Most people absolutely hate selling, and for good reason. The entire idea of bothering someone, trying to talk them into buying something they’re probably not interested in learning about in the first place, completely repulses most people. Yet selling is essential to business, business is essential to making money, and money is essential to life.

So the question is, how can you sell more without bothering people and being “salesy”? The truth is, there are plenty of great companies that don’t rely on sleazy sales tactics to grow. Instead, they learn how to use storytelling to their advantage.

Storytelling allows businesses to build loyalty and trust while also selling stuff at the same time. Storytelling gives you an open door and a line of connection between you and your potential customers. Best of all, storytelling eliminates the need for spammy marketing tactics and heavy discounts.

So if that’s you and you’re ready to build more loyalty and trust, and your customer base at the same time, you might want to consider embracing storytelling with both arms. Here are five places you can start using storytelling in your marketing right now.

On social media.

Storytelling doesn’t have to actually be a written or recorded story with a beginning, middle and end all in the same piece. Instead, it can be an ongoing story of the people and lifestyles your company helps or supports.

An example of this would be using Instagram to post pictures of real people and their lifestyles who use your product or service. The goal isn’t to sell your product or service necessarily, but to help people envision themselves with the lifestyle your brand promotes, aligns with or helps people achieve.

Whether you realize it or not, your customers live a certain lifestyle and hold certain beliefs in common, so posting pictures and videos that support that lifestyle and reinforce those common beliefs can go a long way toward building loyalty.

So use storytelling on social media in the form of images, stories and videos to help people align themselves with your tribe.

On your blog.

Sometimes storytelling is just that — you telling a story. That might be a story of a happy customer, or it might be your business’s origin story. It could also be that you simply use stories as a way to make blog posts interesting.

You’ll often find teachers and preachers using stories to explain something or to segue into a topic they’re teaching about. This same concept can be applied to make blog articles much more readable and fascinating.

A good example of storytelling in blog posts can be found on Copyblogger’s blog. They frequently start their blog articles with some type of story to pull you into the article before segueing into the article.

On your website’s about-us page.

Some businesses’ about-us pages put people to sleep. You know which ones I’m talking about, the ones that talk about what they do, how long they’ve been in business, and how superior they are to their competition. Blah, blah, blah.

If you really want to engage people and make a lasting impression, you’ll use your about-us section on your website to tell your story. After all, your story is the one thing that sets you apart from everyone else, and telling it on your about-us page can leave a lasting impression. A few great examples of about-us pages that use storytelling include Moz, Copyblogger, and Under Armor.

In your email marketing.

Derek Halpern might be the best I know right now at this. When he launches a product, he doesn’t tell you about the benefits and features, he just emails you stories.

For example, when he launched his online course-building software, he sent out a series of emails with stories of how other people used courses to build their business. In those stories, he talked about how those people overcame obstacles and objections in order to build a business that ultimately changed their lives.

As a result, the person reading those stories is able to see the value of the product he’s selling and overcome their own internal obstacles and objections by seeing that other people faced the same thing but went through with it anyway and to come out on top.

In your advertising.

Advertising can be expensive, depending on where it is, consequently many businesses like to try to get straight to the point in their ads. They’ll use a one-liner about what they do, maybe mention the benefits they offer, then offer a call-to-action.

But advertising can be more powerful when it includes stories. Take a company called Treehouse, for example. They do an exceptional job of this with their ads. They have an entire success story section on their website, and they use those stories in ads on Facebook and other places online.

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