The campfire tales of yore have long vanished. Now it’s all about crafting shareable narratives using tech and multimedia. From viral social videos to email yarns and more, digital storytelling pulls people in and engages them .
No wonder savvy brands are jumping on the storytelling bandwagon to connect with customers and drive sales. Powerful stories help businesses stand out from the competition and establish emotional connections with their audience. Good storytelling simplifies complex ideas and boosts SEO too.
How can you tap into the power of killer stories? This article will break down the art and science behind the magic that is digital storytelling and explore all the benefits your brand can reap .
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What Is Digital Storytelling?
Digital storytelling uses technology and digital media to craft and share narratives that not only engage their listeners, but also reach a wider, more global audience.. There are significant differences between digital and traditional storytelling.
Digital uses tech and multimedia such as text, audio, video and animation to craft sharable narrative. It tends to spread rapidly on online platforms and allows audiences to engage with these stories by commenting and clicking and sharing links.
It is also an immersive and transformational medium that is both nonlinear and participatory – viewers can navigate freely and even contribute to the storyline process..
The Benefits of Storytelling
Storytelling is, and always has been, one of the most powerful ways to connect with people. In fact, many forward-thinking brands today are making storytelling central to their marketing strategies and for good reasons. Тhe benefits of storytelling include:
- Stories are powerful. As humans, we love stories. Stories connect us, teach us, and move us emotionally.
- Stories allow customers to relate to your business on a personal level. When you share stories, people feel they know you and can trust you. Psychologically, stories build rapport.
- Digital storytelling makes content more memorable. Stories stick. Customers remember them much better than mere product features or specs.
- Stories spread. Humans naturally share impactful stories with others. So your brand stories can gain organic reach through shares. And stories give existing customers something to share about why they love you.
Can Digital Storytelling Increase Your eCommerce Sales?
Let’s illustrate the impact of words on sales with an example: Have you ever heard of the Significant Objects Project? In 2009, researchers bought a bunch of stuff from secondhand shops for a few dollars. Then, a talented, creative writer invented stories about these products. Next, wanting to prove the power that words have, they sold these items on eBay. The products, worth $128, were sold for more than $3,600, proving the theory that words sell.
Two prime examples of storytelling marketing are Apple and Airbnb, which build their brands almost entirely through storytelling.
Real Life Example: Apple
Steve Jobs’ introduction of the first iPhone in 2007 is legendary and can still give you goosebumps when watching it. The core principles of Apple’s storytelling approach have remained unchanged in 2023:
– Begin with a captivating story
– Introduce your product second
– Build suspense
– Center your narrative around customers successfully using your product.
Sometimes, Apple doesn’t talk about products at al! They simply integrate them into storytelling. For instance, they managed to explain the entire concept of working from home and the phenomenon of the Great Resignation during the pandemic, showcasing how their products could change the lives of a group of so-called office underdogs.
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Real Life Example: Airbnb
Airbnb relies heavily on the power of digital storytelling. You can become completely hooked after spending hours reading descriptions and viewing photos simply because it’s enjoyable.
Potential customers can vividly imagine their stay, read stories and when the time to travel comes, they book.
Key learnings from Airbnb:
– Ask yourself whether people would choose your content if it were on the coffee table.
– Infuse the human element into your content consistently.
– Always strive for sincerity and authenticity.
Key Elements of Good Storytelling for Ecommerce Sales
Now that you know stories sell, let’s see how to increase your eCommerce sales. There are several key elements of good storytelling that drive conversions:
- Make It Relevant. Tie your story back to your products or brand so people see the connection. Example: A hardware company sharing how their new high-powered laptop increased the productivity for a video editing startup.
- Play With Emotions. Tap into emotional engagement, Hit ‘em in the heartstrings. Example: A software company using fun throwback memes to market their retro-inspired UI.
- Add Relatable Characters. Have your audience connect with characters who could be them, your customers or employees. Example: A wearable tech brand featuring stories of busy parents staying connected to kids through smart products.
- Introduce Conflict. Like any good tale, throw in an issue that your product solves. Then show the happy resolution. Example: A router company sharing stories of spotty WiFi before households can enjoy seamless coverage.
- Keep It Real. Be genuine in your stories. Authenticity earns trust, my friend. Example: A consumer electronics brand poking fun at their own design flaws and the lessons learned.
- Use Visuals. Images, videos, GIFs – they make stories pop. Example: An IoT startup using Vines to creatively showcase smart home capabilities.
- Keep It Simple. Avoid complex, technical tales that lose readers. Example: A chipmaker using analogy instead of technical jargon to explain their product benefits.
- Focus on Customers. Put them at the center and show how you make their lives better. Example: A gaming company who supports streamers who compete better with their high-end peripherals.
- Stay on Brand. Use your signature brand voice and style across channels. Example: A hip techwear startup uses bold stories to highlight their striking visual aesthetic.
- Introduce a CTA. Help users to decide what to do next – whether it’s sign up to a newsletter, buy an item, or share a video. Example: A link to pre-order a new smartphone after its launch video.
- Add Social Proof. Weave in reviews and success stories to build credibility. Example: An electronics brand highlighting awards won and customer satisfaction metrics.
Where to Apply Storytelling in Your Ecommerce Business?
How about everywhere? Seriously, eCommerce is not only product descriptions, so you can use every communication channel with your target audience for storytelling. Start from here:
- Homepage. To connect right off the bat, share your origin story and/or company mission.
- Product Pages. Turn those boring specs into stories about how your product improves lives!
- Product Descriptions. Move beyond simple bulleted features to tell your products’ backstories.
- About Us. Tell the world about your company, its people and its values through an engaging company story.
- Blog. Entertain and educate readers with stories focused on your expertise, customers, industry etc.
- Email Campaigns and Newsletters. Build relationships with story-driven campaigns that focus on emotions like humor or nostalgia.
- Social Media. Connect more personally by telling stories through social posts, Stories, Reels or Lives.
Digital Storytelling Starter Pack
To ensure an engaging digital narrative that establishes a deeper connection and converts, you need three essential elements.
- Identify your core brand proposition and clearly communicate what makes you different and better through storytelling. Really accentuate your uniqueness!
- Infuse your brand’s personality into your stories through conversational language, transparency, humor or emotion – whatever fits your style.
- Incorporate visuals like photos, videos and animations so they bring life to your stories. Visual content makes stories more memorable.
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Digital storytelling is a powerful way for brands to connect with customers and drive eCommerce sales. By creating compelling stories that tap into emotions and people’s imagination, you not only stand out from your competitors but you establish strong relationships that are memorable as well.
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