How to Use Story Emails to Build Relationships

How to use story emails to build relationships.

The boffins who study the human nervous system tell us that when a person listens to an engaging story, several chemicals are released into the brain. One of those chemicals is Dopamine which gives us the feeling of pleasure.

Because we get the feeling of pleasure, we’re more likely to remember the story.

This article will teach you how to use story emails to build relationships with your readers.

Use this power to your advantage.

What is a story-based email?

Story-based emails are emails that tell a story. They are not a list of benefits or a sales pitch. Just like any other story, they take the  reader on a journey.

The story can be written as one long email or delivered as a series.

Why write story-based emails

If you want your readers to engage with you and your business, telling stories works.

Story-based emails give a fresh look. There’s something different in your reader’s inbox.

Storytelling marketing stimulates imagination, stirs emotions, and creates a desire to find out what happens at the end.

And there is always a happy ending.

Telling stories creates a lasting impact on your readers and embeds your brand in their memory.

How do you write story-based emails?

A great story starts with a subject line.

This means that your subject line must not only stand out, but it should lead the reader into your story.

Think of it as a book title.

Here’s an example:

“A typo that cost me $15,000”.

Whoever reads this has the urge to find out why something so small costs so much.

“Never, ever do this”.

Never do what?

I wonder if I’m doing something I’m not supposed to be doing when it comes to SEO best practices.

I should check.

Just in case.

While we’re talking about the subject line, don’t forget to use preheader text to add interest or include a call to action.

Here are some pointers to help you write a story-based email.

First, make it personal.

A story email isn’t always about you. But it does need to be relevant to the reader.

The story can be about something that has happened to you or to someone you know. But it should be relatable.

The stories you tell will depend on the products or services that your business offers. The secret is to look for stories around you. Just remember that when you find a story, ask yourself … “What benefit would my readers get from this?”

Next, make it real

Don’t just make up a story.

It needs to be founded in the real world.

If you make it up you’re not being honest with your readers and it can come off as a little too perfect.

Use a formula

Here’s a simple formula that you can use. It’s one of my favourites.

Start with telling the reader what it used to be like.

Tell the reader about the problems and frustrations you were having. How did it affect you? How did it make you feel? This is about building empathy with the reader showing that you understand the problems that they’re having.

Then, tell the reader what was done to change things.

One or two simple, actionable steps that the reader could take to change their life just like you changed yours.

Then finish up by telling the reader what it’s like now.

How do you feel now? What were the positive outcomes of making the changes? This is the goal you want your reader to achieve. To show them that if they make the same changes, they’ll get the same result.

Here’s an example:

When I started, I found it difficult to attract leads to my business.

Then I started email marketing. I offered opt-in incentives, collected email addresses, and sent free valuable tips to subscribers.

Now, I don’t need to find leads. They find me. I use email marketing to build relationships and then convert them into customers.

There are different stories you can tell. They can be told for different reasons and sent to your reader at different times.

Types of story emails

Don’t just stick to one story. Different stories can be told for different reasons and to send to your reader at different times.

Here are 5 story types that you can send to your readers.

The origin story

This is one of the first story emails that you should be sending. It’s so important you should include it in a welcome sequence when someone subscribes to your list.

They’re the story behind your business. What inspired you to start helping people? How did your business come into being?

Remember, while this story is about you, the focus should be on how starting your business will help the reader.

The reason why story

Different to your Origin story, this is explaining to the reader the story behind a product or service. Why are you offering it? How will it help the reader?

The vision story

This story tells the reader what you’re trying to achieve. How is your business going to change the industry you work in or even the lives of the people who buy from you? Why should someone stay with you?

The rapport-building story

Do you remember when I said that your story needs to be relatable? But they don’t always have to be directly related to your products. Personal stories that give an insight into your personality are just as valuable. These stories can create a strong emotional connection between your readers and you or even your brand.

Tell customer stories

These stories are about other people or brands. They’re the hero of the story.

This type of story shows the reader that there are other businesses out there having the same problems they’re having. It tells how your business worked with them to fix the problem and how that business operates now. How the solution made life better for someone else.

Again, humanise these stories. Introduce the hero and let them tell their story.

What does a story email look like?

Here’s an example of a customer story.

Remember, in a customer story, the customer is the hero.

Do you remember my favourite storytelling formula? I’ve used the same formula in this email example. See if you can spot the three parts.

Sandy is a café owner in Brisbane. She had a problem. She had quite a few loyal existing customers who she saw regularly, but she wasn’t getting many new customers. She wanted more people to know about her café and come through her doors.

To tell people about her cafe, Sandy tried a lot of marketing ideas. She set up paid radio, Facebook, and Google campaigns. She did letter drops in her local area. Loyalty cards were handed out to local businesses, but nothing seemed to work.

With poor results for the money she spent, she was desperate. One day, her Facebook feed showed an ad for a local restaurant featuring a beautiful photo of a meal and a glass of wine. There was a link where she could get a discount code in exchange for her email address. She hadn’t thought of capturing email addresses and promoting her café to those people.

Sandy started searching for information about email marketing tools. She found a few options, compared each of them, and asked other hospitality owners what they used. The tool she found that seemed to offer the features she could use for her business was the Email Marketing Platform. She signed up for a free trial and did some training.

Within a month of setting up an email marketing campaign, she had an email list of over 450 people. And 30% of them started coming to her café regularly. She started seeing her bottom-line increase. Sandy has never been happier. The best part? She only spends an hour a week on her email marketing.

Don’t you love a happy ending?

Wrap up

Marketing is about creating an emotional connection between your brand and your leads. Stories are one of the most powerful ways to get your message across because they are remembered.

It’s this emotional connection — this feeling — that makes your business and marketing memorable. And it’s one of the main reasons your readers will pick your business over your competitors.

What’s your best story email? Have you sent one your readers love?

Head over to the Atomic Education Facebook page and join the conversation.

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