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In episode 50 of the Customers Who Click podcast, we’re exploring the power of storytelling with my good friend, Rishi Rawat.
95% of new products fail every year; we’re talking thousands and thousands of failed launches because brands don’t take the power of storytelling seriously and hence, blend in with hundreds of other brands just like them.
Storytelling is what fuels DTC. In the age of advertising-adverse and media-savvy consumers, acquiring new customers through paid channels is becoming less and less feasible each day. Customers find ads to be intrusive and above all, tend to simply ignore most of them because who has the time or patience to see all 500 hundred of them every day?
Crafting a powerful story that’ll move the customer is the answer to today’s ad-adversity. It’s a chance for brands to grab attention, connect with customers on a deeper level and make the product / brand more memorable. And, with a little luck, worthy of spending their hard-earned money.
Rishi is the Founder & Product Page Optimization Specialist at Frictionless Commerce, a digital marketing agency specialising in Shopify stores optimisation. He’s been involved in DTC storytelling and product page optimisation for about 13 years now and finds his inspiration in an 1897 Sears catalog (which he still owns). You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to www.frictionless-commerce.com.
02:25 - 07:41 - How Does Storytelling Fit into Product Page Optimisation - 20,000 new consumer products are launched every year and roughly 95% of them fail because they don’t make a lasting impression on customers. And contrary to a popular belief, storytelling isn’t about writing fiction stories about the product but rather adding dramatic elements to elicit an emotional response and make the product more memorable.
07:49 - 17:33 - Rishi Talks Us Through the Unfamiliarity Barrier - It’s tough to sell a product customers don’t know about or aren’t searching for - they don’t know they need it nor do they care, regardless of the quality or the functionality of the product. The only way to demolish the unfamiliarity barrier is to explain to the customer why your brand and the product exist through storytelling and prove to them you’re worthy of their time.
Think of product page storytelling as an interview between you and the customer. Tell them: What makes you qualified to sell that particular item? Why did you create it? How does it help solve customers’ problems specifically? And so on.
18:10 - 28:49 - Myths and Misconceptions about Storytelling - One of the biggest misconceptions is that storytelling won’t make much difference in certain niches, such as fashion retailers but it’s actually the opposite - a good story is how you can differentiate yourself from thousands of other online stores that look very similarly to yours. Another myth is that storytelling is making it all about yourself and the business - it’s not. Above anything else, it needs to resonate with the customer so make it about them.
29:12 - 32:36 - Rishi Introduces Us to the Concept of Active Participation - No brand has one, single audience which poses a problem most marketers are familiar with - how do you create content that’ll resonate with each audience group? Active participation takes care of that problem by including behavioural questions in the first few paragraphs of the product description. Based on the answers, a different version of the description will appear to each user group, ensuring they see one that’s most likely to resonate with them specifically.
38:35 - 43:30 - Biggest Mistakes Brands Make with Storytelling - First one is not having a strong point of view with their story, only repeating stories told by others (think something along the lines of: “We’ve checked similar options to product X but we couldn’t find one that would help us achieve our goal so we decided to make our own one” - that’s just lame. Another common mistake is focusing on your brand instead of on the customer - as harsh as it sounds, people really don’t care about you or your business, they only care about how the product can help improve their lives.
49:51 - 51:18 - Rishi’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Unoriginal marketing and copying ideas regardless whether they’re the right move for your business model or there’s data to support that idea. Remember this golden rule: just because everyone is doing something, it doesn’t mean it’s effective or right for your brand.
55:08 - 57:16 - Rishi’s Underrated Aspect of Marketing - Not having any sales experience when exploring certain aspects of marketing such as direct response mail. Sales and marketing are two different things, yes, but sales experience can be used to amplify marketing efforts (and vice versa!).