Step by Step Marketing for Small Businesses
In millennia past the storyteller was almost the most important person around. When everyone huddled around the fire on a crisp night and listened to the tales of heroic figures. A talented storyteller could bring the tale to life so all could imagine they were actually there. Fascination spread across faces, emotion excited the heart and memories were made that would last forever. The story was an intricate part of society and if told right, would stand the test of time.
Stories are all around us. Some are told well while others are lacking. Many things in our business need to be told by the same gifted storyteller, but is it?
Our web site story
Our web site is one of the most prevalent and important ways to share our corporate story. And it needs to be crafted with just as much precision. So how do you craft such a tale? The answer is the famous storyboard. This can start with simple circles and scribbled notes on scraps of paper. In fact this is one of the best ways to do it. Then you can move the pieces around, add to and subtract from the notes you are creating. As you modify and the storyboard grows and shrinks, it doesn’t matter if things are thrown out or scratched out and changed because this is a time of fluidity.
Rip off a piece of paper and write “home” on it. Then rip off another and label it “about.” Put the “about” page under the home page. Now scribble a few notes on the “about” paper. Will this contain our corporate story? Will we have biographies of our top leadership? Should we include a picture of our very first sign that hung out of our earliest shop? Do each of these sections deserve their own page under the “about” page or do we simply scroll down to reach each part of our history? Do we include pictures of each of our employees? Do we add a picture of our boss’s dog that often roams our halls? Well what about our contact page? Will this simply have a phone number and a form to fill out? Do we include emails for the company president so visitors feel he is reachable? What about the home page? Do we have a short snippet of each of these pages and then link into the web site to provide the rest of the information? What should our welcome image look like? Should we have more than one? Or should we use a video?
The questions can go on and on and they should. You don’t need to answer everything about the home page before you move on to the next. You can move back and forth and let your minds just wander. That is the true beauty of the storyboard.
By the time you are finished you should have a clear “story” of you business. You should also have a path worked out thru your website that will direct the visitor where you want them to go. You should welcome them, then define your services, show how you can be a value to them and why you are the answer to all their troubles, then provide them a way to get in contact with you. If your web “story” does not fill each of these questions, then your story will not be complete. If the visitor goes thru your site without a clear path to follow, then they will inevitable lose their way and move on to another company. Too many websites do not plan out their storyboard with enough thought so visitors lose their way. When this happens you have not only wasted your money on the website, but you have lost potential customers that are extremely hard to get back. Spend the time to create a complete story on your site and your bottom line will love you for it.
Here is another place that storyboarding is invaluable. We could list countless questions that will come up as you plan and execute your marketing, but most questions will be easily answered if you have a clear “story” to follow.
What avenues do we plan to use to execute our marketing efforts? Do we plan to use social media? If so, will we share helpful blogs weekly or tweet multiple times daily our corporate efforts? Will we hire an outside company to handle our marketing or keep it all in-house? Will we contact people by phone or rely on referrals from past clients? What is our overall goal for each phase of our efforts? Will we react to all the events taking place around us or be proactive and create the events that others talk about?
By creating another fluid storyboard, many of the big-picture answers will be worked out. We can come up with a plan of attack on our digital, social and in-person marketing efforts. We can set goals that are realistic and manageable and then as the storyboard feels complete, we can formalize our calendar and get to work. Again, without the overall story we will be tossed in the wind as we only react to all that is going on around us.
Just one more out of many things that greatly benefit from storyboarding. Once a year we are required to prepare a report on our company standings. For some companies, that is all they do. Then they send it out to all their shareholders and publish it online for all to read. Those same people open the report and then throw it away. And that is where you miss a great opportunity. You have successfully gotten a piece of corporate literature into someones hands but have not grown your corporate image. This is a great place to share your past successes and your future goals. You can tell a “story” of how your company is doing and where they want to go. Then when they open up the report and flip thru its pages, then are filled with excitement of what they are a part of. They share your vision and may want to help you even more. They may share a referral or do something else to benefit your company.
We all have a “story” to share. Whether that be a personal or business story, it still deserves the preparation needed to make it our best story possible. Then when we are all sitting around the campfire sharing our stories, everyone will again listed with rapped attention to such a quality tale.