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Create More Effective Content Using Storytelling

We just can’t help it but love a good story. When we hear a story, something happens to our brains. We get excited. We listen. And we embrace the story.

Think about all the TV shows and movies you have watched. Some have likely connected deeper with you than others. Think back. After at least some of these, you feel like you too would be part of the story. You mimic the feelings and behaviors of the protagonists in the story.

Storytelling Allows us to Connect With the Reader

Through storytelling, we connect with the reader or listener. In an article in Harvard Business Review (2014) Paul J. Zak shares “Why Your Brain Loves Storytelling”. He shares bits from his scientific research, whose specific details I will spare you from here.

What matters here though, is the conclusion. By “developing tension through the narrative”, the story can sustain attention. When this happens, we are indeed likely to mimic the feelings and behaviors from the story. A very powerful thing.

Sharing Why Something Matters in a Human Way

Part of what makes storytelling work for content is that when we share a story, we also share why something matters in a bigger perspective. And we do this in a human way.

Whether you are selling something to a business or individual, it is still always going to be an individual who makes the decision. Appeal to them with your own story of why what you do matters, and they will get onboard much easier.

Writing Like You Talk Seals the Story

If research and past experiences has taught us anything about communicating in writing, it is that when we do it like we talk, it is much more effective. It seems more human. It seems personal. Just like your story.

Conclusion

Storytelling is the best way to grab your audience’s attention. Whether this is writing or speaking, we humans just can’t seem to pass on a good story. And when we can relate to the story, we form a stronger bond, much easier than with other methods.

Next time you need to write content, be it for a marketing campaign or a talk, try using storytelling. Tell your story, and take your audience for a ride with you.

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How Often Should You Update Your Small Business Website?

Once every ________. You kind of hoped that I would be able to give you a clear cut answer here, right? Sorry. The answer is: It depends. On what? Glad you asked!

Over the years, I have been involved in creating websites for and advising hundreds of companies on their websites. Some are built to be updated frequently (but never are), some are built not to require any real updating, while a few are updated frequently as planned. Continue Reading »

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Top 3 Reasons Why Your Company Needs A Monthly Newsletter

Do you think that email is dead? Think again! Well-crafted newsletters and mailings are among the best converting marketing materials that you can employ. And there are a number of easily explained and powerful reasons as to why.

It doesn’t matter either if you are a small business providing consulting projects, or if you are an online store selling more standard items. You can benefit alike.

So put aside your initial feelings, and follow on for the reasons why you should absolutely have a monthly newsletter. Continue Reading »

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4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Run Your Website Without a Website Maintenance Service

Is your website important to you? If you are reading this, I am going to assume that your answer is yes. Now imagine your site going down. Would you know about it?

Far too many business owners do not. Despite having invested a considerable sum of money into their websites, they aren’t constantly monitoring them. Don’t be one of them. Here are four reasons why you would absolutely invest in a monitoring or maintenance service.

1. You Want to Protect Your Investment

With a monitoring service that keeps track of how your website is doing, you can be sure that your site is tip-top: That it is up and running, that it isn’t loading unbearably slowly (which is bad for both users and SEO!) and that it isn’t getting hacked.

2. Your Website Reflects Your Brand

When a customer visits your website they are learning about your brand and about who you are as a company and what your values are. While designing the website, you took great care to have this reflected, but what about after? Your website always reflects your brand and isn’t doing it so well if it is offline, hacked or not running smoothly.

Think about all the IT breaches you read about and how they quickly damage a company’s brand. Prevent yourself from having your brand damaged by being the first to know and act.

3. You Lose Profits

If your site is down or unavailable, your website can’t do any good. Since your customers rely on it for information or even purchase, downtime directly means lost profits. It is even worse of course if you have an online store, in which case the correlation between lost profits and downtime is even clearer.

With the investment you made in your website, can you afford for it to be offline?

4. Nobody Else Does It For You

It is easy to think that maybe your hosting company does this for you. They don’t. You need to do this yourself, or hire an agency to do it for you. The latter option can be very cost-effective and means you don’t have to worry about anything, but can trust them to keep it in top shape all the time.

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How do We Decide To Purchase Something?

Before we can even begin to talk about marketing tools, or even strategies, we need to answer the most fundamental question. If marketing is going to make sure someone buys our product, we need to know how we humans make purchase decisions in the first place.

This takes us on an exploration into the fine world of behavioral economics and psychology. At least a short one.

The Two Components: Trust and Desire

While decision making is in itself a fairly complex topic, on which a book could easily be written, the basic two components that we are working with are trust and desire.

Without both of these, no transaction will ever take place. If you don’t want a product, you are not going to buy it. If you don’t trust the seller, you are also not going to buy it.

The amount of trust and desire that we need for a given transaction is going to be dependant on primarily two things:

  1. How large the monetary value of the transaction is.
  2. How important/business critical the purchase is.

Let’s take a very basic example. You want to buy a bar of chocolate. In this case, the desire for chocolate is already there (or else you wouldn’t even be thinking about buying one!). How much trust do we need for this transaction? Not much at all.

The monetary value of a chocolate bar is so little that you aren’t that afraid of what will happen if you purchase from a store you have never visited or seen, or as the case may be, get a chocolate bar that you are unhappy with.

With increasing monetary value and the increasing risk of a non-satisfactory product, more trust is needed to complete the transaction. The more money you spend, the more do you want to be reassured that the seller is indeed trustworthy.

Marketing: Creating Desire & Building Trust

While there are many more aspects to specifically how we choose to buy a given product, these are the most fundamental. They leave us with a crucial insight into what our marketing is all about.

The first part is perhaps nothing surprising. Creating desire. We are all used to adverts trying to convince us to buy something. They are clearly working very hard to creating desire for the product.

Marketing is all about filling your brand with the trust that you deserve, so that the market knows you as a safe bet.

The second part however, while still non-controversial, is one we don’t think as much about. As a business you can take many different paths to building trust with your customers. Here we see the importance of brands, easily illustrated by how successful big brands are. The brand carries trust, and as customers we choose it because we trust their ability to deliver what we want without any hiccoughs.

Summary: Work on Building Trust

To sum it all up, building trust is where you need to focus greatly on as a business without a well-known brand to fall back on. You are working on filling your brand with the trust you deserve, so that you will be right up there as a safe bet when the customer is looking to buy a product that you offer.

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Lecture: How to Grow & Gain Traction

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to hold a guest lecture for the university course in Entrepreneurship at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The topic in question was marketing, or strictly speaking, “How to Grow and Gain Traction“.

The lecture had two fundamental parts. The first organized around why you want growth and traction, and what it is. The second about the marketing side, starting with why customers would want to buy from you in the first place to going through some of the most important marketing channels.

I’m happy to say that the university is recording all the lectures from this talk, making them publicly available on their video website. If the topic interests you, you can go ahead and watch. The slides are also available below on Slideshare, where it was featured as “Presentation of the Day”.

Continue Reading »

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You don’t sell products. You sell experiences.

As the psychological effects of our brains feature more in economics, the notion of selling experiences has caught on considerably. The title of this post may seem dramatic, but it is true, whether you have understood it or not.

When was the last time you bought a product for the sake of the product itself. Most likely, the answer is never. Our reason to buy is rarely about the product itself, but because we have some perceived need that we want to satisfy. Continue Reading »

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The New Modular Web: An Introduction

Traditionally we have always been working with websites on the base of them being viewed in just one way. After all, web publishing is closely based on that of print publishing.

Over the past years, with the introduction of smartphones and tables we started to adapt to the possibilities of our sites being viewed on different screen sizes. Responsive design was born. With it came a bunch of new challenges.

Since then, there has been no shortage in development in the device-sphere. We have smartwatches entering and TV boxes with more and more apps. Apple is leading the way in the general consumer base with the Apple Watch and recently released new Apple TV. Continue Reading »

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Why Sharing Your Knowledge On Your Website Helps Your Service Business Twofold

Sharing knowledge has always been one of the cornerstones of the internet. In recent years it has also been seen as one of the best ways of marketing. Share your knowledge, show your expertise and gain more customers long-term.

This is the marketing based approach to sharing knowledge on your website. However, we could also look at it from a direct business operations point of view, where it helps streamline your operations.
Continue Reading »