by Melissa Cassera of www.casseracommunications.com
This month I co-hosted a fabulous #omhg chat for Oh My! Handmade (if you haven’t participated in one yet, I highly recommend!)
The main topic? Sharing your story.
During the chat, I heard plenty of opposition to sharing your story. Some folks shared that they didn’t feel comfortable opening up. Others shared that they didn’t quite get how their story would lead to any sales.
This brought me back to when I first started my business. Around the age of 25, I was a lost little gal navigating the entrepreneurial sea. I was so hell bent on sounding professional that I slapped a bunch of bland, boring copy on my website and delivered content that sounded like it was ripped from some high-brow industry trade journal.
Point is, no one knew what the heck I was talking about.
And for those that were impressed with my clear understanding of industry speak weren’t so impressed when we met in person. They took one look at my youthful appearance and I was immediately branded too young, and therefore not good enough.
After too many failed attempts at trying to be older and wiser, I got smart and started to just be me. I stopped speaking like a news anchor and started speaking like a 20-something girl who clearly knew her stuff but delivered it with peppy personality. In fact, to this day, the #1 compliment I get from my coaching clients is that working with me is like working with their best girlfriend. They can open up and share, dig deep, and finally steamroll over roadblocks that stopped them from growing their business.
This “experience” I create was not by accident. It’s precisely because I opened up to share my various stories of failure, triumph, embarrassment, success and a whole lot more that forged a connection with my customers. Because of this, I was able to triple my once slow-growing business in just one year. And it’s been full steam ahead ever since.
Want to learn how you can do the same? Read on.
Remember how I said above that my old stuffy “brand” didn’t help me sell anything? That’s because I wasn’t being “me.” It’s important to be yourself, even if that means being vulnerable.
When opening up, remember that your stories are worth sharing because they forge connection with your customers. Let go of who you think you should be and start being who you are! People will love you for it.
Not every story has to be personal
I’ve had plenty of clients clamp up on me after we have the “story” talk. This is because everyone assumes “story” means you have to share something deeply personal. You don’t have to reveal everything about yourself to tell a story. For example, you might have stopped at your local coffee shop and experienced great customer service, which inspired you to write about valuing good customer service and connection in your local town. This is a perfectly interesting story to share without opening your whole can of worms.
Talk about inspiration
A great story to tell if you’re stuck is what inspired you to start your business in the first place. You may even have several different inspirations coming from a variety of sources. For example, I had a client that traveled extensively and infused the colors, architecture, and overall mood from various cities into her accessories line. Under each product listing, she would include a photo from her travels, a small story about the culture she experienced, and how it inspired this particular piece. She constantly received notes from customers who couldn’t wait to own a piece of a particular city. Even if they hadn’t traveled there, her travel story coupled with an inspired design transported them to that destination.
Ask your customers for stories
The features of your product don’t sell. The story wrapped around those features does. This is why testimonials are so effective. For example: “the hat was so adorable on my daughter, we got a ton of compliments at her party. She felt like a true princess!” This story shares how your handmade hats for little girls made her (and her mom) feel special and like royalty.
Stories attract the media
If you covet a placement in your favorite magazine for your designs or services, stories are the shortcut to success in this area. I work daily with national magazine editors and the one element they say is most important is having a good story. This is what solidifies their decision to cover your designs or services over hundreds of competitors.
Share your story! Let’s get in the spirit of storytelling by sharing a story – any story – below. Whether you’re up for sharing how your dog snatched a cookie off your counter, or you’d like to dive a little deeper and share something inspiring, sad, fearful, motivating or anything else – we want to hear!
Want more? If you want to learn how to get media coverage for your handmade goodies, sign up for Melissa’s free report How to Pitch the Media Like a Pro at www.casseracommunications.com