How Getting Your Audience Into a Story Can Increase Revenue
The weekend is almost here!
For most, weekends are times to relax and unwind from the day-to-day stresses that are part of a productive week. They are characterized by events, busier roads, packed restaurants, increased movie ticket sales and red box rentals.
One of the most popular activities is to sit in a cool dark theater and be consumed by actions on the big screen and surround sound.
What makes going to the movies so popular? Why do people line up, sometimes for hours, to sit and eat over-priced greasy food in a room full of strangers and spend about two hours watching something that is not real?
Because–everyone needs a break once in a while!
Taking a break is not only enjoyable but imperative to maintain a healthy life balance and mental state.
One of the best ways to take a break is to get lost in a story.
People are naturally drawn to stories because they provide a quick and easy temporary escape from pressing deadlines or situations.
Whiteboard storytelling is so attractive because it plays on the human tendency to pause and get wrapped up in a story.
Here are 7 reasons whiteboard storytelling can help you build your business.
1-Whiteboard Storytelling Gets Past the Infamous 9 Second Attention Span
How long is your attention span? Maybe a better question is, do you have a smart phone? Followed by “How long can you go without picking your smart phone up?”–be honest here.
I admit that unless I’m on a date with someone I really like, I will check or at least think about checking my iPhone at least every 45 minutes–and that’s only if I’m in the middle of something important like a work meeting or if I’m at a movie theater where I can subtly peek in my purse to see if something earth shattering has come across my tiny iPhone screen once or twice. Otherwise, it is conveniently at my side where I can be alerted the instant someone reaches out to me.
I think I can safely say I’m not alone in my iPhone dependence.
We live in a society where we are blessed to have access to almost any information we want in the palms of our hands. It’s a blessing but also a curse where we are constantly bombarded with so much, that we have become almost expert at weeding things out quickly.
In Jace Vernon’s article Today’s Double Down Audience he mentions that recent studies show online viewers have an attention span of 9 seconds! And that’s only if they come across something they find interesting enough to pause and actually take a real look.
Think about it. Think about how you scroll through your Facebook feed or Instagram, scanning what your thousands of friends find important at that particular moment and how you mechanically show your virtual approval with “likes”. Think about what goes through your head as you settle on a YouTube video to watch.
Now think about how you would react to a video set up as a story. Chances are you do pause.
Then you see a hand quickly drawing a concerned looking man and you wonder what he’s worried about. You watch intently as the hand draws a house on the screen..and then…FLAMES coming out of the house! OH NO!! You feel anxious for this poor cartoon man as you sit glued to the screen long enough to see that happily, in the end, the angst on his face is replaced with peace and satisfaction because ABCD Insurance had his home repaired without a hitch.
Your attention span went from 9 seconds to about 90 because you got involved in a story.
2-Stories Distract Us From Noise Around Us.
I just illustrated this point a little with the man and the burning house. Your focus was on learning the outcome of the firey disaster despite other things that are always in the background or just a click away. You were distracted from those distractions long enough to zero in on one story.
Stories help us focus on one thing and, in most cases, we enjoy it! The mind can still be in that “default state” and sometimes even learn something in the process when it is drawn into a Once Upon a Time kind of setting.
It’s human nature to appreciate being taken away from our distractions and escape into a story. Even a sad or frightening tale is enough to temporarily remove us from our current reality and give our brains a break from all the other noise that is constantly present.
3-The Brain Connects with Patterns, Pictures, and Stories
With so much information being thrown at us to process, the human brain copes by using past experiences to categorize things into little boxes that it can understand and relate to. One way it does this is by connecting patterns, pictures and stories to the new information provided.
In one of Ydraw’s favorite references, the book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath provide two different explanations of what a pomelo is on page 53 to illustrate how people use past experience to understand new information.
- “Explanation 1: A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The rind is very thick but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit has a light yellow to coral pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart.”
- “Explanation 2: A pomelo is basically a supersized grapefruit with a very thick and soft rind”
Chances are you’ve never tried a pomelo. Explanation 1 is very detailed, but “spicy-sweet” could describe anything from sweet and sour chicken to cinnamon bears to, what it is really similar to which is a grapefruit. With Explanation 2, you have a better idea of what to expect when you prepare to bite into a refreshing and tangy pomelo–because chances are very high that you’ve actually tried a grapefruit before.
With this example, you are able to take something you’re familiar with to better understand something you aren’t.
A primary goal of your whiteboard video is to get your audience to see themselves successfully utilizing your product or service.
Where on average, you have 30 seconds to 2 minutes to get your point across, you don’t have the luxury of putting in all the nitty gritty details necessary to do justice to what you are trying to promote.
Give your audience metaphors or situations they can relate to so you don’t have to recreate the wheel.
With whiteboard storytelling, you can portray a scenario general yet specific enough that your target audience can use past experiences to see and themselves in the story you present. Mission 1.. accomplished!
4-Stories Appeal to Senses and Emotions
Imagine a video like this:
- Scene 1: A triangle tent is drawn and then a campfire next to it. Dark blue pops onto the screen around a bright yellow crescent moon and a couple stars. The soundtrack is crickets, the crackle of fire and distant singing to an out of tune guitar.
- Scene 2: A griddle is drawn with two strips of bacon and two eggs sunny side up. The soundtrack is sizzling and popping and a faint sound of a brook in the background.
What did you experience when you read that?
Could you smell the bacon cooking and did it make your stomach growl? Could you smell the pine trees, crackling fire and taste marshmallow from the s’mores you consumed before curling up on the cold hard ground? Could you smell the nylon tent mixed with bug spray?
Did your heart lift and sink because your Grandpa John, may he rest in peace, loved to sing around the campfire and play his guitar that was never in tune? Did you feel the cool mountain air, the warmth of the rising sun and a rush of freedom that came from being away from the office for a few days?
My guess is, even just reading the scenes helped you experience some sort of flashback or emotion. I did while writing it! Though I just explained a fraction of a story, it is set up in a way where the mind can fill in the blanks with past memories and experience. The escape into a story already exists right there!
Storytelling in detail that appeals to the senses will almost always conjure some kind of emotion. Senses and emotion go hand in hand. For example, when I hear the song “Return to Pooh Corner” or smell Irish Spring soap I instantly get teary-eyed because those things trigger subconscious memories of my dad who died when I was young.
People buy into things that trigger the right emotions.
Narratives are everywhere–and as a marketer, that’s a very good thing–since narratives that appeal to the senses and emotions really do sell!
5-Storytelling Influences People’s Actions
In most cases, if someone stops on a video, they are curious about something in the description (so you better use the right key words and title–more on that another day). They are watching your video to help them make a decision, generally about putting their money and/or time into something new.
Reason 5 is a compact way of reminding you that when people hear stories that trigger emotions they will act one way or another whether it be clicking off your video or clicking the link under your video for more information.
Keep the story interesting enough that they will want to know more and ACT on your call to action.
6-Facts Tell Stories Sell
You’ve got seven seconds to sell your audience on watching more of your video. This is not the time to bog them down with facts–start with a story!
By now you should have an idea in mind of what kinds of characters and what your basic plot will be for your video.
You’re not even close to being done..
Seriously–you need more than one “story” in your video.
What I mean is that besides the main narrative, you also need sub-stories, like a line about how your business started. You definitely need testimonials from outsiders who briefly share their experiences with your company. Testimonials are like mini one liner autobiographies.
Don’t go overboard but definitely, add more for your audience to chew on with a mini “story” or two.
Save your bulleted facts for your website; let your stories sell you and your business.
7-People Like to Share Stories—So Why Not Your Video?
Finally, another primary goal is for your video to get watched..and get watched a lot!
People love to share stories, particularly if those stories make them smile, laugh, or shock them.
Where word of mouth is the most trusted form of advertising, make sure your video story is the caliber that your audience will want to spread the word about by sharing your video.
In closing, I just want to remind you that whiteboard storytelling can be fun! Stretch your brain and come up with relatable stories that will keep your audience captivated and give them a great and lasting impression of you and your company.
I just gave you the WHY of using whiteboard storytelling; check in next week for tips on HOW you do it!
Thank you for your time. I hope these 7 Reasons Whiteboard Storytelling Builds Business have given you something to think about as your business continues to grow!