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  • Writer's pictureLiz Devonshire

Attract Your Audience: How to use Storytelling to Boost your Brand Visibility

Have you given much thought to how you make your company stand out?

As a small business, it can feel quite hard. You can’t compete with the big brands on the size of their billboards or the amount of content they create - so, how can you be seen? For me, the answer always comes down to finding your way to reach out to your people. To tell your story, creatively - showing your difference; so the people you can help will see what you have to offer.

By making your story the foundation of your marketing strategy, you’ll be focused on creating consistent content with clear messages that engage the right people. 

To help you understand why your story is important to your clients, I thought I’d use my own story as an illustration. While there are many photographers who you could work with to create headshots and branding images, when you come to choose, it will come down to the person, their experience - their story.

Storytelling in Branding, Your Story

My story started with film photography when I was back at school. I remember the joy of capturing a moment, then the nervous wait for the images to be processed. Leaving school, my career began in newspapers and magazines where an image really did need to tell the whole story. Capturing the moment was essential and relied on technical skills to understand lighting, framing and exposure - it was like alchemy. 

These experiences, along with my business and marketing knowledge, my clients and collaborations, are all part of my story - and what you get when you work with me. It’s important, then, that my website, my social media, my photographs and words, are telling this story.

Hopefully you’ll see, on my website and in the images in my portfolio, how I bring your story into the photographs I take. I do that by getting behind the scenes, including family, collaborators and pets, by focusing on the details that make you different from others working in your industry. 

Storytelling in branding brings a human element, which is essential when we’re wanting our audience to relate to us - particularly through social media. We see evidence of this even with big brands, banks marketing loans don’t show us money but the difference the money makes to lives and businesses. 

Marketing your small business relies on making you stand out and presenting your difference, by focusing on storytelling you can do just that.

Your Story

Are we talking about your life story? I know I just told you a little of mine, but do your audience want to know that? Well, that depends. 

I’ve got some questions here which will help you identify your own brand story.

  1. What inspired the creation of your business?This will obviously be different for everyone. Think about the circumstances leading to this decision, how you realised you could do this, and anything which led to that point.

  2. Even before that?Looking back further, are there things in your past - childhood even - which pointed to your current path? The dolls house makeover which suggested a love of design, or helping others in class because you love to mentor.

  3. How are you - and your brand - different to others that do what you do?Why did you choose to do things your way? Showing people these differences will help you stand out.

  4. What are your broader vision and values? And why are they important?Do these reflect the position and beliefs of your target audience? When people are deciding who to work with, these will help them recognise why they would choose you.

  5. How does your brand make people’s lives easier? Focus on the positive changes you’re creating and how you can communicate them. Think about the emotional connections you want people to feel when they think of you - confident, supported, safe, proud. How does your brand story demonstrate these connections?

I suggest you use these questions to outline your story - how you got here, why it’s important to you, how you help people, what you see in your future and the future of your clients. You can use these as marker points in your brand storytelling, all feeding into a marketing strategy that has your difference at its heart.

Cultivating Your Story

Once you’re clear on what makes you stand out, this becomes central to your marketing strategy - making it clear why people should choose you.

As a small business, marketing is key to ensuring you are seen, recognised and then chosen. By focusing on storytelling in branding, you’ll keep bringing people back to your difference and their experience working with you. Consistency is key in this, reinforcing your value, your style and your story through your content wherever you share it.

Of course brand storytelling is integral to your visuals as well as your words. You’ll want to ensure your photography reinforces your narrative and engages the emotional responses you want your clients and audience to feel. You might create behind the scenes moments - showing people your planning and preparation as well as finished products, highlights of successful projects and happy customers, as well as the processes that get people there. 

But Why Bother? How Will it Help?

We’ve all heard the saying, “People buy from people” and this is still the case. In fact, with it being increasingly easy to buy products and services from anyone - anywhere - who you choose to buy from  is often the decision maker.

This is why it’s important your story resonates with your audience; great brand storytelling will build trust and loyalty in both you and your brand. It will differentiate you in a crowded market, helping increase your visibility, while developing stronger brand recall and encouraging customer engagement.

Companies with effective storytelling are likely to see increased website traffic, social media engagement, and customer enquiries. The improved customer experience achieved by engaging people with your brand, improves acquisition and strengthens customer retention. Ultimately, engaging storytelling contributes to business growth and reputation.

Small Business Marketing - Put Your Story at the Centre

The fact is, a strong story humanises your brand, making it relatable and memorable to your audience. As your people see your story, they feel they are getting to know you and what you stand for; you’re building trust, increasing your visibility and engagement. 

As long as your brand story is authentic it will build trust, consistently communicating messages and values which speak to your people and support them where they are. It builds brand advocacy, and will ultimately support your business success through increased visibility, customer loyalty, and market differentiation.

So, how do you feel about your current brand story? Are you comfortable communicating your difference and can you see how that might help you focus your marketing? 

Sharing your brand story is at the heart of your brand photography. When you’re ready, we can work together to tell your story - creating images which boost your visibility, encourage engagement and strengthen your business.Get in touch if you’d like amazing brand imagery which tells your story.

And also make sure you grab your copy of my visibility guide for business owners here, if you want to start being visible to your ideal clients - Six Ways to Boost Your Visibility and Get More Clients.

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