourbrand’s value add all the way into value exchange to the point where you just like Amazon have 92% brand conversation to conversion purchase rate on your website.
How would something like this transform your business, the lives of your customers, and the lives of your employees?
Doesn’t matter if you’re physical only right now looking to add an online content portfolio to your brand to attract new business. Or you’re a 100% online based business that’s looking to grow and expand your reach with more strategic content creation.
The facts, data, and my experience shows that this is the world we live in here in 2016 if you want to really thrive and stand out.
And not only do we live in this world, I’m making a call that this is only going to continue to proliferate the business world.
Which is why I’m glad to tell you that those who are unwilling to change and try new things consistently over time, you will get left behind in an era of disruptive change.
This is true because it’s now normal practice to say things like, “Just Google it”. It’s right at this point where you can’t get caught not attracting and adding value to your community. Especially in the eyes of search engines like Google and even voice search like Siri.
So while most business owners are aware of this, the numbers don’t lie in that the majority of people rarely if ever go past page #1 in Google Search because it’s just so damn good at finding what you want…
Google processed over 1 trillion search queries in 2014. As Google Search continues to further integrate into our…moz.com
So no more is it enough just to be “doing digital” or “creating content”. You have to actively be thinking about it as pieces of the overall story of your brand.
Joe Churnoff, VP of Marketing at InsightSquared shares it like this when talking about the real value of your content marketing…
“If you create something that your people would pay for but instead you give it away, not only are you building trust. But you are also shocking them with the fact that you are giving away so much value for free, that they end returning the favor by sharing it and referring new business to your brand.” — Joe 💭
When you give yourself and your term permission to provide and add value in terms of your content so that you are solving problems just as if you were creating a new service or product, what you are doing is constantly investing in your relationship equity account with your audience.
And because you do this over tie, what happens is that there is intangible goodwill that’s created around your brand. I know people argue and say that this can’t be measured down to the micro-engagement point so they justify their not doing it from a business case stance.
But what can be measured is the growth of things like your email list and how many people convert from a specific email campaign.
Or how much engagement on a set of Facebook sponsored video posts gets which then allows you to create a look-alike audiences from the video views where you then run targeted ads that allow you to measure the ROI from conversation to conversion.
The fact is for most businesses in today’s digital world, consumers expect and demand that you provide more than just a commodity product.
So if you want a brand that stands out in the digital age, know that your customers really don’t care until you show them that you care about them.
My advice is that you go into your business each day with an attitude of wanting your customers to win. It’s when you do this that you not only create raving fans. But you also create a culture that is encouraged by your leadership teams to find new, creative, and innovative ways which make everyone a winner.
And when your customers and your tribe win, your business and brand will undoubtedly flourish as well…
How often do you talk to your customers? If you’re like most of us, probably not as often as you should. One of the…blog.kissmetrics.com
Nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business. In this age of…blog.kissmetrics.com
Tip #2 — Give your community or your tribe the invitation to connect, collaborate, create, and share in the story with you.
I don’t know why more people don’t think about their marketing and digital efforts like this.
What it’s really about from my perspective is your community. And while there’s research from Simon Sinek that shares…
“On average, people are only able to sustain 150 close relationships.” 💭
Now I don’t point this out to shy away from the fact that in today’s digital world many of us have more people than that in our cell phone contacts let alone on our social media.
Why I point that out is that we are wired to want to connect with people around us. And just because research shows that you can only have a limited number of truly close relationships, that doesn’t mean you can’t use today’s tools to have more impact and influence so that you can reach more people.
The beautiful part about this is that most anyone in any niche can create and grow an audience that they can then find ways to serve and create a business around them.
But just because you have the option and decide to start a business, that doesn’t mean that you have the right to decide what your customers want to buy or how they engage with your brand’s content efforts.
I get a little annoyed and frustrated with people when they complain that their content is going un-noticed and that they aren’t seeing engagement on their social media.
News flash… you’re living in a take > give mentality which is most likely the reason why you and your team are losing when it comes to your content marketing efforts.
You are focused on the marketing most likely, not the relevance and context of the content in terms of how your customers see it.
Look the fact of the matter is that people want to be included in something. Simply put, they want to be part of a story that’s bigger than them.
That’s why Toms Shoes, Pencils of Promise, and countless other organizations are winning and having such transformational effects on the business world as a whole.
Forbes Welcome page — Forbes is a global media company, focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship…www.forbes.com
And not only have they built these type’s of “For Purpose” values into their internal cultures, but they’ve invited their communities and tribes to help write their Brand Labs Script with each new engagement.
Whether it’s a like, a pin, a post, a retweet, comment, share, etc., each of these micro-moments of engagement are contributing to your brands story and the evolution of your business over time.
Great example of this in action is GoPro. And while they’ve had their woes as of late from a physical product and technology standpoint since going public, GoPro is a great example of how they’ve empowered a massive community of raving fans to become content creators and share in the brand story.
I know that the old school Wall Street Analysts and many business leaders from the generations that didn’t grow up with technology integrated into most every aspect of our lives might not get this.
But the fact is your audience and your customers are many times where the best new product innovations, content development ideas, etc., come from.
Don’t believe me? Just take a minute and look up your brand on your social media.
If you’re a visual brand where pictures tell the story… check out your Instagram page. Whether it’s searching to see who’s tagging you in their pictures, or it’s searching your specific hashtag that you use to categorize your pics on a regular basis.
What you’ll notice are themes around your brand which are curated around your Brand Labs Script. This simple tactic done regularly then provides you with insight that leads to new content ideas, products, etc.
Just take a look at this case study from our friends over at wordstream.com…
Instagram recently announced that they’ve gained over 300 million users, even surpassing their much older cousin…www.wordstream.com
According to Fast Company’s Rachel Gillet, “In 2011 Choboni discovered that, even before the brand joined Instagram, their fans were posting photos of their artful concoction using the Greek yogurt. The Chobani fans used hashtags like #creationaday and #chobani to showcase the yogurt as a core ingredient so it seemed only fitting for Chobani to build their following by piggybacking off of their fans’ creativity.” 💭
More than 16 billion photos have been shared on Instagram. With an average of 55 million uploaded each day, that’s a…www.fastcompany.comC
Crazy part about that all businesses, including yours have a story that’s being told.
Problem for most is that you’re not listening to the story that your customers and your audience is sharing with you. Nor are you actively putting in the time and effort to make sure that you are cooperatively working together to build a greater story day after day.
Many times both the previous and latter are the case because you can’t justify the ROI.
Well just imagine would have happened if Chobani hadn’t listened to their customers?
While they are still a private company, last valuation and funding rounds puts their brand at a number between from $3–5 Billion.
“Now they’ll be working to build the company even more and building their future at the same time,” he said. Chobani…www.nytimes.com
This case study is literally a love story in the making in terms of how they’ve not only grown to become such a successful and socially conscious brand. But also from the point of highlighting here today their engagement with their customers and how that has contributed a great among to the story and the evolution of the brand…
Hamdi Ulukaya introduced his childhood nostalgia to the United States and has now generated a billion dollar Greek…www.referralcandy.com
Big and small brands alike have this same power to leverage social media and digital content creation to engage with their customers like never before.
And while you’re resources might not be as great as one of these billion dollar examples, just know that you have to start somewhere.
Chobani, just like any other business didn’t start off as a brand of this scale. They started small and did the little things that mattered to building a great brand…
and they invited their customers to share in the story with them.
This is really the key in the digital age. It’s about your willingness and the adoption of a mindset of cooperation.
We all, speaking for myself here too… want to feel like we are tied to something greater than just an product exchange.
Just look at the quintessential example of Apple in their latest campaign with the new iOS update and the new iPhone 7 coming out.
This commercial where they share the story of users who are leveraging new technology that’s becoming more personal and human is great insight to the world we are entering into.
So whether it’s the “Shot on iPhone” campaign…
Or it’s the “Practically Magic” campaign…
The real magic and opportunity for increasing your brand’s relationship equity account lies in cooperative creation in the digital age.
You’re tribe isn’t just the audience anymore. They are an essential part of the experience and they want to be working with in this process as you craft a new technology, as you create a new piece of art, or even launch a new business.
My challenge to all of you reading this is to open up to these ideas and make a committment to this process of… 📲 🖥 ✍🏼 ⚗ 🚀
Continual Content Creation and Experimentation.
And for those of you that think you’re going to create a lasting brand overnight with the creation of a viral campaign or one specific piece of content, I’m here to tell you that you’re setting yourself up for short term gain and long term pain.
So if you want to build something that lasts, like we do here at Digital Conversion Labs…
Then join myself, my team, and our community here as we embrace the call to tell, share, and create a greater story.
QUESTION: I’d love to hear your comments or stories of how you have invited your audience into co-creation with you and your team!
Be sure to leave your comments below and share it with a friend…👥
And if you’ve found this valuable, I’d be much appreciated if you could leave a HEART below…💚
I’m Kyle Musser,
🤓 Founder and CEO (Chief Experiment Officer) of digitalconversionlabs.com.