One of the biggest challenges of growing a business is to know how to build an audience quickly.
As more online businesses are popping up, this is more true than ever before.
In a sense, the internet is a double edged sword. Businesses can reach more people, but the competition is a lot more fierce.
As of 2020, there are over 1.3 million eCommerce stores. That’s an overwhelming amount of competition.
So, if you want your business to survive and thrive, then you need to know how to build an audience quickly.
If you want to build a loyal audience, then you need to do several things.
1. You need to catch their attention. After all, any strategy or tactic is useless if people won’t even click on your content.
2. You need to entertain the audience. If your content is boring and dry, then viewers will just leave. They need a reason to stay and listen to what you have to say.
3. You need to connect with your audience. This means building a relationship with your viewers, and it’s incredibly important.
This is how you get people to come back again and again. That way, you’ll build up a strong base of loyal customers. It’s these repeated customers that will form the core of your audience.
So how do you accomplish all of these?
The answer is a good story. That’s right, a great story can catch attention, entertain, and form relationships all in one fell swoop.
Lani Peterson from Harvard Business Publishing summarizes the power of stories very well:
“Storytelling has the power to engage, influence, teach and inspire listeners.”
It’s very easy to see this in everyday life. For example, try going to the opening premier of a popular movie.
I remember going to the opening night of Avengers Endgame. In a span of three hours, an entire theater full of people experienced a whole spectrum of emotions.
People cheered, they laughed, they felt excitement and anticipation, and some even cried. That is the power of a great story, and humans love it.
Another great advantage is that stories stick in people’s heads. What’s easier to remember, a page from a math textbook or the plot of your favorite novel?
Many people can easily recite the entire plot of Harry Potter, but can't remember a series of numbers.
Now that you know why you should use stories, here are some simple steps to craft a good story.
Every great story has a core message. An easy way to find out your message is to look at your business’s values.
You can start by asking yourself some simple questions:
Why are you selling what you are selling?
What’s so special about your specific product?
What’s the purpose of your business?
For example, TOMS sells shoes. However, their mission is to help those in need. Therefore, their core message is charity and compassion.
Finding out your main message will help guide you in writing your story.
A good story draws you in. It’s almost like you are getting sucked into another world. When you read a good story, everything else around you almost disappears.
You can get that effect by painting vivid images in your reader’s mind. A good way to do so is by setting a time and place.
First, ask yourself, when did the story happen? Is it a month ago, a year ago, or maybe even one second ago?
Second, where does your story take place? Is it back at your apartment? Is it in your first office? Wherever it is, make sure to establish it.
Once you have a time and place, then your reader will be able to clearly picture your story.
The more specific you can get, the more memorable your story will become. As you know, memorable stories are essential to how to build an audience quickly.
It’s impossible to have a story without a protagonist, or the main character of a story.
Great characters and great stories go hand-in-hand. Your story doesn’t have to have a whole cast. Often you only need one main character.
Having a main character does a few things. First, characters move the story forward. As your character takes action, the plot moves forward.
Second, characters are what your audience will relate to. People don’t relate to objects, they relate and empathize with other people.
Think of any famous book or movie, and you’ll notice that they all have great characters: Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Frodo Baggins, etc. People relate to these characters and thus get attached to their stories.
So when it comes to your business, you can choose anyone as a character. The simplest way is to use yourself as a character, and tell your own personal story.
Many great businesses tell the stories of their founder, and it’s a great way to engage with your audience.
In life, problems are stressful. However, in stories, problems are what makes them exciting. After all, a superhero movie is boring without a good villain.
Likewise, your character needs a problem to solve, also known as a conflict. This can be either internal or external.
For example, your character can be dealing with self-doubt and disappointment. That would be an internal conflict.
An external conflict would be your character dealing with anything outside of themselves. For example, an oppressive boss, financial difficulties, or a natural disaster, etc.
So, think back on your life and you are sure to find past problems that you’ve encountered. They can all be foundations for a great story.
Once you have the problem, then your character needs to solve the problem. That will form the ending, or the resolution. Encountering a problem creates the excitement, and solving it creates the satisfaction.
With all of these in order, you’ll have a recipe on how to build an audience quickly.
Here’s the great thing about storytelling. You can make them however long you want, and you can put them wherever you want.
Do you want to tell a long, detailed origin story of your business? Great, you can write a blog post or film a video dedicated to telling that story.
Do you want to tell a short story about a single product? You can do that in a few sentences on the product description.
There’s almost no end to the ways you want to tell your story. Emails, videos, landing pages, social media posts, videos, etc, are all great places for stories.
If you want to know how to build an audience quickly, then you need to use storytelling. You can find stories for your business almost anywhere. You can start by asking some questions.
How did you start your business? Why did you start your business? What’s so special about this product? What motivated you? What troubles have you encountered? What problems have you solved?
Once you start asking those, you’ll be able to start telling your story.
For great storytelling, make sure to include these parts:
Time and Place
Problem or Conflict
After mastering these, you’ll have yourself a story that can capture attention, engage, and build relationships.
Now you know how to build an audience quickly through stories. If you are looking to outsource writers to help you tell your stories, then consider our copywriters.
Justin Xu is a copywriter and blogger. He is certified by Dan Lok's High-Income Copywriter program, and is on a mission to help your company grow.Hire Justin